Then the fog lifted and I was finally free. I could breathe. I could get through my days without anxious, intrusive thoughts. I didn’t emotionally react as swiftly and aggressively because as one RN friend put it, “You’ve been given a sort of pause button.” She was so right.
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Cincinnati Postpartum Depression
My daughter recently turned 2-years-old, and I’m a functioning person with a decent amount of balance in my life. I have a job, I have friends, I go on dates with my husband, I exercise, and, most importantly, I love my daughter to pieces. We did bond, even without breastfeeding and without me being my best in the beginning.
At first it was all about the excitement, and I had lots of people checking on me and calling me. I had visitors, calls, messages, and mail from people showing their love. It was all about gazing at her little face and being in total awe that she was here, out in the real world, and I wasn’t feeling her wiggle around inside anymore. I was just recovering physically and trying to get the hang of life with a newborn.
She said we would continue talk therapy. It would help. I would slowly back off of my pumps and in June, when I weaned, I would start medication. I kept telling her I would get better if we just bought a house. If I could get organized. If Maggie would come back to the breast. If. If. If. I didn’t need medication. I would be fine. If only I could fast-forward this part of my life.
She had milestones. I didn’t record any. Each month passed by and I didn’t snap a styled photo like I had for her older sister. I didn’t write in her baby book, except to apologize for ruining us. I hoped she would forgive me. I didn’t take any videos or pictures. I never wanted to remember this time. Never. But, daily, I was reminded. Reminded that we weren’t normal. Reminded we were broken.
I had a new plan for the weekend. I would stay with my parents. I would power pump. I would cluster pump. I would get my supply up. We would attempt to latch then. I tried to busy myself with sewing while my mother fed my baby. I made her watch a paced bottle feeding video. I watched across the room in agony as she held the bottle in her mouth. I knew it was over then. I knew I would never get to be her mother.
I know, firsthand, how hard it is for parents to admit they're suffering. I made it through and I can barely talk about it almost a year later. So I'm forcing my own hand (or fingers, rather). This month is National Mental Health Awareness Month and I am determined to get my story out in the hopes of helping another parent recognize their symptoms and seek help earlier.
Below is Part One. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 (or who knows how many since I haven't written them yet). I have never felt so vulnerable as I do standing on the precipice of this blog series. Thank you for reading.