If one more person mentions Post Partum to me I’m gonna Post Partum them straight through a window.
“Sorry Officer- apparently I have Post Partum and I was momentarily insane. I did not mean to throw that person out a window.”
I am a deep thinker and a huge fan of transparent conversation. Small talk and I just aren’t friends. If you’re going to put a fake smile on your face and pretend like you wake up looking that good our relationship is just never gonna make it! Give me the nitty gritty- the crazy, I can’t sit still excitement, and the trembling lips and tear stained cheeks. That’s who I am- and I promise I’ll give you back all those emotions ten-fold when it’s my turn (along with air-dry bedhead and sweaty gym clothes).
I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret. After the birth of my first child I was stru-guh-ling. There were lots of major life changes in a tiny amount of time. I had this far-fetched idea I couldn’t leave the house with my baby until she was 8 weeks old, and I was nursing (and hating it) so I was basically a walking hormone. I was drowning in a fog of hopelessness and despair and I could not find my joy.
bullying -err, prodding from my husband (who was wondering where his wife went) I made an appointment with my doctor.
Let me tell you something! I was begging this man to give me something for my anxiety and insane hormone imbalances. BEG-ging! They don’t just hand that stuff out like candy (which is exactly what I thought would happen). Real life sounds more like this:
Dr: Do you have feelings of wanting to hurt your child or spouse?
Me: I mean, it’s totally normal to want to hurt your spouse, right?
Dr: Do you feel incapable of taking care of your child?
Me: I’m a first time mom. I have no clue what I’m doing and if I hear a crying baby in the middle of the night one more time I’m going to lock myself in a closet and cry with her so no I’m not feeling so capable. But if you’re asking if I feed her and bathe her and play with her and give her kisses and love her to pieces and post 673 pictures a day on Instagram…Yes I do.
Dr: Well you seem perfectly normal.
Me: Okay- but I don’t feel normal. I feel like a crazy person!
Dr: Are you nursing?
Dr: Then you are a crazy person!
Gee, thanks! At some point I may have dissolved into tears and told him if I didn’t come home with some kind of pills my husband was going to pack up my brand new baby and leave me but I can’t be sure. It all got a little hazy after my official diagnosis as a crazy-person. (Disclaimer: I seriously do love my doctor even though he called me crazy!)
In the end I scored a sheet of paper with an Rx next to an illegible doctor’s signature and was deemed significantly hormonally imbalanced enough to qualify for happy pills. Which I popped for approximately 10 months before finding out I was pregnant… Again (because, you know, I’ve never felt more hormonally balanced than when I was pregnant).
All jokes aside, I know mental illness, depression, Post Partum, and baby blues are all a very real thing and I take it very seriously. I do not, in any way, discredit your feelings if you are dealing with any of the above. This is only my journey! But feeling things (and writing them and haphazardly throwing them out in Blogland for all the world to see) is not the same thing as Post Partum depression. I have walked the dark, ugly, lonely Post Partum road (and I am happy to talk with you about it if you need a friend) but today I feel different.
Today I am overwhelmed and consumed. I have a toddler and a baby holding me hostage! My house may as well have bars on the window because I CAN’T GET OUT!!! I go weeks without seeing even my neighbor (Hey, Krista!!) because I am a hostage in Baby-Toddler prison. I miss tall, life-sized humans, eating in restaurants, running errands, wearing real clothes (just kidding! I’m all for the spandex movement), and singing songs that did not originate in the creepy body of an animated character (What’s the letter -clap!clap!).
You should know that I am also completely over the obstinate two-nager stage that was all cute for a few days but the “NO! Mama- GO!” and the little hand popping me on the leg when I’m not moving at two-nager speed have reached their cuteness quota and have moved into the “Mama’s about to blow” zone. Oh! And the baby that refuses naps, is wide awake at bedtime, thinks my only responsibility is to hold her, and that mama’s face and hair are her personal playground?? You are a cute little needy creature… but mama’s feeling a little claustrophobic today.
These days life is a little sneaky. Some days are just peachy and I get all my chores finished, play with my kids and work out, cook a healthy supper and go to bed at a decent(ish) hour. And I start to believe- “man I’m a beast at this mom thing“. Of course those days are usually followed by a day that was ambitiously planned while I was still experiencing a productivity high from the sneaky day and I realize I cannot, in fact, let my 2-year old bake cookies from scratch and be in charge of the eggs or take a structured nature walk to scavenge for items to be used in a nature collage without having a big girl meltdown and declaring myself a #momfail and turning on Doc McStuffins to babysit my kids for the next hour because “I just. Can’t. Even.“
Seriously, MOTHERHOOD IS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE! I’ve done grad school (twice), tube feeding, taught in an Autism classroom, ran marathons (okay, half marathons. I’m only half crazy!), and moved to a town all by myself where i knew exactly no one- but none of it compares to this motherhood gig. Holy cow! It is hard!
I love my kids- like kind-of-obsessed-with-them-love-them! I think they are just delicious and would eat them if I could. If I were a pageant person (I am not, I am terrified of big hair, big make-up, and big dresses) I would be THE crazy mom on Toddlers & Tiaras, irate if my kid was first runner up. (“Crazy judge! Can’t you see that my kid is way cuter than every other kid on the stage??!” ) I’m the mom that will comment how precious your littles are one Facebook and under my breath secretly add “but mine are way more precious. Sorry about that!“
However, as delicious and precious and adorable as they may be… staying home all day, every day with my kids makes me WANT TO RUN AWAY. Of course, the second I am out the door I want to breathe in their baby skin, and feel chubby fingers pull my hair, and even juggle two kids while I try to go to the bathroom (okay, maybe not that). But it takes that little bit of distance to remember just how precious they are!
In 6 days I have been away from my kids and not responsible for them (FYI nap time is only a time-out, it is not a break because you are still adulting!) for exactly 15 minutes (and I drove straight to Chick-fil-A and got a large lemonade loaded with nugget ice and chugged it the whole way home because I did not want to share). FIFTEEN MINUTES! I’m sorry, even high school sweethearts all sappy in love want more than 15 minutes apart in 6 days. For 6 eternal days I have hauled two kids with me to CrossFit and Publix and church alone! (No, I don’t go anywhere else because I have 2 kids! And if I leave them in the car for three minutes while I run into CVS for a pack of wipes while they enjoy the glorious October weather from the backseat of my super-cool mini I will end up in real-life prison and people will be asking me, AGAIN, if I am Post Partum). I have taken post-workout showers with 4 little eyeballs staring at me and chucking toys at me while I
shave my legs take a shower fast enough to be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. For 6 days I have enjoyed leisurely lunchtimes helping a 6-month old learn to self-feed and reading books to a toddler that is innocently pouring her juice box over her smushed quiche and regurgitated peach while I am distracted. Only realize three hours later I never actually ate my lunch that is still sitting in the microwave. Six days. SIX!
So I want to clear the air- I’m sorry if some of my posts have made you cry, feel sorry for me, or question my mental health. I’m sorry if I come across as in a state of emergency. It was never my intention- and most days I’m not a Code Red (although there are days I wear my sunglasses in Publix as I am crying my way through grocery shopping while both my kids are screaming at me and I have no choice but to shop with them because we are completely out of everything and if you talk to me I’m going to lose it so JUST. KEEP. WALKING!) . I simply wanted to share the reality of motherhood and reach out to that other mother (
so she could reassure me I am not alone) that feels like the rest of the world has it together and she is the only one botching this motherhood thing. You’re nooooooo-OOOO-ooot! Here I am- struggling right along beside you.
If you are not yet a mother this will probably rock your world but— The reality of motherhood is there are a lot of hard times!
I appreciate your concern. I am okay. Really! I am lonely, but never alone. I am tired and it will take about a solid month of sleep to get me out of this zombie state I live in. I would love a weekend “off duty” where I do not have to worry about anything… but I’m not depressed; at least not today!
Technically there are about 6 more months before I can say with complete confidence that I am Post Partum free (yep! any time in the first 12 months of your kiddos life you can find yourself battling PPD), but today I am good.
PS- Some encouragement for today!
“For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? — the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.” Psalm 18:31-32 (ESV)
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