Thursday, June 23, 2011

Four Questions...

Ry with his Mom.  Love you Nan! Thank you for your love and prayers, and for raising such an amazing son!
Sometimes, especially when Ryan isn't home, I sit up for hours and since I cannot sleep, I edit pictures, or quite frequently, read snippets of blogs. Tonight, is one of those nights. It's 2 am, and I am tired beyond belief but wound up more than I should be... and sleep is far from coming. I know - it's my anxiety getting the best of me. A downward spiral at its beginning. And yet, here I sit.

I've been reading blogs about this, that, or the other, but quite a few about postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and other postpartum disorders.  Why??  Because when you've been thrown against a brick wall, had your entire life turned upside down, been shaken loose from all that's holding you together, and still are dealing with the effects of it, you tend to want to understand why. And what to do. And how to help someone else dealing with the same thing. And so even though I feel mostly healed from the whole experience... I still read about it. I still am working through it. I still am making sure that I am not just getting the point of feeling better... but that I am getting past it, through it, over it, and conquering it.

I've been asked a few times lately "do you think this is PPD?"  and "How can I tell if I have PPD?" Tonight, I came across a post that said to ask yourself these questions to help you determine if you have PPD...

Has it been longer than 2 weeks since I have given birth?
Am I feeling worse as days go on?
Am I eating much more or less than usual?
Am I sleeping much more or less than usual?

As I read it, I remembered reading this same thing as I started to do a little research on PPD before I finally accepted the fact I needed meds, and as I remembered reading it, I also remembered getting a bit angry.

No, getting VERY angry. As in, want to throw the computer across the room and yell obscenities and then break down into very large sobs kind of angry.

Here's why.

Am I feeling worse as days go on?  I remember thinking.. my lower regions ache from giving birth. My head aches from feeling crazy. I have a piercing headache from not getting enough sleep. My arms ache from bouncing this baby and trying to hold it just the right way while I try to nurse and that isn't working either. My eyes ache from crying all the time. I haven't got enough cohesiveness of thought to figure out whether I'm feeling worse right now than I was 2 hours ago, let alone try to track how I felt a week ago. Am I progressively feeling worse? How could I possibly feel worse than I do right now?

Am I eating much more or less than usual? 
I remember thinking... more or less than usual??? What is usual? Do I gauge that on how much I was eating before this kid popped out of me? It was Thanksgiving for crying out loud! I was eating for me, for the baby, and then some! Or do I look at afterward? I am crying so much, so exhausted, and not functioning well enough to get up and out of the room, let alone go make myself some food.  When someone brings me food and sticks it in front of me I eat. When they don't, I don't. And if there is a bag of chips or a box of cookies within reach, I will eat the entire thing without thinking about it. Is that more or less than usual?

Am I sleeping much more or less than usual? 
I remember thinking... sleeping more than I was before I had the baby?  I got up every hour to pee and took another hour to go back to sleep because my hips hurt, and then dozed while reading books to my toddler.  Should I gauge it off that? Or am I supposed to remember back to after I had my last baby and gauge whether I'm sleeping much more or less than the average new mom not getting enough sleep because she has a newborn's poopy diaper to change or baby to feed every hour. I have small kids! I haven't had a full night's sleep in years!! Is that more or less than usual sleep for a mother?

What ridiculous questions, and yet, my very answers to the questions were telling enough in themselves.  I couldn't just answer "no"to any of them, so the answer was obviously "yes". Yes, it had been more than two weeks since the baby was born. Yes I am feeling worse than I want to be, need to be, and can handle feeling. Yes I am eating much more or less than usual, and Yes I am sleeping much more or less than usual. Yes, I had many, many things pointing to severe postpartum depression. Not being able to hold the baby without crying. Not enjoying when I had the baby near me. Not wanting to talk and play and laugh with the baby, kiss his tiny nose and marvel at his tiny fists.  Not being able to turn the thoughts in my head off, and yet not having rational thoughts - all at the same time.

Still, the questions - though they tried to be helpful, didn't feel helpful at all. And my poor husband had to bear the brunt of all of it until I got it figured out... and then, still took care of me for 2 more years as I began to heal.

One day, I'll write a real list of "how to tell" questions. Until then, I'll just say "Thanks Baby. I love you more than you can imagine."

 - Rachel


  1. Maria Boss LewisJuly 15, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    I always love reading your blog, it is so inspiring, as are you!

  2. Rachel, I love you... with tears in my eyes...

  3. Maria and Esther - you're both making me cry. Thank you!!


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