No, I'm not talking about my favorite color, but postpartum depression, the condition made famous when Brooke Shields told the whole world that it made her feel like throwing her baby at the wall.
Being paranoid, I was sure I was going to suffer from this. You know me, always thinking worst case scenario, I imagined Postpartum Psychosis as some kind of demon that was going to take over my body like a poltergeist and get me to commit some horrendous act which would then result in me being the new "bombshell tonight" on an episode of Nancy Grace where they found the worst picture ever tagged of me on Facebook and threw it all over the TV screen while people called in to tell her how great her twins are and how evil I am.
Disclaimer: I have a very wild imagination. But from what I hear about PPP, it can turn a totally normal person into a psychotic killer. Susan Smith's husband was just on TV the other day saying he had no warning whatsoever and still doesn't understand why she killed their kids. I mean, you just can't be too careful! So that's why I talked to my dr about my fears and made sure he would give me whatever pills I thought I needed if I showed signs of PPD and just knowing that I could get help as soon as I needed it gave me a huge sense of relief.
The doctor said that almost every new mom experiences the "baby blues" due to dramatic hormonal changes and that it was only a cause for concern if it lasted longer than two weeks. That doesn't mean that if a woman makes it to the two week mark without developing PPD that she won't develop it in the future but I was counting down the first two weeks nonetheless and over-analyzing every mood swing, ready to call the Dr at a moment's notice.
Here's the lowdown:
I was fine in the hospital but I definitely noticed a change in me once we got home. I could go from happy as a pig in shit to sobbing hysterics in seriously less than one second. And I had no control over it, either. It was insane.
I thought my baby was perfect. He wasn't ugly (tell me I'm not the only person to worry about this), he wasn't fussy, he was sleeping well at night and even at a few days old I thought he had so much personality. And I kept thinking to myself what did I do to deserve something so perfect? I've never built a house for homeless people, volunteered at a soup kitchen or sent any money to the animals in that awful Sheryl Crow commercial! I think bad things about people in my head at times, especially people on MTV's reality shows. Sometimes I'm mean to my mom (sorry, mom). I haven't even been to church since my wedding day! I don't deserve this perfect child! I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the rug to be pulled out from under me. I felt like the only way something this good was going to happen to me was if something bad happened to me in exchange.
I guess you could say I was acting a little crazy. I checked his temperature about 4 times a day, I googled pictures of baby poop to make sure his was normal and I didn't sleep very much because I was afraid of SIDS. I tried giving him a pacifier since it's supposed to lower the risk of SIDS but he wouldn't take it which caused a burst of hysterics from me in the middle of the night.
That crazyiness lasted about 4 days.
At one week postpartum I went to the OB's office to get my staples removed. We were told to make an appt for my 6-week check-up. On the way out of the office that I'd been coming to once a week, as we walked through the lobby and I smelled the familiar scent of the coffee bar, I realized that after my 6 week appt I would have no reason to ever come here again and that made me cry. The OB office had been such a big part of my life for the last 9 months. It's where we saw our perfect looking sac, where we first heard Ian's heartbeat, where we first saw his cute little profile, and now all of that was over and it made me sad. Silly, huh?
And Brian, bless his heart, just took my hand and told me he couldn't wait until the two weeks were up.
I've been doing fine since then. My mom was staying with us the first week to help out and I think that contributed to my anxiety a little because it made me wonder if I could do it all on my own once she left. Now that she's gone I've discovered I can do it and that's just about as good as any drug the dr could have prescribed.
I still have a few moments here and there. I did get a little sad when I went to the hospital to return my breast pump, knowing I would most likely never return to the place where the most amazing day of my life occurred. And when someone made a comment on FB that I shouldn't take my baby in public so soon I did stay up in a panic until 4:30am checking for signs of meningitis. But for the most part I've been a happy mom. I don't want to spend too much time dwelling on all the bad things that could happen. I'd rather just enjoy the great things that do happen...like this face, so content after a bath...
And the perfect day we spent together as a family yesterday...
I made it through those two weeks of baby blues and I feel great! PPD can show up months later out of nowhere so I'm not in the clear just yet, but I'm not afraid anymore either. Being aware of myself and my feelings, knowing I can get help if I need it, and not being afraid to admit when I need it, those are the things that will save me from PPD. One thing I'm sure of is that I'm definitely not going to be making any cameos on Nancy Grace.