The Cloud is Lifting

Just last night, as I was rocking Milo to sleep, a thought tiptoed through my brain.

I wonder if I should have another baby. I’m good at this.

Wait. What?

The thought skittered away almost as quickly as it came. I don’t want another child, at least not right now. Stewart got a vasectomy last summer, and we both agreed if we wanted more children and were financially able to do so, we would adopt.

So, why did I have that thought? It may have had something to do with the warmth of Milo against my chest, his soft breaths intermingling with mine, while Beatrix slept in her bed next to the rocking chair, snuggled beneath her sleeping bag, two blankets, stuffed animals and dolls. The more probable reason, however, is because I’m finally breaking through this cloud of despair called Postpartum Depression and beginning to love my life.

Yes, that’s right, I’m on the other side now, or at least I’m getting close.

It’s at this time I start to wonder why it’s been so hard for me. Why wasn’t I able to care for my children like I wanted? Why couldn’t I clean my house or get dressed every day? When Milo was born, I wondered why it was so hard for me to take care of Beatrix when she was a newborn. She slept most of the day and there was only one of her!

I don’t ponder these questions for too long. The answer is clear. Postpartum Depression is an illness. It is not something I chose. I could not “snap out of it.” The loss of control over my own thoughts was the scariest and most debilitating part. I experienced anger, depression, irritability, apathy and anxiety – sometimes all in one day.

For those who are new to this blog, Postpartum Depression, or PPD, is the common term used for what is more accurately described as Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. PPD is only one form of this illness, as it can can manifest in so many ways. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders include Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, as well as Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Postpartum Psychosis. Some women experience more than one of these disorders.

I imagine, like any mental illness, it is difficult to understand for those who have never experienced it. One of my goals with this blog is to help people know what it’s like to have PPD, and to help other moms suffering with PPD to feel less alone.

I have been working on a post about what it’s been like for me, but realized it’s much too long to be a single post, so I will break it into two or three parts. I am scared to put it out there, and I also feel empowered because of it. It’s an honest, unfiltered account of some of my scariest and darkest experiences, much of which I haven’t shared with anyone beyond my husband, therapist, support group and close family and friends.

I’m ready to share this part of my story now. I’m so thankful to have writing as an outlet for me. I hope that others suffering will find a healthy outlet as well, and I hope that those reading who have never experienced PPD will gain a better understanding of this illness.

I wanted to post something sooner, but life got in the way.   Sorry about that!

Stay tuned…more posts to come.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. bonnie messinger
    Mar 01, 2011 @ 09:34:24

    Here I am 63 years old, and I was just made aware through your writings that I may have experienced PPD. That word “anxiety” stuck out like a sore thumb. It wasn’t until I had my children that I was fearful of flying and heights and crossing bridges – who would I save first if the bridge collapsed? Mandy? Meg? Dan?, Mike? Amazing words Amanda!

    Like

    Reply

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