Tuesday, November 24, 2009

postpartum


i never had thoughts about seriously hurting my children. wanting to suffocate them, throw them, strangle them. if i had though, it wouldn't have been uncommon for someone suffering with this kind of depression. for me postpartum depression just lead me to despise all that reminded me that i had lost part of myself. it made me want to run away from everything that took any part of my individual freedom.

as most of you know i raised my mother, then i moved out at 16 and became my own grown up, at 20 i was married and at 21 i had my first child. so there was already the setup in place for me to feel like i had never had my own freedom, to feel like i never got to just be young. because i didn't. responsibility was always there trying to make me older. it doesn't really seem too crazy that the resentment of this is what i would revert to feeling everyday once the overwhelming reality of two children set in. not to mention my family has a RAGING history of bipolar, chronically depressed, manic depressive, and suicidal women in it. i am the first woman on my mothers side to never have taken anti depressants in a few generations.

going into the pregnancy with nola, where i wasn't excited and wasn't welcoming in any way of the idea of another baby, i thought that ppd was a possibility but i guess i didn't truly understand what it meant. i didn't understand that it could have the potential to literally destroy my entire life, and seth's.

it came on so slowly, bit by bit, that i didn't even notice that thats what was happening. i knew my hormones were out of whack because i was nursing but i didn't see that it was much more.

i didn't enjoy being home with my children, ever. i didn't want to be around seth, ever. i didn't want to hang out with any of them and i didn't want to even talk to seth hardly. i never wanted to be home and sometimes i didn't want to be anywhere because i knew that where ever i was i would ALWAYS be connected to these people. to me these people were all that represented my life being stolen from me. for me i just looked at my marriage and my children as mistakes i had made and now had to live with. somehow.

inside my heart ached. i dreamed constantly about getting away. throughout the day at home i wasn't even there. my body was here, walking around, making food, changing diapers, cleaning, but i know without a shadow of a doubt arabella knew i wasn't really with her. i didn't play with her or cuddle her. i yelled at her SO much. i felt like all i did was yell and i felt like i was just like my mother. it got to the point that when i told her i loved her she would just say "NO!" i gave up so much with nola that i was so proud of doing with arabella. from the elaborate fresh baby food i made for arabella to just the fact that i actually held arabella as a baby. nola didn't get these things. she also didn't get breast milk for very long or cloth diapers. she didn't get a happy mother or two parents who wanted to be with each other.

the only thing that brought me joy was going out and drinking and a friendship i made with another guy. there was no affair, there was only a friendship, but obviously that's not the healthiest way to find happiness when you want to run away from your life.

i could have taken anti depressants but at the time i really didn't understand what i was going through, i didn't think i needed help. i couldn't see me from the outside. i ate healthy always, i exercised, i took vitamins but that didn't change my chemical inbalance.

i've always believed postpartum depression is a real thing and that some women definitely experience it so strongly that there HAS to be some outside source to help them. be it drugs or counseling or whatever. but going through it just made me realize how horrible it truly is. i can't even describe some of the things i thought or the ways i felt because now i dont even remember them. they were so NOT me and so crazy that i dont understand them now. at the same time if a friend came to me and thought the same things i wouldn't think she was crazy for one second. i would get it.

looking back i feel a little angry that no one helped me. no one said that they even thought that was what i was going through. maybe they were afraid to? i'd be afraid of me. but if you know someone that you think is going through this please dont remain silent. the lives of children could depend on it, the life of a mother could. the other thing that makes me angry is the people who would say things like "you just need to take iron." or "yea i never had that because i just ate really well etc etc"... and etc.... this is NOT the way to talk to a depressed person. it only promotes the feeling that they are disfuntional and other people dont feel the crazy things they do. nothing worsens depression like isolation. and some people can change their depression with the way they eat or the vitamins they take, but this is mild depression. trust me.

over the past few months my hormones leveled out and i can feel the change in me every day. the person i was in january, february, march.... and so on... she is a stranger to me. it took time even after i knew my hormones were back to normal to change the way i thought, the way i acted and the way i treated the ones i love. i had built habits.

lately i truly love being a mother and being at home. i'm still the kind of lady whose life will never be filled only with being a mother, who wont find her identity in it and wont teach her children that that is what a woman does. but there is a definite change. the same with marriage. it will never be something my life completely revolves around, something i find my identity in or something i teach my children they are supposed to do. but there is a definite change.

i want to be home with arabella and i dont go crazy (bawling and calling seth telling him i have to lock them in their room and he needs to come home before anything happens) when i've been with them all day... or even all week. i kiss arabella all day long, i hug her and snuggle with her and dance with her and play with her. same with nola. now i hardly have the chance to tell arabella how much i love her before she tells me. she says she loves me, that i'm the best, that i'm her favorite and that she misses me only about 30 times a day each. and it feels so great.

i want to be married. i want to hang out at home EVERY night and i want seth right there with me. i want to hug him and look at him and talk to him.

i can see my life from the outside now and its perfect. i have a handsome, intelligent, graceful, understanding, hard working husband who loves me. i have two adorable, brilliant, funny, beautiful, healthy children who adore me. i have good friends, a good home, good health insurance ;) seriously though...i do.

i dont regret getting married or having either of my babies. and i dont regret doing it so fast and so young. now that i'm through all the craziness i'm so so SO thankful that i am young and i am through it.

my only regret now is losing the last year to this stupid depression. losing nolas first year and treating arabella like i wanted her away from me. it breaks my heart. i hope with all that is within me that arabella wont remember that time, that she will soak up what we have now and what we will continue to have over the years, because i know it will only get better.

i know i had to go through this. i had to really understand what my family is worth and i had to finally come to terms with the life i have chosen and decide what i wanted. i know now.

i have everything i want.

8 comments:

Erin said...

I'm crying right now.

My heart breaks when I think about what Claire had to go through this past year. I hope hope hope that she doesn't remember any of it. But like you said, Ara adores you now, she wants to be with you and tell you that she loves you. These are the times they'll remember.

It kind of sucks that we were going through this at the EXACT same time. So neither of us could tell each other what was happening. And our depressions were different... but I know we were both in so deep.

I was just reading my journal last night. All of the entries starting from a few weeks after Faye was born are insane. It just wasn't me. It was so dark and lonely and I was soooo scared. It's so weird that we became these different people.

But we went through it and we made it. And now we can use it to help other women. One day we'll need that knowledge.

I'm so glad you're doing so good. I see it in you. You've changed so much and it's good.

Love you.

Marianne Elixir said...

Skylana - This is a beautiful post, and such a good picture of what PPD feels like.

I am so sorry no one told you it was PPD. I am sorry I didn't mention it. I had PPD very badly after my second. For some reason I thought you knew it was PPD...and I didn't want to be some stranger who gave you advice. I, myself, would be hesitant to listen to a stranger's perspective on me just from reading my blog.

The clarity of this post speaks volumes that you have moved beyond the depression. You are amazing. Well done, and thank you for sharing it for the benefit of other mamas.

Flo Paris Oakes said...

Man, I am SO proud of you.
And I love yo so much.
That's all:)

meg said...

I'm so happy you're back. That you've found yourself, and that it's a better, healthier self. I have a lot of fear around ppd and I don't know what I can do to counter it or keep it from coming. Little things, like my meltdown, make me fear that I won't be able to stop it from coming.

looking back, can you or Erin, say what may have made a difference? Or what in the end DID make a difference?

E said...

This may be overly simplistic, but do any of you mamas who have been through this think it has anything to do with going from 1 to 2 kids?? At least everyone I know it has been after the second, and I can feel these things happening in me. Feeling like I regret so much of how I treat my kids, especially my oldest. Like I'm on the verge of completely losing it on them...more often than I'd like to admit. I feel like I want to laugh hysterically, cry uncontrollably and scream to the top of my lungs all at the same time.

I know this is partly hormonal, but is it fair to say that the switch from just keeping one child alive and happy to doing it for two is just a enough to send some women over the edge??

Skylana, I'm glad you're getting back to you. I missed you, as I'm sure you missed yourself. No matter what you think it's about or what it's from...the fact is we women need support. We can't do this alone.

A thankful heart said...

I am so thankful to start Thanksgiving day reading this! I love how you're perspective on all of this is. It can be so scary to be in the midst of it and not know anything...how to change it (or that you'd even want to at the time), how to be kind or loving, how to think of others, especially how it's affecting your spouse and kids..I never really had ppd after Jaden or Brady, I struggled more after all three of my miscarriages. I think maybe something about being pregnant, hormones all crazy, going to the hospital and back home again... but with no baby..and that was just too much for my little heart. After Sams birth, I felt alone, in that the world felt so big, I so small and it all was on my shoulders..I felt like I had no help adjusting to three babies (which I was over confident thinking would be a simple transition...) I love being a mama, and I always wanted to be a mama...so this depression stuff just seemed wrong...so I blamed it all on Rex and that he didn't love me or help me..it was so sad, and I was so mean.. I am SO grateful for your transparency and sharing this...I'm so glad we're all on the other side of this now...and now we all know better and can build up, encourage and equip other mothers from our knowledge and experience! I'm proud of you for sharing all of this...LOVE YOU!!

JessicaToday said...

first of all, i am stoked to see you are writing again. :)


wow. this is awesome and amazing to hear you speak about your experience with ppd. im curious how you came to this place you find yourself in now. did you do counseling? medication? as someone who has taken many mental health classes i am wondering what kind of therapy worked best for you.
i am so very happy for you and see a big change just in how you write. im sure that means there are huge changes in your actual life, and that is truly wonderful.
xoxo

Monika said...

I am so glad you are feeling good now. It is hard to explain depression to those that have never experienced it without feeling like you are a terrible person for how you thought or felt. I am glad you had the courage to express it and that you are feeling better.