Happiness is not a matter of events, it depends upon the tides of the mind.
Instead of posting an interview today, I want to share a piece of me with you. Yes, I know I’ve been doing that already but this is deeper and darker. You see, I found my journal from my first Postpartum experience. I shared a brief piece of this with a mom who contacted me the other day and it resonated so strongly with her and made me realize I need to share this openly. Keep in mind that I sought and was refused help at the three month mark – the first entry I share is from her 3 month birthday. So here goes.
July 26, 2004
Today is Allison’s 3 month birthday. I can’t believe we’ve made it 3 months. 1/4 of the way to a year. I’m still exclusively breastfeeding her. I’ve had to give her formula twice – once, the night she came home because she just wouldn’t take the breast, the second time she was being extremely fussy and wouldn’t eat. I couldn’t let my baby starve.
Wow. 3 months of life with a baby. And I am still feeling like I’ve been hit over the head with a frying pan. Sure there are glorious glimpses of normalcy and happiness but mostly I stare at the clutter, worry about our bills, get upset at the dogs for waiting until Alli has latched on to let me know they need to go O-U-T and they gotta go NOW. And Chris has had this kidney stone problem since she was about a month old. That’s been fun. He’ll be having surgery on Wednesday so now I’m worrying about that bill too.
In case you can’t tell, today was one of those days. I called my mom this morning. She answers the phone and asks if she can call me back. But the way she asks sounds like she’s crying. So I freak out and think something horrid has happened to my kid brother who’s in jail. Turns out it was just a laugh that I misinterpreted.
Then later today I’ve attempted to put Alli in her crib for a nap but she’s not napping – no – she’s screaming. And Chris flippantly comments (and I quote) “Geez, you’d think someone was killing her!” THANKS! I’m already having a hard enough time listening to her cry and now you go and put the very image I struggle every day to keep out at the very forefront of my mind. I rush through the rest of the dishes and go to comfort my crying daughter. She did eventually nap – in her swing for about 30 minutes. It gave me enough time to get caught up with Thank You notes. I had gotten just a little behind. Now we just need stamps. Gotta wait until we have a spare $7.40 though. Maybe next week.
Allison did get a couple of presents in the mail today. She got a cute little outfit from her great-aunt’s friend and two books from my deceased step-mother’s sister. There was a very touching note in the card stating that Grandpa Cam & Grandma Helen would have loved having a great grandaughter. I’m sure they know. This little girl has quite an army of angels looking out for her.
My hand is hurting from writing so much. I’d better go. Don’t know how much longer I’ll be awake for. I’m exhausted and my neck & shoulders are killing me. I’ll write again when I can. Thanks for listening.
July 30, 2004
I put my underwear on inside out this morning. Should have paid attention to that sign. It was a really shitty day emotionally. Alli and I did just fine for the most part – until lunch. We met Chris’ parents at Golden Dragon – and Greg & Cindy were there. GRRRRR. I was not in social butterfly mode and really not up to faking it. We sat down and then Mom offered to watch Alli while we got our food. I came back, set my blate down and went to get some soup. Mom’s sitting there talking to some friend of the family in my seat and doesn’t move so I can sit down and friggin eat. So she finally moves and I sit down. Of course Alli immediately starts to fuss and I have to soothe her with my right hand and try to eat with my left. ARGH. She got fussier and fussier. I had to leave after about 4 forkfuls. So I drive her home (she of course, FALLS ASLEEP halfway home) On the way home I was both relieved and pissed off. Relieved because she saved me from having to be social; pissed off because I didn’t get to eat. She woke up as soon as we got home and I fed her. Called my mom and cried. I was/am so completely emotionally exhausted that the prospect of a busy afternoon was absolutely overwhelming. Oh, and the doctor’s office called to reschedule my appt yet again on monday with the psychologist. So told them that I just wanted to cancel the appt. Obviously they aren’t a reliable source of help for this sort of thing.
After I finished feeding Alli, Grandmama showed up. Once Chris and Mom got home, I just collasped. I ate, then I came into the bedroom and layed down. I remember staring at the wall – just laying there trying to feel something – anything. I didn’t even go say goodbye to Grandmama. I didn’t have the strength. I think Chris is really starting realize how much of a toll all of this is taking on me. He let me sleep from 3-345p and then Alli needed to nurse.
The good part of this day was that once we put Alli to bed, we went and saw Spiderman II with Greg & Cindy. Was nice to get out and do something with other adults, even if it was just sitting in a dark theatre and watching a movie.
Chris is asleep next to me at the moment and our legs are intertwined. Well, they were. He just moved. I love him so much. I hate that he has to see me go through this but I’m also glad he’s the one I’m with – I know he will do anything to help and I really need that right now.
I’m pretty tired and my back and neck are still pretty sore. I better go to sleep – it’s the only time I don’t feel the pain.
As I have grown and continue to grow in my knowledge and support of women and families struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorders, so has a dream of mine. And right now, it is just that – a dream. One day I hope it will become reality. This dream would be realized in the founding of an all inclusive Maternal and Child Services Center.
The Center would be non-profit to allow for sliding scale fees so that no woman or family would have to be turned away. Women of childbearing age would be accepted – intake would consist of consultation with a Nutritionist, a Case Manager to aid in Mental Health, and of course, an OB or Nurse Midwife. Once pregnant, monthly visits with the OB or NM would continue until the eighth month of pregnancy with special appointments with the Nutritionist and Case Manager scheduled every three months or more often as needed. Doulas would also be available. Childcare would also be provided on site to remove the stress of finding child-care for appointments from the mother or family’s life. We would have on-site birthing and recovery as well as Postpartum Cottages for in-patient psychiatric care – homes where a Postpartum Doula and nurses would work round the clock as the family stayed together to recover – rather than being torn apart. Days for Postpartum Care would include therapy for both mom and dad as well as joint parenting classes. At night, Dinner would be a joint effort amongst all patients – creating socialization opportunities for confidence to bloom again in this area.
We would also offer on-site Pediatric Care with Pediatricians trained to recognize signs and symptoms in both mother and child of Postpartum Mood Disorders. Children would be eligible for this care until age twelve.
Regular support for breastfeeding, formula feeding, loss of breastfeeding relationship, infant loss, miscarriage, special needs infants, Postpartum Mood Disorders in both mothers and fathers as well as classes on infant massage, yoga, and other alternative treatment options for soothing stress in families with young children would also be available.
Overall, the primary staff would consist of a Center Director, Social Workers, Psychiatrist, OBs, Nurse Midwives, Lactation Consultants and Counselors, Doulas, Nurses, Nutritionists, Peer Support Specialists, Pediatricians and Childcare Specialists.
During the Childbearing years, it is of utmost importance women take care of themselves, their bodies, and their families. This Center would enable them to do so by informing and empowering them of their options as well as providing quality comprehensive care for every aspect of their lives during this time, something all women deserve to have access to, no matter what their social or financial standing.
In the past six weeks, we have all been sick.
Two trips to the hospital (with two different kids for two entirely different reasons), one rushed trip to the pediatrician due to a seriously swollen and red bug bite, a head cold that won’t quit for all of us girls, and that’s just all the stuff besides normal every day life.
In fact, I’ve gone to bed before eight pm twice this week. Yes, twice. This week. And it just started!
The house is a wreck.
Days are crazy again due to the whole one vehicle thing – my schedule is insane. I feel like I should just set up shop in the car. I’m up and out the door by 715 every morning (this means waking up at 530 so I can have the girls showered, fed, and dressed) to take Alli to school – then home. Chris gets ready for work and then we pack Charlotte and Cameron up around 9 and take him to work. Then home. Then lunch and nap. Up and out the door by 215 to go pick up Alli. Then home for an hour and a half and then off with all three kids to pick up Chris. No wonder I’m asleep before my head even hits the pillow most nights.
I’m not resentful at all – this is just what we have to do right now so we do it. Life is so full of everyday challenges. If it wasn’t, I’d be bored. We’d all be bored without the daily drama regardless of how much we may moan about it.
Hopefully we’ll get the other truck working soon. We think the starter needs to be replaced but man that’ll be nice.
Another nice thing is the falling gas prices. I never thought I’d be ready to throw a party just because gas is actually less than three dollars/gallon.