Quitting’s Hard

Change is hard. It’s also true that the only thing that’s constant, is change.

We deal with change in our lives all the time. But it seems that little presents as much change as having a child. In your normal life, you go through a series of changes. Sometimes they’re sudden, but many times they happen slowly, over time. You have time to work up to that change. Graduating college, for example, is a change 22 years in the making. All of your choices lead up to it. You know it’s coming, for years.

With children, the changes happen rapid fire.

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But What if he Reads it?

I think one of the reasons that we don’t see a lot of candor out there about postpartum depression struggles, is a fear that our children will see these things that they don’t understand and can’t process. These adult themes will traumatize our children, because they can’t understand them.

Several people have asked me about what I would do if my little guy were to read some of the more cringe-worthy feelings and experiences that I had.

It’s a fair point. As some of you have noted, I’m not exactly pulling any punches.

Writing was a necessity for me to process what had happened. But as some of you are aware, originally I was writing anonymously. I also could have written in a journal. I’ve been getting active in postpartum support groups, which is another quasi-anonymous environment; you share your story and confidentiality is expected and required. There certainly were outlets for me.

But what I just couldn’t wrap my head around was that horrible feeling in my stomach. A feeling like I was alone. I was the only one who felt that way. I wasn’t meant to be a mother. And then – when I realized those feelings were postpartum depression, I thought maybe other women had treatable postpartum depression, but I didn’t.

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It’s Finally Happening for Me

I arrive home from work, plop the little guy on his play mat and arrange the toys around him so he’s got a selection to choose from; some toys further away so that he has to work for them (come hell or high water, we’re going to learn how to crawl or scoot). I walk into the kitchen to get dinner started. As I’m washing the produce, I hear the little guy testing the range of his vocal cords…much to the dismay of the cats. The shrieks and guttural noises make me smile as I start chopping carrots.

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Maternally Minded

Are you maternal?

In my twenties, I did not want children. I just couldn’t imagine what the benefits of having them would be. I didn’t like being around other people’s children, ever. People told me that I’d change my mind.

IMAG1246They were right, in a way. In my thirties, my biological clock started going off. Not alarmingly so (pun INTENDED), but just a couple little ticks or pings every once in awhile. Generally I found that within an hour or two they resolved themselves. So, I kept hitting snooze. When my husband and I finally decided that we wanted to start trying for children, I remember how icy fear and panic cloaked my whole body. The thought of actually pulling the trigger and going for it was terrifying.

Ignoring all the warnings screaming in my head, we decided to try. The first time, it didn’t take. Loud thoughts of “maybe you’re infertile” sounded in my head.

While this made me feel agitated (not knowing if there was a problem or not) I also felt that if children weren’t an option…I would be fine with that. I thought of all the traveling my husband and I could do. I felt at peace. I figured all of these feelings were indicative of whether I should have kids or I shouldn’t. But it wasn’t that simple.

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It’s OK if you Don’t Love your Baby

Sorry (not sorry) for the provocative statement. Perhaps I should have added a caveat, but in the interests of not being ashamed of my motherhood, I’m going there. 

It’s such a strange feeling when you don’t have this overwhelming blissful emotion that so many men and women describe. I remember feeling alien and isolated. Everyone had promised me that I would experience a love unlike any other when I had a child. When I didn’t, I was angry. Angry at them, angry at myself – I felt like a robot. Why did I do this if I was going to get nothing out of it? What I wish they had told me was that how you relate to your child in the beginning is different for everyone.

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A Letter to my Son

Dear Little Buddy,

Your arrival into this world was complicated. When you burst forth into the sterile light of the operating room with loud gusty cries, I cried with relief. Relief that the part of growing and building you was now complete. Yet I had no idea that I was in the midst of battling a demon that would only strengthen during your first months in this world. Continue reading “A Letter to my Son”

“Enjoy every minute!” and other dumb things people say

I had just finished congratulating myself for getting up and walking to the grocery store for some snacks. The baby was quietly sleeping in the stroller, I had a bottle of breast milk in case I needed to feed him and best of all, I felt like I could handle it. “I felt like I could handle it” was the result of a herculean effort over the past eight weeks to normalize my life and feel like I could handle this huge responsibility of keeping this tiny baby alive.

“Enjoy every minute! It just goes by so fast”, a woman said, interrupting my thoughts as I pushed my 8 week old at the grocery store. Continue reading ““Enjoy every minute!” and other dumb things people say”

Welcome to my World

The first months were all about surviving.

I remember being about two weeks in and seeing social media posts by my friends about their Friday night. They had gone out to a couple of great bars and had a great night, based on the pictures. My breath caught as the overwhelming feeling of regret washed over me. Why wasn’t I invited? Oh right. I had a baby. I was two weeks out from a brutal cesarean section and still on the percoset. I was getting jerked awake two or three times a night by these pitiful cries from a tiny little blob that was all mouth. My husband and I would grit our teeth and wait as long as we could to start our routine – him getting up to change Little Buddy’s diaper, while I tried to snooze through the cries until little buddy was deposited next to me to receive the next feeding. Continue reading “Welcome to my World”