After going through it twice, I can look back and say yes- I did go through it twice.
Perhaps it’s because we’re so hypersensitive to this problem that we recognize it more often. Perhaps because it is properly diagnosed, numbers are falsely inflated (like Autism)- the cases are the same, just being recognized. Perhaps they are generally increasing because of social media and the perfect persona that it shared and seems real to everyone on the outside looking in. Perhaps it’s a combination of all three.
Looking back, I now believe I had postpartum depression with Witchlette just as I did with Witchling. Different, but very similar.
With Witchlette, everything was rainbows and unicorns at my 6 week check up. It wasn’t until I went back to work over a month later that it started. I was going back to a work situation where I was very unhappy. I had a mantra: I’m doing the best I can. A voice in my head answered me in the 3rd person: No, you’re not.
Sometimes it stopped there. Sometimes it elaborated.
At the beginning, it was relegated to just work. It evolved slightly to home and mommyhood too. There was a tiff with Hubby on the way home from a NJ trip that first September. We were on the Deleware bridge. I could’ve just drove off the bridge because the whole world would be better without me. But Witchlette was in the backseat and Hubby was sitting next to me.
And it’s really not that bad. And I’m doing the best I can.
No, you’re not.
With Witchling, it was much more immidiate. And it had everything to do with me as a Mama rather than as a worker.
I was very overwhelmed the last few weeks of my pregnancy, crying in the doctors office that I was so done being pregnant and I hated feeling big but I also didn’t think I could handle it all. He smiled and said you have all your ducks in a row. And you sound like a mom who is ready to go.
Witchling arrived and it was love and rainbows and unicorns. I’ve written here before about having dark days and bad moments. I’m not good enough, I’m not worth love and time. I’m a piece of shit.
I went for my 6 week checkup and failed the PPD screening. My doctor said I am intune with myself enough that she was confident to release me without a perscription for meds. She also knew I wouldn’t take them because I’m overly devoted to breastfeeding. She said if I stay with the ups and downs, with more ups than downs, she was ok with me doing my own thing- meditation, journaling, hugging. But she said if things got darker and more down than up, I was to come back in and I would be given meds.
There was a point when Witchling wouldn’t sleep. He was fed, changed, tired. I rocked him to sleep and put him in his bed and he woke up. So I rocked him til he fell asleep and held him a bit longer. He was snoring. I put him down and he started crying again. I picked him up and I thought about shaking. I rocked him to sleep then brought him over to my nursing chair and held him for a good while. He nuzzled into me and gave a sleep moan. I stood and he stirred. I held him standing by his bed. He settled and I laid him down. He slept. I left the room and sobbed. What a piece of shit I am that I thought about shaking my kid.
Hubby reassured me thoughts are not actions. He is loved and cared for. Frustration happens.
What was the worst was the thought I had while sitting with him. It was like watching a movie of someone else. Not thoughts, but pictures.
Walking into our closet and never waking out. Leaving Hubby to clean up the mess and pick up the pieces.
Wow, what a piece of shit am I that I would do that to my husband? That I would even contemplate leaving my kids?
Then I got greedy. I thought about all of the life that I would miss.
Damn, what a piece of shit.
That was the lowest I went. And I went right to Hubby. And we talked for over an hour. And that was it.
I couldn’t even tell you what day it was that that happened.
Then one day, the clouds lifted. We were in the car, on the way to dinner on December 24. It was a physical change. A weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was suddenly able to think clearly as my mind was no longer stuck in a fog.
Things got better gradually with Witchlette and I’d say completely cleared around 6-8 months. Around that point, I started telling Hubby frequently, “I love my life. Thank you for helping me build this awesome life.”
Things got better instantly with Witchling. At dinner I offered up a toast. “I love my life. Thank you for helping me build this awesome life. Here’s to the fog clearing and me feeling like me again instead of feeling lost.”
My low times, I couldn’t talk to anyone but Hubby about what was in my head. My high points, it felt too ridiculous to talk about. I have drafted this post four times now, taking it all in. Remembering the lows that I worked through and hanging onto the sunshine that I walk in now. I still feel ridiculous writing this, because it seems ridiculous that I would think that way, now that I’m not in that point anymore.
One year ago today, I took a pregnancy test in Target and bought a big sister shirt for Witchlette to tell Hubby Witchling was on his way.
I love my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.