It’s like waking up.
For 20 months I have been living in this crazy fog, like legit crazy. Before the fog, I used to be that mom that was amazed at every little thing her kid did (have the pictures to prove it haha). I was freaking impressed with his character, behavior, and achievements, yeah he was only two. But man, I thought he was the coolest and cutest dude ever. I thought Ky and I were doing a bang job with him, and just knew he was going to be a perfect child. He was active, and happy, and just loved to be with us wherever we were. He slept great and signed words to us, legit communication. When we were with friends he was just cute and reserved, though energetic, but he would share and not cry or carry on if kids took his toys, once again yeah I get it, he was two. But man just my mental and emotional state towards him was so…..so….. well, healthy.
|Who couldn’t just love this to pieces?|
Then a couple of things happened. Things that aren’t excuses but they did change me. We were having a lot of disappointments in our life, especially with my husband’s work efforts. Our supposed six month stay with the in-laws was turning into a two year stay. For new parents, new college graduates who were ready to get running with this whole “life” thang, our life was actually starting to feel sort of bleak. And to add to that we were both feeling very impressed that it was time to start trying for another child. I am blessed, I know I am, but I pretty much have a one hit wonder record with conception. Think the word pregnant and I am. But at the time another baby just seemed like another burden to bear. And man the first bit of pregnancy is not good to me.
I went from being the mom who loved playing toys with Kace, singing songs and reading little books to the mom who was passed out for most of the day while he watched tv. So much TV!
Things carried on like this for my entire pregnancy. All the while Kyle and I were emotionally haggard through what we viewed the great disappointment in life, not getting a job right out of college in your line of work and living the dream, on your own. (this is sort of too emotional to write, ya know, putting out there the deep inadequacies you feel). Luckily a bright star broke through, after a rough bought Ky finally decided to go back to school for nursing, this is so the right thing to be doing for us too by the way. He is a rock star!
Things were looking up, hope and optimism were brimming on our horizon. Then came the aftershock of birth.
I was so unprepared, so ill-equipped for this. It makes me weep thinking about how low I fell; how far removed I was from that sweet, innocent, pretty much perfect little boy. I was a mess. I was emotionally void, if not for anger and frustration. The mom who used to think her kid was amazing became annoyed with his pleas for help and companionship. I could see his retrogression, the tantrums increased, the communication decreased. That is what breaks my heart. He is such a smart kid, like so smart. But my disconnect did something to him, something that is taking a really long time to “fix.” (I knew this would be hard to write). No one wants to feel like they broke their kid, but I pretty much do feel that way.
I know some people who were close to me could see the struggle, haha denial. I am sure a lot of people could. I am so blessed to have many angles in my life, people who care, who are friendly, and supportive. What seemed like such a depressing thing, to live your parents with two kids, turned out to be my saving grace. My mother-in-law helped me so much with the kids it is crazy.
Emotionally I knew the things going on inside of me weren’t really me, I knew the thoughts I was having and emotions I was feeling weren’t Heather. Or the Heather I wanted to be anyway, the Heather I was before. But I felt hopeless to change it. After multiple unhealthy thoughts I knew I needed to get help. I was so afraid of the effects of anti-depressants while nursing because from what I could tell much is unknown on the subject. And I value breastfeeding so much for the nutritional and emotional benefits that I didn’t want to give that up. My doctor felt that Andie and I would both be ok if I took anti-depressants while breastfeeding so I started to work my way onto Zoloft. But I was still so afraid of the unknown that I stopped. And maybe it was just knowing that if I was turning my back on this treatment then I needed to step it up hard core and work my way back to emotional healthfulness, but something changed. From that week on I could feel the old me breaking its way through. I know the chemical imbalances weren’t fixed from a couple of days on an anti-depressant, but I think that I gave myself some mental ultimatums that I could not let those thoughts in.
Things weren’t easy. It wasn’t an overnight fix. The woman who started this blog two months ago was still very much affected. By the way, I am not advocating not seeking help or using anti-depressants. In hind sight, actually now seeing how bad I was I wish I would have just did what was best for me and stayed on the medication and bottle fed. Just to reiterate I do not necessarily think my actions were the most healthy or correct approach to all this, but it is what I did.
Anyway it is now 10 months after I had our beautiful baby girl. And finally like in the past couple of weeks I feel like me. I feel whole. I feel happy. I feel completely invested and pleased with my children, not because they have changed dramatically but because my outlook on them, who they are, their behavior, and my relationship to them has changed. It is seriously like waking up. I feel like I have been lost, gone, checked out, asleep, for months, MONTHS, and finally I am back. Life is so good.
|I can finally enjoy days with as much happiness and energy as these two. And love moments like this.|
I know many of you don’t share my faith, but I do believe in a power from God. I know it is manifest through the priesthood handed down to worthy men, and I praise my Father in Heaven that my husband is counted among one of these men. And through the power of the priesthood I am able to be made whole. Yes, I believe in religious healing, actual physical healing, but that isn’t exactly what happened to me. Depression is real, it is chemically an imbalance in my body, I don’t think God stepped in and changed that for ME, but I do know that mentally my ability to cope with life has changed. I know that I have received power from heaven to rise above the dark hole I was swimming in. Sorry if this hard to follow, it is a really hard concept/emotion/state of being, to explain.
The way I feel now is so different, I feel so happy and alive. And most importantly the way I view my children is so beautiful. I sit and look at them and feel that feeling of love I had the first moment I held them. That awe at the miracle they are, the hope they embody, their joys are my joys, their learning is my learning, their pain is my pain. Finally being back and being a part of it all breaks my heart for what I missed but I the gratitude I have for how I feel now is so immense.
Please, I feel like it can’t be said enough, post-partum depression is real. There are real chemical imbalances that cause women to feel depressed after pregnancy. I know God has the power to heal us, but often he does not. We have trials for a reason, to grow and to learn. I believe we have to help ourselves and part of that in our modern day is the ability to use modern medicine and therapies. There is medical help out there and there is no shame in using it. Sometimes you can’t pray a sickness away. And I know I am lucky, I only had a brief encounter with depression, it was only a burden I had to bear for ten months, I am by no means the authority on this and don’t claim to be. All that I understand is my situation and I do not mean to project my feelings or what I felt helped me overcome this trial onto anyone else who is suffering from depression of any form.