Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Take Two News Segments (and call me in the morning)

Today's post is a difficult one to write. I'm grappling with how I want to spend the next few years, and it will be a big decision regardless of the outcome. Like so many life-altering choices do, this one affects more than just me, so there's ample reason to put impulsivity and throwingcautiontothewind-ism on the back burner about it. Which, if you're me, means wallowing in it. I'm a wallower, people. When I need to make a choice, a huge one, I wallow. It's all part of that lovely obsessive-compulsive thing. Frankly, it sucks rocks.

I was putting fresh sheets on the bed, and wallowing, and the opening chimes of All Things Considered blared out of the bedroom radio and it took me back to November, 2008. A newborn, a birth plan that went completely down the crapper, a freshly incised uterus and abdomen, and no one here to help me. Welcome to postpartum depression.

I'll admit it. There's a stigma, yes, which is one reason this post is hard to write. Lots of people experience it, few people want to come clean about it. Think for a minute: do you want to tell someone who is fawning over your beautiful bundle of joy how miserable you are? How you're falling to pieces? How it's everything you can do just to hold your shiz together long enough for your husband to get home from work? No. So you don't. Maybe you didn't, or maybe you did. Read on.

Today it hit me that, while I was sitting in the glider, sweet baby boy at my breast (my sweaty, unshowered breast that was right near the armpit that reeked as only postpartum armpits do, don't ask me why that is because for the love of God I have no answers), my days were marked by that opening chime. Four o'clock, on the dot. It meant that the downswing of the day had begun, that I only had 3 or so more hours to be alone after the crushing loneliness of another day. It was my hope. Those NPR announcers with the funny names (Silvia Pojole! Mandalit del Barco!) were a lifeline. They became my friends. Adult voices telling me stories I wanted to hear about places I couldn't see because I didn't know how to do anything right anymore. News I wasn't part of, but I was, because they were bringing it into that nursery. NPR had been part of my daily routine for 10 years or so, but they saved my sorry ass that winter. Spring and summer, too. There's no room in your life for an eating disorder when you are nursing a newborn, so instead of taking comfort in starving myself to death I had to make do with what I had. A radio and a glider.

Yes, I did get help. Had to. So should you, and don't be embarrassed about it anymore. I know, mama, what you're feeling: desperation, utter exhaustion, isolation, shame. What I don't know is if I'm willing to put myself at risk again, knowing that if I fail, this fall could be the last one. On most levels I'm not.

Which brings me back around to the song - which will always remind me of that darkness.

Now and again we try to just stay alive
Maybe we'll turn it around because it's not too late...
It's never too late.

(please, if you are experiencing postpartum depression, i encourage you to call your doctor today. there is no shame in asking for help....only courage.)

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