I've been MIA for a while, I know. This has been a rough month in more ways than one. Marital discord, family issues, medical problems-it's just been a lot to handle. And most days I just haven't felt like writing. I think it's easy to get caught up in daily life and forget to do things just for yourself, and writing is one of those things for me.
So anyway. Got some good news about Henry's new cousin, who had a little bit of a rough start, but is heading home today with her happy parents. Your kid having issues right after they're born is no fun thing, Henry ended up in the NICU for respiratory distress, and for weeks after that I was afraid to put him down, or be away from him. I was terrified he would stop breathing.
Luckily for me, a few weeks before he was born, my sister called me and said she wanted to talk to me about something serious. I was kind of alarmed, because the women in my family (including myself) tend to avoid weighted topics, particularly when our emotions were involved. She proceeded to tell me about having post-partum depression after her son was born, gave me some signs to look for, and told me there was nothing wrong with getting help if I needed it.
I'm eternally grateful to her for that conversation, because it saved me a lot of pain. I think when we think about depression, we think sad. And for a lot of people, that's the predominant emotion. But after Henry was born, I wasn't sad-I was elated to have a baby. How it manifested in me was in EXTREME anxiety. I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating, and anytime Ben left me alone with the baby, I would imagine these impossible scenarios about things that could go wrong, and try to figure out what I would do if the situation arose.
I mean, these things were way out, too. I recall one being "What if we go to the beach and a shark attacks him??" Because Shan had talked to me, I knew what was going on, could talk to my doctor about it, went on a low dose of Zoloft, quickly got back to being myself, and six weeks in went off the meds with absolutely no negative side effects.
Post-partum depression is no joke. I still think it's pretty taboo to talk about, and people assume that just because you had a baby you should be happy. But it's a scary time, and nothing really prepares you for taking that kid home and realizing that you're solely responsible for their well-being. Then you realize a few years ago you were in college and doing keg stands and sleeping through classes and now you're in charge of a person, even though fairly recently you went to work with two different color/style shoes on.
I also recently got connected to two pregnant people who are not having a good time being pregnant, and needed to hear that this was ok. Honestly, out of all the people I've talked to about pregnancy and parenthood, very, very few of them enjoyed the pregnancy part. I mean, yes, it's great and you're making a baby, but it's hard on your body and on your mind. We all know those glowy happy pregnant people who would be thrilled to pop out a kid every two years, but most of us aren't like that.
Well, I sure as hell wasn't. The point of this rambling blog for the tens of people who read it is just....it's ok if you don't like being pregnant. It's ok if you have problems after the baby is born. Don't be embarrassed about talking about it, or seeking help if you need it. Your body and your mind go through a lot in those ten months, and you owe it to yourself and your kid to take care of both of those things-your body AND your mind.
Now I feel like I'm at a suitable level of crazy and that I won't emotionally damage my kid too much, although recently I did let him play in a mud puddle and eat an Oreo (not at the same time), and I'm sure there are plenty of moms who would gasp over my poor parenting. At least I'm cutting out my swearing. Every time I curse at home I'm doing situps. I figure in six months I'll be swear-free and have abs like David Beckham. Dammit.