It’s day three of the D-Listed Blog Hop. A huge thanks to Alissa of Mommy and Molly and D-Listed itself for her hard work this week! If you’re new here from the Blog Hop, you can read my welcome entry here.
And if you’re a new follower/subscriber and I haven’t followed you back yet, please, PLEASE feel free to leave me a comment and say “Hey…here’s my link! Come check me out!” I want to read what you have to say!
Okay, now that that’s all out of the way, let’s get down to business!
It’s DAY THREE of the Guest-blog-a-palooza for PPD/PPA Awareness. Y’all have no idea how touched I am by all of your comments and encouragement and kind words this week, especially yesterday as I told my story. Hearing from y’all has let me know that I was right to do this. That this is good stuff happening here. I’m so excited.
Today’s guest post comes to you from none other than the man behind the non-Supermom. Yes. YES, ladies, you read that right. My husband Dan wrote today’s guest post. I was kind of nervous to ask him to write it, so I squeaked it out between bites of dinner one night. And at first, he was kind of like “Uhhh…ummm….what do I SAY?”
Well, that’s the beauty of a guest post. You can say anything (unless given a topic, a la the Coffee Talk sketch from SNL). So I told him to say what he felt regarding HIS experience with MY PPD/PPA. What has it been like for him?
Here’s what you should know about my husband.
He’s incredibly smart. He loves to know “stuff.” If you can know it, he wants to know it. This is invaluable and frustrating. And one of the things I love about him, despite the frustration.
He’s a better writer than he thinks he is. His biggest fear was that he didn’t have the right sort of “voice” for this stule of writing. “I”m good at technical writing,” he says. “I don’t know if I can do this,” he says.
So, I said “You can do this.”
(okay…this conversation may not have taken place exactly like this, but he was nervous and I told him he’d be great. and he is. and he cooks, too.)
Anyway, without further ado, here’s my husband’s guest post. Be gentle.
I’m a fixer.
I try to fix everything. Whether it’s a lawn mower, home theater system, broken drawer rails, I try to fix it. Mainly, I do this because it saves money, but also because I like to think myself as a failed engineer who could barely pass Calculus 1, let alone all the other required math courses.
But the most complex device that I have difficulty fixing is Miranda when she’s not happy. There’s nothing I can say or do to make it better.
I’m a fixer, and it’s just how I approach things.
Previous depression episodes aside, I think it all started when the doctor decided to do the C-section. I had an idea that it would affect Miranda mentally, but I wasn’t sure how much. Natural childbirth was her goal from the beginning. And if there’s one thing that she stresses over, it’s not achieving her goals. A doctor made this choice for her. She went in trusting the doctor, explaining explicitly her desire not to have a C, and the doctor had let her down, in not maximizing the chances of natural childbirth.
Well, you might say that as long as the baby’s okay, that’s all that matters. And there certainly is merit to that argument. But do not ignore the people that must raise this helpless baby. Any parent can tell you that becoming a parent completely flipped their life upside down. That’s a fact, and there’s no explaining the magnitude – you simply can’t prepare yourself for it. But combine that with a scarred body, tremendous discomfort from having surgery, and mental anguish because this event did not happen naturally – and you have a recipe for postpartum depression.
The first few weeks were supposed to be the happiest of our lives. And in many respects, they were. This beautiful creature had entered our lives, enlightening us to a level of love unlike we’d ever known. But the massive weight of being solely responsible for this baby’s needs was… well, massive. We didn’t know he’d be inconsolable at times. We didn’t know he’d have trouble nursing. We didn’t know he wouldn’t sleep for longer than two hours at a time. There’s no FAQ posted on the internet about this.
The screws were coming loose on our machine… get a screwdriver to fix it, right?
Miranda was the one who had taken maternity leave. She stepped up to the plate to be the sole caretaker of Joshua while I was at work during the day. I did my best to stay up with her at night, letting her know she wasn’t alone in caring for him. Sometimes, I failed and was too exhausted. But she trudged on because she had no other choice. I could feel the resentment towards me, since I got to get away and go to work.
And it became overwhelming for her. I couldn’t nurse him. We were still trying to figure out if he had a milk allergy. I’ve blocked a lot of it out, but I remember her crying because there was no help. I’d ask her if I could do anything to help, and there was nothing.
The screw was cross-threaded. I couldn’t fix it. The more I tried, the worse it got.
When we went to her postpartum doctor’s visit (thankfully with their nurse practitioner, who is a much more compassionate person), I remember the NP asking Miranda if she felt like she was struggling with the baby blues, and she broke down in tears.
The change was not immediate, but over the next few weeks, I could tell her mood was improving. I think the hope of an antidepressant working does just as much good as the antidepressant does at fixing the chemical imbalance.
So, we’re a little over a year later now, and I think she has progressed very well from being despondent to being in higher spirits. She still has her good days and her bad days, but thankfully, the good outweigh the bad. We both have our moments where our relationship needs a little fixing, but a glass of wine or a cold beer can fix it most of the time. When those fail, chocolate always comes through for us.
Fixed with wine, cold beer, and chocolate. In moderation, of course. Who needs a screwdriver?