It’s been a few months since I wrote about my struggles with postpartum depression (though not officially diagnosed, my symptoms and their duration seem consistent with actual PPD and not just postpartum adjustment disorder). I met with a counselor soon after I wrote that post and continued to see her regularly for 3 1/2 months.
During that time, we worked on a lot of issues surrounding my derailed home birth plans, the unplanned Cesarean, and life as I’d known it being completely altered by the addition of a new little person. After about ten sessions, I felt I’d accomplished as much as I could in therapy (at least for now), so I checked myself out at the end of February. Here are some things I’ve learned in that time.
This caring for a baby shit is hard and most people don’t talk about it. Okay, some people do talk about it honestly, but most blog posts I read from new moms seem full of cute baby pictures (guilty!) and stories about how much they love being a mom. Huh? What planet are these moms on?
I appreciated the honest perspective in this article.
I like predictability and I don’t do well with change. Many days, it feels like I’m being thrown continuous curve balls, and just as soon as I’m adjusting to one thing, look out, here comes another!
Having a baby changes everything. When I was pregnant, we received several cryptic, “Everything’s going to change,” comments. We found these comments very annoying. What did they mean, exactly? Sure, life with a baby would be different than life without a baby, but how different would it be?
Turns out, VERY different, and mostly, so far, for me, NOT in a good way. As time passes, and the Dude gets older, I feel like I’m getting parts of my life back (and starting to accept the parts that are forever changed) but we have a looooong way to go.
Moving forward from here
Overall, things are getting better, but I am by no means cured. Time and distance, as well as the counseling, have helped with my feelings about the birth. However, it’s still hard for me to see pregnant women (and I feel like I’m surrounded by them these days, both in “real life” and in the online community).
Realistic or not, I’ve romanticized my pregnancy. It was a time of joy and wonder — I felt good, strong, healthy, mindful and centered, and confident in my body. I have not felt that way since I checked into the hospital that hot Sunday in July.
Still, I am moving forward. With Matthew’s support and encouragement, I’m getting some much-needed me time and trying to get back to regular physical activity, which is SO important for mental health.
While it will by no means be a cure-all, having a two bedroom apartment, rather than our current glorified studio set-up, will be another item in the positive column.
Finally, though I’m sure I will miss some things about the baby stage, I look forward to The Dude becoming less dependent and more incorporated into our lifestyle — baby steps for now, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.