Monday, April 2, 2012

Writing for who... Running from what? Saving face and keeping secrets

I started this post on July 12, 2010, and I just couldn't bring myself to publicly post this until now. I wish I had just moved forward with my posting, but I think I just got stuck right here, unable to go post or not to post. I don't think not posting was ever an option, it was more of a when to post because I knew if posting could help even one woman feel less isolated from 99% of the people in her life, or less ashamed, or help her find an answer, it is worth it to me. I think I have worked through much of what was going on inside of me, especially the embarrassment and inferiority I felt. The external factors like needing to finish my last semester of my nursing degree and the fear for how some people could use this against me in that process, well that is behind me. With my goal of becoming a midwife ahead of me, I am no longer worried about "those" people. I know what I am capable of, and I know I will get where I am going. Their comments can not compare to the hurtful comments I have heard already even from people I really love. People who for the most part had no idea how hurtful they were being. Nonetheless some things just hurt like here is the post I started almost 2 years ago....

Wow I logged in and realized it has been almost 2 months since I have posted anything. It isn't like the humorous occurrences of raising two boys stopped happening, it's that I stopped wanting to only post about the funny parts of my day and I wasn't ready to share. My baby turns one in 12 days and I am not okay with this, not even a little bit. This isn't that little twinge most Mom's get when their baby turns 1 and is moving into toddlerhood. This is something much greater than that. I can barely plan his birthday party, but I don't want to miss this first either, so I am trying everything to embrace this.

Bottom line is I WANT MY YEAR BACK!!!!! I want my year back more than anything. I want to cuddle with a small little baby in my arms that I can hold and love and kiss for hours. I want a redo, a redo life doesn't offer. I don't want to relive the year I had, but I want my baby back. It is a piece of time that flies by as it is, and it was taken from me. I've been here physically even more than I was with Bean, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I missed out on so much.

We conceived Tadpole in the middle of a one year bachelor's nursing program, while also taking care of my young toddler who was still breastfeeding, and yes this was planned. I came down with the flu at 10 weeks and I think with the stress of everything on my body, I simply never got better from that point forward. I remember the exact night I started feeling sick pulling an all-nighter studying for an exam thinking "you are pregnant, you need to sleep, and you are starting to feel sick." The next day during the exam I started running a fever and then I just remained sick from that point forward. I had to medically withdraw from school 7 weeks before graduation. That was a huge disappointment! I was so sick and was in the Emergency Department a lot. I started to have guilt because I felt so horrible, I simply couldn't take care of Bean the way I wanted. This created more guilt because it made it difficult to enjoy my pregnancy and bond with my second baby the way I did during my first pregnancy.

I thought I would start to feel better postpartum, only to find out I would feel worse. My body was simply exhausted. I had laryngitis, colds, pain in all sorts of places, nonstop bleeding, hypoglycemia, more trips to the ED, and now I needed to care for two young boys and my body was still having demands placed on it to produce milk, because not breastfeeding is simply not an option for me. I spent the first four weeks around the house, resting, allowing my body to heal, and spent lots of time in bed breastfeeding and bonding with my new baby. With health concerns it did make it a little harder to focus completely on Tadpole and that was brewing up some guilt too. After I determined I had rested enough I decided I would start doing all the things I couldn't do pregnant. I was cooking, cleaning, going to the zoo, going to mommy meet ups, etc. etc. I was not sleeping enough, not because I wasn't tired but because both of my children were waking through the night. During the day, they never napped simultaneously. With all of that going on, my husband was taking a full load of graduate courses and working 70 hours a week to compensate for me not having a nursing job we were counting on. The life of a wife of a law enforcement officer!

However, I would have accepted all of the above difficulties gladly if I could have avoided what happened next. One day I was mentally fine, (not feeling well physically but I felt like myself and I was enjoying my two little boys as much as I could), and then one night I simply wasn't fine anymore. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It is etched in my head and I want my life back from that moment. November 17th, we had our appointment for Bean's speech evaluation (which I already knew he needed speech services), but with all the financial pressure from the inability to provide him with said services, it was just more than I could handle at that moment. I remember going home worried and stressed about everything. I didn't have a job we desperately needed me to have, Bean started showing signs of speech delays and other health concerns during my pregnancy that were overwhelming me, Tadpole had some medical concerns we were addressing at the time as well, and I was still feeling physically horrible 4 months postpartum. It was more than I could deal with at the time, and in entered this little intrusive thought, popped right into my sleep deprived little head in the middle of the night. I did not know what it was then, but I like to refer to it as the hell in my head, and my anxiety went from a 5 to simply off the scale.
I refuse to write in detail about the issues I began to experience, but it is apparent now that I started having really bad postpartum OCD. In fact, I think I have had a form of OCD my whole life, I just never knew that was what it was and it was NEVER debilitating before. Most people think about OCD and what immediately comes to most people's minds is a person who washes their hands a lot, is very picky about how their things are organized, or simply visualize Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets. What we forget is why they do these things, and that is because of the intrusive thoughts they are having, and I never did these "typical" things. Postpartum OCD for me, was literally HELL IN MY HEAD, and there is no lighter way to put it.
The reason I refuse to write about it in detail, is not because I am embarrassed about what was going on, but because I don't want to make anyone else going through this have a rougher road. With the little knowledge I did have I knew I did not have typical postpartum depression, because nothing I could find fit what my problem was. I desperately wanted to know what was going on. I did lots of research and with that, read through lots of women's posts, scholarly articles, and newspaper articles. I read through many detailed stories of postpartum depression and psychosis desperately seeking answers that even the therapist I was seeing didn't have for me (I did eventually find an expert in the field, that I spoke to). The things I read just made it even more difficult for me to sleep, as I would lie awake in bed thinking about some of the horrible outcomes of women who suffer from these conditions, praying that it wouldn't be me, and scared to death that I was about to go "crazy".

I lost so many precious moments with my baby and I want them ALL back. The fact that PPD is a small blurb in the DSM IV is unacceptable. The fact that people hide this dirty little secret from society is unacceptable. I decided I no longer want to be silent because "others" don't want me to talk about this, and I will be judged as one of "those" women. Well, I am "one of those women" and as much as I wish I wasn't I know that there is a reason for everything. I will write another time in greater detail about my journey back to my rocky peace .... for now I no longer want to post about the acceptable parts of who I am because once upon a very recent time there was hell in my head and I WANT MY YEAR BACK!!
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