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.