Royal Pain

The thing about Post Pardum Depression and Anxiety, is that you don’t know you are knee-deep in it…until well after you are out of it.

Tricky, huh?

I really and truly just thought I was trying to adjust to having two children. I really believed that. But now that the good days far out-number the bad, I can look back and see just how bad I was. Or, “it”, was.

I’m not cured. But I’ve got a nice big bandaid. And it’s healing under there.

The question is how to heal everyone and everything around me. They suffered too.

I didn’t beat anyone. I didn’t forget anyone in the car or leave anyone to sit in a poopy diaper or anything. But I wasn’t the Mom or wife I could have been. And that hurts.

And now, when days get tough around here (and with two kids, they are bound to get tough every once in a while-regardless of mental health) I KNOW they are tough. And it brings me back to the crappy, angst-ridden, sick place within myself. I know when I am there now. And I know how to get out of it, for the most part. But it almost makes me feel worse. Mainly due to all those times I didn’t know I was there. And didn’t know how to get out of it.

It was a bad day around here. Kids were whiney and clingy. The Kaiser apparently had a crappy day. But things needed to be done. Rain was pouring down. But I made sure dinner got cooked, and laundry was done, and the house was cleaned. There was still a dance party in the living room while I swept the kitchen, and there was still tickle fights and hug piles. It may have been a bad day…but this bad day was already so, so, so, so, so much better than those “other” bad days. The ones before therapy and Paxil and talks with my wonderful husband.

So I sit here wondering how scarred I am. How scarred they are. How I make up for lost time. How I take today’s bad day, and try not to dwell on all those other bad days.

I wish there was some way I could have known. I bet you a million other PPD Moms out there feel the same way.

Maybe therapy after a baby should just be a mandatory part of Post Pardum care. You have a baby, and it just happens. Like a baby shower in reverse or something. But it has to happen a good few months after the baby. Not those honeymoons weeks when you’re still delirious with pain killers and exhaustion and euphoria.

Maybe there needs to be real specialists in this field. Let’s study the fuck out of it and then send out a team of women to check in on every Mom in the world.

Hiya! We’re the PPD team…just making sure you’re not filled with dread and fear over today’s local news stories and you WILL go to your playgroup despite being sure everyone will die in a car wreck if you leave the house. And oh, by the way…we’re going to help you clean up around here, open some window shades, and sing to lift your spirits a bit. Don’t worry honey! You’re not alone. You’re never alone! We do this for hundreds and hundreds of women across the world and you are NOT THE ONLY ONE!

That would be nice. Actually, it would just be nice if I felt like that’s how the world worked. Then maybe I could get rid of this shame and feeling of complete and totally vulnerability over having been diagnosed.

I feel like the world is screaming “oh, so you admit you are weak? yeah…you women and those hormones. first it was migraines, now…this emotional, childbearing thing, uh-huh” and then the world gives me a bottle of pills and pats me on the head and sends me back to suburbia.

But in reality…it’s every. other. mom. I. know. Every other Mom blogging. Every other WOMAN I’ve met at the pediatrician. The grocery store. The pharmacy.

That gives me strength. It gives me strength to know I’m not alone. And it gives me hope that, eventually and in it’s own time, the world won’t pat us on the head anymore. There won’t be shame anymore.

And I won’t feel guilty anymore.

But for tonight…I’m going back upstairs to cuddle my kids again. Kiss the Kaiser a few extra times.

Because I’m still trying to make it right. How many other Moms are trying to make it right?


  1. Wow, I think I’m where you are. I have four kids, my youngest is almost three. I thought my “blahness” was due to just dealing with so many kids, but perhaps it was deeper than that. About a year and a half ago, we moved to Korea and I was pretty much alone with four kids in a foreign country without the nerve to get out without my husband. I felt trapped. I started taking Paxil and realized it helped with alot more than just the anxiety. I was able to calm down and enjoy my kids where before I almost felt like they were a burden. But now I realize I was probably struggling with a bit of PPD that I never had with the three previous kids. I have since gone off the Paxil and was only on it for about 4 months. I still have some left and everday I think about taking it to take some of my edgeiness off b/c there are some days that I think I could be a much better parent. Anyways, to an extent, I think we all at some point feel we are not good enough and that we have missed out on tender moments every day because of our “blah” days. I’m just glad those days aren’t as often.

  2. You never can tell someone that is having their second or third how hard it will be. You don’t understand it until you are there. Lack of sleep can make you crazy. It looks like you know where to get help if needed.

  3. Oh sweet girl I denied it until my son was 18 months and I was OH so messedup. I was in therapy denying it still. Sigh. I wonder that too. I wonder it now but I agree. You do the best you can. YOu do best with what you’ve got. Sort of like I posted last night. I’m in a funk but I know now the steps to pull myself out. I know the triggers. I now know how to say I appreciate Guel even when it may not seem like it. I apologize when I snap at Bubba for “no reason”, especially since he’s merely three and a half.

    I’m so proud and glad to know you. Make sure if you see me loopy after the birth of this kiddo and I haven’t gotten help you pass me an email ;). We have to look out for each other. LOL… I set up my own team this round. A few bloggers, a few friends here, and now my hubby. So helpful.

    I got a little misty at how you tried to keep all normal. I so have been there. Keep it up girl!


  4. Hey, when we know better, we do better. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If anything, you’ve taught your children that asking for and getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

    Another thing to consider is that your kids have nothing to compare your mothering to. For them, that was just normal. Nothing to become stressed over. Now, this is the NEW normal.

    Kids are resilient and a heckuva lot stronger than we give them credit for.

    Until we banish the June Cleaver mentality I think women will continue to struggle with the issues and guilt of needing help. I’ve never met a diabetic that felt guilty about taking insulin.

    Be strong and know that you’re not alone.

  5. Well, I’m not a mommy, but let me add my $0.02 in.

    From my point of view, there isn’t anything that you need to “Make up” to your family. Maybe you weren’t the mommy you wish you could have been, but that’s over now. What matters is what you do now. Because you can’t change the past, you can only learn from it.

    As for feeling like you’ve admitted you’re weak? Bah. Strength is being able to say “I cannot do this and I will get help and fine a way to make myself able to do it.”

    Christina had the same doubts when she was diagnosed with depression, but I admired the hell out of her for doing it. And if she hadn’t done it, I doubt I ever would have been treated for mine.

    So, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. Not one damn thing.

  6. Yep, I’m trying to make it right. Thankfully I figured it out before Squeaks was too old, but I still feel like I owe her and my husband so much that I took away from or denied them.

    Seriously I wish there was a PPD Squad out there. I know it would have helped me immensely. I only wish I could help others now…

  7. Go easy on yourself. Depression or no depression, we’re all just muddling through this parenting thing & figurig it out as we go along … just as our parents were before us, and their parents were before them. They may have had better support then, but I doubt it. After all, they didn’t have the Internet and they didn’t have the pills. And somehow, we all survived as their offspring :).

  8. Yeah, you can only go forward from here. I TOTALLY get wondering about all the things you’re thinking about, and wanting to go back and make it better, but of course you *have* made it better, and the kids probably don’t even remember much, if anything, before you got the help you needed.

    And although you don’t realize it, you and others who are leaving comments here ARE the Post Partum Depression Squad! Because you’re talking about it and making your readers and families and friends aware, and maybe some of us who are pregnant again or people who will be in the future, or husbands, etc., will know (because of your description and discussion of your experiences here) better what to look for if things go South for us later.

  9. Hugs and big smiles from me.

  10. I don’t blog. My husband does. He doesn’t blog about personal topics, just funny stories about the kids and the occasional slam on George Bush. However, I could have written your post. I’m in the same boat. I’ve been working on making things ‘better’ for a little over a year. I’ve made progress, but there’s still work to be done before I’m confident and happy with me. I, too, feel like I need to make up that “lost” time to my kids. I feel like I may have possibly “broken” them. I agree with the person who said that kids are resiliant (sp?) and, also, they love you unconditionally. All they will notice is that their mom is happier, calmer, and things are different (good different). Put a positive spin on it. Give yourself kudos for taking care of yourself.

  11. Oh heavens.
    I am trying to make it right every freakin day. I didn’t suffer from PPD majorly… but it was there. Maybe it is still there. I know I do stuff wrong. And I have immense guilt about it. So it is like every day I am trying to make the other days right. I think you are onto something with the mandatory therapy after having a child. I could’ve used it.
    BTW: So as to make sure you DON’T cry…. The slippers are at Journeys on sale for NINE bucks! SALE! To get your ass over to the mall and pick some up before they are gonzo. You need some bling on your feet. I really sense that right now. 😉

  12. All I can say is take it day by day and try not to place too much emphasis on the past. You have started to get help and and that’s the important thing. Look ahead, forgive yourself and let yourself heal as much as possible.

    We’re always here for you.


    I have changed my blog location. I’m now hosting it at my website.

    Mental Excrements


  13. Honey, you are getting help, and that is what matters, not what you think you need to “make up for”.

    There needs to be more awareness of PPD, and husbands/partners especially need to be made aware of the signs and how long after birth it can appear (my husband was shocked to find out it can develop anytime within the first year).

    So many women suffer from this silently, but thanks to women like you who are not afraid of talking about their PPD other women will not feel alone and hopefully will also be able to get the help they need.

  14. I typed a whole comment to this and thought I posted it but I think I got distracted (by one of the five billion other things I’m doing while I do this) and where is it now… GONE!

    After I had the Bean, I knew immediately that I was suffering from PPD. I expected it and it felt like a begrudging family member coming for an extended stay in my home. I figured she’d be arriving, didn’t know how long she’d be staying, or if she’d ever leave. After I had Bunny, about three weeks after, I began to cry. I began to feel really, really hopeless. I began to really think that I’d made a big mistake and that I was not cut out to be a mother and that if I really loved my daughter I would just get out of her life. My crying became constant and my hopelessness turned to absolute emptiness. I started to really contemplet emptying out my husband and I’s bank account and taking off for warmer climates and starting over under another identity and letting him raise our daughter alone, thinking she’d be better off without someone like me in her life. I really felt that I couldn’t do it. I really felt inept. I really felt as though I was a failure and a terrible, terrible mother by nature.

    I recognized that I needed help and I saught help. But this invovled telephone calls with unsympathetic people when I couldn’t hold a conversation without bursting into tears. So, that was unsuccessful. I next went to my OB/GYN who just told me to get more sleep.

    I got more sleep. I got through it.

    Seven months later I was pregnant again and after I had my second daughter it happened again but was aggravated by the guilt I felt by not being able to care for Bunny after my c-section. I couldn’t pick her up or do the things for her I was accustomed to doing. She had been my entire life for the past 16 months and now I was expected to completely shrug her aside for this new baby and I wasn’t ready to.

    I resented the Bean… and so it began.

    This time I was treated with anti-depressants and they were far more helpful to me.

  15. EVERY mom is trying to get it right–and wondering if she’s succeeding.

    (And any mom acts as if she’s convinced that sheis getting it all right is either nuts or putting on a great show!)

    Good for you for realizing something was wrong and being brave enough to ask for help. And bravo, bravo for having the courage to share it with other moms!

  16. Post Partum, Pre Partum, anytime Partum…it’s all shitty. And I SO KNOW what you mean about feeling like you need to make up for it.

    I so know those exact words.

    There’s only 1 good thing about losing your mental health: appreciating it immensely and gaurding it fiercely when you get it back.

    I’m glad you shared, more women need to recognize it when its happening but I was like you and had a hard time seeing it.

  17. It took me quite a long time to realize that I had PPD. And by the time I knew something was wrong, it was nearly impossible to find help. Newer literature states that PPD can come anytime during the first year, but there’s not much about how long it can linger. Mine hit in the first few days, and two years later, is still there. At around 14 months, I tried to get help, and I was told that it couldn’t be PPD. I’m still trying to get the help I need, but with my family and friends all on the other side of the country, it’s very difficult. Even trying to get to a therapy appointment is virtually impossible, because my husband works – we’re a one income family and he has to save his sick days for all those days when we’re all really sick, which is often with a toddler. I joined 3 mothers groups, hung out in parks, tried to start my own moms groups – posted on local co-op sitting swaps, etc – any and everything trying to meet other moms, but so far, I’ve had no luck building any relationships. Thus, no one to call on to watch my son for me to go to an appointment. (We have an HMO, so there are no “after-hours” therapy appointments that I could go to after my hubby gets home.)

    On top of the sense of isolation, and the lingering depression, I too suffer from the guilt of knowing that I wasn’t anywhere near the mom nor wife that I wanted to be, or could have been over the past 24 months. Add to that the seemingly unending stream of illnesses that accompany infant and toddlerhood – and my being somewhat of an anxious germaphobe, and a son who after months of having issues around slow language and very poor sleep habits is now being tested for being on the mild end of the autism spectrum – and you’ve got a wreck of a mom struggling to make things right.

    I so wholeheartedly agree that there should be so much more attention paid to, studies done on, and help for PPD. I think that if I could have gotten help for that earlier, it would have made a huge difference with my ability to cope with everything else. When I finally find my way through, I want to look into working with an organization like MomsRising, or even starting my own, dedicated to really, honestly dealing with and helping moms with PPD.

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