Friday, October 22, 2010

Postpartum Depression

My 19 month old daughter has been home sick for the past two days with some mysterious cough.  This time together without my 4 year old has given me a lot of extra moments of reflection.  As I look at my little lady bird I can't help but feel my heart warm.  She is growing up so quickly, i can hardly keep up.  Before I know it she is going to the 4 year old and there wont be a 19 month old.  I smile at the thought of watching her grow and explore the world.  But it wasn't always like this.  There was a time when I couldn't even look at her without welling up with spite and (I hate to say it) mystery. This time wasn't so long ago.

I wanted a girl so bad before I got pregnant.  I loved my son with all my heart and couldn't imagine my life without him, but couldn't help but wonder what it would be like if I had a little girl.  When I got pregnant for the second time I would pray every night that this one would be a girl.  I wished and wished and wished. When we finally went in for the 19 week ultra sound I held my breath as the technician checked the sex. "It's a girl!" My best friend and I did a little happy dance and talked of tutus and bows as my husband sunk into the floor in fear. I couldn't believe that all my wishing and praying paid off!

The fact that I was having a girl ended up causing some issues at home.  My husband was afraid to have sex with me because he didn't like the idea of his penis being so close to his daughter's head.  He had mood swings due to panic caused by the thought of men hitting on his daughter.  Through all this I smiled and continued to dream of tutus and hair bows. I had picked out the perfect little flowered jumper for her to come home from the hospital in and daydreamed about bringing her home.

Two days after I reached 37 weeks I went into labor.  13 hours later that beautiful little girl I had been waiting to see came into the world.  When they handed her to me I could have sworn I was looking at my son, and it made me smile.  3 days later we were on our way home.

Heading home should have made me overjoyed and excited.  I should have been ready to jump into the car and head out to start this new chapter in my life.  Instead I almost broke down into tears as I left the little room on the 3rd floor of the hospital. I remember looking at my car and wanting to vomit. Then I looked at my husband and then my daughter and could feel nothing but anger. By the time we got to our friend's house to pick up my son I was almost coming out of my skin with anxiety.  I didn't want to do this anymore.  Having a second child was a mistake, please God take her back.

The first two weeks home were a blur.  We were in the middle of moving and it was my job to get the boxes packed.  I would find myself sitting in the middle of the couch looking back and forth between my new daughter, the boxes, and my son and then crying.  I couldn't find the motivation to do anything, I didn't WANT to do anything.

By the time we moved I was miserable. I couldn't look at my daughter without being angry and crying. I seriously didn't want her but knew that I didn't have a choice. I didn't enjoy breast feeding her like i did with my son. I wanted her to be done eating as soon as she would start.  I never once looked down at her as she nursed quietly and smiled. In fact, I barely looked at her at all.  By the time she was three weeks old the kids and I went to Maine to spend a few weeks with my parents.  Instead of it getting better it got worse.  I would wake up to my daughter crying and I too would start to cry.  Every chance I got behind closed doors I cried.

I called my husband every day and begged him to come pick me up and bring me home. But he refused. He told me to stick it out and he would be there soon, but I had to stay there. He was not coming. By the time he got there when I would hold my daughter it wasn't even a real hold. It was almost as if I was waiting for someone or something to just float her out of my arms and away from me.  We returned to Connecticut a few days later and my husband was back at work. I was for the first time, alone with both children all day. I cried.....all day, and the next day, and the next day, and every day following for 4 months.

My midwife told me it was postpartum depression but not to the point where I needed to be put on medication. Instead she told me to start taking my Omega-3's. I call them happy fats. All I wanted was for someone to make me stop resenting my daughter. It was a nightmare. Every day was filled with hate and discontent. So I started taking my happy fats and working out. 3 more months went by. Over that time I could feel the clouds lift a little more each day until the day I went to get my daughter out of her crib and looked to down and saw an angel.

It almost felt like over night my life had meaning again. For the first time since my daughter was first put into my arms I smiled at her. But then came the guilt. I hadn't been nearly as attentive as I should have been. I had actually wanted this tiny person to go away every day for nine whole months. I hadn't spent the time with her to help her sit up or roll over. I had stopped breast feeding when she was 5 months old mainly because I didn't want her close to me anymore.

But here she was that cold winters morning like a ray of sunshine. Since that day I can't help but look at my daughter in amazement. Somehow she lived through all that. I can never get those first 9 months of her life back to do over again, but I can hold her close now and be there for the rest of her life. She is beautiful.


  1. Great, honest post. Here's to clouds clearing and many sunny days ahead for you and your daughter!

  2. I admire your honesty. I have three girls, 14, 7, 6. I am a girl dad, just am. All I ever care about is the girls being happy and healthy. The 7 year old is a tomboy and can outboy the boys. So, I have the best of both worlds. Althoug, pray for me. I live with 4 women.

    Your daughter is gorgeous.

  3. Thanks and good luck to you Lance!

  4. This made me cry. Your honesty is amazing. I have an almost 3 year old daughter and a 6 week old son. The 2nd go-around has been so much more stressful for me! It's so helpful to read your blog!

  5. @Shannon Glad my blog was helpful. It's not a fun feeling at all when you have PPD, but it's more normal than people think. Good luck with tackling being the parent of 2 kids, it gets easier. I promise:)

  6. Brandy, so much has happened since we were last sitting in CM drinking a glass of wine. I felt every word you poured out in this blog and cried. I had PPM with Jack, to the point of meds(I considered ending things for us both). Now, I don't let a moment go by without a kiss or glance that tells him how much he means to me. I've seen that you are hurting now, and just wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts.

  7. Thank you:) I miss having you around! PPD is not an easy thing at all. I'm glad you got help for it. It's scary to say the least. We need to catch up and maybe get together at some point so I can see those kids of yours!