Friday, July 12, 2013

At least we don't have yellow wallpaper...


 If you're missing the Charlotte Perkins Gilman reference, we can't be friends anymore. Go read some decent American-feminist literature and get back to me.

   I have a wicked case of post-partum depression. It's getting better (obviously I'm coherent enough to write this). I basically have done nothing except nurse the baby and sit. I had absolutely no appetite to eat anything, so I lost a ridiculous amount of weight and had no energy (in addition to being sleep deprived in general). I cried throughout the day. If Perrin started crying, I shut down completely. I couldn't do anything except stare at him. Joey would take him and calm him down. Joey changed his diapers, and held him, and basically did everything aside from nurse. He brought me whatever food I did eat, and my vitamins. He called psych counselors and lactation consultants and basically anyone who could help. I just couldn't get myself to do anything. I hated everything- especially the baby. The baby was nothing to me except pain. I knew, in my head, that it he wasn't being mean on purpose and that he is just a baby...but there were times when I could swear he was trying to inflict as much pain on me as humanly possible. It's a strange feeling to be so sad and so angry and then to feel guilty for feeling those emotions.
  I really don't know what else to say except that things got bad. I never wanted to hurt the baby, but Perrin and I coexisting didn't seem to be working out. One of us had to go, and I was the adult (sort of), so it seemed like it had to be me. I needed to go away- back to Memphis, somewhere else, I don't know...something had to give. Finally I wasn't able to handle it anymore. Joey stepped in and insisted I get help. He called our midwife and found some local PPD resources.
  I started seeing a counselor and she (as well as our midwife) agreed that fixing the breastfeeding relationship ASAP was key. The pain was driving a lot of my resentment towards Perrin. They brought up the possibility of me pumping and bottle feeding to eliminate the stress of nursing, but I refused for two reasons. First, I wasn't quite desperate enough to risk our future nursing relationship just yet. Second, and most importantly, nursing was all I had. That was my only interaction with Perrin. I did it because I absolutely had to. If we introduced bottles and Joey could feed him...I knew I wouldn't look at Perrin again. So I hung on to our nursing relationship and Joey called every lactation specialist in the state he could find until we started making progress. Now nursing is almost pain free.The counselor also stated she thought I was scared to interact with Perrin and that was one of the reasons I would just shut down. She suggested attending some Mom and Baby classes to get some tips and help on interacting with my baby. Joey and I now attend a Parent and Baby class on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
   Our midwife assigned me some homework as well. The first was eating and sleeping more, for obvious reasons. She also stressed my need for socialization. We don't really have many close friends in Tucson, and definitely not lots of kid experience. We don't have a tribe. So my midwife put in contact with some like-minded parents near by. We have had two social get-togethers this week.
  So things are slowly getting better. It is still ridiculously hard. I'm living off of gluten-free Oreos and Lucky Charms. Our house is a wreck and completely filthy. Every ounce of our energy is going towards just surviving until tomorrow..but it's getting better.

  So to those people who are offended by my experience- the people who tell me I should think of all the childless couples in the world and appreciate my baby more and get over the "difficulties of motherhood" (their condescending quotation marks, not mine)- Screw you. I'm in enough of a mental hell with plenty of guilt all by myself, I don't need your baggage. If I could snap my fingers make it all pretty, I would do it in a heartbeat. But guess what, I can't. It hurts and it's hard and I don't know what to do except work my way through it. So I can either pretend this isn't happening, or I can be honest and maybe help someone else out there know they aren't the only one. I saw another mom at one of our groups- she looked exactly how I felt. But we were both there and both dealing, and we will both be okay. So if I ever hear a person tell another PPD woman to just get over it and be happy with her baby, I'm going to punch them in face, ahimsa be damned.

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