Postpartum depression is a sumbitch.
I 100% expected to get it. There was not a single, solitary doubt in my mind. We’d had such a rough year and so much heartache over the baby’s (thankfully non-existent) brain damage that combined with my own issues I knew I was going to get hit with it like I was the Titanic crashing into an iceberg.
But I didn’t.
I was fine. I adored my baby, I felt productive and motivated, my husband was (is) amazing, I was 100% confident things were going to be okay. And I stayed that way! It was great, I felt like super-mom. I mean I slept a lot but damn, I just made a person, let a girl take a nap.
Of course, because it’s me, those naps started getting longer. I got more and more tired, some days it was all I could do to get out of bed. It was definitely more than I could do to bother with issues like getting dressed or dressing the baby. I was so tired I couldn’t do more than put him in his baby chair or exer-saucer, put on a movie, and doze all day until Jake could get home and take him for a while.
But I was confident I did not have PPD because I love my baby. Adore him. The sun rises and sets on him, always has. And if you have PPD, you don’t love your baby. And it starts right away, not when he’s 5 months old.
I weighed myself one day and realized I was back up to the same weight I was at when there was a 9 pound baby living in me and that was actually the thing that made me realize I was dealing with depression. My weight has always been a fairly accurate barometer of my mental state, bigger is not better. Still wasn’t calling it PPD. I did not have PPD because I love my baby (do you see the theme here?). I mean I didn’t want to hold my baby, but I didn’t want to leave him at the bus station so clearly I was fine and the issues were unrelated.
After talking it over with Jake we agreed I should probably go talk to a therapist just to test the waters. She was very nice, very responsive, asked great questions, and diagnosed me with PPD on top of my BPD and anxiety issues and sent me down the hall to her very nice psychiatrist co-worker who talked to me for another hour and came to the same conclusions.
Apparently you can get PPD at any time following the birth of a child. Not just like, the first two months. Surprise?
I’ve been through the medication process before so I had a pretty solid idea of what treatment plan I wanted, and my doctor+therapist were very responsive to that, giving me exactly what I asked for and helping me adjust my doses in small increments as needed.
Turns out I’m a way better mom when I’m not so completely smothered in self loathing that I can’t get off the couch! Shocking, I know. I mean I’m still not a great mom but I do the best I can. I’m still tired but that’s mostly because Mister Baby decided to cut four teeth this week, and I actually enjoy holding and snuggling him again which is very helpful.
I forget sometimes that not everyone gets my jokes so I’ve had to scale back comments about safe-dropping him or selling him, etc, and every now and then when he’s having a hissy I lovingly whisper, “This is why mommy has to take pills!” in front of old ladies at the grocery store, but I super don’t mean it. Or I don’t super mean it?
The weight loss is obv a much slower process because… that’s how science works? Luckily my best friend is one of those amazing, sprightly bohemian goddesses who lives to work out and torture other people by making them work out too so we’ll get this whole show back under control ricky-tic-quick (she said, with hope welling up in her eyes and not holding a cupcake in her hand).
Witty commentary aside, PPD is some real shit. If you have it, if you think you have it, if you think you know someone who has it, please get it checked out. I never wanted to abuse my child but I was bordering on negligent and I’d never have forgiven myself if anything had happened to him. If you have a migraine you take medicine, if your appendix bursts you don’t tell the doctor you’ll meditate and focus on feeling better. There is never, ever any shame in needing a little help.