II haven't blogged for awhile; I haven't really had the inspiration, or the time. Life with a newborn is infinitely more time consuming- sometimes hard too- than I had ever imagined. I guess I really didn't think about it- it took some energy just to get through the pregnancy- I shuddered to think about how BabyW was actually going to come out or what to do after. So, here I am seven weeks past the birth day, and seven weeks un-pregnant. Your body just doesn't instantly "snap" back to normal. (Speaking of snap: bless my 19-y/o sisters' heart, she thought the vajay-jay just instantly snapped back to it's former size, er, shape.) The road to recovery has been a little bumpy- both physically and mentally. Personally, it *bleepin'* sucked; and I'm a bit p.o.'ed that no one every told me that the recovery was awful.... their stories stopped at labor and delivery. Albeit, every Mommy has a completely different experience (and I often stuck my fingers in my ears and sang, "la la la la" when they did try to tell me a birthing story)- mine was uncomplicated and pretty normal. And that is where uncomplicated ended.....
For the past few weeks, I haven't been my usual self... although that was suspect ever since we saw two pink lines.... hormones much? Prior to conceiving, I was pretty mellow and low-key; a social butterfly to say the least. I'd heard of the "baby blues" and wasn't surprised of my crying jags for the first few days thanks to raging preggo hormones. Problems sleeping (go figure- a newborn) and fatigue and minor anxiety are also pretty normal for as much as two weeks. Unfortunately, here it is over seven weeks later, and I am still having the same symptoms in addition to changes in appetite, no desire to participate in favorite activities (including Law & Order reruns or my beloved blog!) uncontrollable crying jags, overwhelming anxiety and feelings of inadequacy as a mother. I am part of the 25% of new moms that suffer from Postpartum Depression (PPD). And being so uncomfortable in my skin, and seeing Jason's concern, I decided to seek help. With that said, it's unfortunate that I am just a minority of those that have chosen to seek help for this (my counselor says that the rate of PPD is much higher, just differs in severity and cases reported). Mind you looking in the mirror and admitting that something was wrong has been very difficult- I've always been the strong one, the friend that people lean on during crises, and used to seeing the glass as half full. PPD has completely changed that and makes you feel like you are walking through life in a thick fog. But, I wanted to change that and to be able to really start enjoying my precious new daughter and what's left of my maternity leave.
I don't know if it started with the unexpectedly early, well, earlier than I thought (I always figured that she would arrive early, but not after only one day of maternity leave!) delivery; a labor that was uncharacteristically NOT like the one I had imagined; guilt over dismissing my poor mom from the hospital (we're past this...) or raging hormones; but I've felt off kilter since little Kiera arrived. And in all honesty: although I love my daughter with every fiber of my being, I did not love what I'd experienced so far of motherhood. And then I was feeling guilty for NOT loving motherhood; we've been trying for years for little Kiera and here she is..... what is wrong with me. I wanted to go back to work after week four because it was familiar and seemed much easier than my 'mom' job. I remember sitting in the bathroom (when Kiera is a bit fussy she calms down listening to the running water) with a crying baby in my lap, crying myself and thinking, "What am I doing? What did I get myself into?" And then I felt guilty. What the hell? Within the last year, six of my friends have had babies and they were great moms; they didn't have Postpartum Depression... why me? Why after sailing through 37 weeks, this? (The pregnancy or delivery isn't any indication of if someone is going to have PPD.)
After my six-week check-up with my OB, and a timely phone call from a friend who is a nurse in women's health whom both referred me to a Postpartum Support Group run by my health plan. It was comforting to listen to other women who were feeling very similar to me, including three moms' who had additional children. I didn't feel so alone or ashamed of my feelings and has also helped me to feel a bit more normal (I also shared my feelings with one of my friends and she admitted to having some PPD issues and not taking to motherhood instantly- but now she loves it and her beautiful daughter doesn't know any differently!)
I was prescribed Zoloft to begin breaking through the fog and taking the edge off of my anxiety, and my dear husband is very supportive. Whether it's just to call and say hi and tell me I'm doing a good job, or dragging me out of the house on what we call "Mommy Field Trips," to taking over when he gets home from work. Getting out is important- maybe just to Target or to get something to eat, but I'm out of the house. I'm going to be attending my first Moms' Group activity tomorrow night and am looking forward to that; having events to look forward to is an important part of the recovery process. I also look at my beautiful daughter- our little creation and miracle- and I feel better. It's not instantaneous though- I still have good days and bad days; fortunately the good have outnumbered the bad.
The other day when a Tweet (Twitter and Facebook are an endless source of entertainment for me during feedings!) led me to discover a very heart wrenching blog that made me have a revelation. In short, the family had a beautiful daughter that was born premature; fought to live and thrive and then suddenly died when she was around three. I felt so much empathy for that poor family; and appreciative that we have Kiera. I leaned over a picked up Kiera and hugged her tight and promised that I would work really hard to feel better. I'm not expecting an overnight miracle (she took nine plus months after all!) but just some progress and hopefully the bond between Kiera and I will grow even stronger!