Monday, December 9, 2013

Slowly coming back...A journey from Post Partum Depression

Hey all,

It's been a while and even though I could blame Peanut (I've settled on that as an internet name for my little one) for the lack of posts, the blame is all mine. Well, blame might be too strong of a word. I've been trying to take care of my family and myself which leaves me little time for writing but I hope to slowly change that.

Among the reasons for not writing (who would have thought a baby would produce SO much laundry!) there is one which I am still trying to come to terms with. For the past couple months I have been battling Post Partum Depression. This confession usually brings out several predictable reactions in people and I have to say I've gotten off luckier than most. I have seen everything from the "just suck it up and deal with it like everyone else" to complete sympathy because they have gone through something similar.

I never, ever, ever thought that I would be dealing with post partum depression. I am a naturally happy person who usually manages to see the bright side of most situations and considering the support I have it didn't occur to me that I needed to worry about depression. I always thought it was the baby blues to a greater level than most people get because of the situation they were in or other factors in their life.

Boy was I wrong.

It started with the idea that if I walked down the stairs with Peanut he was going to die. Not that I would drop him, or he would fall down the stairs, just the simple act of walking down the stairs would cause him to die. Then I started crying at the weirdest of times like at nap time or when we were happily playing.

When the little voice in the back of my head started to tell me that if I stayed alive and near Peanut he would die I was persuaded to get help. I chose the word "persuaded" because all of these thoughts seemed completely normal to me most of the time. There was nothing odd or unusual to me that this running commentary was going through my head but in a blessed moment of clarity I told my partner I was having these ideas and off to the doctor we went.

I will spare you my treatment details but I will say it is ongoing.

I have learned several things which I wish I had known before starting this pregnancy journey which I want to share with you because there is so much shame and blame placed on both sexes who have come out about having it because there is an assumption that if you have post partum you are just selfish because your time is not your own any more or that you just can't cut it as a mother without help.

1. It does not have to be brought on by your situation: Post partum is usually a mix of situational and biological but it seems mine seems to be most if not all biological. I had a difficult pregnancy which ended with me having to be induced. My hormones were already out of line and my body being forced to go into labour has been described to me as akin to losing a limb. Your body is pregnant one minute then suddenly, before it was ready, it is now missing part of it. The baby which is suppose to be there is no longer attached. It was the best decision I could have made for Peanut but I just wish I had know what else it would do to my body.

2. Post Partum Depression does not necessarily mean you are sad: It can, of course, but I wasn't. I wasn't sad, or happy, or any emotion a lot of the time. I just was. I put it down to being sleep deprived but it was so much more than that. In my moments of clarity I felt like I should have been frustrated, overwhelmed, angry, happy, anything really. I just had fear.

3. It is surprisingly easy to dismiss it as "baby blues": Many if not most mothers go through the baby blues. Any behaviour changes of mine were blamed on them and even I was convinced that they were. When I did get medical help I wasn't exactly forthcoming in the beginning because I did not want to sound like I was seeking attention. I realize now if I had been I probably would have been able to get better quicker.

4. Post Partum Depression isn't all about moods: It is also about thoughts. Thoughts of suicide, your child hurt/dead, images in your head that no mother (or father) should see. They are not something that is part of the baby blues and often signal other issues.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Post Partum please know you are not alone and you can get though it. If someone tells you they have been diagnosed with it and your first reaction is to roll your eyes, please inform yourself of what they could be dealing with. It is hard enough to deal with without having to wade through the shame that is so often attached to this illness. I say that in the kindest way possible but your reactions could literally be the differences between someone deciding they need help and choosing to hurt themselves.

I am now on the mend and am trying to squeeze in some writing/studying into my life as part of my treatment (and because I am finding enjoyment in writing again). I've almost finished one book and I've got several ideas for another. I also hope to start the Story of the Month! again in January.

Thank you for sticking with my ramblings and I hope to get back into the swing of things soon!

Take care everyone!

Felicia.