Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Preview to truth and hopeful recovery

I have post partum depression. I want to put a new picture out there if you will, of this affliction, because for me, I never could really identify with the ladies in the (well-intentioned, dont get me wrong) little pamphlets or magazines. You know, the ones who sit there in their bathrobes, looking down at their baby and sort of snuffling and saying how they thought it was gonna be so different.....or the ones who want to straight-up kill their baby....or the ones who feel no connection to the baby and then feel guilt surrounding that....or the ones who say they have it all, a loving mate, a wonderful support system, a healthy baby, but they just feel blah....

None of that really ever felt like what I was experiencing, so, like so many other things in the media and the popular notions of how we may or might or should be or feel, nothing clicked or connected for me and so I just blew it off, faked it until I made it, etc.

but I cant this time. My depression is one of circumstances, and the fact that there are very real and tangible sucky, hard, mean, nasty, shitty, downright rotten things that I have been through since I had the baby, makes this thing tricky, this labeling, "Is it depression, or just life sucking right now?"

Who cares. Because it is both, it has been both, and I am waaaay outside of my mental health range. So, sure, I have hormones, very real and potent chemical substances at play here. And I have adjustment to a new family member, and I am exhausted, even though the baby sleeps quite well, but it is the events that have occurred, the stuff I havent written about,that flipped the switch for me.

When I posted about my plans to have an elective cesarean, one of the little promises I made to myself was that I was NOT going to be back online in a month or so, complaining about the c section. No, that would be wrong, that would freak out the readers, that would just negate all of the stuff I said about my unexpected, hard fought unplanned cesareans.....no sir, I was gonna do this, I was gonna get the darn surgery, I was gonna set up this big network of people to help me and Steve out, and it was gonna be the nicest darn c section that ya ever did see. Truly. and it was.

I have never written my birth story yet, because it sucks, and there are bad guys and there are wrong doings and there are disappointments and there is strange stuff and because I was not ready to go there at all, I was too tired, too hurt to do anything BUT post some cool little baby pictures and let whatever happened to be on the digital camera's memory card be the "truth" for a little while, maybe forever. So I painted a little picture for you all, I lied to all of you, and for what? You have been the best friends I have ever had, these cyber people who write me these incredibly kind and introspective and thoughtful comments...the names who come up again and again, the anonymouses, and the random new names...I lied to all of you. My story is not wonderful, it sucks. It sucks alot. In many ways this time round in the hospital was shittier and more demented than the first two--but you know what? Because it was SUCH poetic irony, because there was SUCH pressure from immediate family who were just alittle too (?) overjoyed that I was doing this (kinda like the putting our kids in public school thing..there is supportive and then there is jubilance..but I digress) and because I was way, way too hurt and raw to even open myself up for one single teensy comment when and if I tried to even hint at the truth of my own reality, ("NOW, NOW, I HEARD IT WAS A WONDERFUL HOSPITAL!") I just said wow it was freakin awesome, heres some baby pics, ok bye bye.

I was totally abused in the hospital, several of our family and friends completely bailed on us with commitments to help us out, then my husband got all depressed himself and our lives have spiralled into a real bad scene. We have been crawling back out of this for about 2 weeks now, but it has been really, hell. Even with a wonderful baby. When I was pregnant, I just didnt see how that could be possible. The baby, the baby, when the baby comes everything will be awesome...how many weeks left? how many days left until everything will be awesome and perfect?....yes, even five timer moms can fall prey to the immensely powerful pregnancy hormones, thoughts, and dreams. Even mamas who know they are facing major abdominal surgery and have about 5 days of help lined up and then most of that crumbles, even mamas who are not AT ALL healed from the last c section just a little over 2 years prior, yes those mamas too can fool themselves....54 days until everything is perfect and awesome and i have my dear sweet baby in my arms.....53 days.....52 days.....

No. Because you have your dear sweet baby in your arms, for about 10 minutes, and then IT starts up. ALL of IT. The fucking nurses, and the fucking lack of care, and the fucking demeaning ignorance, and the fucking phone calls from the latest person cancelling on their babysitting commitment, (phone calls??? really??? In your hospital bed?? In the bed you are in before you are even in your real bed?? does a newly dissected mother or anyone immediatly post op really need fucking ridiculous phone calls??? about anything??? about how horrible your newborn's name is, or about that news guy who had the sudden heart attack, or about where are the waffles/water shoes/band aids???) Was the part where i was under anesthesia really the only time a Mother gets to rest?? And, last but not least, the fucking pain.
the pain the pain good Lord almighty, the fucking PAIN.

So I am leaving this now, this little prelude to my TRUE birth story, which I hope to compose, tomorrow, while Charlie and Eska nap and the three others are at their school (no luck on me getting used to that one anytime soon). Sorry for anyone I misled if it led to any bad consequences to any Mamas out there, forgive me. Maybe the real story will ring true for others, and my own fake one can blow away like so many frosty pamphlets.

28 comments:

DoulaMomma said...

I am so sorry this happened, is happening. I'm newish to your blog but am weeping for you and your story and for the very screwed up culture we live in that set the scene for all this. I'm sure it is cold comfort, but I have no doubt that the power of your words will help others.

Tiffany said...

I am so sorry you are experiencing this pain. And yet, the honesty with which you approach it is fresh...and helpful to us all.

For the record, I love your baby's name and think anyone who says anything to any mom about their childs name is a jerk.

Oh, that was politically incorrect.

Yeah :)

Kelley said...

I'm here for you, Joy. I have been for a long time, and I always will be.

MamaVee said...

I'm just one of your loyal readers, who never comments, although I frequently intend to. However, I think now is an especially good time to summarize the things I always mean to say:
I don't know you in "real life", but you are one of my heroes. I think you are incredible. Not that this helps you at all in your life, but I felt like I should really tell you.

pearly1979 said...

*hugs* I wrote my "little bit of labor" story, my birth story, and still haven't gotten to the after story. It's not nearly as bad as yours, but I understand your reluctance to put it out there, I haven't done it myself. Don't want to complain? Maybe that's it. I don't know. Probably, I "should" be happy about it all right? I have a healthy baby. I had some helish nurse moments. They totally bite. After both of my c-sections the good nurses were like big beacons of goodness and light and they probably weren't that spectacular they were just so much better than the ones sent from the devil. It's one thing to encounter people in life that we can just walk away from if we need to, it's completely different when you are stuck, literaly stuck, laying there with no means to just walk away from them. And even worse is the fact that not only can you not walk away, you have to rely on them, awful bitches some of them, and you are stuck.

Rixa said...

Oh Joy, I had no idea that it was that bad...I am so sorry.

MereMortal said...

oh joy, we are here as you walk your path, letting it unfold before you - the Truth. sometimes our truth shifts and morphs. it is ok for the first "story" to have been your truth.
as this new truth reveals itself- the one that is most authentic in your cells and hearts and bones - we are here to hold your space and honor you as a warrior emerging from your journey.
xoxo

Judit said...

Joy, sweet Joy. Somewhere back then you mentioned in passing, you hinted, you sort of foreshadowed that it wasn't all good. I made note of it and I remembered it. And I have been waiting to know the whole story. The bad is as true and important and You as the good --whatever good there might have been in your experience, for whatever it was worth, that was then-- now is now, so, I'm here.

SheGotHipsLikeCinderella said...

(((Hugs))) I am glad you are writing your 'true' birth story. I did the same thing way back when, I wrote up some fluffy lies- the pain was there though, I can see it, those who "know" can see it, but it was a fallacy. When I wrote the true story and put myself out there, it was so healing. The tears are healing, eventually- but sometimes they are just f-ing tears...
I could see the pain in your first birth story, I knew it was there. I hope it becomes power for you soon... or at least passion.
Welcome, my dear, to the sisterhood of the scar.

Judit said...

Oh, oh, one more thing and sorry for double commenting.... About the PPD. (Duh, me.) This is important and I want to be sure that I am clear about how seriously I am taking this. It's nice that we can get a new and atypical picture as your readers of what it's like. But there is another reason you decided to share this with us. We are your support system, too. You say you can't blow it off this time... and you ask who cares whether it's depression or life sucking or both? I'm not reading this as a rhetorical question, so the answer is I care. I care which one or both or whatever else. If you put this out here because you are waiting for one of us to say: Joy, please get help -- well I'm saying it. Professional, real, actual, face to face get-down-to-the-bottom-of-this therapy for this 'just' stress, hormones, trauma... okay? And if by the time you're reading this you're feeling better, that's a good time to look into it, because more rough days are around the corner and it may feel too overwhelming to try and make that leap of faith then. Love you, take care!

DoulaMomma said...

This might be a place to start:
http://www.solaceformothers.org/forum.html

Thinking of you.

Andrea said...

Oh man, Joy. I'm so sorry. The worst of it is that feeling of people condescendingly supporting you as you have to move away from your ideals and accept life changes you don't want to make. I know that feeling. That kind of thing is sickening, crazy-making.

I wish you felt safe posting the truth to your own blog. Your truths are so awesome, even if they're grouchy and complainy. It seems like your readers all support you just as you are. I mean, we're all flawed, we know what it is to have to compromise our ideals sometimes. I'm your cheerleader in homeschooling and homebirthing, but when you can't do them, I cheer you too. I mean, I can barely handle the one toddler. You are a superwoman to me, no matter what you have to do to get through it all.

If somebody comes along here who disses your decisions, or your feelings, screw 'em. Delete 'em. That's your right.

Becca said...

Let it out, Mama. I'm so sorry you're hurting, but glad you're ready to start sharing. Hopefully it will help you find peace and help others feel less alone in there own PPD.

PS: I totally 2nd Mamavee' comment. Just make that a times-two.

Peggy said...

Joy, I will continue to pray for you. You are beautiful, and you totally don't deserve all the crap you've gotten!

CNH said...

I'm right here, and I'm listening, and I'm so sorry. If I can send you every bit of energy I have you're welcomed to it and then some.

The baby is wonderful but they just can't fix what's broken deep inside our lives. I've fallen prey to that misconception myself a time or two.

I sort of figured this post was coming. You've been so quiet and that's not like you. I figured you were just afraid to say "yeah, that scheduled c-section? it blew" but you know what? If that's your truth then so be it. What else have you got if you've not got your truth? Own it. Learn it. It's really OK.

My oldest is STRUGGLING in school. An AWESOME school. And I've been told in not so many words by about 3 educators now that it's my fault. I won't muck up your post but I'm really having a hard time with that. :(

Erin Lesh said...

Joy,

The truth really does hurt. Hopefully getting it out in the open will make you freer. I have hid many family problems and crises (as well as mental health status) for years. I promised my self I wouldn't any more. i haven't felt more at peace in years.

I can't imagine having people bail on me last minute. Totally sucks. I have personally stop at two children because my family resposabilites are too great. I have a severly disabled mom in the house. She called me to help her out when I was 5 days post-partum and napping to help her hang pictures on the wall.

I hope you can all heal from this trauma and feel like a whole family again.

erin

harlow727 said...

(((JOY))) I've never had a section, and I've never suffered horribly or too long from PPD...but I read, I feel you're hurting in more ways than one, and just wanted to offer you hugs and support. (((more))) And I agree with another poster, who CARES what you name your babies...I love all your kids' names, they are totally original and unique like your precious kids. And I adore that your DH is cool with naming them these awesome names. ;)

gwnio said...

(((HUGS)))
I'm so sorry you and your family are going through this, I'm so sorry the people you relied on didn't come through.
I've been reading your blog for a while and was so excited when your little girl was born, to know just a little of what you really went through... it's just awful.
I wish I could give you more than just cyber hugs.

Kneelingwoman said...

Joy; I'll be seeing you on Monday but I want to step in for minute to give strong second to Judit's recommendation that you get professional help with your struggles. I have a name for you ( Monday ) and some other possibilities as well. It's extremely important that you take yourself, and your suffering, seriously and recognize that you are surrounded and supported by, a strong and responsive group of women who are here for you but also want to give you the courage and strength to be there for yourself; to act on your own behalf and claim your right to do whatever you have to do to get well and strong and at peace; physically, emotionally and spiritually. We are ALL in your corner. I'm looking forward to seeing you here for lunch Monday! Love,M.

Kneelingwoman said...

Oh sheesh....I just noticed this when I came back to post another comment ( which I've now forgotten ). When I wrote " I have a name for you" I mean a name of a therapist who works with postpartum issues...not a "Name" for "You". You knew that right? Sorry. Now I'll try to remember what I was going to say.....

TracyKM said...

I'm so sorry you have been in a negative time of life. I can't believe someone would call you in recovery like that. I really don't think anyone could have been misled with your original birth story, esp. if they had read any of your blog before. You weren't all pollyanna about the c-section! You were much more honest than most pregnancy books!
I hope you can be on your way upwards now. I know what it's like; it's been over 8 years for me, living in uncertainty about a marriage trauma that came to light 3 weeks after the difficult birth of our son (and 10 days after his reflux started...).

ryan said...

Lots of love, MamaJoy. Thinkin' about you. XxL

Jill said...

I hate to be an echo, but I can't think of anythign else to say, so the only thing left to say is that I'm so sorry, Joy. You don't have to apologize for lying. We love you no matter what. Awesome C-section, sucky C-section, happiness, depression...we love you because you are YOU. And that you is real and awesome, not a mom on a pamphlet.

emjaybee said...

Even when you're prepared and willing and all that, the hospital can be a meatgrinder. It never should, but it can.

I wish I was close enough to babysit for you! I'm glad you're getting help of any kind, and you're right, who cares why you need it...you need it.

Two things saved me with my PPD (really: PTSD): ICAN's ladies, online and in person, and my wonderful therapist. What I found there was very simple; someone who a) understood exactly what I was going through and b) had no dog in my fights. Unlike spouse, family, even friends who might judge me or be made uncomfortable by my grief.

There's a more than 80% chance that my c/section child will be my only; I won't get my healing VBAC either. Still angry about that, but it doesn't keep me awake at night anymore. I thought I was going to shrivel up from sadness and rage for about two years, though. It's much better on the other side, though, I promise.

Elisabeth said...

Hi Joy,
I'm not sure which blog to comment on. This comment is in response to your latest posts on all three blogs.

I believe that people come before ideology. Your actions may be contrary to your ideals, but they are in right line with your values.

I read all your blogs, because you are thoughtful and honest. You want things to be a certain way, but reality interferes. I picture you as a blade of grass being buffeted by the wind, blowing from side to side, changing direction but remaining rooted in the ground.

Thank you for writing about your life. I feel less alone. I grew up expecting to be a baptist stay at home mom, and now I'm a freethinking working mother who commutes 1h25 twice a day. Life is strange that way.

Corin said...

{hugs} to you Joy. I'm really glad you decided to write your true birth story. I hope that it starts you on your way to recovery. I wish I had something great and philosophical to say, but, I don't. This motherhood thing is just the ride of a lifetime. So hard in so many ways. I felt very depressed with the birth of my first daughter, though not ppd, it was HARD. I felt alone and very foggy, like life was just passing me by, and wondered where that cute fuzzy feeling was that everyone promised I would feel. I didn't have a section, but a very difficult, long birth that I think really impacted my pp period. I can only imagine what you must be going through.

Thank you for all the many truths you write. I don't think you ever truly will be able to know how many women you have encouraged and helped and made feel just a little less alone. You are a blessing to so many.

You will be in my prayers tonight; for the healing of your health, your heart and your strength.

mb said...

i have been reading you forever and i just soak in your honesty and love.

as another commenter said, "you are one of my heroes" (or sheroes) I am there with her.

there is just something about you, a Great Teacher. I know that your pain is so real and heavy and ripping apart your life. I know this, not because I know you, but because i feel that your soul is emerging, your wings are spreading...all this shit...all this fucked up shit....can only make you a leader for mothers everywhere. i know this sounds like a load of crap, but i have been reading you for a long time and have always learned so much from each experience you share.

you are not alone. you are held.

mb

Angi said...

Wow-Joy-I just popped in again and you are so sweet and vulnerable and I want to give you hope that you will get back to feeling better. I don't believe it will happen on its own. I remember we had a little discussion a long time back about ppd and to take meds or not, etc.etc. Regardless, there is help out there that REALLY helps. Hopefully you will find someone to guide you there. Hugs to you sweetie!