The other day my daughter had an epic meltdown at the doctor's office, I wrote about it on Facebook.
Actually, we both had meltdowns. She threw the tantrum of all temper tantrums and when I couldn't console her, or figure out how to make her stop I lost my shit and started to cry too.
I cried hard. I was a sloppy spectacle with makeup running down my face and a screaming, crying, kicking toddler at my feet. In hindsight it's kind of funny, but at that moment I was so frustrated, tired, defeated, embarrassed...
So, I cried.
You know how it is, once you finally cry after a good build up you need to let it all out. I can't remember the last time I cried before this. There had been many times that I wanted to, but I never did because I was busy, or because there were kids around and I didn't want to scare them... Or, just because I couldn't. I wanted to, but I couldn't.
The good news is that both her and I started to settle when we got into the doctor's office. She finally let me hold her, so I nursed her until she was nearly asleep.
That sleeping little girl is who the doctor saw when he came in. He said he didn't even hear her tantrum, so I must have looked insane when he saw me. My makeup was running down my face. My eyes were red. I was still reeling over both of our meltdowns...
I tried to explain away my emotions.
"She's just really hard right now."
"I'm so tired."
"I feel like I do everything."
"I hit my breaking point."
"I am overwhelmed."
I told the doctor that today's tantrum was the biggest I'd ever seen. He then said something that I wasn't expecting...
"I'm sniffing out a touch of postpartum depression," he said.
Uh, what? Blank stare. doing math in my head. Nothing really adding up right now...
"She's a year an a half old. I can't have that."
"Yes you can..."
I left the office agreeing to followup with him in a month.
Since he brought it up I have googled a lot about postpartum depression. Symptoms. People's experiences. Methods of therapy...I have talked to Chris and I've talked to some of my friends about his suggestion, and I've tried to determine if I am missing something that he saw.
Can someone have something like postpartum depression and not know it? If so, that's pretty messed up...
I know the doctor saw a mom of a strong-willed tantruming toddler who hit her breaking point. I know he didn't see her epic tantrum. I know that he's a professional with experience in dealing with children and mothers and all of that fun stuff...
But I am not convinced that postpartum depression is something I have.
I think it's worth looking into, and I think it's important to talk about because of the stigma attached to mental health issues, but I think I was just having a bad day.
I feel overwhelmed and tired, and I feel like crying sometimes. I feel really busy, and guilty, and like I have lost myself in this whole parenting thing. However, I also feel happy, and proud and really connected to my daughter and step kids. I love being their mom and their Shelley. It's stressful as fuck sometimes, but I love it.
I feel like I feel too happy too often to have PPD.
Maybe I'm wrong.
But, I don't think so...
I did go through a dark period in the first couple of months of Riel's life. It was such an odd feeling because it was the most joyous darkness I've ever experienced. I was high. Euphoric. I was so in love with my new baby, but I was overwhelmed with thoughts of my own mortality. The feeling of not being around for her was crushing. I was so scared of the worst case scenario. I was anxious that she would get sick, or that I would get sick, or that one of us would die. It scared me, and it was a really dark spot during the happiest time in my life.
What an oxymoron.
I thought far too much about the 'what ifs.'
With the intensity of the love I had for my daughter and the feelings of becoming a mom came a lot of fear and anxiety.
I chalked it up to sleep deprivation and hormones.
But now, I feel like I have moments, and sometimes days that are hard. I feel like that's just part of this life. Sometimes I am weak, sometimes I am strong. I'm still kind of new at this-- Eighteen months in...
I will look into the doctor's suggestion of possible PPD. I am not ashamed or embarrassed of the notion that I could be thought to have (or even have) postpartum depression. I just don't think that I do have it.
I suppose this post is to be continued...