Monday, March 5, 2012

I wanna talk about Post Partum Depression

I know. You'd think with my kid being over three years old I'd be over it, right? But no. I'm not.

I think about it a lot, in fact. Think about how I was. Things I did or didn't do. Wonder if other women have it. As much attention as it's getting (now, as compared to years past), it still feels like something we don't talk about nearly enough.

There's still too much stigma attached to it.

I came across this post about misconceptions re: PPD, and I get it.

FireMan didn't, doesn't, and hasn't ever talked about my his our experience with PPD, so I honestly don't know exactly what he was thinking. Or still thinks.

If any of those misconceptions, I think FireMan might have had the first one: "Women who are depressed cannot function."

Maybe. He's never really said.

The only reason I say this is because sometimes I thought (still) think that he never realized how sick I was, because I was functioning, I was getting by.

Honestly, taking the context out of the home and looking back at some of my actions & behaviors during my post partum months, I cannot believe none of my co-workers raised the red flag.

I know I work with men (who can sometimes be oblivious to details), and I know they travel frequently, but... I still cannot believe that not one saw a serious problem. Or at least, no one talked to me about it, or reported me (we have a hotline here for such issues).

But I suppose it was because I was "functioning".

I got my work done. On time. The work was still done well.

Sure, my personality had completely changed, I didn't care about anything, I was barely recognizable, and  on occasion got into yelling matches with my supervisor in open office space, but... I was functioning, so I must be fine, right?

Wrong.

I was not fine. Not even close.

Functioning does not mean okay.

You know, one of my co-workers recently battled cancer. He never stopped working. Sure, he took off here & there for doctors' appointments, called in when he was overwhelmed by the chemo & radiation treatments, and was more emotional than usual.

But he was still functioning.

In fact, he didn't want pity, so he only told three of us about his illness. The rest don't even know. That's how well he functioned.

Since he was functioning, he must've been fine, right?

Wrong.

Here's the truth about me:

I remember not wanting to move. I remember hearing FireGirl cry and not wanting to get up. I remember not feeling like I could get up. I remember not feeling anything. I remember thinking that I should feel more sympathetic towards this little being who was depending on me to feed her, change her diaper, and hold her.

But I didn't feel that way. I didn't want to do it.

But... for me... there was still a voice in my head saying "you're her mom, get up and do it". And so I did.

Even when I didn't want to. Even when I felt nothing. Even when inside I really could have cared less that she was hungry and lying in a poopy diaper.

I felt nothing. I didn't feel like I cared at all.

But I was her mom. So I did it.

Something inside of me compelled me to take care of her, even when the rest of me wanted to lie in bed all day long.

Sometimes I think she saved me from experiencing the depths of depression, because she was my only motivation for getting up, for moving, for existing outside of my bed / couch / wherever I happened to have ended up.

I don't know why that compulsion forced me to get up and take care of her, but others just can't will themselves out of bed.

I don't know.

The only answer I have is that PPD, while there are similarities, affects each of us differently.

And I know that approximately 15% of pregnant women in this country will end up with Post Partum Depression. If you include PP-PTSD, PP-Anxiety, PP-OCD, the statistic rises. And of course, that statistic only includes those who self-reported or received help in the first place.

Fifteen percent. Fifteen out of 100. Three out of 20. Nearly one in seven women will suffer from PPD following their pregnancies.

I want to talk about it, because I want other moms to be able to talk about it.

I want to talk about it, because I want to find a way to help that mom get out of bed to tend to her child.

I want to talk about it, because it needs to be talked about.

Because moms (and husbands, and family members, and friends, and co-workers) need to understand that just because she's functioning, doesn't mean she's fine.

Yeah. I wanna talk about Post Partum Depression.

4 comments:

areyoukiddingme said...

You absolutely should talk about it...

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

'Functioning does not mean okay'- you are absolutely so correct. If more people talked about more life situations like this, the world would be a better place. Honesty is freeing and good and can only lead to a better life for everyone. Share, talk and be free. Nothing is over just because time has gone by. Time itself heals nothing. Your desire to be productive with the experience you have had is to be admired.

Firehousecrafts said...

I went through it too...except now it seems to have turned into pmdd. My boys are 3 and 4 now. I do not like having the pmdd but now at least only ten days to two weeks are affected instead of the whole month. I agree...people meed to talk more openly about these thing.

SuperHerosWife said...

I think the "Have to cause I'm the MOM" might have saved my life...with both of my kids ;~*)
All of these years later, I'm consciously GREATFUL to them for that

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