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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2016 Theme Song

While 2015’s Theme Song was most likely Fade to Black, by Metallica, 2016 is a year for hope. It was in 2016 that I had my darkest days. But it was in 2016 that I emerged buoyed with fragile hope.

As such, there’s nothing better than a little Jimmy Cliff:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

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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”

Am I an Activist?

I wrote my Representative and Senators today. I urged them to consider voting for House Bill HR 3235. In all honesty though, I think more is needed. The bill sets aside funding to support screening and treatment of women for postpartum depression. Yet I wonder about how effective such a bill would be.

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The Strange Signs of Postpartum Depression

I think that one reason that it’s hard to detect postpartum is that the arrival of a new baby to any family creates a new normal. Particularly for first time mothers and fathers, the lore of how a child changes your life is chilling. Mothers and fathers tell you about how you’ll never sleep again, they tell stories of blow-outs, horrifying travel tales, terrifying trips to the hospital – it doesn’t end. Each phase of your new child’s life will be fraught with new types of exhaustion and challenges. Or so they say.

When you’ve been loaded up with these terrible stories, how are you supposed to see the signs of postpartum depression? You expect to be sleep deprived for life. You expect to be in a hopeless grind, wearily wondering if this is all life is now. Extracting actual depression from new parent myths seems impossible.

The only thing I knew was that if I had depression, I would just cry every day, right?

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Oxytocin Levels and Postpartum Depression

I’ve linked before to this article that speculates that women with low oxytocin levels may experience depression associated with weaning from breastfeeding. Specifically, previous studies have suggested that women who have naturally low levels of oxytocin will suffer from depression.

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