Baby Taco: 11 weeks, 6 days
According to Web MD, (I know, reliable source) , “It’s the type of depression you may get after you have a baby. It can start any time during your baby’s first year, but it’s most common for you to start to feel its effects during the first 3 weeks after birth”. It affects 1 out of 7 women. The website goes on to explain that it is completely treatable with counseling and medications. Sounds tottaly simple right?
When I gave birth to the tiny Sir, it was a complete whirlwind. They gave me petocin and my epidural the night before and I woke up going from 4cm, to 8, to pushing. He came out in record time and he was immediately taken. My husband didn’t cut the chord and I was only able to hold him for a couple minutes before he was hauled off to the NICU. That was it. No time for tears or to even register what was going on. He was 6 week early. It was all part of protocol.
After that, the doctor came to check on me and handed me a piece of paper to decided if I am suffering from PPD. The sheet included questions like, “Have you thought about harming yourself?, Are you depressed? Do you want to hurt the baby”? He said that in another 2 weeks I fill out the same sheet at then compare answers. That’s it. That’s how they diagnose.
My next 2 weeks were driving back and forth to the hospital. My body still healing. Blood everywhere. I didn’t want to have to rely on a wheel chair. I wanted to be strong for Taco. He was so small and so sick but my body betrayed me. Walking was excruciating… I never saw that second sheet of paper and then we were given a 5lb baby to take home.
Once home, there was no time to think about yourself. You’re trying to breastfeed, pump, change diapers, feed, maybe sleep, check on his breathing. Of course you’re anxious of course you’re depressed but you can’t show it. This tiny human needs you. Your husband needs you. You need you to keep it together because if you let yourself feel and let the tears come you may not be able to stop it.
I have had depression and anxiety my whole life. I had been on ever sort of medication you can think of from Xanax to Prozac and everything in between. When I had gotten pregnant, I stopped taking everything. I wanted my kid to be healthy. I did everything right in my pregnancy and he still came early. It happens. I know this and thank the based gods that he’s healthy now.
My depression/anxiety did not manifest like how you see on tv. You see the sad woman with the glazed over look in her eyes refusing to hold or even look at their baby. I was never like that. In the NICU, all I wanted was to hold him so when we got home, I did just that. I held him. I didn’t eat, I didn’t pee, I didn’t do much of anything except hold him. Even now when I pass him on to others, my chest tightens. I need to hold him.
I manifested this guilt in my head that because I was not able to be there with him 24/7 in the NICU, I couldn’t put him down or something will happen. Where is that piece of paper for me to fill out? Where is the piece of paper that asks about feeling so anxious and so scared that you still can’t take him out to go food shopping?
A lot of times I just try to suck it up. I went to a friends house last week and while I constantly looked at my phone and called my husband every hour, I still laughed. I had fun and when I came home, baby and husband were fine. No one took them. Baby was sleeping soundly on his chest. The world didn’t crumble because I went out.
Currently I am not taking any medication. I take a more natural, herbal, greener approach to my anxiety and I feel that it works best for me. I had to stop breastfeeding of course and while that kills me, I think Taco can feel that I’m finally starting to calm down. Don’t get me wrong, my anxiety and depression have not gone anywhere. They stay lying dormant until the next big thing. I know that part of what makes me who I am is the fact that I have these mental illnesses. It’s not ideal, but it’s who I am.
I wish I could tell you that having a baby takes away all the sadness and anxiety. And for some, that may be the case. For me and many like me, it may get worse before it gets better. I am working throught it though and that’s honestly all you can do. Your baby wants you to be happy. Your baby does not want to see you fail. Taco needs me to be strong and I plan on doing just that.