Up down up down

Mood swings—ugh. They’re so extreme-seeming! Mornings I often (not always) feel amazingly good, energetic, motivated, hopeful, connected to baby, looking forward to everything. Then three o clock rolls around. It’s like a cartoon weight—think Bugs Bunny—dropping on my head. Not always, but sometimes. I will feel isolated, lonely, and ridonculous-tired. Sometimes I can nap, sometimes I’m out and about and cannot, sometimes I zone out while bingeing on _Parenthood_, which has this mixed effect of making me feel comforted and relaxed while simultaneously highlighting that I have no family around and spend the vast majority of my time alone. Thoughts creep in about the suburbs we are in, the Utopian small city bustling community that Pittsburgh is in exaggerated form in my mind, and fears about raising a little sack o sugah mostly on my own. I will find a breast feeding support group, a mom group, all sorts of group- groups. This is my goal.

I told DH some of my fears last night. I told him about how I get depressed in the afternoons, usually from about 3 – 6, when the fatigue comes. I told him that sometimes I worry a little about postpartum depression, and how women who have experienced loss and IF are at greater risk, although it is hard to imagine, considering how besotted I already am with the little man. I told him I worry about the isolation of this suburban, non-working lifestyle and not having family around. I mean, my family won’t even meet the baby until DH and I can fund a trip to OH, and that makes me sad.

His response was not exactly what I was looking for. He became afraid and anxious, and turned, as is his normal response to fear, into Mr. Fixit. He takes on a rather lecturey tone. He posits “solutions” that he immediately wants me to commit to. He basically wants to squash the thing ASAP, without it even existing yet, without exploring or supporting.

“I don’t even know if I actually WILL feel depressed—I probably won’t! I’m just saying it is a subtle concern at this point. I just wanted to explore it.”

He then explained that he has seen me deeply, scarily depressed, and for good reason (multiple miscarriages), but when his mind leaps back there, it terrifies him.

I understand. I assured him that that is not where I’m at, not even close! Nor do I fear anything like that in the future. Things are 100% different now and will continue to evolve. It must have been horrific for him to see me that bleak in the past, and I empathize…at the same time I find myself thinking: How much time has to pass before I outlive that dark legacy in his mind? When will I be able to honestly explore feelings of sadness/depression with him again without totally freaking him out?

The special camp. The doctors put me there, he puts there. I get it. But I want out. Most women who live far from family feel some sense of sadness and isolation re: having to do everything (nursery and so on) on their own, re: not having family around when baby arrives. It’s a normal response. And plenty of women without my history have valid concerns about mood swings during/after pregnancy.

Anyway. I am feeling pretty great right now and am about to go for a walk in the woods. Later I’ll make a casserole, get a much-needed massage, and go to yoga. DH will probably be a little anxious for a few days, and I will probably go through my indirect and direct ways of reassuring him. I know have to be patient—with him, with me, with the zigzag of healing.

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8 Comments

  1. I think it is good that you talked with him about him, give him some time to mentally prepare and emotionally marinate on the idea that something that is very common like PPD could occur especially without support and family around. I often find with my husband that those conversations are difficult, but he spends time thinking about them on his own afterwards. I think you are doing a great job of taking care of yourself, keep it up :-)

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  2. I felt the exact same way. It’s amazing how a hormonal mood-swing coupled with pregnancy exhaustion can open your mind up to doubts and worries! My only suggestions are to try to plan your day around it as best you can. If you feel tired, nap. If you feel anxious, avoid things that make the anxiety worse. I worked on a lot of crafty projects for baby– things that took my focus off of the negative but that didn’t require a lot of energy. But really, the most important thing is to know that it’s normal to feel this way. I wish more people talked about it, instead of acting like pregnancy is one big pajama party complete with icecream sundaes and giggling best friends. Sometimes it is. And sometimes it’s hard and uncomfortable and all you want to do is cry. And either way is okay.

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  3. You are doing a great job at keeping the communication open! Hopefully once he has a few moments to sit on it, and figure out what all this new information means to him, he can sort is out better in a conversation with you. My DH always does sometimes similar, lecture/Mr.FixIT! It drives me mad, but he and I are wired so differently that it usually takes a day or two after a conversation that we are back on the same page. You are doing amazing, momma!

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  4. “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, only some of which actually happened.”
    I think we all have moments. You are probably better than most of us at walking through them.
    It will be fine.

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  5. Working mom of 2

     /  October 8, 2014

    Just a word of caution: having/not having depression now doesn’t necessarily translate to whether you’ll have ppd. I had no depression during my first pg (that ended in RLB). Sure I had a little anxiety due to my history. Then I got ppd, bad. And I didn’t even realize that’s what it was til I read Brooke shields’ book. I really suffered. For me it was more anxiety and feeling miserable vs what I thought depression felt like. And I felt so much guilt after wanting a baby for so long and spending 6 years doing 5 IVFs 2 m/c etc then feeling like I had made a huge mistake and wanting to go back to my old life. All ppd. Fortunately I finally got help and medication. Then I weaned and had no depression during my 2nd pg. I was a little worried about getting ppd again but hoping for the best. I suffered for 6 weeks, telling myself that the newborn period was just hard, trying to will myself out of it. Finally at my 6 wk pp appt I told my doc I think I had it again. Lexapro saved me. I weaned about a year later and all is well.

    My point is based on my experience ppd is different and not like regular depression. I have depression in my family tree and I went thru a bout myself many years earlier. But ppd was more like misery and worry. As noted above I didn’t even recognize I had it, and I’m no idiot. For me it was nothing like mood swings. It was anxiety and insomnia and guilt.

    Hopefully you won’t get it but just keep in mind it’s not necessarily dependent on how you felt before birth.

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  6. PPD is a legit concern, particularly for us “special” people who have suffered from severe depression. I hope PPD skips you! XOXO

    Reply
  7. Oh, I hear you. It’s good that you are so in tuned to your emotional state and should be helpful in any early identification of PPD if necessary. That said, it is unfortunate that our own scars affect those we love and those who love us and they they continue to be burdened with the scars and the fear of returning to those dark places.

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