Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mama Time- Just the Blues?

Mama Time button

As you may have noticed in recent weeks, my appearances in the blogosphere have been significantly less than any time in the past 6 months.  About 4 weeks ago, around the time Lion Cub reached 11 weeks old, I began to feel not quite like myself.  More than tired, which is obviously normal for a mama of two little ones, I began to feel significantly fatigued.  My motivation to do much of anything all but vanished completely, and I could be brought to tears at nearly any moment of the day for the most obscure possible reasons.  To be frank, I felt very similar to how I felt after my miscarriage two years ago- just not right. 


On top of all that, some harsh reminders of the past came back into the "picture," which hurt me deeply and caused me to spiral into a state of questioning and despair about my current life.  To others involved it may have seemed silly and small, but it pained me to the core and brought nothing short of heartbreak, misery, frustration and outright anger.  I felt defeated and hopeless.  


After taking a pregnancy test to rule out that incredibly small possibility, I was forced to face the most likely culprit for the way I had been feeling- Postpartum Depression.  Many people don't realize that PPD can strike at any point in the first year postpartum, and has so many varying degrees that the preferred term has now been changed to Postpartum Mood Disorders.

"Well, maybe you just have the Baby Blues," you might be thinking, but by definition, the Baby Blues occur in the first days following birth when the mother experiences a significant shift in her hormones, and then passes.  I am quite sure that what I have been facing goes much beyond that, after all, it popped up at two months postpartum and has lasted a number of weeks.  The comment has also been made to me (by our pediatrician no less) that I have been smiling during the boys' appointments, so I must be fine.  This assumption, based on a plastic smile pasted on for public outings, seems rather silly in my opinion and lacking in much credibility!  Just because I haven't hit the road and headed out of town or demonstrated some violent display of bitter rage, doesn't mean that I haven't been under the burden of some degree of PPD.

So, what do I do?  I don't think that medication is the answer- not that some people don't need it, it just isn't right for me.  At no point in the near future am I going to have the chance to skip town and spend a few days by myself (or even with my husband or a close friend) to get a break and recharge my batteries.  My options are limited.  
What I have done is prayed, a lot.  I have sought out the help of family (many of my friends have had their own issues to deal with lately or simply been out of town).  I have tried to get out of the house as much as possible.  I have tried to get a few minutes of quiet each day to read or do something for me (usually when the little people in my life are sleeping- so there is no guarantee this one will happen!).  I have tried to help others, for a variety of reasons, including taking the time to focus on what someone else is going through instead of what I am.  I have begun to wake up every morning knowing that I have to choose to make that day productive and joyful, and so I try to, most days anyway.  Each day gets a little bit better than the last.

As for that other situation, those reminders of the past.  Well, I don't discredit those feelings just because I have been dealing with Postpartum Depression.  Obviously, either situation would be hard enough to deal with by itself, but handling them together has only compounded my emotions.  I have tried to reign in my thoughts on the matter and move on, again, but that of course is not to say that the problem doesn't need to come to some sort of resolve.  The issue still must be addressed and concluded before I can fully get past it, but such is life.

Can any of you relate?  Have you been facing your own postpartum trials and would like to share, or vent?  Do you have any solutions to the issue, things you have been doing to help ease the pain?  I sincerely believe that postpartum mamas need each other, and simply relating to one another on a topic that others not in this season of life can rarely understand, is oh so helpful.  So please, link up!


HappilyDomestic said...

I can relate! I had PPD (REAL BAD)after the birth of my son. In fact, it started before I even left the hospital! It didn't make any sense to me. I wanted this baby, we planned him, I love him dearly...so why did I feel so awful? This went on for 5 months. I felt like there was a big black cloud following me around. I felt like the enemy was trying to steal my joy.
The only thing that got me through those times was the support of my husband and best friend. They prayed with me anytime I needed it. I felt as though I had to fight for my happiness and didn't always feel that I won.
This next baby, I am honestly nervous about having to face these feelings once again. I was suggested to take B-vitamins, and use progesterone cream to help balance my hormones. I am going to start ASAP and continue to use these natural tools to combat this vicious attack. You may want to try these things.
I will be praying for you too! My heart goes out to you, as i know what a struggle it is to have PPD. Hang in there!

Laura said...

((Hugs)) I am sorry you are having to deal with this. You might want to try taking a fish oil supplement. My midwife says she has seen women totally cure really bad PPD with one. 2 - 8 capsules a day. I know I feel a lot more on edge and short with my toddler when I don't take it. Take care.

{lauren} said...

I feel very blessed that I never really experienced any baby blues, depression, or anything after having Noah, and I commend you for sharing your story! I certainly hope to never experience it in the future, but it is awesome to know that there is support out there. And know that you have support here too! You'll be in my prayers for sure:)

Rachel said...

I did not experience PPD, but I suffer from Bipolar Disorder (which it amazed me that I escaped PPD since I already have an underlying mood disorder). I used to take meds for it, but for the last 8 years, I've managed med-free. Maybe some of this can help you, even though the mechanics of the two disorders are probably a little different.

Stay hydrated
Minimalize your intake of simple sugars and carbohydrates
Get at least 20 minutes of sunshine each day (if it's icky outside, at least let as much sunlight into your house as you can and spend time gazing out into it)
Start taking omega 3's, fish oil is best
Eat whole foods as much as possible
Listen to music that makes you feel happier (usually for me this is up-beat stuff, because anything slow may sound depressing if I'm already leaning that way)

Hard to do but try if you can:
Keep your stress as low as possible (for me, this is the most essential thing for keeping my moods stable)
Get enough sleep at night (but not too much) (for me, this is the second most essential thing)

Because PPD is related to hormones, you might also try taking evening primrose capsules.

Depression is awful, and I can only imagine how much it is compounded by having little ones around who need your constant care and attention. Hang in there and I hope things look up!
I am not Christian, but I'll keep your family in my thoughts. :-)

BabeeLove said...

I can relate and feel so bad that I can't be there to help you out. I had 'the baby blues' or ppd alot longer with my second than my first. But NO one wanted to be there was anything wrong with me. They thought I was being bitchy. I couldn't control myself and my emotions. How did I deal with it? I was good friends with my neighbor and we would always vent to each other and went through the same things. That definitely helps. I don't believe in medication either. Try and take MORE time for yourself. You have to...I know it's hard. I hope everything gets better, It will get better :)

Jen said...

I am right there with you. My third baby is two months old and I am going through it right now as well. I will pray for you. I wish I had some answers, but all I know is that I can't do it alone and I must rely on my Savior to help me through it. That said it is still not easy. I am actually going to see a naturopathic doctor to see if I can find any answers there. Best wishes!