My postpartum depression (PPD) was instant. The day my son was born—after my placenta was taken out—my pregnancy hormones plummeted and my emotions went off a cliff.
I cried nearly every day for the first 5 weeks of my son’s life. What should have been a happy, joyous time in my life was filled with overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. I felt guilty about everything:
- I didn’t know how to take care of this being who was so completely dependent upon me
- I had waited so long for him but was unable to enjoy him
- I was failing not only as a mother but also a wife
The characteristics of PPD? You name it, I had it.
- Constant crying
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Scary thoughts
- Trouble bonding
- Suicidal thoughts
And very many other things.
People encouraged me to have confidence as a mother but I now recognize that confidence is something that develops over time. I’m more confident with my son 9 weeks postpartum but I’ll probably feel ever better 19 weeks postpartum.
I like to think I’m out of the woods with PPD. Feelings of intense sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness have gone away. Scary thoughts have mostly disappeared. Panic attacks, which used to be frequent, have become rare. But I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m still adjusting to this motherhood thing. I’m still afraid of hurting my son. Sometimes I’m afraid that I made the biggest mistake of my life—one that I can never undo.
I frequently don’t feel up to the challenge of being a mother. Even though it requires very little from me (eg, changing diapers, bottle feeding), it feels as though I have to give the world.
I want to enjoy motherhood—fully and completely. Although I have glimmers and moments, I’m still very scared to be alone with my son. I am highly dependent upon others to help me take care of him.
In one sense, that’s great—I have a supportive and loving community. On the other hand, I feel like a complete and utter loser.
I’m still in the middle of my PPD journey. Nine weeks postpartum and I’ve made some progress. But I have a long way to go.
The majority of my pregnancy was difficult. Although I wasn’t on complete bed rest, a perinatologist (er, ultrasound doctor) evaluating my case recommended partial bed rest.
Where to begin? Read more…
Yesterday was a mixed-bag of epic proportions. I had an awesome day with my son. He developed a cold overnight on Sunday but finally began to feel better yesterday. He ate, burped, and slept. It was a great day with him.
I downloaded necessary tools for my freelance trade: SnagIt and Adobe Acrobat Standard. Sure, those two pieces of software cost quite a bit of money together, but I’ve decided it’s better for me to have them and recoup my expenses through earning income than to lose income and not spend the money at all. I have used Adobe Reader’s basic sticky note feature extensively and felt as though I needed to upgrade to more advanced annotation for PDFs. I have used SnagIt in my freelance career and at home for a free trial and decided it was worth the expense if I’m going to edit/proofread websites.
But nothing, oh nothing, compared to the frustration I experienced with my Target card.
I received my basic store Target card sometime last year in 2013. If I had paid attention, I would have noticed that it said I had been a cardholder since 2011. But I didn’t pay attention. All I knew was that I had opened a Target account and could use my card anytime I chose to do so.
Cue the Law & Order theme song.
I tried using my Target red card at the store sometime before the holidays. The card wouldn’t work. I didn’t think much of it because I remembered I hadn’t really activated it. Then I read on the Target red card website that the Target store card does not need to be activated. So I wondered why my card didn’t work but was too lazy to call.
Last night, when I tried to purchase a gift that would have cost me $8.20 in shipping & handling on the website, I noticed the fine print that said “No shipping fees when you use your red card!” Of course! So I whipped the card out and entered it into the payment section and was puzzled when I received a SQL error. When I tried again, the website took me all the way to the final screen and then back to billing where it asked me to enter another valid form of payment. So Target.com recognized my store card as a valid Target card but then didn’t.
Finally frustrated enough to save $8, I called the Target number to speak to a representative. After becoming even more puzzled (and more frustrated) as to why my account number was not being recognized, I kept pressing random buttons until I reached a customer representative. This customer representative informed me that because I had not used my Target card within 2 or 3 months, it was cancelled.
TWO or THREE months?
Cancelled without informing me?
The customer representative proceeded to tell me that if I wanted another Target card to go to the store and open a new one. K? Thx. Bai.
I hung up, absolutely livid. This isn’t the first lousy experience I’ve had with Target and (THANK GOD) haven’t even been hacked. So below is an open letter to Target:
This post isn’t exactly fun to write, but I am making it public in the hopes that it might help someone who may feel similarly. I’ve been seeing posts written by other women about the topic of postpartum adjustments and it feels important to add my voice to the mix. Read more…
The following post recounts how my son was born. It gets detailed at times in terms of body language but that’s just par for the course in describing these kinds of stories. Buckle in; it’s a long read. Read more…
Happy New Year! Since it’s the first of the year, it’s time to post this year’s goals! Here are my goals for 2014:
- Keep my child alive somehow after birth (prayer, please!)
- Visit New York 4 times during the year to see family
- List 3 things that I’m grateful for once a week
- Schedule a blog post for each season (minimum 4 times a year)
- Use the elliptical trainer on Thursdays or Fridays once a week
- Strength train on Thursdays or Fridays once a week after the baby is born (DVD videos)
- Complete NaNoWriMo novel before November 1
- Attempt NaNoWriMo in November
- Completely revise Getting Right with God by December 31
- Read 36 books by December 31
The last 4 will pose a challenge but what are goals for if they are all easy?
1. Schedule a blog post for each month
FAIL. I didn’t post much in the summer and through the latter part of the year.
2. Go to the gym once a week
FAIL. I quit the gym because I got an elliptical trainer at home.
3. Strength train on Mondays
FAIL. I have not strength trained on Mondays. I will wait until the baby’s born before tackling this again.
4. Read 80 books this year
FAIL. I haven’t been in much of a reading mood. I’ve only read 35 books this year.
5. Craft a new novel from an original idea (not something that I’ve recycled)
SUCCESS! I started writing an original novel for NaNoWriMo. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’d like to.
6. Write a new novel from start to finish in 30 days
FAIL. I had a lot of health setbacks in November that prevented me from completing a novel in 30 days.
7. Write 300 words a day whether it’s a combination of blogging, journaling, article writing, or noveling
FAIL. I haven’t written much this year.
8. Attend the Writer’s Digest conference
SUCCESS! I attended the conference, pitched some agents, and had a mighty good time.
9. Submit query letters to literary agents
SUCCESS! I’ve gotten nothing but rejections, but I’ve submitted query letters.
10. Complete synopsis of Getting Right with God
SUCCESS! In fact, I received a synopsis from an editor that’s even better than the one I wrote.
11. Watch a movie on Saturday evenings with Jason
FAIL. I’ve been bad about doing this. I just haven’t been in a movie-watching mood. :-(
12. Submit a query letter for an article
SUCCESS! I submitted a query letter for Relevant magazine. Never heard anything back, but I did submit something.
13. Develop a routine in the morning
FAIL. I have no routine except to get the heck up.
14. Develop a routine before bed at night
FAIL. I have no routine except to fall into bed.
15. (And oh, why not?) Become a mother
SUCCESS! Fertility treatments have helped me to realize this 2013 goal. I’m due in late February 2014. Exciting!