March 28, 2007

Family Photos



I really love some of these pics, taken by our friends at Trystan Photography. Charlotte did such a great job, again.

March 27, 2007

Huh... sounds like me!

Just found this on a Lexapro info site (that's the antidepressant I am taking):

“When first taking LEXAPRO, a patient might feel little change, unless there are some initial side effects (which generally disappear after 7 to 14 days). For most patients, it takes at least a week or two before they feel any improvement. Full antidepressant effect may take 4 to 6 weeks.
In general, emotional improvement is gradual, and realized by looking back over the past several days and noting "you know, I am starting to feel less hopeless, despondent, and depressed." It is also common to begin to have some "good" days only to have them followed by some "not so good" ones. Patients should not feel discouraged by the "blue" days, but rather encouraged by the "good ones", as they indicate that recovery is beginning.”

This means there's hope! Yay!

March 26, 2007

Highs and Lows

The ups and downs I've been experiencing this past week or so are almost worse than just living in the dark. I have had some really, really good days- days where I feel alive and motivated and just CAPABLE. Maybe that seems small to the average person, but compared to the utter hopelessness and sense of failure I've been carrying around since Silvia was born, just feeling like I have the potential to accomplish something, anything, is a huge experience for me.

But then, the very next day, or that evening, everything starts to fall apart. I start to crack on the surface, little things like a whiny toddler start to break me. I get this intense anxiety, my jaw starts to clench, my shoulders bunch. Before I know what has happened or why, I'm back in the place I've been desperate to escape. I hate myself, I hate my kids, I want to hide, I have to cry, I abuse my husband, end up in bed, weeping or staring at the ceiling, bereft and confused and miserable.

Imagine being at the beach on a sunny day: the water is warm and the sound of the waves is incredibly soothing. You're laying on the sand and it feels like a warm caress over your whole body and the rays of the sun envelope you in light and softness and a soft breeze ruffles your hair against your scalp. You can see for miles into the ocean and there's not a cloud in the sky, just blue on blue into eternity. You close your eyes to just enjoy all the amazing sensations, the aura of peace...

And when you open them, you're in a cave. A dark cave, with damp and cold water trickling down the sides and pooling on the rock beneath you. There's hardly any light and ground is gritty and sharp. You look all around and start to panic because you can't see the opening, you can't find a way out. Everywhere you turn there's just rock and dirt and shadows, cold air and musty earth. You've got no choice but to give up, try to find some place that feels safe and curl up. In your corner, you close your eyes against the darkness and hope that when you open them again, you'll be back on your beach.

That's what it's been like. I feel like I'm losing my mind.

March 18, 2007

Awake

For two days now, I've felt so great, so alive and aware and awake. I don't know if it's the happy pills or the friends or the amazing husband or what, but I'm so grateful to just be PRESENT in my own life again.

I had this day last week where I just checked out; I was lost and alone and I didn't care about the kids or my husband or my friends or my responsibilities or anything. I went to bed, and I had every intention of staying there forever. I didn't cry, not really, and I didn't talk and I was just GONE. It is a terrifying memory.

I woke up the next day and it's suddenly as if a light came on. I looked around and saw the dishes and the house and my horrible hair and rumpled clothes and messy kids. And I was MOTIVATED. I was inspired and hopeful and I took a shower and cleaned the house and played with my daughters.

That's the thing I've been having the hardest time talking about and expressing, the feelings towards the kids, my baby in particular. Since Silvia was born I have felt obligation towards here, resignation that I am her mother and I have to care for her, even amusement and appreciation of the cute things she does. But love? No, not really. And that makes me want to start crying all over again.

Because today I looked at her and I was amazed at her beauty and proud of her strength and just overcome with love and compassion and attachment that I have not felt before. Being able to love my own child should be something to take for granted, and yet for me it's a new and totally precious ability. I never, ever want to feel that way again, detached from something so personal and amazing and necessary. They deserve more than that and I like to think that I do, too.

I hope it's only forward steps from here, because I just am so scared to go back to the dark.

March 08, 2007

What it is

I keep trying to pinpoint why I feel the way I do, keep trying to find the "ah-HA!" moment, where I can see clearly what to do, fix, change.

But it's just not that simple, I guess. Yesterday, I had a great day with my friends, everyone was being really nice and helpful and supportive. Both girls were behaving really well and being happy and sweet. In the evening, my mom came over and watched the girls so Kurt and I could go out and have some time to ourselves. We went to Red Lobster, had a nice dinner, ran into some friends and their kids, and generally had a pleasant time. I felt okay. I didn't feel like I was going to cry, I didn't feel panicky or tense. It was nice.

Then I started thinking, "I feel fine! See, it's all just me being dramatic, I'm so whiny, I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, I can't believe everyone's indulging me when I'm so obviously just trying to get attention!". And then I started to feel bad, really bad; that I was taking advantage of my friends, that I had abandoned my kids with my mom when Silvia's only a month old, that I didn't finish my dinner, that I hadn't changed my clothes or even looked in a mirror before we went out and I looked like a scruffy, stained mess of a woman.

By the time we got home, I was on the verge of tears again, my stomach was in knots, and I felt completely worthless. There is no real thing that upset me, no real reason, no trigger that started me beating myself to a pulp internally. I just did, and I couldn't stop, and that's what it is. My mind working against itself.

March 06, 2007

Postpartum depression

We went to see the OB today for my check-up. He was, as ever, very sweet and helpful. I've got a yeast infection on my breast, which he gave me a prescription for. Then the last stitch on my tear hadn't come out and was a little bit infected, so he took it out and gave me antibiotics for that. He said the two should both start feeling better by the end of the week, totally in two weeks.

Then came the part with the crying. Have I mentioned the crying? He asked if we had other questions, I glanced at Kurt and tried to jokingly say that I've been feeling a little blue, meaning it to come out offhanded, silly, flippant. What actually came out was a sob.

I don't really want to go into it, and I'm feeling conflicted even mentioning it, like I'm not supposed to talk about it. But the whole internal urge to not say anything is weird and the main reason I'm forcing myself to write about it. He diagnosed me with postpartum depression and he's got Kurt monitoring me to make sure I'm 1) taking my meds and 2) improving.

Because things have been kind of sucky and every day it gets a little bit worse and little bit harder to laugh off, put on my game face and smile at the world. Other moms do this every day and they're fine. People with horrible lives and crappy situations survive and they're fine, so I should be fine, too. My life is great, so why am I not happy? My kids are wonderful, so why am I not happy? My husband is supportive and our marriage is strong, so why am I not happy? I keep feeling like I just have to shake it off, just have to think happy thoughts and that I'm just indulging a bad mood.

But I can't shake it off, every morning I try and "put on my smile" but its getting harder and harder. I just feel so anxious, so weak, so overwhelmed, so tired. I feel like I'm failing at all the tiny stupid details of my life, that everything is out of my control. I cry when I misspell words, when I enter the wrong number on the telephone. I can't sleep even when I have a chance, I can't turn off my mind. I find myself lying there, in the middle of the night, staring at my baby, watching her breath, thinking how she deserves better than me. I feel like I'm going to lose my mind every time one of the girls starts crying... and if they're both crying? Forget it. I love them so much, SO MUCH, and yet I spend a large part of the day wanting to be anywhere but around them. And hating myself for feeling that way. And worried sick that when they're not with me something horrible is going to happen to them.

This can't be me. I'm a happy person, I look on the bright side, I'm the one who brushes it off and makes a little joke so we can all laugh and see that life's not so serious. This is just not me. Every time I try to think about it I just find myself thinking, "Oh, here we go. This is so stupid! Your life is NOT hard! Suck it up!". Every time Kurt looks at me with that concerned expression, talks to me in that soft and gentle "don't frighten the wacko" voice, I want to make a joke about how I'm crazy, losing my mind but other than that everything's great. I want to downplay it as though we're all overreacting to me having a few bad days.

The doctor was so matter of fact about it, it just blew me away. "It sounds like you're dealing with postpartum depression. It's perfectly normal, you're not alone, and you're going to be okay." He prescribed me some antidepressants and Kurt is supposed to keep an eye on me. I go back in a month to make sure the dosage is okay and it's working and I'm feeling better. He also prescribed me some sleeping pills. I'm supposed to take them one of these weekends and let Kurt get up at night and bottle-feed the baby so I can get some sleep. He was kind.

That just makes me feel worse. I couldn't make eye contact with Kurt, even though he's being totally sweet and supportive. I feel so embarrassed and ashamed and whiny and weak. What's wrong with me that I can't feed my infant a few times a night? What kind of mother does that make me? Postpartum depression is something you read about in magazines and that happens to other people but not to me. I'm happy! I'm a strong person. I'm not supposed to feel this way. I'm not supposed to need medication and extra sleep and a husband who has to "keep an eye on me".

This isn't me, I just don't feel like me, I've lost me. Now's when I crack a joke and make everyone smile... but I can't think of one thing to say that's funny.

March 04, 2007

I know, I know...

It's only been four weeks, I know it's too soon to be expecting my pre-baby body to have made a reappearance. But...

Oh, I hate this! NOTHING fits, not one thing that I own, not even my pajamas. Everything is either falling off me from maternity wear or ranges from "just a little" to "OHMYGOD" too tight. My skin is doing a repeat performance of the lovely cystic acne on my jawline that I had after Anna was born. And my hair... yikes, my hair. Never thought I'd say this, but it's way too long. It gets in everything, there is constantly spit-up in it and the ends are fried for about two inches up. My skin is itchy and flaky all over from the dryness and hormones and not having the time or energy to shave or moisturize. Oh, and my cuticles have given up the ghost and are now just bloody hangnails waiting to catch on my the next thing I touch.

I just feel like a blobby, scaly, yucky, chubby housewife of disaster. I can't even get dressed in the morning without crying because there is literally NOTHING I can put on that makes me look even a little bit nice.

And I have a wedding to go to next weekend. A formal wedding.

I know, I know. Give it more time. My husband says I look wonderful, my daughter told me this morning that I was "sooooooo beautiful". Logically, I know it's going to take awhile before I get back to being comfortable in my own skin.

Emotionally? Please. Pass the kleenex, hide the mirror.

March 02, 2007

value

"Come, be around friends who don't care if you are tired and irritable and have spit up on your clothes..."

My friend Maida said this to me today, pretty much encompassing everything I needed to hear in every possible way right now.

Because I am tired, and I am irritable and there is definitely spit up all over my clothes. I'm feeling overwhelmed by my new life as the mommy of two little girls; overwhelmed with love, responsibility, chores, frustration, exhaustion and the feeling that I'm letting all my other relationships fall by the wayside. I worry that my husband feels neglected or taken for granted, that my friends think I'm ignoring them or that I don't care about their lives right now, that I haven't sent out thank you notes for all the meals and gifts and hugs and well-wishes we've recieved since Silvia was born.

Even more, I'm worried that this new, tired, smelly Megan with the droopy hair, the circles under her eyes, the squishy waistline, the short temper and easy tears isn't someone that could possibly be of value to anyone else.

And yet, this is what I hear and feel coming, unprompted, from every direction. "Come, be around friends who don't care if you are tired and irritable and have spit up on your clothes...". I have these amazing friends who are steady and true and honest and kind, who don't waver in my life or their own. They call me out when I most need it, and especially when I don't know it.

That's what I call a blessing. Even at my worst, even smelly (I'm a little hung up on the smelly part, can you tell?), I am loved. WOW.