I have probably hundreds of little tidbits of information that if I told other people would cause them to gasp or give some other generally horrified sound (the over exaggerated gasp is my personal favorite though). One of those secrets really shouldn’t be kept a secret. In the first 3 months of my son’s life (ok maybe more like 4 months) I was really unhappy. My son was not what we would call an easy baby. He had (actually still has) reflux and on top of that he is what I would call a “velcro baby”. He literally wanted to be in my arms every moment of every day.
Nathan refused to be laid down to sleep during the day in any sort of crib like device. These devices were torture to him and he let me know this. Oh he let me know. As a function of this I held him. I held him all the goddamn time. I also cried. I cried all the goddamn time.
I was told by my doctor all this crying was likely the “baby blues” and I took the Postpartum Depression test nearly every week of Nathan’s life in those first 4 months. It always came up that I didn’t have it and as a function of that my doctor refused to even address the issue. I started feeling like I was insane and just making it all up. I tried to convince myself that it was the baby blues after all and it would pass.
I will tell you that the crying did pass but the feeling of not being quite right didn’t. It still lingers sometimes and as a function of that I’m going for my first session with a therapist this week to discuss the anxiety and weirdness I feel. So, why am I writing this here? I’m writing this because it seems like while there is a great deal more information out there about PPD, it is a binary thing in the minds of many. Either you are in maternal bliss when you come home with your child or you are seriously depressed and require immediate help. I want to tell anyone reading this that the shades of gray exist and need to be addressed.
I probably should have sought help much sooner but I kept being told it wasn’t PPD so it would go away all by itself. For me that just wasn’t true and it was frustrating to have my feelings brushed aside because my score on some multiple choice test didn’t come up in a certain range. I felt like it was all in my head so that meant I didn’t go seek outside help. I just cried and picked on my husband. I felt like I was doing everything wrong, like I was a horrible mother for feeling this way. None of that is true and I know that now but I could have saved myself so many tears and heartache if I had known that there were shades of gray between normal and PPD.
Now at least I know these things and can do what I need to do to fix this. I also want you all to know I never blamed any of this on my son. It wasn’t his fault that this was hard for me. It wasn’t his fault that I didn’t feel confident as a parent. It wasn’t his fault that I just felt off. I do owe it to him to address is and to talk about it. I owe it to him to tell others how I feel so someone else might have a better situation because of it. I owe it to him and most importantly to myself to work through this even though it is uncomfortable and honestly just a little bit scary.
I promise not every post about my son’s early months will be all serious business but this one I felt like really needed to be. I need folks to know about this both for my own sake and to help other new mother’s who feel like shit because they aren’t glowing with the motherly feelings. If you don’t feel right talk to someone. Even if everyone says it’s just the normal baby blues. You know you the best and you’ll know when something just isn’t quite right.