I have been crying every day. I am totally overwhelmed since the birth of my second baby. Do I love him? Oh yes. Do I wish life were back to the way it was before he came? Absolutely. How can both of these feelings be true at the same time? I feel sudden rage and then calm acceptance like I am on a random and nasty seesaw. The simplest tasks seem monumental. I am stuck in a paralysis that I don’t particularly seem to want to pull myself up out of.
So there it is and this feels like a terrible admission but here’s the truth – I really don’t like my life right now. The vision that I had of how we would all be together once he arrived and what our days would look like with a new baby and a preschooler at home has died. I am mourning the loss of that vision. I can’t just put Vincent down while I do a preschool craft with Althea. He needs me in a way that I don’t remember Althea needing me when she was very little. Moreover, Althea has become much needier herself as she struggles to figure out her new role in the family and has begun to regress to patterns and behaviours I was sure she had gotten past. Add some new normal preschooler manias to the mix and I barely recognize my little girl anymore. I miss her very much.
There is more television watching in my house than there has ever been in the past … well… except for that Six Feet Under marathon we did before we had kids but I digress. As an organized type A parent who wants to introduce my child to new stories, outdoor experiences, arts and music every day – I am discovering that not only do I not have the energy or time to do our old activities, I can barely find out whether she wants to watch Clifford the Dog or Napkin Man and select the channel before racing off to quiet her wailing brother.
Of course all of this is completely normal and is going to pass but right now it’s so hard to imagine the future as anything but dismal. Why am I sharing this on this blog? Why am I telling this to all my friends and family? Because I’m learning that while I feel emotions of guilt – I am not ashamed of who I am right now. I am horribly horribly saddened and wish it were otherwise but I don’t see this as a personal failing. I understand that there are environmental and hormonal reasons I am suffering. I am learning that suffering is not something to run from but something to acknowledge and work through.
So what kinds of resources can a person in small town Aylmer find to help them with postpartum depression? Not a lot truthfully. I am on two waiting lists for counseling help. One with the CLSC and one with the Ottawa Hospital. It’s not clear if the latter will even accept Quebec patients and so I have to acknowledge that this may be a 6 to 7 month wait for the CLSC to contact me. By that time I’m quite certain I will no longer need the care. Such a shame but this is the truth about mental health care in this region.
So does this mean I have to go through this alone? No. And while they are not specifically focused on postpartum care, here are the resources in my small town that I have found particularly helpful to get me through this difficult time:
Clinique parents-enfants (Sharon, our pediatric nurse, helped me to diagnose the depression using the Edinburg Postnatal Depression Scale and has reached out countless times since to see how I am progressing)
Nourri-lait (Sylvie, an experienced lactation consultant, worked to help me battle a bad case of mastitis and gave me a space to talk about the stress of not sleeping)
Christ Church Playgroup (My dear friends at the local playgroup who hold my new little man, make jokes, and talk about all sorts of things that have everything and nothing to do with the little beasts who live in our homes and make our lives both rewarding and horrifying).
Otherwise, I have been seeking aid through my guy’s Employee Assistance Program counselors, my OBGYN, my yoga studio and of course my family (mom is a gift and a treasure!) and friends who have been there or who have suffered in other ways (my sister calls them my “me too” people). So there. That’s what’s going down. If you are going through any of this kind of issue well – me too. I hope this post may be helpful if you live nearby. I am blessed with friends and family who understand that sometimes I need space and sometimes I need their ear or loving arms right away. It’s a fine balance right now and I am walking the tight rope, holding my arms aloft and trying to see the platform on the other side. All my love to you all.