I think it was pretty clear to me how rock bottom I had hit when I found myself standing in the aisle of Wal Mart by myself a little over a week ago crying.
I’ve battled with Postpartum Depression twice before. After I had my first son 5 weeks early, with a labor that was a mess of interventions followed by a 9-day stay in the NICU for my son. And again after my second son was born, his conception occurring so soon after losing my daughter at 20 weeks pregnant that I was still a cluster fuck of emotions at his birth.
So, it only made sense I would have some issues. It was pretty logical. It was really a “Well, no shit.” type of scenario.
How selfish and whiny and petty I must be. Look at my life. Actually, let’s rewind for a minute. Look at what my life was a couple of years ago. My weekly income was approximately $180. For a family of 8. We lived in the shit hole trailer that needed so much work done it really should have been burnt down. In a marriage with a miserable man. Struggling, broke, stressed. Was I unhappy and starving for change? Hell to the YES. Was I depressed? Honestly, no. I held on to my faith, my strength, the joy of being a mom.
Fast forward to now. Now I am engaged to the most amazing, gentle, kind, smart man. He is my best friend and provides fr our family financially in such a way that I don’t ever have to worry about bills again. We live comfortably. We have two vehicles. A 4 bedroom house with hardwood floors and a fenced in yard with a clothesline and a huge trampoline in the backyard. 2.5 dogs. Sunny days. Trips to the beach or the zoo or the park. Love and laughter. Security and stability. And the icing on the cake: I finally got that little baby princess I always wanted. I literally have every thing I ever wanted/needed in my life. I am blessed. And grateful. And depressed.
See? It doesn’t fit. And it really just makes me feel all the more shittier. I look at myself in the mirror and I’m all “C’mon girl, shake that shit off. Quit being such a baby about everything. You have it GOOD. What do you have to be sad about?”
The answer is partly circumstancial. Not NOW…but shit I am still working through from my past. And partly hormonal. An influx of crossed wires due to hormones smash-crashing into one another and dipping downdowndown after that beautiful baby girl was born.
And I’m ashamed. Angry with myself. Not proud of the fact I think I ought to be strong enough to get OVER it. As if that is even a possibility. Ashamed to admit how I am really feeling in case I look like a spoiled brat demanding attention or like a bad mom. I don’t want to hear “I told you so.” I don’t want pity. I don’t want people KNOWING.
I don’t want people knowing how often I have been picking fights with this amazing man whom I love. I don’t MEAN to. BUt sometimes I get to hating myself so deeply and he just doesn’t understand that I have all these sharp edges that have the potential of cutting him if he reaches out. I don’t want people to know that the kids have taken to apologizing if they make any loud, sudden noises. That they are accustomed to mom sleeping in until 10 because she was up all night with racing thoughts.That they have probably changed as many diapers as I have recently. Prepared meals. Done extra chores because I can’t find the fucking energy it takes to get up off the damn couch and brush my teeth or change out of pajamas, so how in the HELL can I POSSIBLY prepare a meal to feed 9 people and then clean up the kitchen afterwards? You might as well tell a man with no legs to drag himself up Mount Everest by his fingernails. And the worst part…..the part I am the very most extra ashamed to admit to anyone: I am not as close to Lucy as I want to be. She cries sometimes and it takes me a couple minutes to realize she is crying, I dont hear it, don’t register it. I’ve been giving her formula and my milk dried up and now I am trying my damnedest to get it back, oh the guilt in that. But the simple act of sitting on my ass and nursing her was too difficult (Yes. Yes I DO know how ass backwards that is) so I got into the habit of making her bottles and asking the kids to feed her. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to harm her in ANY way at all, let me reassure you. BUt the desire to hold her and love on her and be with her wasn’t really there any more. And when the kids quit wanting to help feed her I started propping bottles in her mouth with a blanket. And maybe some of you do that and maybe it works for you and that’s great. But me? I have NEVER. I don’t do that. I practice Attachment Parenting. I babywear and nurse on demand and hold and snuggle and nurture. I believe so strongly in Attachment Parenting that I started a page on FaceBook all about it. I know what is best for my baby. But now….I can’t do it.
And all of this only leads me deeper down that rabbit hole. Look at all this failure, my mind says, making a grand sweeping gesture with my arm at my whole life. Look at all this failure.
It’s not 24-7. I’m lucky for that. I have been treating it. Eating better, taking supplements, talk therapy, sunshine and exercise. And small glimpses of the real me come out to play sometimes. I laugh with my kids or manage to cook a whole big meal that they all enjoy eating or snuggle Lucy close and get overwhelmed with how LUCKY I am to be holding her precious pink little body in my arms. I make love to Justin. I marvel at how far my life has come. And it is THOSE moments that give me HOPE.
And that is the KEY…..that hope never stops singing. Ever. Sometimes it gets muffled by all of the noise in my mind from my doubt and guilt and shame and fear…..but it never stops. And as long as I have that hope…I know I can believe it will not always be that way. Someday I will realize it’s been a long time since I felt stuck or alone or defeated. Right now, I need life to be a bit more gentle. I don’t need any extra responsibility. I am barely handling what I have on my plate right now. I need prayer. I need to know people understand and don’t judge me.
If I don’t reply back to your private message, if I don’t interact with you, if I cut off mid-conversation…please understand, I am doing my best to hold myself together and right now that is very hard and my own well being is my #1 priority. Number 2 is my children. Everything else is just going to have to wait. It’s a process and I am still finding what is helping and what is not. But if I don’t take care of myself right now I am of absolutely no good at all to my children. If I am not the greatest friend or sister or daughter right now, please forgive me. But if Lucy cries, I want to hear it and go to her and hold her close to my heart. If my oldest son wants to talk, I refuse to miss it because I only have a little over 4 more years before he moves out on his own and I have gotten into this awful habit of scrolling on FB all day just to avoid the dark feelings inside of myself and it might be a handy distraction but it’s making me miss the important stuff too. And it’s helping me avoid actually getting better.
So, I won’t be around much for awhile. If you want to send me a message or anything, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I might not reply back right away but I can tell you right now, I do read every single message I get on FB and my emails. And during this hiatus on FB Justin told me how many people messaged him asking if I was okay. And though I wasn’t up to talking to anyone at the time, it touched my heart to know that people even noticed my presence was lacking in their lives. Because when depression is in your head telling you how invalueable, worthless and pointless your existence is…it is an amazing amount of help to be reminded that people DO notice. I felt your prayers and love and I am grateful. THANK YOU.
So, sorry for being a shitty FaceBook page owner. Sorry for sucking as a friend. Sorry for lacking as a legit family member in all shapes, sizes and forms. (2 of my most favorite people in my family had birthdays last month and I missed acknowledging either.) But I’m working on myself right now and that’s just where I am. If it’s not something you can respect, please just keep your opinion to yourself on the matter and move along. Believe me, there is nothing you can say to make me feel worse than my own thoughts make me feel every day. I don’t need advice or pity. Just some love, some faith, and some prayers/vibes/positive energy.
Thank you for understanding like the amazing, awesome, groovy, beautiful creatures you are.
I love you.
And this song…….Well, it encapsulates my entire being right now. ❤