In a recent post, I mentioned the possibility of starting another blog, one entitled Blue Green Mama. While I don’t intend to start another blog, the title is worth a post, because it alludes to postpartum adjustment issues.
Ironically, I started reading blogs, and later writing my own, because of a blogger who wrote very openly about her own struggles with postpartum depression. Yet, when my blues set in 2-3 weeks postpartum, my initial reaction was denial. I’ve taken psychology classes, my mom’s a social worker, I’m somewhat familiar with the depression screening inventories – nope, not me. Sure, there are some pretty low lows, but sometimes I feel okay, and I’m still getting out of bed in the morning, and semi-functioning, and I’m an exhausted new mom . . . this is normal, right?
Normal only in the sense that many women experience some form of “baby blues,” but not in the sense that it’s okay, or just something I had to struggle through on my own. However, in my denial, struggling through it on my own is more or less what I did for several weeks.
Gabriel’s smiles finally snapped me out of my denial. He started smiling around nine weeks, this adorable little grin, yet I found myself so emotionally drained that I often couldn’t return those smiles, and that made me feel even worse. Until that point, I didn’t think my problem affected anyone other than me, but now it limited my ability to interact with my baby.
I contacted Mother-to-Mother, a local postpartum adjustment resource, and started to realize that maybe I didn’t have to feel this way – I only wish that I’d made the call earlier. After calls to various counselors, wading through insurance coverage issues, and some deliberation, I settled on seeing an “out-of-network” counselor who came highly recommended.
I’m pretty sure (and this is not just the denial speaking) that I don’t have full-blown postpartum depression, but some degree of postpartum adjustment disorder. Either way, there is help available — I don’t have to feel this way. I started counseling last week, and while it won’t happen overnight, things ARE going to get better.