It’s all fun and games ’til someone gets PPA…

Posted on | March 9, 2010 | 12 Comments

Yesterday, a paralegal at my office brought in her brand spanking new baby… three weeks old. He was, in a word, adorable. As we chatted about all the fun “new mom” things, it got me thinking back to when J was born and all the drama and wonder that unfolded then. All the stuff people forget to tell you or don’t want to admit to. Stuff that you think will *never* happen to you but totally will because it happens to a lot of moms and who are you to think you’re better than that.

So I sat there after she left and sort of felt like crying a little because a) her son was so cute and little b) her son was so… quiet and c) being a mom is hard and it sometimes just makes me want to cry. Is that strange? Is it strange that something so wonderful can also be really really really terrifying and sad? I worry pretty much constantly about J and what he’s doing and how he’s doing and well… everything. One of my Blogger friends posted a heartbreaking post admitting to the world that she has PPD and is struggling with it. (You can check that out here). I read it when she posted it and sort of hid it away for review later, along with my thoughts on things like why no one cans strawberries and the root of the phrase “Luke warm.” PPD was for sissys. PPD was what people went through when they couldn’t get their stuff together. It certainly wasn’t worth mulling over for *me.* I’m superwoman, right?

Those of you who read this on any kind of semi-regular basis may remember how difficult this whole sleepless nights thing has gotten for me. Husband was at his wits end with me because I was mad… all the time. When J would start to cry, I would get mad. Not worried about his safety or well-being, straight. up. mad. I wanted him to just suck it up and go to sleep. Yeah… he’s a baby. Get over yourself. But it’s how I reacted every time. And Husband is not good with crying babies… especially not ones that only want their momma. So it fell on me to do… EVERYTHING. I was stressed out at work. I came home in a foul mood only to be thrust into a second career of mom-extraordinnaire. I couldn’t get my head on straight and all I wanted to do was pack a bag and leave for a few days just to be “ME” again. (Whoever that was.)

I really thought I was doing pretty good and holding everything together until February rolled around and J was sick for 28 days straight. That’ll drive a girl to drink, right? Well it drove me to the brink of frustration. Okay, PAST the brink of frustration. I dreaded night time and I hated myself for it. I didn’t want to stay at work, but going home just felt like such a burden. J only wanted me. All the time. Constantly. And he screamed so much that it felt like my ears were going to jump off the side of my head and say “See ya. We didn’t sign up for this mess.”

So I started getting more and more frustrated, as evidenced by my depressing posts that made me wonder why anyone in their right mind still stopped by to read. Husband didn’t know what to do. He gave me “days off” where he would instruct me to sit on the sofa all day with J and he would clean the house and do the laundry. It was such a nice gesture but it didn’t help. Nothing seemed to help. I wanted to throw plates against a wall and scream like a four year old who doesn’t know anything about propriety.

And to top it all off, I was… anxious. I started waking up in the middle of the night convinced that someone had broken in to the house and were just waiting for the opportune time to bust in and hurt J. I would lie in bed rolling down the list of Tweets from west coasters and thinking to myself “When is this going to get better.” I was starting to feel like there was no light at the end of the tunnel I was in… it was just a tunnel that was carrying me farther and farther into some hole I didn’t particularly want to be in but didn’t know how to get out of. In short, I was terrified.

So Husband and I talked. And talked. And talked. And I blogged… a lot… about how I was frustrated and tired and blah blah blah. None of that was helpful. We decided (okay, HE BEGGED) that I would go in to see my OB, who I love more than my luggage and just talk to him about how I’ve been feeling.

I’ve never felt so … embarrassed… in all my life. I walked into the waiting room full of new moms with their babies still with the tags on and I felt like I had a big fat FAILURE stamped on my forehead. To make it worse, a friend of a friend was in there with her new little one and she recognized me. So I had to pretend like I was great (something I’ve become pretty familiar with) and that I was sooooo excited to see her baby. Granted, he was really cute, but seeing him made me almost start crying. Finally they called me back and by then I’m starting to wonder if I *really* need to be there. I didn’t want to tell my doctor how I’d been feeling because I was terrified he would think I was a bad mom. I didn’t want ANYONE to know how I’d been feeling. So when the nurse asked what was going on, I said “Well, I’m just a little stressed and Husband wanted me to come in and talk to Dr. Sweetness.” She nodded and said he’d be right in.

The longer I waited, the more I wanted to get up and leave. If I left, no one would ever have to know what I was feeling or thinking. I could just keep pretending like it was all okay if I left. But just as I’d made up my mind to walk out and say “Nevermind. I’m okay!” He came in. And seriously, he’s probably one of the sweetest people in the world. I love him. When he wasn’t on call when I went into labor I whined and moaned and even did a lot of begging until the on call doctor actually called Dr. Sweetness on his cell phone. Unfortunately he was out of town for a concert so I had to make do, but he came to see us first thing the next morning. Sorry, I digress.

He came in, all sweet as normal and says simply “Hey! So what’s been going on?”

I. Lost. It.

Seriously. All of it, whatever of “it” I had left. I started boo-hooing like I had lost everything in a house fire and Ty Pennington was standing in front of me yelling “Move that Bus!” And I’m not a crier. I don’t like to cry in front of people, even Husband. So much for down-playing things, I guess. I still tried to crack a few jokes but the good doctor wasn’t really buying it. By the time I finished sobbing out how tired and stressed and scared and anxious I was, he was handing me tissues by the fistful.

He finally looked at me and said, “Well, I’m not going to say that being a new mom isn’t tough. And I’m not going to say that there aren’t a lot of women who get overwhelmed by it. What I am going to tell you is that I think you are justifiably overwhelmed with everything that’s been going on with J and life in general.” He said a lot of other things, but the “justifiably overwhelmed” hit home and for some reason, having a healthcare professional say that to me with a straight face just made me feel so much better. It wasn’t just me. It was justifiable. How I was feeling was JUSTIFIED. What a wonderful release that was. He went on to say that sometimes Postpartum Anxiety goes without treatment because all new moms are so anxious and he thinks that maybe, just maybe, a little medicinal help might “take the edge off” my stress levels.

I still don’t quite know how I feel about being medicated, to be honest. I read this horrible story online about a new mom who took Zoloft and started hallucinating that she was killing her baby, so you can see where I’d be a bit alarmed. (CURSE YOU GOOGLE). But, I’m going to try it out in a small dosage and see if it helps. If not, I’ll just stick to being all Eeyore-ish on my blog and see how many readers I can scare off. For now, all it seems to be doing is giving me headaches, which are apparently a “normal” part of taking the medicine until your body gets used to it. That does NOT make me feel warm and fuzzy, but if it’ll help me get my self together, I’ll give it a try.

I wasn’t going to share. I thought this was something best kept to myself. But I was just so impressed with Blair’s honesty and willingness to put herself out there that I thought, “The lady deserves some support for that.” Plus, she was kind enough to email back and forth with me sharing stories and in general making me feel like less of a failure and more like a member of a crappy club that no one wants to be a part of but somehow I got stuck in! So in support of her honesty, I’m outing myself. I have PPA. And that’s what’s going on with me. Sorry it isn’t all that amusing, but being a new mom, as most of you know, can’t always be funny. (Just most of the time, right?)


12 Responses to “It’s all fun and games ’til someone gets PPA…”

  1. Rebekah
    March 9th, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

    Hugs and kisses, my bloggy buddy! And good on ya for going to get help. My sister took Zoloft for her PPD and it became her favorite thing in the world. You're a great mom and I'm cheering you on all the way!

  2. Lydia B.
    March 9th, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

    You are not alone. I have slept 8 hours in three days and feel like I'm going crazy. And you are dealing with this, getting up, putting on your big girl pants and going to your job as a LAWYER where people pay you to be smart. I put on my crocs and drive my kids to school in my pajamas, come home and drink enough coffee to be able to function so I can get through the day. And you write one of my favorite blogs without the benefit of a Kate. You are awesome and I think you are even awesomer for sharing this.
    Rock on, Mommy.
    xo, Lydia

  3. metta1313
    March 9th, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

    Thanks so much for your courage to share! After my day yesterday (you saw the post already) I'm thinking it's time for me to have a conversation about this.

  4. Deanne
    March 9th, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

    Hooray for you! I know EXACTLY how you feel and was in that same position after my second child! You ARE doing the right thing! I was very unsure about the medication, but it just helps to take the edge off and put things into perspective. I promise! And if it isn't helping, try a different medication! It may not be forever, just until you are sleeping normally again. Although in my case, I have decided that I like being medicated! I am now on a quest to get medical marijuana approved on my health plan – I am thinking that might lighten things up a work a bit!

  5. The818
    March 9th, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

    Wow, what a day to find your blog. I came over from Top Mommy Blogs because your title made me laugh, but this?: " Is it strange that something so wonderful can also be really really really terrifying and sad?" I could have written that myself.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Yesi
    March 9th, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

    You are not alone. This morning I actually looked at my six month old in the eyes and told him "if you don't stop waking up every 2 hours mommy is going to have to send you back to the pound", which is usually a threat reserved for my dogs. This doesn't make me a bad mom does it? I just have to keep reminding myself that things have to get better. Keep blogging, its the first thing I read even before I'm out of bed. Lots of hugs~

  7. ~*Jess*~
    March 9th, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

    Wow, sorry you are facing this. I hope the meds help and so did your weekend away! Hang in there and I know you'll rock it.

  8. Blair
    March 9th, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

    Love you like luggage. You are brave, & kind, & a fabulous mother for even stepping up to this & giving it the first bitch-slap.

    "I couldn't get my head on straight and all I wanted to do was pack a bag and leave for a few days just to be "ME" again. (Whoever that was.)"

    Oh, & that right there? Could have written it myself. But you know that already. I'm here for you, e-miga.

  9. Caitie
    March 9th, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

    I am so proud of you. Seriously.
    It takes so much more courage to step up to the plate and seek some relief for yourself than to keep holding it all inside.
    It was the right thing for you to do! I am thinking of you and am very proud….if that's the right word. Please keep me posted on how you continue to feel as the days progress.

  10. Carol
    March 9th, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

    You are an amazing friend, mom, co-worker, spouse, lawyer, blog writer, I could go on and on! You have more going on in your life day to day than most people have in an entire year. So what if you need a little help? I would think it strange if you didn't!! In fact, can you get a script for 2?

  11. Krista @ Not Mommy of the Year
    March 10th, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

    Honestly, I had never heard the PPA phrase before, but it explains A LOT. As does the "justifiably overwhelmed" phrase. I have days where I think about how HARD having a new baby and a busy job is and I just want to get in the car and drive until no one can find me. Like you, often times my kid only wants me at night and it's hard having people (your boss, coworkers, husband, kid) want something from you all. the. time.

    Thanks for posting this. It makes me feel better to know that others feel the weight of it too. Hang in there!

  12. ACE
    March 10th, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

    A wise mother I know, who happens to be closely related to you, has many good mantras. One is "throw it off the cliff". Another one is, "whatever it takes". I try to keep these wise words in mind when I'm feeling desperate. You've got wise and supportive people available to you and you are smart to let them help. You're gonna make it, girl 🙂

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