celebreality monday.

to be honest, i go through spurts when i'm terrified of having another baby.  the other day, i was right in the middle of the thought, 'i think two is all i can handle right now, let's maybe play the whole family-planning thing by ear for now...' when i remembered that we're already halfway through cooking kid #3.  and then, of course, i panicked.

(and to quell the obvious-yet-difficult-to-ask question, yes, we did plan this pregnancy.)  (and yes, it has been somewhat common for me to forget i'm pregnant.)

i was not this scared to bring penelope home, i don't think.  i remember having the typical 'having-the-second-kid' fears of how i would love her as much as i loved atticus (i do), and how i would have time to give them equal attention (it takes conscious effort), and when i would ever find time to sleep (i still have no answer for that).  i remember trying to anticipate difficulties like what it would be like to have two in diapers, and how i would iron out a cohesive schedule when they had different nap needs, and how i would address jealousy and rivalry if it should come up once we brought the new baby home.

but i had no idea how to anticipate how it all really played out, and looking back, i really believe i was struggling with postpartum depression for the first six months or so of penelope's life.  i didn't know it at the time, although i do remember thinking that i should get some counseling or something.  i just chalked it up to lack of sleep.

i had such a hard time bonding with penelope - i didn't want to look at her, i didn't want to touch her, i didn't want to hear her cry.  i fed her because i had to, i put her to sleep because it was the easiest way to pretend she wasn't there.  even when she was awake, she was such a good baby that she was perfectly content to lay on the floor or play in the swing, and i was perfectly happy to leave her alone to do her thing.  i could hardly get myself out of bed in the morning because i dreaded having to face whatever the day ended up looking like, and i stayed up way too late at night because i dreaded having to wake up in two hours for those middle-of-the-night feedings.  she had a hard time getting her nights and days ironed out at first, and i can't describe the pure anger i felt having to walk laps with her around the kitchen table, just desperate to go back to bed.

i recognized the thoughts at the time, but i knew how bad it would sound if i told anyone (including todd) that i didn't like being around, or touching, or talking to my own kid.  i had no desire to hurt her or myself (the signs they say you should look for in major postpartum), but i just couldn't handle her.  i couldn't handle reality.  and at that point, i kept thinking, 'i will never have another baby.  if todd wants a big family, we can adopt older kids, but i am never doing this again.'

looking back now, i needed help.  and there were warning signs: i developed anxiety attacks and insomnia, along with depression, around 20 weeks of pregnancy, which apparently never let up.  and my labor with penelope, while not medically eventful, was the exact opposite of what i had expected, and that really scared me.  i had such difficulty nursing, which i didn't expect.  and both a bad labor experience and difficulty nursing can contribute to postpartum.

i feel terrible looking back.  i can hardly remember anything about penelope for those months; everything is a blur.  i hate knowing that i thought those things about her - she's so perfect, and she was a wonderful kills me to know i thought those things about my own daughter.

and i can't do that again.  i can't think those things about another kid.  i can't let six months slip by where i am completely out of control.  and it scares me to think that it could happen again...and i'm halfway done with this pregnancy, and all i can think is that it can't go so fast.  i'm not ready to do this again.  and i keep thinking of the 'what-if's.

so that's where i'm at a lot of the time with the pregnancy.  happy and excited to be pregnant, but not thinking too much about the reality that pregnancy ends in birth...which results in a newborn...which scares me.  i'm just happy to be pregnant for now and to have it last a while longer.  in the meantime, todd and i are discussing the plan of attack for if this happens again - what are our options? are they safe?  are there side effects that are even less desirable than depression? how much do they cost? when and how will we decide when it gets bad enough (if it does) to warrant some kind of intervention? who will make the decisions?

and that's all preparing for the worst-case scenario; who knows? it might not even end up being an issue at all this time around.  and that's what we're praying for.  and i was hoping, if you're praying kind of folk, you could pray for me too.


Anonymous said...

I will be praying for you!!! And thank you for your honesty because sometimes the honest truth about motherhood, is just what we all need!

whenjeskasparks said...

i love you. this reminds me a lot of the scrubs episode where carla has ppd. it was a really honest look (as much as it can be for a sitcom) on how normal it all is and how you can get help without anyone thinking you're a bad parent. :)
your honesty is so inspiring. i'm so glad you've blazed the trail for me so when i'm there you can report back on what it was like.

Sarah said...

I had horrible ppd with Viggo. If you want to chat, I'd love to!