Each time I sit down to write, I’m torn. I want to shed light on the sometimes lonely and isolating world of being a stay-at-home mom. The ugly and the exhausting, the repetitive and the thankless days that sometimes feel like they turn into months. Is it March already? I want the mom across town whom I don’t know to know that she’s not alone.
But I also want to provide the funny and the uplifting, the light heartedness that all of us need from time to time. Just yesterday my 3-year-old daughter cupped my face and said so sweetly “Mama, I sorry you have a pimple!” She then proceeded to ask my why I had it, in which I blamed it on pregnancy hormones. I’m blaming most everything on pregnancy hormones these days. I’m pretty sure my husband is too.
Its been a long winter and I feel like I’ve been pregnant for 3 years. Those 3 years actually equate to 17 weeks and 3 days, aka the longest 4 months of my life. I am in full blown countdown mode. Counting down until baby number 3 joins our family and counting down until the day my husband gets a vasectomy, ensuring that I never have to feel like this again. I wish I was one of those women who glow in pregnancy but I’m just not.
I’m the woman who hates being pregnant but rarely says so, for fear of offending someone who would give their right arm to be pregnant or would give 10 years off their life just to hold their baby in their arms. Those women don’t know that I too experienced 10 plus years of infertility and its not lost on me the blessing that has been bestowed upon me, however that doesn’t change the fact that for 9 months I struggle to smile, struggle to feel like myself and struggle to be excited about the baby that my husband and I absolutely planned and desperately wanted to have.
Postpartum depression is being talked about increasingly so when I experienced it after the birth of my second child I knew I had resources. But when pregnancy depression hit me for the first time I didn’t know that I wasn’t alone. I had never heard of it and I certainly had never felt it. How could I feel so numb? How could I not be excited at the idea of baby’s first kicks? And more importantly, how do you get past this feeling of drowning?
I don’t have the answers yet, they will hopefully start to flow in tomorrow at my doctor’s appointment where I plan to pour my heart out to a total stranger. There’s nothing like having to see a different doctor because yours is booked out too far when the subject matter is as heavy as this. So, here’s to hoping that talking about it helps, that this doctor is supportive, and that spring is around the corner because this mama could use some sunshine!
In the meantime I’m doing what all us moms are doing on bad days — being thankful for cartoons on demand and sending our gratitude to Mr. Sandman when our children don’t fight bedtime. But most importantly I’m trying to look past the peanut butter smeared cheeks of my children to see the tiny smile that was probably expressed just for me. Even on my worst days, I wouldn’t trade this life, this title, this “job,” my children, or this pregnancy for anything.
This too shall pass.
Want to learn more about depression during pregnancy?
Check out babycenter.com/0_depression-during-pregnancy_9179.bc
Postpartum support international (pospartum.net) has information and online support as well as a “warmline” 1-800-944-4773. Massachusetts Women’s mental health center (womensmentalhealth.org/) has a lot of good medical information, and mothertobaby.org has very helpful fact sheets on various medications and what we know about their effects in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Need help now? Call the mental health crisis line: 800-852-2923
Confluence Health can also help, with therapists, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners who work with women with perinatal or post-partum depression. Confluence even has a therapist located directly in the women’s clinic. Columbia Valley Community Health and Catholic Charities have mental health providers as well. There is also a mother-baby support group through Confluence that meets every Monday 1:00-2:30 at the Wenatchee Library.