Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I can do it on my own

The good that came out of L - my therapist - being out of town for a month: In that month I discovered that I was feeling depressed, more than the typical "baby blues" hormonal adjustment post-partum period.

On my own:

1. I opened up to my midwife and told her how I was feeling at a time when I was not even sure what I was feeling, at a time when I was embarrassed about how I was feeling. But opening up allowed my midwife to share some important details about the birth. She told me that she was there when C came into the world and when she realised that I was going to have a general anaesthetic emergency c-section whe exercised her midwife privilege to attend the birth because she knew that without Abby there I'd need someone there. I told my midwife that I felt sad because "I lost it" during the birth. (I was making the assumption that if I had a natural "normal" birth that I would be the opposite of someone who lost it - that I'd be this amazing and powerful woman, and that I was intuitive, etc). She pointed out that I didn't lose it at all, that I was powerful no matter the birth (and maybe even moreso because of the birth I did have), and that I was so incredibly intuitive and aware of my body because I was the one who kept saying, "something is wrong." "Do you remember saying that to me?" she asked. I said it way before she discovered the meconium in my water.

2. I cried to my mother and told her how I was feeling. Not just once, but several times over the period of a week or so. I have never felt safe sharing my feelings with my mom. In my childhood, she stifled my feelings. But when I told her how I was feeling - I did so knowing that if I had to stand up to her and find safety in my feelings I would. It turns out I didn't have to. We are closer as a result.

3. I found and attended a support group and told them how I was feeling. I attended for only three sessions over three weeks. I found out that I was not alone in my feelings. I was not the only mother who felt this mixture of sadness and anxiety and confusion.

4. I got in touch with my family doctor and told her how I was feeling. She gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant. I never filled the prescription because I learned that anti-d's show up in breast milk. I reasoned that while my brain is fully developed, C's is not and I didn't want to introduce chemicals to her system that alter brain chemistry. The side effects to the baby could be listlessness and trouble sleeping. Not worth it to me when I considered her beginning and the medications she was on during her hospital stay. I was scared though to not take the anti-d, at the time I really felt so low and so stuck that I believed it would be my only way out.

5. I started writing in my paper journal very randomly and very non-judgementally. I decided to do this after deciding not to take the anti-d. It was my way of facing my fear that maybe I wouldn't get better for a long time. I was settling in for the long haul. Writing is therapeutic.

6. I made sure that I stayed open to my partner by sharing my feelings on a regular basis. This helped me to shift my perspective. This also allowed me to ask for help if I needed it. "Can you take the baby while I write in my journal?"

7. I made sure that I stayed open to myself by not running from my most difficult feelings. I wasn't always successful with this, but I tried. And some of my most powerful realisations and perspective shifts came to me when I was open.

I wish that during the most difficult time post-partumly that I could've opened up more to my friends. I couldn't. For whatever reason. And the truth is no one friends-wise really knows that I have been struggling with depression.


Jen said...

hi sandra - just found your blog today and so much of it is ringing familiar to me. i'm about 3 months ahead of you but so many similarities - we have a baby girl too, unplanned c-section, been with our partners 10 years, multiple IUIs, working through PPD, etc.

anyway, glad to have found you.
keep writing and i'll keep reading.

sandra said...

We do have lots in common - glad you found me.

Are you blogging too?

Jen said...

i'm not but i think about doing it all the time. instead, i'm writing in an old-fashioned notebook. it's working for the moment. :)

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