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.

1 comment:

Maida said...

Megan, this is a medical condition that requires treatment. It is NORMAL and everyone goes through it to some degree. I'm just thankful you are able to get the help you need and not suffer needlessly.

You're not lost, just overshadowed by the depression. Happy Megan is still the heart of you.