Wednesday, February 09, 2011

about MY postpartum depression...


I had a great doctor that looked out for me while I was pregnant. She could sense things about me and my pregnancy without me ever saying anything. It was uncomfortable for someone I barely knew to be so empathetic to what I was going through. I passed it off as her just doing her job and being good at it.
She always asked me how I felt about my pregnancy and I gave her very vague responses because…I did not know her. Every visit though, she would tell me that if I needed to talk about ANYTHING, she was there and to just call her. I had a pretty complicated pregnancy too; my daughter was 100% fine the entire time though.
However, my body was not adjusting because of other things that were going. Anytime I would call her about the complications though, she would call me back within 5-10 minutes…no matter how small the complication was. Several times she called me just to check on me. During those times, she would always ask if I was okay and if I needed to talk. Of course because I did not really know her, I always said, “I’m good but thanks for asking”.
After I had the baby, I had to take this test to see if I was headed down the road of postpartum depression. I tucked the test away because I figured if I did not focus on that, it would not happen. She repeatedly asked if I took the test and I finally did. I lied on the test because…I was embarrassed. As I sit here typing, I wish I had not.
She asked me several times after the test if I had been honest and I lied every single time. 
I figured, back then, that maybe this depression thing was all in mind, no pun intended. Any time I mentioned it to someone I always got the same responses:
  • you’re better than that
  • you’re not really depressed
  • you’re strong enough to get over that
  • oh please!
The only people who actually took my concerns seriously were two people who were thousands of miles away from me…my mother and my sister. I have never missed them so much. This is not something I can deal with over the phone or through an email. I need my mother and my sister….
I think that some people see who I was before my daughter and think that I should automatically have stayed that way. Having a child is a HUGE life changing experience and if a simulation existed that could allow people to even relate a little bit, I would suggest EVERYONE test it out. I thought I was strong enough to withstand anything…but I am not.
I wish the people I was closest to understood this…it is not an act. It is not a cry for attention. It is my life and I do not want to keep feeling like this every day but…I do. I worry about my daughter all the time because I just want to be a good mother to her but I feel other things too. It is a neverending cycle that I sometimes sit and attempt to solve…but I do not think straight all the time. A large portion of my daily thoughts are how and what I can do to MAKE myself end this.
Asking for help from people who do not understand this is sometimes like speaking Spanish to someone who only hears English. Some people genuinely feel there is nothing they can do to help someone in this state. 
I look at my daughter and see how independent she is and it pains me. She does not even like anyone to hold her hand…much like me. I just want her to know that it is okay to ask for help and KEEP asking until you get what you need. I did not KEEP asking for help and it put me in this predicament. Now, when I ask for help, it is not received well and I am misunderstood. Maybe I am not conveying my thoughts as well as I once did but I am actively trying.
ALL of this is new to me…this level of depression…having to depend on someone else…giving up my freedom…raising this tiny, wonderful person who just wants to learn everything from me…and I feel like I have very little to teach her sometimes. It is taking some time for me to adjust and there are days I sit and just pray for help…
I guess the good that can come out of this is…whoever cannot deal with me at my worst will fade out of my life. My only hope is that the people who claim to love me the most, stick with me while I make my way through this.

8 points of view:

A.Smith said...

I think the fact that you could put this to paper, so to speak, is a very good sign.

It's unfortunate how much our culture de-values counseling/mental health. We think it's for the weak when the truth is, we ALL need it, some of us a bit more than others. And I'd even go on to say we all need it desperately at least one time or another in our lives.

This is probably the mental health practitioner-in-training in me talking, but I hope you know that even the best and most understanding of friends/families can only listen. I mean, they will offer suggestions, because that's what friends do, but in the end -- it's just listening. A professional can help you figure out some things to do, which it sounds like would make you feel better... just the act of doing something to work towards feeling better.

Some folks just need to talk it out and for those people, a good shoulder may be all that's required, but when you're looking for something to actively do -- something a bit more structured might be helpful.

One more thing, and I'll get off this shpiel because I know it can get annoying -- you don't need a fancy $500/session doctor. Many community health centers offer counselors that you pay for based on your income, if not for free.

always4evamoi said...

as someone who has "known"/followed you since Myspace, i totally understand the before and after synitta. as someone who went through postpartum and was craving that same support/attention but didn't know how to ask for it, i totally understand the present synitta. it has been 4 years and i am only NOW slowly getting myself back on track. i did alot of that journey alone and it is/was hell. you are an amazing person and a wonderful mother. im saying this because if your doctor is reaching out, pls pls pls accept her help so you can get that stability back.
sending you big hugs.

Naturally Alise said...

I have not had a child but I do understand the shift of "who you are" and people not wuite getting it. All through college and a little after i was always the strong, unbreakable, headstrong person who had things going right for her. When I went into a depression that I was very private about, people didn't "get it." When you have been that person to everyone when a change occurs folks either dismiss it or like you said think it is for attention.

I think you made a huge step by even voicing your feelings on this blog. That is a very positive direction in figuring it ll out and healing. I hope you are able to reach out to professional hep, I did it, and it made all the difference.

AssertiveWit said...

A. Smith: at the moment, that is all I need...a good ear to just listen. Of course I am open to it being open interaction (conversation). It is REALLY tasking to get some friends to even listen though. They tend to be uncomfortable and I do not blame them but it makes it a very lonely process for me. I would go sit on someones couch and pour my brain out to them but I cannot afford it right now. I actually meet up with some other mothers who had or currently experience some form of Post Partum. I attended the first meet up yesterday and it felt SO GOOD to get everything off my chest. They really understood and that is what I needed :)

AssertiveWit said...

always4evamoi: thank you :) I cannot take advantage of that great doctor right now but I am finding more mothers who are willing to talk about what they went through with me. They have been very supportive, thus far and I feel a lot better.

AssertiveWit said...

NaturallyAlise: if it continues to be a struggle, I plan to seek out a therapist..it is one day at a time right now :)

thank you for sharing though...I really appreciate it

ink heart said...

this was awesome and helped me like you wouldn believe i have a 1 yr old daughter and i thought i was just me. ps. baby bottoms is adorable

AssertiveWit said...

ink heart: thank you! I am glad that this helped you in some capacity. I did not want to publicly talk about it at first because some people can be SO cruel about stuff they cannot relate to. However, I got over those feelings. I would much rather talk about it and be able to interact with those who DO understand, versus keep ALL of this inside. I hope that you have someone to talk to about it...it helps SO much!

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