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Monday, January 11, 2016

Deeper Than The Baby Blues

“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” 

A few weeks ago I confessed that I had been experiencing what we suspected to be the “Baby Blues” earlier on along with a heightened feeling of anxiety. And, while we thought the blues had passed shortly afterwards, they seem to have only gotten worse.

I do reasonably well when DH is home with me, and I believe that is what masked many of the symptoms until now as this is only his second week back to work.

I have not been medically diagnosed just yet, but I tend to have very good intuition about myself and my health and I strongly suspect (along with DH) that I am experiencing a certain level of Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) simultaneously. The two sort of have a comorbidity to them so it is not surprising to have both.With a family history of mental mood disorders, as well as a history of my own, one could have thought that this was inevitable… but I still never imagined it would happen to me.

With each day DH was gone last week, my symptoms only intensified. I tried to shrug it off at first, thinking it was just the new routine of being alone compounded with a lack of sleep, but on Friday we discussed everything that had happened during the week and agreed that I should probably seek help before things get any worse. I wanted to wait out the weekend first and see how I felt, but after an hour long crying session to start the day on Saturday (while the baby was crying too – fun times) and a near breakdown Sunday night over the fact he had to go back to work again, I know that I am not OK… I just don’t feel like myself.

Interestingly enough, today a co-worker who is aware of my situation pointed out that often times being a new mom can feel like you are losing your identity, and I suppose that is another aspect to all of this. I know that I have fought so long for this identity, MOM, but I truly did lose the only other ME I have known in the process. I feel a bit lost, a little unsure or myself, anxious and kind of confused about why things have ended up the way they have.She isn't even a difficult baby, it's all me!

And while I may be better with DH by my side, that is not enough; especially when he starts to travel for work again. There will be no nightly downtime after dinner or light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-Friday in the work-widow scenario as he could be gone for a couple of weeks, and right now I can’t even think about him leaving without bursting into tears! For a variety of reasons, I don’t have the kind of family support around me that others have in a situation like this and I struggle with the idea of being entirely alone for an extended period of time. Anything more than a day of work is too much for me to handle right now honestly. Again, not something I am accustomed to since I valued my ability to be independent up until recently.

While watching some old episodes of “Roseanne” this past weekend, the words of Dan Conner stood out to me; “…this parenthood thing sure doesn't look like it did in the brochures”. I knew things would be hard, I just didn’t know they would be THIS hard on me. And, to be even harder on myself, no matter how I have been feeling I have tried not to let my baby know that I am suffering because I don’t want to let her down. With the exception of my Nana, I have been let down and/or abandoned by nearly every mother figure I have ever had in my life and that is the last thing I want to do to my child. I know it sounds ridiculous, being that she is only 7 weeks old, but it is important to me.

She is the love of my life, and I really am my own worst enemy at times.

Suggested Reading:

The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English)

6 Things: The 6 Stages of Postpartum Depression 

The Canadian Mental Health Association