This is a hard post for me to write, but I am writing to be able to remember it for later on and maybe it will help someone else. Be forewarned that this blog is quite long and is the story of my current journey with postpartum depression. (People don’t tend to talk about this enough and I know other people must go through the same thing.)
When I was pregnant with Little Monkey, I had a very hard time during my pregnancy. I ended up being put on an antidepressant when I was five months pregnant. I quit my job and went back to an old job temporarily (until I was placed on bed rest). I have stayed on some version of an antidepressant since that point. I just never really felt ready to come off of my medication yet. During my pregnancy with Little Monkette, the Doctor had suggested that I try to come off the medication because it had a 1 in 1000 chance of the baby having lung issues when they came out. I decided that I was not ready to come off my medication, knowing how things went after Little Monkey got here. We would have to take a chance on the lung issues (and so far all is well). I am glad that I stayed on my medication because the way things are right now, I cannot imagine them without the medication.
After Little Monkette was born, I was feeling pretty good about things. She took well to breastfeeding in the hospital and I wasn’t feeling like I did after Little Monkey was born. Sadly a few days after we got home, the feelings and emotions that I had after Little Monkey was born started coming up with Little Monkette. I felt like I wouldn’t care if someone came and took her away. I had a hard time sleeping (which isn’t even Little Monkette’s fault really either because she tends to sleep pretty well.). I have to make myself eat; often I wasn’t eating and therefore would wake up feeling nauseous or that I would pass out. I was not sure that I could do things on my own if Big Monkey was not home. I was very anxious about each day and just getting through it. I had times that I would just sit and cry.
One week to the day after she was born was probably one of the worst days so far. Big Monkey was home that morning and we spent most of it in bed, all of us. I just cried most of the time. I couldn’t hold Little Monkette without crying and I couldn’t even look at her without breaking down and crying. I felt bad to begin with and then felt bad that I was feeling bad but there was nothing that I could do about it. It was hard to feel bad and even though I understood that I have no control over these feelings it was still hard to try and overcome them. The next day, my mother-in-law came to spend the day with the kids and me since Big Monkey was at work. I talked to her about what was going on (a big step for me) and she agreed that it was not healthy. I talked more with Big Monkey and we decided that I needed to call my Doctor on Monday morning and see what they had to say. I was definitely having more symptoms that were representative of postpartum depression.
Monday morning I called the nurse’s line and left a message letting them know that I was concerned about what I was feeling and that maybe my medication was not working the way that it should. They called me back a little bit later and scheduled me to come in that afternoon to see someone. Unfortunately I ended up seeing the midwife (I don’t care for her already and had I known that my appointment was with her, I might not have gone.). One of my friends had called me earlier in the day and offered to go with me to the appointment. I didn’t want to interrupt her day and make her go but eventually I agreed with her and Big Monkey that it could be best for me to have someone with me at the appointment. I am very thankful that she went with me. It was hard and still is hard. I think because it is hard to ask for help and to be vulnerable, even with the people who love and care about you the most. The midwife is not able to change my medication but she did talk to one of the other Doctor’s who also agreed with her that maybe changing my medication was not the answer. They really wanted me to get a break, get some sleep and see a counselor. It was tough but I did understand their points.
I called Big Monkey on the way home and he was off and running making calls on his cell phone to our family and some friends to work out a break for me. I understood that Big Monkey was working to try and get me some time off from the kids but was upset to learn that he was sending me away for a bit longer than I thought I would be gone. I did understand that it is probably best for me and the family for me to get away and get some full nights of sleep (Sleeping medication was recommended by the Doctor.) but it was still hard. This is a busy week for us because my sister-in-law is getting married on Sunday. We have stuff going on everyday and the kids need to be cared for and everybody in the right place at the right time. I know that getting away is good for me and will help me mentally to work on recovering. I am not much good for my family if I am no good for myself. I know that my kids are taken care of and am thankful for family and friends who have stepped up to help us out when we need it. It is hard to ask for help because you want to do it all (and society has told us that we are ‘supposed’ to be able to).
When I got home from the Doctor, my friend helped to occupy Little Monkey and Little Monkette for a bit while I started packing and talking with Big Monkey. I got all my stuff together and waited for my sister to come. She showed up, as did my mother-in-law and we worked on getting out the door. I went outside to talk to Big Monkey, who had been on and off the phone all afternoon (Thank goodness Sprint added free cell phone to cell phone usage on our phones!). He was talking to his boss and mentor about what was going on and figuring out what to do about work this week. After they were done, Big Monkey and I talked a little more about what the plan was and how it was good for me. I understood it was good for me and that they would be fine but it was still tough to be leaving my family and a nine day old at home. My sister and I then headed out to go to my parent’s house.
Monday night was not too bad. My sister and I talked some in the car about what was going on. We got to my parent’s house and we out to dinner at Friday’s. All of this seemed rather normal but strange at the same time. We got back home and I had my dress for my sister-in-law’s wedding sized. A HUGE thanks to Mrs. O for her work on my dress and for coming over to help out with that. We watched a little bit of television, and then I took some sleeping medication and went to bed. I slept about 11 hours!!! I don’t know the last time that I slept that long.
When I got up on Tuesday morning, I was feeling better. I had some breakfast and took a shower. I was feeling a little sad because I did miss my family and wanted to be with them though. After a bit we decided it would be best to get out of the house and go do something. The only problem was that we weren’t sure what to do! We went out to do some shopping and found a few things. It was good just to be out of the house and occupied to help keep my mind off of the kids. We had smoothies for lunch and flat breads for dinner. We watched some television and I wrote on my blog and worked on writing this too. I had to stop writing just so that I could go to bed at a decent hour. I got to talk to Big Monkey some before bed, which did make me a little sad but I was glad to hear that they were doing okay. He did tell me that while they were doing okay, they did still need me. So I shouldn’t think that they can just do it without me. It was good to hear that they do need and want me but that they are surviving without me right now. Even with taking my medication it took a little bit for me to fall asleep but then I slept again for about 11 hours.
There is still more to write about this process but for now this is it.