I have always loved writing. I find that when I have a pen in my hand the words just flow from my brain onto the paper; the same goes with typing. Part of the reason I wanted to blog is because I find it so much easier to express myself through writing than orally. I over-think what I’m going to say and how others will respond when speaking but with writing I don’t often have that problem.
My brain is pretty tough to shut down; it keeps me awake at night with all kinds of self doubt and worry. I find myself lying awake at night thinking of every single mistake I have ever made. My anxious brain obsesses over what I could have done differently; what I should have done. I’ve read that many people with anxiety suffer from this- I like to call it “anxious brain”. I’m lucky that my sleeplessness isn’t because of my children but we have had our share of sleep issues in this house. My first born had colic so there wasn’t much sleep in the first 6 months of his life. He would nap, during the day for 20-30 minutes at a time and only if he was being held. Nights were my worst nightmare- I had a baby that couldn’t be comforted no matter what I did. I held him, rocked him, gave him 10 different soothers, fed him- tried everything in the book- all the while he was screaming and arching his back as if to tell me to stop touching him. Those 6 months broke me as a mother. Every night from 6pm-6am I tried to console a screaming child that wanted nothing to do with me. I cried with him most nights.
I didn’t understand how a child I grew inside my body didn’t respond to my efforts to comfort him. When I was pregnant he loved the sound of my voice and I would spend time each day playing with him (I would poke him and wait for him to respond or tickle the bottom of his feet and he would kick in response). How could the same baby not love me once he arrived in the world? Although the problem was colic and not me or my son, I took it personally and I took it hard. I had a very difficult time bonding with him because of the crying; something that I felt so ashamed of. I wished for things to be different. I wished for my first experience with motherhood to be like the ones I saw on television and in Today’s Parent magazine.
For the first few checkups I took my son to I cried a lot. He wasn’t sleeping, I couldn’t comfort him, my husband was travelling for work a lot, I was spending all day worrying about how much crying each night would bring. I expressed some of my struggle to my family doctor but not in its entirety. I knew something was wrong but I wanted so badly for it not to be. The thing with post partum depression is that it’s not something that can be controlled. Even though I knew that I still felt responsible and ashamed for the way I felt. From the moment he was born I knew what I was feeling was not what motherhood is suppose to feel like. For months afterwards I sat in the waiting room of my doctors office filling out questionnaires about my mood. I had to try several different antidepressants to find one that finally helped me out of that dark time.
Even now when my oldest gives me a hard time, I am taken back to some of my darkest days when I felt like I was failing at this most important job in my life.