I’m not comfortable with anger. It’s something I’ve avoided dealing with my whole life. I’d rather let things roll off my back than get angry. But if I do get angry I give myself an allotted time to feel it then get over it.
Well unfortunately anger is part of the grief cycle. Yeah, I wasn’t too pleased about it either. It’s a hard emotion to face. It’s an uncomfortable emotion to feel. To just sit in. To allow.
I have a lot I’m grieving through right now. The loss of what was taken from me upon finding out I was pregnant. The loss of my mental health that was triggered by my sons birth. The loss of just mentally being there the first two years of his life because of it. The loss of not bonding with him.
Through all this grieving I’ve landed myself squarely in the anger phase. I’ll say it, I’m PISSED! I’m so pissed I’ve gone through all this. Then I’m pissed that it could have been something magical after he was born but it was far from it. I’m pissed I was one of the “lucky” ones who got to experience postpartum psychosis. I’m pissed.
Life most often doesn’t go the way we expect. We have to learn to deal with that. Growth never happens in your comfort zone. It happens when you step outside it, or in my case was forced outside it. Rather pushed really hard, really far from my comfort zone.
Some days I really feel that angry. It’s in my chest and is roaring to get out. It’s on fire. Some days it’s more recognizing I wish I could go back before all “this” happened. I wish I could go back to the days of just my three boys and I playing trucks on the floor with the sun shining in. The smell of pancakes filled the room because making breakfast for them every morning was something I loved to do. I wish I could see their smiling faces, and hear their laughs as I played crazy with them. I wish I could go back.
But then I think of my fourth son, I think of his goofiness, his laughter, his energy. I think of him running circles with his brothers trying his hardest to be a big boy. I think of his smile as I push him in the swing. Or the joy on his face as he gets into the bike trailer. I think of the smirk he gives me out of the corner of his eye as he steals the last sip of my coffee. When I think of these things I have to think of what he’s added to the family. He didn’t take any of those other things away from me. He is a baby, he’s not responsible for me not getting down on the floor and playing, for not making breakfast every morning. My mental health is responsible. That’s who is to blame. That’s what to get angry at. That is what I am angry at. Even so it took me many many months to remove the blame from my child. He is the evidence of all that took place in my life but not who is to blame. It took me till he was 18 months to remove the blame from him. I think looking back that was the first step in creating a bond with him.
So even though I don’t like saying I’m angry I’m going to sit in it as long as I need to. I’m going to face it head on and not try to shove it aside. I’m going to yell at it, cry over it, and write about it. I’m going to swear at it and be pissed at it. Then at some point I’m going to be able to walk right through it and will be a stronger woman because of it.
You can read Part 1, 2, 3, and 4 here.
I was numb. I was exhausted, always fighting to keep my eyes open. I was gaining weight rapidly and all of this frustrated me. The medication that I was put on in the hospital that ultimately saved my life had many unpleasant side effects.
I literally felt nothing. I was put on an anti-psychotic which numbed me from feeling. It was designed to knock you out and I was nearly on a full dose of it to stabilize me. I also mentally struggled with the weight gain. Nothing fit. I had gained 40 lbs in 3 three weeks… With a weight gain that fast I was devastated. I had to wait nearly four weeks after being released from the hospital to see the psychiatrist. In the meantime life was still really hard. The only improvement made was that I no longer wanted to end my life and I was no longer being haunted by hallucinations. Continue reading
*This blog post is an excerpt from my journal. Trigger warning: suicidal thoughts, and hospitalization*
You can read Part 1, 2, and 3 here.
Written Feb 14, 2019. Events took place the end of January.
I don’t think any husband imagines a day when he’d have to walk his wife into the mental hospital. I sure don’t think mine did. We’d been married nearly 7.5 years when my postpartum mental illness finally escalated out of control. It had gradually gotten worse after each birth. Now four sons in I could see no way out.
It was exactly 18 month prior we found ourselves driving to the birthing center for the birth of our unexpected son. He would be the caboose of our family, totaling four boys in five years.
Now 18 month later I sobbed as my husband drove to the mental hospital. I wouldn’t be home there next morning to see my baby be 18 months. I wouldn’t get a picture of us. What hurt the most was the reality that I could never be in another photo again. Never be at another birthday, never play with my kids again. I could steal all those innocent kid years from them in an instant when I wasn’t being myself. Continue reading
You can read Part 1, and 2 here
*Warning- talk of suicide*
I wouldn’t have imaged trying to find help would be so difficult. I was always led to believe that the hardest part is recognizing you need help and then telling someone. Speaking up, asking for help. No, trying to find that help turned out to be so much harder.
We spent days looking up therapists in our area who said on their website that they specialize in postpartum depression. We made countless calls, leaving as many voice mails as calls to never have a single one respond. It was two weeks leading up to Christmas but still I would have expected a response. Continue reading
You can read Part 1 here.
I wish I could say that I was brave enough to seek help but I didn’t. My husband, Trevor, knew I had Postpartum Depression but was clueless about the anxiety and the hallucinations I was experiencing.
I never knew how I was going to make it through the day let alone the next task. I felt like I was drowning. I was in the depth of despair and yet managed to fake it enough to have everyone fooled. Continue reading
I was done. I had 3 boys in under 3 years. I had them young. When my third was born I was only 22.
My hands were full. Busy was the only word I could use to describe my day but still it wasn’t adequate enough to describe the chaos of what I lovingly referred to as my “wild things”.
Even so I was a very intentional with my boys. I made sure I was on the ground playing with them, jumping on the tramp with them, watching a million eapisodes of whatever their favorite tv show was at the time. Continue reading
Something that’s not often talked about is grief. Grief isn’t just for when you lose someone you love. Grief comes for many other reasons. Most often in motherhood grief is talked about for those you’ve lost a baby, I’ve grieved through three miscarriages myself, or for those trying for a baby grieving something they want but have not yet had.
There’s another grief that isn’t spoken about. The grief of having a child you were not expecting. The grief of losing the life you had. Maybe your plans, sacrificing your body for 9 months then sharing it still to nourish the baby. The grieving of your personal space you’d just regained or perhaps never had to share before.
For me it was grieving so much more than that. Grieving my body that’s I’d just worked so hard to get healthy and fit again after the three previous children, grieving my mental health that I lost because of sever postpartum mood disorder and postpartum PTSD. Grieving because I am no longer the interactive mother I once was. Grieving because having this baby strained the relationships had with my other children. Grieving because of having postpartum mood disorder and feeling it was unfair the severity of it.
So often I feel like I have to keep this to myself to not hurt those wanting a baby but the truth is my grief and pain deserve to be heard and recognized as much as the next person.
It hurts when you tell me
“At least you could have a baby because so-n-so can’t and wants one so bad.”
That’s not fair to not validate what I feel. My voice deserves to equally be heard. I’m not alone in my grief. I’m just the one brave enough to speak up.
I hope that through speaking out and normalizing this form of grief that one day it will be met with the same understanding and respect as any other form of grief.
This is the pain you don’t see. The pain of postpartum mood disorder. The pain of postpartum PTSD. The physical heartache. The sleepless nights filled with panic attacks. The endless days of anxiety and tears. The feeling like you can’t even take care of yourself how are you supposed to take care of the kids too. Continue reading
I miss this because I missed it. You took that from me. All I have are pictures. Pictures I had to force myself to take because I knew the depression was so deep I wouldn’t remember a thing. What I do remember is sitting in a chair nursing and wishing with every fiber of my being that I wasn’t sitting there. That I was free. That I didn’t have you because I blamed you for my pain. I wish I could go back and tell myself how strong I am. How hard I was fighting and that it would be worth it. Tell myself it’s okay to feel what I felt. Tell myself that everything I was giving to my family was enough because what I was fighting inside was so much more than anyone knew.
I wish I could tell you that you may not feel it now but one day you’d look at your son and know he was meant to be here. That God planned every part of this journey. That one day you’d look at him and feel love and eventually even feel joy watching him laugh and play.
I wish I could tell you that you’re not alone. So many struggle in silence.
I wish I could tell you how brave you were for fighting till you found the right help.
How much courage it took to walk into that hospital and say goodbye to the one person you trusted and kept you safe and be thrown into the experience that it was. I’m sorry how it turned out. I’m sorry the pain it ended up causing. I’m sorry the PTSD it caused. The nights of crying the days of panic attack’s. They were supposed to help not make it worse. I’m sorry it got to the point you had to go there. I know it saved your life.
I wish I could tell you your life is priceless. That your marriage being your only motivator is alright. You deserve to laugh together for a lifetime. It’s okay to get angry that you could have taken that away and use that anger to fight for your life. Whatever you needed to survive is okay.
I wish you knew you are a warrior. You are amazing. You are healing. You will change the world one life at a time. And when you help someone else survive it you’ll know why you went through it.
I feel jealous when I see you bonding and smiling at your kids. I can tell now when it’s sincere.
I feel jealous when moms haven’t struggled with the darkness I have but happy for them too. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.