Monday, March 26, 2012

The Dark Days

I struggled for a long time about whether or not I should blog about this. I went back and forth and finally decided that I was ready. After I had Grayson, I struggled with postpartum depression. I hate saying that. I hate that it happened to me but it did. When Tommy and I found out we were pregnant again we were ecstatic! We couldn't wait to meet our little bugger! However, at the time we were renting and we knew we wanted to be in a house before we welcomed our bundle of joy so we set off to find the perfect house. We started looking in February and I was due mid-July. We thought that was plenty of time...we couldn't have been more wrong. We had a really hard time finding what we were looking for. Houses that had what we wanted, in the area we were looking, were either out of our price range or needed to be completely renovated, which we knew wasn't an option. We eventually found a house we liked and put in an offer but it didn't work out because of issues that came up during the inspection. Then we found another house but found out a sex offender lived a little too close for comfort. Finally, we found "our" house. To make a super long story short, we ended up finding "the perfect house" the beginning of June and closed on June 24th.

The entire process of looking for a house was SO stressful. Trying to find what we liked. Having things fall through. Moving in with my in-laws because the original house we offered on didn't work out. Packing. Cleaning. Moving...TWICE. Unpacking. I went into labor on June 30th...two weeks early.  I don't know if any of this contributed to what happened after Gray was born or not. I don't know if I will ever know. What I do know is that the only difference between Aidan's pregnancy and Grayson's pregnancy was the amount of stress I was under. We hadn't even been in our house for a week before I went into labor. I had just had my 38 week check up and started having contractions at work. I was in complete denial that I was in labor. We weren't unpacked. We didn't even have our hospital bag packed. The nursery wasn't ready. All day I pretended like nothing was happening. When my contractions were five minutes apart, I realized I could no longer deny the fact that this baby was coming whether we were ready or not. My labor itself was very textbook...Grayson was born June 30th at 11:24 pm.

Immediately after he was born, I felt like I couldn't look at him.  I didn't have the desire to hold him. It hurts just to type that. With Aidan I was crying and was so happy and excited to see him. With Grayson I felt nothing. Then I found myself thinking these crazy, super irrational thoughts. I had no control over them. They just kept popping in my head. I kept thinking that if I held him, I would drop him. I felt uneasy. Tommy knew something was up right away. He asked if I was OK and I said yes. I didn't tell anyone how I was feeling. I thought it would just go away. After Grayson was dried and cleaned up, I held him. We tried nursing. I eventually felt like we were going to be OK. For the reminder of our hospital stay I felt "normal." The crazy thoughts disappeared.

We got home and bam! It all came back. I had no coping skills.  I felt like a shitty mom and a shitty wife. I cried all the time. I was short tempered. I was exhausted. Aidan really struggled with Grayson being home. He acted out often and only towards me. I felt like I couldn't deal. I refused visitors. I constantly felt uneasy. I felt like if I held Gray, I would drop him. Then the crazy thoughts started back up...I'm holding Grayson and I drop him in a pool. I'm holding Grayson and I drop him on the coffee table. I'm holding Grayson and I drop him on the kitchen floor. The thoughts were always just me and him and always consisted of me dropping him. I was scared. I didn't want to admit to feeling the way I was feeling and I certainly didn't want to admit to the intrusive thoughts. As freaked out as I was by what was going on in  my head, I never once felt like I couldn't take care of him. I never felt like I would purposely hurt him. The intrusive thoughts were always accidental.

I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. I never told Tommy. I never called my doctor. Thinking back now, almost nine months later, I KNOW I should have talked to someone right away. At my six week check my OB asked how I was feeling and at that point I told him what had been going on. He said I should've called him right away and I know he was right.  I think I was in denial about the way I was feeling. I didn't want to admit to any of it. He asked if I thought I was depressed. I said no because at that point I was starting to feel better. He said he didn't agree based on what I had just told him. He offered to prescribe something. I was nursing and very hesitant to take anything.  We agreed to just keep the lines of communication open and I was to call him if I started to feel uneasy again. Fortunately, I didn't. I still don't know what changed but as the days went on, I slowly started to feel better and the thoughts disappeared.

Sitting here typing this is therapeutic in a way.  It makes me realize how much I've learned about myself throughout this process. I've realized that there is no reason to hide what happened. There is no reason to be ashamed. As scary as postpartum depression is, it is very real and it happens. There is no shame in that. Ask for help if you need it. Its OK to admit to it. There are resources out there to help you. Call your doctor. Talk to your partner. Don't hold it in and pretend it isn't happening. There is a light at the end of the tunnel...

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