As I wrote this, I feel guilty. Looking back on how I felt and reacted during this time makes me feel as if I am a horrible mother and wife. I'm not though. I was going through a very bad phase and needed assitance. Because I was not getting the necessary help, my children and husband were forced to drag through it with me. I forgot how important it is to pray during this time because I couldn't see past my own darkened image. The worst part of it all was that I was so worried about being judged that I put on a face as if to act like everything was okay. The more people would ask the more I'd insist I was fine and we were all doing great. I cried behind every closed door. I screamed out inside to make it all stop. There was a part of me trapped within my own thoughts and I was the one holding the key. I thank God for never abondoning me and for giving my family and children the strength they needed. I thank God for the resilience of children. I thank God for the healing He is providing me in teaching me how to cope and reassuring me that I am a GOOD mom!
Friday morning finally arrived and I could feel the pressure building up inside me. Nothing was happening at a speed I preferred and everything seemed to be taking the LONG way around.
My doctor was in delivery that morning so he rushed in to see me quickly so I could be released. I barely understood the words spewing from his lips as he hurriedly asked me questions. I assured him everything was just peachy and he wrote a quick prescription that I still to this day never had filled. I believe I was more trying to convince myself that everything was okay than I was him.
However, the pediatrician was in back to back c-sections the ENTIRE day. There were 17 of them lined up. She couldn’t get a break to breath let alone release LJ.
I began to get clammy as the hours ticked by. The different scenarios were beginning to play in my head. We had an almost two hour drive home. How would I feed LJ in the car? What if his ears hurt on the mountain pass? What if he didn’t like car rides? What happens if the car breaks down? It’s the middle of summer. We’ll die from the heat here.
The more I sat and waited; the more I thought. The more I thought; the more I stressed. Finally, a nurse convinced the pediatrician to quickly allow me to bring LJ to the nursery for her to release him.
After 3 days and countless kilometers logged from pacing the hallways, we were packed and walking out the door.
All the warning signs were there, but I chalked everything up to my desire to be home. I had barely slept since arriving at the hospital, but just knew that if I got home I’d rest easy.
I had myself wound so tight over the breastfeeding that a sewing needle wouldn’t have fit up my butt but I again told myself that once we were home and settled into a routine, everything would run smoothly.
What I didn’t count in my plans, was having friends over that first weekend home. Yes, a mere two hours after arriving home from the hospital, friends came to spend the weekend with us. I wasn’t the most gracious of hosts. I was exhausted, irritable, and wanted time alone with my family.
I agreed because it was the last time Hubby would be able to see said friend for months.
That weekend was the tipping point I believe. I began to shrink into my hole of self pity. I was angry at Hubby for not understanding my desire to want to be alone. I was angry at myself for refusing to allow anyone to help me. I was angry at the friends (who had a 3 month old) for not understanding how exhausted I was. I was just angry at the world.
This was supposed to be a beautiful time in my life and I was angry because it didn’t feel beautiful.
I’d read about PPD before but I had this amazing bond with LJ that it didn’t even cross my mind at this point. I’d take my new bundle and curl up in bed as he’d feed. I’d relish in the love in his eyes and in my mind he truly understood. I would lock myself away for hours with him.
I look back and feel horrible for Lil Mister. He had no idea what was going on and I feel I failed to be the strength and consistency he needed at that point. I was so focused on me that he got left in the background. I thank God for the family we had that he had people to guide him through the transition. He deserved better from me.
As I fell deeper into my hole, I slept less. I couldn’t sleep at night. I’d wake constantly to check if LJ was still breathing. I’d even check on Lil Mister too. If Lil Mister lay too long in one position I’d move him just to know. Then I’d return to my bed and lie staring at the ceiling. Every noise I heard scared me. Every long silence scared me more.
I thought I couldn’t cope. I knew I couldn’t do this. I felt I was a terrible mother.
During the day, I’d fall asleep if I sat still too long. The lack of sleep made the irritability even worse.
To add to my stress, our parents moved during these first few weeks as well. After having lived with them for almost the complete 4 years that I’d been in South Africa they were moving an hour and a half away. This is the longest we’d be without seeing each other and the furthest in years. I stressed about LJ not having the same relationship with Ouma that Lil Mister has had. I’d stress about Lil Mister loosing the bond he’d built with Ouma and Oupa over the years.
At the end of December, they moved. Two weeks later, Oupa came to stay with us. It has been off and on since then. Oupa stays with us a while then goes back to Ouma. Then things get rough here and he comes back to us.
I continued to spiral. I kept Lil Mister home from school in January because I wanted the time with him before returning to work. He was miserable not having friends and each time I tried to take him to school casually he would scream in terror because he wasn’t used to it. His tantrums got worse and worse but I’d listen to no one about putting him back in school. Every time the subject was brought up I felt as if the world was trying to steal my child away from me.
As his tantrums and boredom grew, so did my anxiousness and irritability. The poor child would sit down on the couch wrong and I was screaming.
Then the panic attacks started. Two weeks before I was to return to work, I started having them nightly. When I’d finally lie down at night, I’d start thinking about what kind of schedule the kids would have when I went to work. I still did not know what I was going to do with LJ and hadn’t even found a crèche I was okay with.
I’d start to sweat and shake. I couldn’t breathe properly. It’d feel like bricks on my chest. I’d get up and get water. I’d lie down again. I’d start to feel as if I was spinning. I’d pace the hallway. I’d hold Lil Mister in his sleep. I’d look at the front door. I’d think about just walking. Then I’d hold Lil Mister more. LJ was almost permanently in our bed at this point. I was scared to be away from him. As I’d pace the halls, I’d carry him with me. I’d lie with him in Lil Misters bed. I’d hold them close.
I felt as if my world was slipping through my fingers. I thought the mornings would never come and when they did it felt like the days lasted an eternity. It all started to string together.
Screaming, anxiousness, irritability, boredom. I was in a black hole of my mind that I couldn’t climb out of. I didn’t know where to turn or even that there was a way to fix it.
|This is all I need in the world...|
|Tummy time perfektion|
|His smile reminds me how simple happiness truly is...|
|They melt my heart...|
|My Lil Mister ;-)|