I felt alone. It didn’t seem as though many people legitimately cared about me or how I was doing. Nothing was about me. I felt like I was drowning with no life vest. Everything was about my baby and how awesome my husband was at being a daddy. That’s what people talked about. I guess they just assumed that I would handle things perfectly. That I had everything under control. That I was a “natural.”
The only things that came naturally to me were the all consuming love for my baby girl, the intense anger at my husband and the feelings that I was messing everything up. That was natural. My husband could not do anything right to save his life. I was critical. I was harsh. I was hateful. I was angry. I was angry that I was invisible. No one seemed to see me. They saw him. They saw my baby. But no one saw me. No one saw that I was hurting. Maybe I was good at hiding my pain but I seriously doubt that since my emotions are visible on my face at all times (that’s both a blessing and a curse).
It is a myth that you must “enjoy EVERY moment” of motherhood (even though that’s something that people usually tell you). I mean, if those same people who are giving out that unneeded AND unsolicited advice actually enjoyed every moment with their child/ren then they wouldn’t say it with that faraway look of regret in their eyes. You know the look I’m talking about…But, I digress…
In an effort to vent my frustrations, I wrote a series of snarky posts talking about my experiences with motherhood: Welcome to Motherhood.
When I first started dealing with PPD/PPA, I was felt alone but didn’t realize that PPD/PPA was the reason why. I was also feeling alone because nothing was about me anymore and while I’m used to not being the center of attention I was not used to being completely invisible. I came to realize that a lot of my self worth wasn’t in who God created me to be but it was more wrapped up in what I did. I mean, because I went to college and I earned my graduate degree while I was teaching full time and I took a lot of pride in that. I didn’t realize exactly how much pride I took in my accomplishments. So, when I decided that I would stay home and I talked it over with Wes, I didn’t realize that not being a teacher (in the classroom) would be something that I would miss so much, but also something that I needed.
I was just angry. I was angry with Wes. I was resentful. I was resentful that he had the privilege of going to work every day. I was resentful that he made money. I was resentful that he got to leave the house even though if I didn’t have the choice/option, I would probably stay home most of the time anyway. I mean, I don’t really like leaving the house but I like having the OPTION of leaving the house so that I can choose to not leave the house (I know, I’m not complicated at all). Even though, in hindsight, I did choose to stay home with Laila Grace sooooooooo I’m not sure why my brain worked like that but it did and I. felt. trapped.
So, sometimes, I would talk to Wes about it. He would ask what was wrong and my answer, “I’m just angry. I’m so angry.” And then I would just cry because I was so mad and I didn’t even really know how to describe why I was mad, what I was mad about, who I was mad at so the person who I was able to be angry at (like, intensely angry) was Wes. I’m not saying I was right (I know I wasn’t). I’m not saying that my actions were fair (I know they weren’t). But, in the middle of the battle, I wasn’t considering what was “right” or what was “fair.”
Some people who suffer from PPD/PPA have trouble connecting with their babies, they feel really detached, they don’t feel like their baby loves them or that the baby even belongs to them and they’re scared of doing a lot of things like bathing the baby or being alone with the baby. I didn’t have any of those issues. I wasn’t detached. Elle and I had a great “bond” even though we had SO many issues with breastfeeding. The problems that I had were with Wes because I felt that it was me against him and me against everyone else in his family and I felt like his family was judging me and I felt like they wanted to tell me what to do and I felt like they didn’t feel that I was qualified to be able to take care of Laila Grace so I didn’t want to be around them.
But, now I realize that it was anxiety that was making me feel that way. I still struggle with those thoughts. The thoughts that his parents are judging me, that they think they can parent my daughter better that I can even though I know that they couldn’t (and, it’s definitely NOT a competition). I still struggle with that. But, I know in my brain that that’s anxiety whispering in my ear. But my heart says something different. It’s a constant battle.
I’m not so sure that he even thinks that it’s a “real” thing but he listened to me and he said, “If that’s what you feel that you need to do then I will support you.”
As far as understanding goes, Wes doesn’t understand depression and I’m not so sure that he even thinks that it’s a “real” thing but he listened to me and he said, “If that’s what you feel that you need to do then I will support you.” And, what you need when you’re going through something like this is someone who -even if they don’t even remotely understand- can listen to you and support you in getting the help that you need.