Monday, March 10, 2008

Welcome to the nuthouse

The first weeks of my daughter's life aren't going exactly as planned. Especially the part where I am losing my freaking mind.
Wasn't that whole maternal-instinct thing supposed to stick around after that first night in the hospital? Wasn't some maternal gene supposed to switch on and keep me all stoned on bliss and beaming at this child like she is pure light? Like she is the sun? Like, by having her, my life has finally begun and I am finally complete? Isn't that what everyone says at the end of "A Baby Story"? Isn't that what my mother meant when she told me labor was "wonderful pain"? Because I'm not feeling wonderful. In these two weeks since we left the hospital, my emotional range seems to have collapsed in on itself, trapping me in a hole where I feel only overwhelmed. And frustrated. And afraid.

I'm terrified, really. Terrified that Thad and I have made a horrible, terrible mistake by having this baby. And I want to tell Thad, explain it to him. But that scares me, too. He won't understand. How could he? He's too busy wondering where his wife went.
There are also some excellent comments, including the following:
. . . many people assume bringing home your first child is a blissful soul-changing experience, but it's complete culture shock, akin to moving to a foreign country where you don't speak the language. Especially if you're a woman used to her independence. Used to finishing a task. Used to finishing a thought.

I suffered panic attacks the first three weeks of my newborn son's life. Like the author, I was certain we'd made a horrible, terrible mistake. I resented being on call every two hours, round the clock, to pump breast milk. I resented that my husband could leave the house and go to work and adult conversations but I only got to leave for one hour at a time to go to Target because I had to get back and pump.

I got over most of that, eventually.

There would be a lot fewer women with postpartum depression if mothers were honest about these feelings and experiences instead of, "It's the most wonderful thing in the world." New mothers are already petrified about screwing up and killing the kid... they don't need this propaganda making them feel worse about very natural and understandable feelings.
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1 comment:

Barbara said...

There should be heightened awareness of PPD all over the world! With Brooke Shields speaking out about her PPD, a lot of the public had a wakeup call about the seriousness of it, but still not the level of awareness there should be .. According to the Dietary Supplement Information Bureau page on pregnancy & PPD support, women can be taking supplements rich in multiple vitamins and minerals & these nutrients promote a healthy state of mind during and after a pregnancy. I'm not stating that this is a cure for PPD, or guarateeing that it will be as affective as medications will be in actually treating PPD. However, such nutrients can aid in the recovery process and, if taken ahead of time, can lessen the affects of PPD.