12 February 2009

here's hoping

As I close in on trimester #3, I seem to be becoming unfortunately more emotional and maybe even a little (perish the thought)... weepy? Ugh...

If there's something I've never enjoyed it's the thought of being wimpy.  It just doesn't jive with my raisin' (meaning my upbringing... nothing to do with dehydrated grapes).  My mom is like hardcore not wimpy and it just about kills me to find myself crying for no reason.  I have no problem with crying... it's just that if my face is gonna get all red and blotchy and I'm gonna get all hot and my nose is gonna get all stopped up and I'm gonna have a headache from crying when I wake up tomorrow... I better dang well have a good reason for it all.

So, all the weird up-and-down emotionalism crap has got me thinking about all the fun emotional changes of new motherhood that I experienced after the kiddo was born.  Looking back, all the initial feelings I had seem pretty normal considering the hormonal Pearl Harbor of being pregnant and then not being pregnant + breastfeeding.  And then on top of that just learning how to love my child as an actual little human person and not just the warm-fuzzy dream of a baby... and how to deal with the alarmingly immediate and strong maternal feelings I had toward him.  And all of it would have been normal if they hadn't developed into a vast expanse of varying psychoses from then until he was nearly a year old.  Thus, all these normal new-mama things morphed into the black darkness that is postpartum depression.

I was convinced that I was dying and that I had every type of cancer that had ever been discovered and probably a few types that nobody had ever had before... including my favorite: Back cancer.  I would weep as I folded and put away the kiddo's laundry, thinking about how when I died ye olde hubby would remarry and that there was no way any other woman on earth was capable of putting away my baby's clothing.  During the time that I had to lay down with the kiddo for him to stay asleep, I would lie awake thinking about every horrible malady and tragedy in the universe (expanding my repertoire beyond personal disease and moving on to things like burglary, house fires, and, yes, even being buried alive).  Later, when the kiddo could lay down by himself, I would sit up until wee hours of the morning just avoiding going to bed because of the stillness that waited there.  In the mornings, I would lay in bed staring at the ceiling and wondering how in the world I was going to get up and feed myself and my baby.

My lowest point was probably when I talked myself into going to the doctor for a physical just to try to get some peace of mind (at least about the dying-of-cancer part).  Something weird showed up about my white blood count and they wanted to wait 2 weeks and retest.  I had hoped to leave the doctor's office feeling at least on my way back to normal and instead I went directly to my car and bawled my face off.  Thank God the retest came back normal, but those 2 weeks were excruciating.

Finally, in July (a couple months before the kiddo's 1st b-day) I took an enormous personal step and told my church family I was in desperate need of their prayers.  It was just a couple of nights later that in a crumpled heap on the floor of my church, God helped me completely turn it over to Him.  Since that night, thanks to God's amazing power, I've been fine.  Without His help my faith would surely have crumbled many times over since that night.

Naturally, the possibility of this happening again has crossed my mind.  If I'm not already susceptible enough I can't help but think that all the biological changes of new motherhood all over again would make me even more susceptible.  I want to ask anyone out there who might be reading this to just say a little prayer for me that I'll be strong and more willing to reach out to God and those who care about me sooner than nearly a year later if these issues do arise.

Here's hoping that the monsters of depression won't rear their ugly heads at all.  More importantly, here's hoping that I'll be strong and reach out to God and my brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of rain or clear skies.

If you're dealing with postpartum depression, please don't go it alone.  Pray and ask others to pray for you, speak with your pastor/pastor's wife/other mentor, bare your soul to your husband and ask him to help carry some of the load, surround yourself with the good things in your life, talk to you ob/gyn or your favorite nurse about it.

If it were just about you it would be unhealthy enough to just let it go, but the first months of your child's life is no time to waste withering away in the shadows of your mind.