Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Like many mothers, I look back on the infant stage with foggy recollection. This is not all due to sleep deprivation though. I feel like my experience as a new mother was also clouded with postpartum depression and anxiety.
I have judged myself before for how I felt during that time, and there has been shame. After being able to read so many other blogs that have been beautifully honest about this issue, I feel comfortable in owning my experience as my own.
Still, there are times when I see new moms, and they look so relaxed, so comfortable, so peaceful.
I marvel at this. I am jealous of it.
I look back on pictures of me holding my precious boy, and I look happy in the picture, but the woman looks like a stranger to me.
I remember feeling scared. Fear and anxiety completely consumed me. Many of my memories of that time felt FRANTIC. I was completely frantic for about a year. I was always sick to my stomach. I felt broken. Like something was seriously wrong with me. I was wound so tight, I would startle if I thought a bug sneezed. I could not relax. I didn’t enjoy eating. I felt very fragile. I was lonely, and confused for feeling lonely. I could not sleep. I cried. A lot. I was scared to go anywhere. When I did go somewhere, I cried in public too. I had a very, very hard time making even the simplest decisions, fearing that every small decision was monumental, and potentially scarring, for the development of my child.
All of this was not the experience I had expected, and this derailed me. I am a person who is usually PREPARED for things.
I tried really hard to act like this wasn’t my reality.
It took a long time to get back on track, but I did get back on track. I eventually began to trust my instincts, relax, and take comfort in simple pleasures. (Well, and I FINALLY admitted to needing some help with medication. When I made that choice, the relief was immense, and I thought, “Why the hell didn’t I try the medicine earlier?”) I started embracing and enjoying motherhood, myself, and LIFE again.
I get to live in the present moment, rather than worrying about the next moment, the next possibility, the next thing that could go wrong, and 50 chess moves in the future in my son’s life.
Why have I gone for the overshare? This is my truth. And I know others are out there who share it. And judge themselves for it. Well, I’ll stand next to ya. I’ll have a cup and stay a while.
Tell me. If you’re a mom, do you relate to some of this? Even if you didn’t have PPD, were there feelings you had as a new mom that surprised you?