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October 07, 2004

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Thank you so much for this entry. I have had periods of great struggle since having my two boys. (the first being the colicky one whome I walked endlessly outside a 6pm, inside around eleven and 4 am every night for weeks.) We listened to a certain Enya album ad nauseum because it was the one thing that seemed to soothe him during those pacing nights.

Then when he was 3.5 mo old I got pregnant again, and by 10 weeks my milk was gone. I remember holding him and us both crying because he was hungry and all I wanted to do was give him my milk...and it wasn't to be. I can't tell you how many times I screamed WHY!? at God two winters ago. Then he didn't want a bottle or formula, got listless and dehydrated. Finally I was able to nurse him with a supplementer, which I did for 7 months.

Then, we went on to tandemn nurse round the clock for several months as well. So many days, I wonder why God thinks I am cut out for this. When they won't nap and I walk around our apartment with one tied to my front and the other on my back and I want to scream from the weight and frustration when after forty minutes they are still not asleep.

But, the hugs oh, the baby and toddler hugs. There's nothing like them, and all the pain and resentment melt away in that pure unadulterated adoration, like dark swiss chocolate on the tongue....

My second child is now 28 1/2 and I still remember days like you describe there. My second had colic. I had SAD in southern california! (full spectrum light bulbs have been literally a life saver - I have them everywhere in the house where I hang out). The stress nearly crashed our marriage - it is amazing though how much grace one can gain after surviving this.

Thanks for sharing your story. I had awful PPD after my son was born seven years ago. When I asked my OB office for help, they passed me along to a psych office that wanted nothing to do with me. I had an awful therapist who said, "You're just a new mom." I was having thoughts of putting my baby in the oven or dropping him off the porch, but that was "normal." I would burst into tears thinking that my son would be better off with no mother at all, and that was "normal." After three sessions of him not listening, I never went back. My son was a very high-need baby and we were having dozens of problems caused by the way the hospital managed my delivery. (Since then, I have pretty much managed my own deliveries, and I've never had PPD again.)

Thanks for relating that incident when your husband walked the baby to sleep in sixty seconds. That happened to me over and over, and I always felt the same as you did.

Looking back, I only remember what an awful time it was. I feel like the depression robbed me of enjoying my first baby. Thanks for writing such an honest account of your experiences. It helps to know I'm not alone.

Next time I want to have a baby in springtime. Dorian was born in January, and when I look back at the first month of his life, I think the sun never rose. It was an eternal twilight, with the ineffective glow of compact fluorescent bulbs lighting our endless hours of nursing. Not long ago, I mentioned this to my mother, thinking that my sense of living in constant darkness was in response to sleep deprivation and massive hormonal shifts. Nope, she told me, it really WAS dark all the time. Those first few weeks of his life, heavy clouds never lifted, and the short hours of sun were muffled.

I'm very, very lucky to have escaped SAPP'D. I wasn't tired, just sad. If I hadn't had the help of my husband and mother, if I'd already had an older child who needed my attention, I'm sure it would have been a very different story. That's why next time I REALLY want a springtime baby. The morning sun is a drug....

Whoops, I meant to type "I wasn't sad, just tired." I'm not stupid, just tired. Dorian got us up FIVE TIMES last night, and I'm not used to it any more.

I would burst into tears thinking that my son would be better off with no mother at all, and that was "normal."

I went to a nice lady for some counseling in the first months of DS1's life, and she seemed to have the same reaction to my thoughts that if I got cancer or hit by a truck, it might be best for everyone. My official diagnosis was "adjustment disorder" ("with depressed mood and anxiety" were added in, not sure which she tacked on first though.)

This time around, I don't think I'm sad either, just tired. Mostly my own stupid sleep habits with the kids occasionally waking each other up in a chain reaction all night. I also don't get out of the house nearly enough and I think that's getting to me :( But it's nothing like with DS1's first months and I'm so glad.

That's a really cool story. This contest seems to have a strong motherhood theme. It makes me wonder if I could handle having children as well as you all have.

Oh, lots of memories triggered by this post! I know I need to write about my time with my first baby, but it was a dark, difficult time and I'm scared to re-live it (as I do whenever I try to record an experience in writing). I also feel guilt towards my daughter that her first months of life were not a joyous time and that I did not, could not, love her as much as I should have. It has helped so much to read about your experience.

Let me also add that I see all my new moms in the office at 2 wks post-partum. This is a PPD check. I tell the moms that it is NOT NORMAL to have fantasies of hurting themselves or the baby, and that if they find themselves fighting impulses to do stupid things (and I give examples) to CALL ME!!!! Among the stupid impulses - thinking about drinking the bleach or detergent that you are supposed to be putting in the washing machine, of dropping the baby off a bridge, of just going to sleep and not having to wake up - those are serious signs of issues that need to be addressed. The other thing I try to stress is that sometimes babies will 'behave' for dad when they won't for mom - and it isn't that mom is doing something wrong - it is just that the baby responds differently to different people. I joke about how good guys are at getting babies to burp (must be a guy thing getting all the gas out at both ends!) and if we can laugh about that then mom doesn't feel so bad that dad puts baby to sleep in 5 minutes after mom had been trying for hours. And don't forget, only mom can breastfeed baby, so dad should have lots of chances to figure out how he can be special to baby.
Some babies just help new moms to feel totally imcompetent. That is reality.
And folks, if you think babies and toddlers can screw up your married love life by refusing to go to sleep or by waking up at inappropriate times, just wait until you have teenagers in the house.

Beatiful. I love your writing.

I can relate to the sleep deprivation with babies. My youngest is now 4 and I don't ever want to go back to having a young baby. I had my last baby at 39, and the disturbed sleep makes you homicidical.

Even if you are at home how do you sleep if you have older children to get up to in the morning.

I like holding other people's babies now and then givng them back as I never want to go back to the dreary seemingly endless days of sleep deprivaton

Wow, can I relate. I remember so carefully planning how I would just take the credit card and the minivan and head down the interstate. Except I really couldn't leave the baby as he was a fully breastfed baby. And it would damage the big kids to leave them, so I'd take them. But how the heck would I handle it with all 3 by myself, so I'd just go alone. But I couldn't leave the baby... and on it would cycle. Finally a couple of friends intervened about the same time I came to the astonishing conclusion that I had PPD, and my OB helped me onto some good meds compatible with BFing (yes!! they are out there, it isn't necessary to wean!!), and I found a therapist to talk to.

It's a long dark tunnel, and I salute those of us who have emerged on the other side, and empathetically send my best wishes to those going through it...

Tia

Alicia's comments remind me of a clerk in a Catholic gift shop commenting that my baby preferred his father. (No, not "he's a daddy's boy," but "he prefers daddy.") He was 6 months old, but boy that still hurt! In the early days I remember bursting into tears at my husband insisting I was a "good mommy," and I basically only wanted to hold my son to attempt to nurse because I felt so worthless and guilty (and had to pump for several days there to get any milk into him, so I really wasn't holding him much.)

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