So I'm sure the next few sentences/paragraphs are not going to win me any popularity points. In fact, I'm sure I'll be judged by the multitudes for the words I'm about to speak and the honesty I'm about to exude. However, the truth is I haven't been very popular lately anyways, so really I just don't care anymore. If my experiences and open book policy relate to even one person...
then that is a win for me!
So here it goes............
I am a single mom suffering greatly from postpartum depression. I want to stop right here and say that with my first child I was convinced that Postpartum was a very made up fake disease that nobody really suffered from. I thought those women that "claimed' to be suffering needed to get off their lazy asses, get into the gym, start their social life back up and just quit bitching! However, 6 years later I KNOW that it is a very real thing. It is a very scary thing. A very lonely thing!
The experts say Postpartum can be offset if you fall in any of the following categories:
-Changes in your body from pregnancy and delivery-
-Changes in work and social relationships-
-Having less time and freedom for yourself-
-Lack of sleep-
-Worries about your ability to be a good mother-
-Did not plan the pregnancy, or had mixed feelings about the pregnancy-
-Had a stressful event during the pregnancy-
-Have a close family member who has had depression or anxiety-
-Have a poor relationship with your significant other or are single-
-Have money or housing problems-
Now if I were just to look at this list I would be able to identify myself as the perfect candidate for this disease. My weight has fluctuated up and down over 20 lbs in the past 9 months...I go weeks and lose weight and without changing anything (except meds) will put on 15 lbs with in 1 week.
Of course my relationships changed. During my pregnancy I got a fast, hard, tough lesson on who really was and wasn't my friend. And although I was the girl with over 40 loved ones at my baby shower it didn't make the pain of losing the people I once believed were my friends, any easier to take.
I clearly lack sleep, always worry, was stressed throughout my pregnancy and with two kids money will always be a challenge.
Now knowing why I feel this way doesn't make it any easier. I want to explain what I feel like on a DAILY basis because if anyone else is suffering from this I want them to know they are not alone.
I wake up every day to my kids. Now I LOVE my kids more than I could ever imagine loving anyone. They are my world...but they are my only world. 5:30 comes early. Not everyday is it easy to hop out of bed and be the Suzy homemaker mother that my children deserve. I hate to say it, and you'll probably judge me for saying it, but sometimes I just keep my eyes closed. I let the babies whimpers get a little louder and pretend I'm still asleep as my son stands over me. The thought of waking up and starting another day in my own hell is just too much.
My fake sleeping episodes only realistically last for a few minutes and before you know it I'm on my way down to the kitchen to prepare bottles, throw caffeine into my body so I can semi-function through the rest of the morning. At this point the truth is I've probably only slept 3-4 hours through out the night. I constantly toss and turn...and if my baby doesn't wake up I continually wake myself up listening for her for fear that I just might not hear her and then something could go terribly wrong (like SIDS or something). Then my mind wanders if something were to happen, who would hate me then? Would I even be able to live? How would I explain it to my son? How could I move on with my life? So many questions for something that is no more than a fear. Anxiety over a thought, a terrible thought at that!
Once I finally get my kids off to babysitter and school I head to work. I have gone up a purse size and learned to pack extra makeup just in case I spontaneously start crying. This happens more times a week than it doesn't. I don't even know why. My doctor says it could be because of the "meds". By meds she means the current one she's prescribed me. In the past 9 months they have tried over 1/2 a dozen but NOTHING seems to make the pain stop.
Once I'm at work I am okay. I have to be...I work with all men, they just wouldn't and couldn't understand. For goodness sakes I can't get my own father or daughters father to see what pain I'm in....how could a bunch of salesmen I work with understand. Unfortunately, I do have times when I'm not okay at work. Luckily for me I can grab my purse and escape to the powder room, cry it out and fix my makeup without any one being any the wiser!
Evenings have become the toughest. I'm actually really good between 6-8 and I really think it's just because I'm just too busy to know that I may not be okay. I pick up kids, cook dinner, feed the baby, assist my son with his shower, bathe the baby, rock the baby, help my son with his homework, read books and put everyone to bed. It's quick, it's fast, I don't always feel like I'm spending enough quality time with them...but what am I to do....the everyday stuff has to be done!
It's after the kids go to bed that I'm at my worse. Now without sounding too 'poor me' I do spend every evening alone. I have amazing friends that will text to check in on me and every now and then I will even get to speak with one of them on the phone for an extended amount of time. But the truth is that they are all busy with their own kids, their husbands, their lives! Being a mom, you are exhausted after the day is done (and that's at like 9:00)....even talking on the phone becomes a chore.
So here I sit, alone. This is when it starts. The true signs of my postpartum depression. Things go through my head that I could have never imagined feeling a year ago. Scary, scary things. I find myself imagining things that are not suppose to be spoken of, things that you don't tell people you think about, things you try to tell yourself you aren't thinking about. I imagine my children's lives if I wasn't in them. I imagine how the world would be if I just wasn't here anymore. I imagine if anyone would even bother showing up to my funeral. I know logically it will never come to this. I am all those little kids have...but the thoughts consume me. I wonder what it would feel like to just take the pain away. The pain I feel everyday. The stabbing in my stomach from the anxiety attacks I continue to have. The pain of my heart from having children with men that hate me. The pain from the guilt I feel because my children have to grow up in broken homes and listen to fighting and shuffle from home to home.
I imagine what I feel on a nightly basis is the same type of pain that somebody that has just been ran over feels when waking up in the hospital. Every muscle, every bone, every thought hurts! It hurts so much and I don't know how to make the hurt stop. I have moments....GREAT moments. Moments of clarity! Moments where I look in my daughters big blue eyes and know that every single tear is worth it because I will always have my little angel. I have moments where I spontaneously break out in dance parties with my 6 year old and the genuine laughter from his belly than rings throughout the house reminds me that no matter how hard it gets, it's SO worth it. In fact, I do that thing....that thing where I capture those moments. I take pictures to remind myself that this life I've created can be more than just hurt. Then I pretend....I post my pictures, I post quotes, I post anything and everything over every dumb social network just so everyone thinks I'm great. I'm handling it great...I'm superwoman....I don't even know why they say this single mom thing is tough, no big deal. I pretend and I pretend and i pretend!!!!
I'm sooooo sick of pretending. I want to be happy again. I want my eyes to light up just like my kids eyes do. I want to enjoy the little things. I want to be excited to go to the park and not upset because I have no one there to enjoy the kids laughter with. I should be able to be alone. I should be able to enjoy my kids alone. I should be able to do this all.....but it's tough!
So here I am. Where do I go from here? I've tried everything I know. I've joined support groups, I've seen a counselor, I've gone to church almost every Sunday for over a year now. I've worked out, I've taken yoga. I've read so many self help books, and postpartum help blogs, joined chat groups. I've started fights to try to prove my point, taken my aggression out on others and begged for forgiveness. It's like a roller coaster and I want to get off. I don't want to do any more loops, I don't want to be scared and I don't want to be without any control anymore. Not knowing what your emotions/hormones are doing or will do next is a very scary thing.
So there it is. My life. My so not perfect, crumbling, disastrous world. I want it fixed. I want to be the Suzy homemaker, Martha Stewart mom that my children deserve. I don't want their memories to be of their mother always with tears in her eyes. I want their child hood memories to be of laughter and joy, cookie making, Lego character building and fabulous birthday parties. Now I need to figure out how to get there.
I do have one thing going for me and that's that I was made tough. I once heard that God will turn your MESS into a MESSAGE, your TEST into a TESTIMONY, your TRIAL into a TRIUMPH and a VICTIM into a VICTORY. So with what little optimism I still have I'm putting all my cards on that. I know that there has to be a reason for this journey and maybe one day I'll be able to look back, without any hurt and know why I experienced this and hopefully be able to help others that are in this situation. I just have to hope, because hope is all I have right now!