Thursday, October 29, 2009

Great Expectations

So I'm finding out that life with two kids is definitely full.

Full of laughs...full of love...and full of laundry!

But you won't find me complaining (most of the time, anyway) because I couldn't be more thankful. A few nights ago, when both our kiddos were sleeping soundly, I looked over at Chris and said, "These are the sweetest days. The ones we will look back on when our kids have long since flown the nest and we are old and gray. We'll sit on the porch and rock as we reflect on the memories of what we are living right this very moment."

He smiled and agreed with me. And then promised to remind me of that on the days when the kids are whining and fussing for no good reason.

Point taken.

Thankfully, the seond time around I'm able to fully enjoy this season of motherhood.

When pregnant with Park, I often daydreamed of tenderly tucking my sweet baby in for the night, while singing softly as he or she magically drifted off into peaceful dreams.

After all, that is exactly how it happens in the commercials. One quick flip of that little Ocean Wonder light show and "Junior" is snoring before you can even say Fisher Price.

Maybe if we had named Park "Junior" things would have turned out differently.

In all seriousness, I had longed my whole life for motherhood. But although I had spent a lifetime imagining what it would be like, the reality of my first months of mothering did not line up with my expectations.

After a very difficult delivery, I found myself suffering a series of major health problems in the ensuing months. Couple that with Park’s respiratory issues, inability to sleep more than an hour at a time, a husband in the throws of a new job, and my coping mechanism became non existent.

Initially, I had no idea I was suffering from Postpartum Depression. Having never had a baby before, I mistakenly assumed this was what every new mom felt. When my midwife had covered Postpartum Depression during my pregnancy visits, I didn’t pay much attention since I “knew” this could never happen to me. And from what I could recall, if I truly had this type of depression I would be crying all the time and feeling very unattached to my baby.

Actually, the opposite was true in my situation. I was overly attentive to every little detail of my son. I felt no one was capable of meeting his needs other than me and obsessed over the smallest decisions, such as how to dress Park…would he be too hot? …too cold? I started feeling trapped, suffering from irrational fears of something happening to my family. I began to have anxiety attacks and found it impossible to sleep, even on the rare occasion that my baby actually was. All of these things were so out of character for me, yet I still thought it was just growing pains of becoming a new mom.

Postpartum Depression is real. It is not something you can talk, think, exercise, or pray your way out of, although all these things are valuable in the recovery process. It is a medical condition that needs treatment and there is nothing shameful about seeking help to feel like your old self again.

Unfortunately, it is also something not often discussed. After I began to share my story, I was amazed at the number of women in my life that had suffered a similar journey.

If you are experiencing Postpartum Depression, you are not alone. Do not suffer silently. Join the many women who have had the courage to speak up, demanding the help they so desperately needed.

For me, experiencing motherhood the second time around has been completely different. I had no idea just how much Postpartum Depression had robbed from me until having Presli. Being able to fully enjoy our new baby is a priceless gift and it breaks my heart that I missed out on so much of that with Park. And even though I've never discussed it publicly before, having Presli affirmed in me the need to share my experience with anyone who will listen. I pray God uses me to encourage other women and to prevent anyone else from missing the signs of needing help.

And as for my expectaions the second time around, I'd be lying if I didn't say we contemplated naming Presli "Junior". However, we opted to just buy her the Ocean Wonder light show instead.

Let's just say it was money well spent:)


Christy said...

Thank you for talking about PPD. I just had my third baby and suffer from it after each birth. This time around is not as bad as my second baby, but it is still overwhelming and hard. He is almost six weeks and I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel :) Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone and that perfection isn't always possible!

Heather said...

Great post, Brittani! And I love your pumpkin pics! I definitely had some sort of "funk" after both of my kids...don't know if it was actual PPD but it was not fun. I hated that black cloud that stole my joy in the midst of such a sweet season!
Your kids are darling and you are a great mom!

Sarah said...

Nothing will make you appreciate PPD like PPE (Elation), like you've had with Presli and I had with Gray! God gave us back those locust years in full!! Seriously, I'm so glad all is going well with her, and I'm hoping this makes you consider a #3. I figure that since she's already two months old, you've got 8 1/2 months to get pregnant if you want to be like me and B.

Or not :)

kekekelo said...

Thanks for sharing your great post,wish you have a nice day,happy every day!