I'm a Military Blogger


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Drowning in the mommy sea

When I was in the hospital after Fairy's birth, one topic kept coming up: Post Partum Depression. "If you feel sad, tell someone, " they said. They told my husband to keep an eye on me and note any major personality changes. Everyone was so serious about it, like if I started to get some post partum crazies they would swoop in and make it all go away.

They lied.

Immediatly post partum was pretty rough for me. Not only did I have a preterm birth, but the labor itself was traumatic, I had breastfeeding complications, and I was in complete shock. I spent a lot of time just crying. I could never really place why I was crying, but I just was. Tears would well in my eyes while I ate dinner, and every night when the rest of the world was settling down and going to bed, I was crying. I felt so alone, like I was the only person awake. And it didn't help that my baby was also usually awake too, and I was pumping and trying to feed her, and feeling like a failure and trying to sort through the whole mess.

The day my parents left, DH had already gone to bed. Fairy was asleep, wrapped in her bilirubin blanket. I curled up on the couch and burst into tears. I was practically wailing, and still my husband slept. He slept through the night wakings, slept through my crying spells, slept through the baby's colicky grunting. I was averaging 3-4 hours of sleep each night, he was getting 9-12. I remember thinking "I don't understand how people have more than 1 of these. This is the worst time of my life."

The feeling of sadness finally started to wane, only to be replaced by...well I can't even explain. I stopped eating. I was never hungry, I never remembered to eat, I'd go to the fridge and open it and just stare, like I couldnt even process what was in it. I'd go to do something and just completely blank on how to do it. I couldnt remember how to turn the vacuum on, or where I put the diapers. Everything was stffling. Our house suddenly felt too big, our belongings were overwhelming. I wanted to get rid of everything. I didnt want to own anything. I wanted to run away and leave all that stuff behind.

When DH went to a month-long training, shit hit the fan. I cried every night as I walked fairy around the house, trying to get her to calm down. She had bad reflux and wouldn't ever let me sit her down for longer than 5 minutes. I didn't eat in almost a week. I was dehydrated, tired, gross, and I felt insane. I tried to tell people. I would say "I think I have some PPD" or "I'm feeling a little crazy." No one did anything. On the outside, I was making a good show. I tried to only come across as "sort of stressed." When people would ask me how things were, I said they were pretty good.

But inside I was screaming. I wanted someone to notice, wanted someone to finally say "hey, let me help you." I told people I was struggling to eat, wishing someone would notice and offer to bring me food or help me prepare some things ahead of time.

Then one morning, I woke up. Fairy was awake and she was fussing. I picked her up and put her in the sling and I began to walk around the house and as I walked around the house, I cried. I was a terrible mother. I was always forgetting to change her diaper, forgetting to give her baths. My feet hurt from all the walking and standing, my back hurt from the sling. I didn't want to do it anymore. I walked in circles around and around my kitchen, wailing and wishing I could disappear somewhere. I told my husband (who was gone), but he didn't understand. He called it "that postpartum sad shit or whatever" and took it personally. Like somehow my inability to function meant I didn't love him. There was a lot of fighting, even while he was gone.

I googled post partum resources and everyone said to get counseling. How? I couldn't even figure out how to toast a piece of bread, how was I supposed to coordinate therapy? At one point I contemplated just driving to the emergency room. Or calling the police and telling them to come get pick me up. I never had any dangerous thoughts, but I wasn't functioning. Every day was different. Some day I got a lot done and a full meal cooked, and then the next day I'd wake up unable to concentrate on brushing my teeth. I went home for a while, but that wasn't helpful and I just wanted to be alone.

I felt like the world had failed me. Where was the help that the hospital was SOOO serious about before they discharged me? Where was the spouse support? Everyone talked big about how serious post partum depression was and how it was imperative to get help...but that's about as detailed as it got. "Get help" they said. HOW?! HOW?! HOW?! How do you get help when you can barely leave your house?

Finally, someone helped. I don't even know her personally, but someone from an attachment parenting facebook group sent me a box of groceries. She shipped it all the way from Texas. Groceries. From Texas. She was the only one who did anything and I finally got on the phone and called military onesource. I told them I wanted to leave my husband and run away, I wasn't eating, I wasn't drinking.

I'm actually crying right now writing that out, because that feeling of abandonment is so fresh in my mind. It really sucks to feel like the whole world has just left you to fend for yourself, to feel like your husband doesn't care and to hate him SO MUCH, to look at your child and think that you fail as a parent and that being raised by you is akin to being raised by wolves.

I still see my mommy friends, and I see them getting up and going places, going to the zoo or the beach. And here I consider the day a success if I manage to get my daughter fully dressed.


Gaile said...

Shit. So well written, you totally took me back 12 years, to a time when I felt JUST.LIKE.THIS.
Thankfully I finally got some help, but only after I started fantasizing about specific ways to kill myself.
Please call me next time you're crying like this, I'll totally cry with you! (or make you laugh at one of my stupid corny jokes).
Did Military OneSource help you at all?