Friday, February 18, 2011

Beauty & the Bitch

Hello hormones, welcome back. Now beat it.
Like roller coasters? Great. Give birth and breastfeed. Holy moly hormones. Sometimes I think I have multiple personality disorder but then it occurs to me, “Oh yeah, I’m riding the hormone-coaster from hell… again.
Mood swings have become more acceptable in today’s society for women prior to their cycles- even joked about by most.  What we don’t talk about a lot is postpartum depression after delivering.  It’s still a  hush hush topic and spoken of very delicately. Well, as the big mouth mommy blogger, I am here to hopefully begin to change that. It exists and it landed in my world this time.
I thought I was on top of the world a few days after delivering when I arrived home and was immediately eager to get out and grocery shop, pick my kids up from school, go to the mall to grab a few things, do the usual errands, take all 4 kids to the beach for the day as well as lunch with friends and family. I proudly checked in on Facebook with my status mentioning date night 4 days after I delivered, displayed pictures of my new babe and me with a smile and a “glow,” as I cooked dinner for my new family of 6 wearing my baby in sling. Essentially, I made sure the rest of the world new that I am a SUPERMOM.
That was until the 18 wheeler hormone fun bus from Hell plowed into me about two weeks later. Initially, I decided I was tired and the round-the- clock nursing was taking a lot out of me. As I felt a little disconnected from my friends and began to lose an interest in virtually everything except the baby, I just wrote that off as nature’s way of forcing me in to the cave to bond with baby. My appetite dwindled down and I couldn’t be bothered to eat much, I was just thrilled that I would be shaking my muffin top sooner than later. This continued and I secretly tried to wish it away and hope it was fleeting.
I tried everything. I went for a walk with my two youngest and tried to enjoy a perfect temperature day and the privilege of taking a mid afternoon stroll with these beautiful babies. I couldn’t wait to get home and get back into bed. Screw nature and scenery. I tried spending time at the beach with my kids- the sand was gritty and annoying and the sun was too bright. Back to the cave please.  I tried wearing a little make-up during the day (for myself), wearing the white sexy camisole that I think makes my boobs look fabulous- ( you know the one… you know you wash it three days in a row when you feel like looking sexy).  I drank a goblet of wine before and after dinner. Yes, it’s fine for the baby, back off.  Things just went downhill and soon enough, there wasn’t much room to hide this. Turned out, the rest of the planet had not become especially annoying in the last week, my husband isn’t an insensitive jerk (poor guy almost lost his life to set a Shun knives I received as a Mother’s Day gift last year- that would have made for an interesting newspaper headline)… The ugly truth is I was suffering from a bit of postpartum depression (PPD).
We hear of postpartum depression and many of us think of the ultra depressed new mother who can’t get out of bed, cannot connect with or even refuses their new baby affection… we immediately make judgments about it based on what we have seen in the movies or what we have heard- which for me was limited- No one I know talks about it. While PPD can be as extreme as that, it’s often not.  As I have become more aware of what I am feeling, I have mentioned my symptoms to some of my closer friends who are moms and the response has been more often than not, “Oh, wow, I think I went through that…” or “I went though that too but I didn’t have postpartum depression.”
Yes, you did- you just didn’t realize it. One doesn’t have to display all of the possible symptoms to have been considered postpartum- For example, I never felt disconnected from any of my children- I still maintained my libido (surprise surprise coming from a woman who gets pregnant three weeks after delivering), and I didn’t experience thoughts about hurting myself – just my husband and quite frankly, that happens all the time not just postpartum.
The first few weeks after delivering are supposed to be some of the most special times - a time to be savored. Well, it’s scary as shit to feel your personality slip away only to be replaced with a case of the super BLAHS, loss of appetite, a lack of desire to do anything, including get out of bed. As scary as it is for me, I can’t imagine what went through my husband’s mind as I awakened him out of a deep sleep one night after an amazing and romantic dinner out so I could scream at him about leaving faucet running, cry about something completely ridiculous and command a discussion about one of our other kid’s issues that was keeping “me” up. Actually, I take that back, I can imagine what he thought, “Oh my God. Sybil.”
Yeah, well too bad – if I have to ride the hormone fun bus from Hell, so do you my love. 

That is why I wrote this tonight. I didn’t write it to complain or make an excuse for not having written for two weeks. I wrote it to help.  If we can educate or at least create more of an awareness about PPD, it will become much easier to identify this in ourselves, sisters and girlfriends. From there, we know that it’s much easier to find support and treatment if we know what’s happening and don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss it.  I do wish this blog entry could reflect more of my usual, quick witted and humorous writing but that isn’t me right now, temporarily.
Through all of this, I maintain that I am grateful for it. All of it.  I am utterly grateful to have crazy hormones caused by giving birth to an amazing baby boy- a perfectly healthy child. I am grateful to my muffin top as it is what allowed my body to stretch and carry my baby. I practically worship my tribal titties (yes, the look like something out of National Geographic)… as sore as they are and as uncomfortable it is to awaken all throughout the night soaked in breast milk (oh, the smell)…I feel very fortunate to have the ability to breastfeed full time and on demand to my baby. I see my dark circles under my eyes and feel privileged to be able to be up with my little guy all night to feed and comfort him as he tries to get used to being out of the womb. The kind of bonding a mom gets from those nights is priceless.  And if the price I am paying is a ride on the hormonal fun bus, I am happy. At the end of this, I am happy again. A little acupuncture to get my Chi stronger and life through my eyes started to play out in color.
My wish for you, my blog readers, my friends and anyone else that reads this is for you to become aware of the power hormones have over us. Whether we are referring to menstrual cycles, pregnancies, birth and postpartum, or menopause, it’s a great idea to respect them. Read up on them, talk about them, they are real and clearly, much easier to deal with if one knows she is at risk for their surges. As soon as I realized I was experiencing PPD, I knew what I needed to do – seek help- but I wasn’t ready to. I think I was a little disappointed that I was going through this and I wasn’t sure I was prepared to mention it directly to my husband or friends ( as if they didn’t know that Sybil was a little “off.”  Smile   It was actually my husband who came home early from work once day and said, “Have you made your appointment with Dan or Susan yet?” “No, I will soon.” He replied, “How about we go down there today?”  He held the baby for 2 hours while I had an intense acupuncture session.
I am happy to say that I feel things looking up and I will be back to my sassy- ass humor in no time. In the meantime, thank you for letting me share my experience with you. I look forward to writing a more typical blog entry in the very soon future. And I have some great news to share with you…. I am pleased to announce that I was able to relocate my ankles. They are back and looking as ankle-y as ever.  And as you would expect with me, I am once again, full of gratitude…Open-mouthed smile

A tid bid a humor to add to this:
So, tonight my husband and I grabbed a quite dinner at D'Angelo' in Fort Laudy. We were seated near a very large (300lbs+) man who kept peering over to me.Many like to look and check out the sling we have  the baby in so I never think much of it. Later, we were all in the valet and Mr. 300lbs turned to us and said, "Well, I am relieved to see she has  baby in there. I spent my dinner worrying she was severely deformed."


Unknown said...

tracy, I am so proud of you for blogging about this as it is such a personal topic, and one so central to all mothers' lives. I hope you know you are an amazing mother & wife... and friend. And, your friends are here for you, so if you never need an ear (or hand), we are here for you! xo

Scary Mommy said...

I'm so glad you got the help you needed! Too, too many women with PPD don't.

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