Posts Tagged ‘postpartum depression’

As I am nearing the end of my battle with PPD (postpartum depression) it is only now that I am truly able to see who I really was during the past 4 years (2 years for Henry, 2 for Sofia).

Just like when Henry turned 2, I am now starting to feel like a cloud of grey has been lifted from my shoulders.

I can go on and  on about how I see things today about today, but I want to write about what it felt like to have postpartum depression.

It feels alone.  Isolating.  No one understands.

Yes, the feelings are all there for “normal” moms (i.e. those who don’t have ppd) but they’re very intense.

And debilitating.

I read on facebook of a friend who recently had her third – she was proud of her successfully going to the grocery store with all 3.

Now maybe that sounds trivial.  But to me, I read that and think wow!  I still haven’t done that with my 2.

I have felt more alone and lonely in the past 4 years than I have before.  And that loneliness wasn’t able to be filled by anything – except feeling poorly about myself and my abilities.

I couldn’t do anything.  And when I did – you know, that ONE thing I might accomplish – I had no more energy, no more desire, to do anything else.

After Henry, it was hard enough to shower, much less function.  My therapist gave me the goal of doing one thing each day.  That one thing could be as simple as taking a shower, loading the dishwasher, unloading the dishwasher (each was its own task) or so on …

Life was just hard.  And on top of that, I had this whole other person I was responsible for.

Guilt like I had never known.  Guilt because I had a preemie, because he/she was sick, guilt because of my dad’s death … not being a good wife, being sick … guilt for not keeping a decently clean house.  I could find anything to make me feel bad about myself.

And it’s not like I was looking to feel bad.  I just couldn’t see things any other way.

As a woman, postpartum depression has really forced me to figure out who I am and who I want to be.  Whatever the outcome is, I will know that it is because I did it myself.  Yes, I have the support of my wonderful husband, friends and family, but the bottom line comes down to what I want to be.

Women do not talk about their feelings when they are going through postpartum depression.  And when they do, they talk about “big” things, like I just did.

I hope to come back and write more about actual situations that relate specifically to my progress through this illness.  And I hope that instead of laying in bed at night, dreaming of the posts, I will actually remember what it is I want to write and write it when I am awake.  😉

And most importantly, I hope.

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Breasteeding while suffering from Post Partum Depression and Cloth Diapering.

Just in case you weren’t sure what those meant.

Feel free to skip this post if you don’t want to hear about boobs, brains or butts.  (I am cracking myself up here – are you laughing yet?  BJD insists I am not funny.  I remind him often that I am – just ask G or her hubby – they’ll tell you how often I have told them too that I am funny.)

Little Girl, aka Giant Baby, turns 1 at the end of this month.  While I nursed her older brother until she was born, I did not have intentions of her nursing this long.  My body never fully recovered from her pregnancy and I now have chronic hypertension – which I take meds for.  And breastfeeding with postpartum depression can have its benefits.  It can also wreck havoc.

Giant Baby, or GB, loves to nurse.  She’s pretty good about how and when to do it too – pretty much only when we are getting ready to go down for a nap or night time.  We nurse pretty much exclusively in bed, not anywhere else.  (I did the same with her brother and never really nursed in public, not because I was afraid to but because circumstances never presented themselves.)

I have no idea how to wean – and  am not convinced  I want to.  I mean, I know I am not ready to, but I had seriously thought that by this time I would have given it more thought.

I like to have a plan.

And more importantly, I like to have options.

She drinks water from a cup – sometimes.  I mean, she gets a cup daily, filled with water with a nice little flouride tablet (if I remember – must.remember.to.give.flouride as tap water here is not flourinated).  But lots of times she enjoys spitting half of it out or letting it dribble out or, yeah she has a new toy – her tongue.

So far though, I have been able to manage both my high bp and PPD with meds that are compatible with breastfeeding.

Cloth diapering – started it with Bubba Joe and am continuing with GB.  We used to use prefolds — you know, those pieces of fabric that are rectangular shaped with a thicker piece in teh middle that you fold up usually in thirds then pin together and put rubber pants on over it?  Yeah, those.

Then I received my first fitted for free – and I was hooked.  Or snappied.  Or pinned.  (Seriously, I gotta stop – I might wake up GB and then she’ll want the boob again and I am trying to write a post here!!!)

I just wanted to talk about CDing not because I had anything really to say about it but because it seemed to fill out the subject of this post.  Shallow?  Naw, I don’t think there’s enough depth for that (ha – there I go again.  See?  I AM funny.)

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I’m still here.  But I’m in a bit of hiding mode.

You see, I’m starting to heal.  And for the first time in a long time … well, I would even go so far as to say for the first time in nearly 4 years, I feel like me.

The meds are working.

The support network is working.

The household help is working.

And I am too.

I finally feel functional.

I wake up in the morning, tired.  But it’s not the same tired as me wanting to crawl back in bed and sleep the day away.

I wake up tired but motivated.

And that’s a nice feeling.

So I’m here.  But I’m taking care of me.

If you don’t see me commenting or even reading your blogs, know that I am thinking of you all the same.

Gotta run.  My sis is skyping me.

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It’s been some time since I’ve written about me.  I tend to avoid the subject, as it’s a bit hard to admit my faults.  But I promised myself that I would work through this semi-publically here and I wanted to share some of what is going on.

My doctor has prescribed household help.  That means there is a woman who comes in daily for 6 hours to help me learn how to balance everything.  Thankfully, she was also here while I was on bedrest and both Bubba Joe and Little Girl love her (as well as our 2 little doggies).  And if you remember, she is the one I didn’t like initially when I was pregnant because I felt I was being replaced.

Surprise, surprise.  I like her.

She gets me.

We’re becoming friends.

We spoke a few weeks ago and she commented that she could see how the day was going to go by whether or not I brought the children down and went back to bed.  She suggested I speak with my doctor.  I did.  He doubled my meds.

We go for walks almost daily.

I’ve learned so much more about this little city of Dülmen in the past few weeks than I had learned on my own for nearly 2 years.

We grab ice cream in the city or a salad.

We’re walking so much that not only am I completely out of maternity clothing (I have been since 3 months pp) but I weigh less than I did before I got pregnant and am FINALLY back in the new Gap jeans I bought last summer when visiting Ohio.  YEAH!!!

I am showering daily.  And while you may not realize how hard that might be, trust me when I tell you that finding energy to care for me has taken time.  As a mom, I *have* to take care of Little Girl and Bubba Joe.  And then I am supposed to find the time to take care of the house, laundry, dishes, food, groceries, etc.  And then there’s the dogs that have to be let out and well, it would be nice if they got some attention every once in a while.  And then there’s BJD – who while he’s a patient guy (dude would have to be to stay with me for 10 years!), he’s been feeling a bit neglected.  He doesn’t have to say it.  I just know.

So on top of all that, I am supposed to find the time to take care of me.

And this lovely illness, this PPD, tries to convince me that it is impossible to do and perhaps, just perhaps, it is better to just stay in bed all day and let our household help do it all.

But life doesn’t work that way, does it?

Since upping my meds, I have found a new me.  I feel better.  I feel more compelled to take responsibility for things that are, well, MY responsibility.  I feel committed to myself – and that’s huge.

I *want* to do these things.  I *want* to be a hausfrau.  I *want* to look good and feel good and be good.

It’s still hard, but it’s getting easier.

Except for today.

BJD was out of the country for 3 days.  Our household help stayed longer during the day.  Bubba Joe spent the night at Oma and Opa’s.  We organized things beautifully.  I handled things well.

And then he came home last night.  And I exhaled.  And today, he’s home and I relaxed.  I leaned on him because I can.

Today was not a bad day.  It just wasn’t a stellar day.  But I like having BJD home.

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Maybe I should have written that in the inverse … what’s going on and then the zoo.

We’ve been busy.

Way busy.

Too busy for my preference honestly.

But that’s what happens when your family whom you actually LIKE is visiting and you want to share with them what your life is like.

So you CRAM tons of stuff into a short amount of time.

Which in the best of health is rough.

Add to that my second bout of strep in a month ON TOP OF my wonderful, oh so lovely,  postpartum depression and well, let’s just say I’m getting ready to shut down.

I remember during my first bout with ppd me commenting to my therapist that I thought I had overdone it over the Thanksgiving weekend.  I expected sympathy from her – perhaps even her to tell me that I should relax a bit more and take it easy, wouldn’t want to over do it, ya know?  What did she say?  Good for you!

My sis has been pushing (in a good way) for us to do things.  And maybe it isn’t so much  her as it is mine and BJD’s  desire to show my sister and her children all the very cool things to do here in Germany.

Even though we live in a very small town, and I complain that it is cow manure country (which BTW, it is), there are lots of things to do that are different from NE Ohio.  Mind you, I love NE Ohio (and think it’s a wonderful place to live and raise a family – with lots and lots and lots of cultural and sports and well, cool things – like the FREE STAMP).

I’ve digressed.

Back on point.

BJD took today (Monday) off.  The weather was spectacular today – far better than this weekend.  So here’s a rundown of what we’ve done in the past week:

  • pulled the mega-weeds in our garden, purchased plants for newly found naked area and planted most of the plants.  Some of them are still in pots awaiting planting.
  • planted a little window planter.  I love the idea of colorful flowers in my front window.  Problem is we have a ledge.  With all the rain we’ve gotten, not ONE drop has touched the planter.  And I (sadly) am forgetful in watering.  I vow to do better.  I’ve remembered once.  I will remember again.
  • in planting, found a bees hive burrowed in the ground way in the back of our yard.  BJD called his mom’s friend who is a beekeeper (and who makes lovely honey) who suggested pouring boiling water down into the hive.  BJD did that tonight.  We’ll see how well that has pissed off, worked.
  • rented a car (Audi A3 wagon – kicks ASS on the autobahn – drove it today and maxed out at 180km (approx 110 mph) – had kiddies in the car.
  • went into Münster, downtown.  Had a lovely lunch at a restaurant called Ca Va.  We’d eaten there many years  ago with a dear friend and all the other places were packed.  I wanted to sit someplace inside, not just outside, because it was off and on rain, windy and cold.  If Little Girl woke up, she’d need to eat and rain and cold just didn’t sound appealing.
  • went to a really cool park in Lavesum, Granat, where you can feed the animals, most of which are roaming free and literally come right up to you (I’m talking about no cages, free roaming animals – mostly deer, some with antlers, some goats, llamas.)  It’s a cool experience but freaks me out that the animals are RIGHT there.
  • went to the Münster Allwetter Zoo.
  • and bought a new bed for Little Girl.  We originally purchased a wooden cradle, thinking that by the time she outgrew it, she’d be in our bed.  We had a family bed with Bubba Joe and we assumed she’d want to be in our bed too.  She’s only begun to prove us wrong in our expectations.


No wonder I’m pooped.

I promise pictures at some point.

But for now, I’m just trying to not freak out with all that’s been going on (on top of all the personal family crap that is a daily part of life).

Little Girl is cutting her first 2 teeth.  She *just* turned 5 months old today.  She’s handling it okay, but is a bit fussy.  She’s up to 2 full meals daily and nursing like a champ still.

My BP has been wonky this past week (going back up to high numbers).  I’m trying hard not to freak out and am hopeful it was just the antibiotics and my body fighting off strep again.  My numbers were “okay” yesterday but up a bit tonight (but I didn’t wait my usual 5 minutes before taking it for a true apples to apples comparison).

Well, I’m off to getting the kiddos in bed.  Or at least trying to.

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There is an ad

I think it’s a magazine ad.  It’s a few years old and it’s from the States.

Maybe it’s a TV ad.

I don’t remember.

But it’s about depression.

It shows a woman, I think she’s in a kitchen.  And it says that depression hurts.  It hurts more than just the one who is in a depression.

I keep thinking of that advertisement.

It’s fitting.

The first time around, after Bubba Joe, after my dad died, after my life as I knew it changed (mom remarried, family fell apart, I quit my dream job because I just couldn’t balance work and being a mom), it was all about me.  Now, if you know me IRL you might joke that it’s always about me.

And to some extent, you’d be right.

But honestly, I did not see the effects my depression had on my marriage, on my child, on friends.  I could barely function in a daily capacity.  Thinking about others was nowhere near anything I could even, well, think of.

This time though, it’s different.

I am so sad for the affect my depression has on BJD, on Bubba Joe, on Little Girl.  On my friends – whom I think of often but never call.

Everything is just so much effort.

And tiring.

We’ve switched BP meds.  If these don’t work, we will be forced to switch to formula.  I know … I recently posted about not liking BFing that much, but when it comes down to it, I just want to know that there are options.  I’m like that.  I need to have choices.  Choices make me feel good.  And being told that if this med doesn’t work, I’ll have to stop – I won’t have a choice in the matter – well, that’s pressure.

And don’t ya’ll think I need to put more pressure on me?  (said oh so sarcastically – see, guess I am feeling somewhat okay!)

I don’t get it.  I get so damned frustrated by this whole depression thing.  I have so many days in a row that are great.  I mean, kick ass, I’m feeling great, going for walks, feeling capable (and showering and brushing my teeth – which for those of you who don’t know how bad it can get, the first time it was a huge undertaking for me to keep up with even simple hygiene).  I start feeling strong.

Then wham! I just feel … hmm, there’s so many words.  Let me just list them: overwhelmed, heavy, exhausted, tired, like I want to crawl in a hole, not good enough and yet not really not good enough, not like me, sad, empty, scared, strange, faithful, and loved.  Strange emotions, eh?

And then I look at BJD and I see how all this weighs on him.

And then I look at Bubba Joe.  He’s 3.  This is affecting him.  I can see it.  And it scares me.  But more than the fear, it really inspires me to keep moving forward, to heal, to get better.

Because while I can not see the light at the end of the tunnel, I know that it is there.  I know that I do not walk alone this time.

But it’s still hard.  It is, as I told BJD today, in the midst of tears, ridiculously hard.

I watched something the other day on the web where a woman was talking about admitting she had PPD and she was right.  Once I admitted it, I wanted to heal.  Right then and there.  I wanted that little magic pill to make it all better.  To make it all right.  To make me right.  She goes on to say that it’s unrealistic.  It will take time – sometimes even years.  But it will happen.

I believe that.

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My sis arrives Saturday morning.  Me being sick last week really put the pressure on to get our house organized, cleaned and ready for our guests.   Thankfully, all is done.

BJD and I are getting ready to head out and go grocery shopping.

I cleaned, I mean I seriously cleaned our 2nd floor.  Our bedroom was gross!  It had been 3 weeks since it had seen the swiffer and it thanked me afterwards.

I saw our homeopath last week, before I got sick regarding my PPD.  He gave me these small kügelchien (tiny balls) to take but I didn’t take them until I really felt better was human again.

I don’t know if it’s the homeopathic crap or if it’s because my doc halved my BP meds (I requested a switch because 1) they’re not working, my numbers are still high, and 2) a side effect is depression.  Now before you go thinking my doctor is stupid, this is the medicine I was put on during my first pregnancy that my body responded well to (I hung in for 6 weeks).  And I was only on it a very short time this last time with Little Girl.  Being me (i.e. still of the mindset that meds are $$$) I requested that we try what I already had – I mean I had a box full of these.  But at 5€ for new meds, I don’t think that was smart …)

So I halved my BP meds last week, took the balls this week and wouldn’t you know it?  This old gal is starting to feel more like myself than I have in a long time.  I have energy.  I have drive.  I am still short-tempered, but that really is just me.  It’s the temper that I know – the temper that after nearly 35 years, I have some real ideas of when it’s coming and how to control it.  (Now whether or not I choose to is another story!)

I’m very excited to see my sis.  And my nieces.  And my nephew.  It will be a nice 4 weeks with them.  We have the space.  Our DHH (half of a house) has 3 bedrooms, 1 office (that is basically a big room  with a futon and lots of stuff piled up in the corner), and 2 full baths.  A nice sized, fully fenced in back yard with a train that runs behind that finishes it off.  And of course, we are tucked very nicely away from the street.

Speaking of which, a story … the other day my inlaws came by to visit.  Normally we lock the door to keep Bubba Joe in (our door closes but you have to lock it with a key to lock it).  I forgot.  At some point, the doorbell rang.  My FIL went to answer the door, I went to put the dogs in the crate (they bark and tend to get obnoxious – small dogs …).  FIL opens the door and there stands Bubba Joe.  T-shirt, boxers, rainboots.  Outside.

Lesson learned.  Always lock the door.

(I am so thankful beyond belief that he tends to be on the cautious side.  And he rang the bell.  Dude.  Seriously.)

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