Monday, October 20, 2014

PostPartum Depression - Part two in a series from my journal

Find Part One here.
Wikicommons - public domain;
Charles W. Bartlett

We left of with my firstborn, Rebecca, overthrowing my plans.Will things improve? Let's read on. I add a bit more commentary to this one. Where there are parentheses and the word "Note," that is additional commentary.

From day one with Rebecca I tried to be in control of my dreams, hopes, plans, and expectations. I kept the house as clean as I could. I kept myself showered. I finished college. But, I lost sleep to do it. I hurt my body to be and do all that I expected of myself. With Rebecca, I was totally unprepared for real life with a baby. And where my expectations collided with reality there was terrible repercussions... in the form of postpartum depression. 
My body was beyond weary. My body could not heal after birth, because I pushed myself far beyond the limits of my postpartum ability. I bled heavily for months. At least three, probably more. Again... I didn't know at that time that bleeding is the body's way of saying "STOP!" I just didn't put it all together, until a doctor told me with Baby #2 that such bleeding is abnormal and unhealthy. (Note: I had anemia before birth! Afterwards my iron positively plummeted. If only I could go back in time armed with what I know now! But, it is what it is, and I cannot change it.) 
My SuperMom complex started before Becca was born. Because I thought I could finish my degree and give birth. In the end, I didn't do school or motherhood very well.
On the day before graduation, they announced the honor students, I cried when my name was not called out with any form of cum laude. I felt like a failure again. Oh - the pain of working for years towards a goal and then one pregnancy... one baby... ruined it all. And, my body was ruined. Walking to get my diploma in May, still bleeding from the Baby born in March. Company came. All had to be perfect. I pushed too hard. More misery. To this day, I still struggle with the feeling that I have failed at everything from the fall of 1999 onward. (Note: I began Bible college in fall 1999. It is quite likely that my unrealistic expectations were raised while I was at this institution. Either that, or getting married began the cycle of not getting my own way - which was heretofore not threatened. Probably both. Also, it might sound like I regret having Rebecca or that I resent her. That is not at all true. I was begging God for a baby! I cried because I wanted a baby so badly!  I just did not know what real life with children looked like! I love my children. God means these experiences and these children to grow me and shape me!)
How did I deal with this stress? (That is, the stress of being a failure.) I cleaned and tried to stay in control. Only, now there was a baby! Babies make messes! Babies have their own time-table. I controlled as well as I could... but my body suffered tremendously. And, I was way too tired to enjoy being a mother. Finally, our precious child began to learn my systems. All was improving... Then, God sent another baby my way. Another pukey pregnancy. Another mess maker. Another person to destroy my plans. 
But... it's God's plan.
Yes, it's all God's plan. So, why was I perpetually miserable? 
I have turned off comments because this subject is so tender to me. (If you have a question or thought you want to share through email, contact me at This post was harder to write/publish than I expected. I am really struggling with letting all this garbage in my past (nearly 13 years ago) be known. BUT, I am doing it because I really think that God wants women to share some of the real hardships. Perhaps, if someone had been real with me, my expectations would not have been so skewed! I do not think I am the only mom who has struggled with selfishness and upset in kingdom of self...maybe just one of the few determined to share my struggles to help others.

Will I ever put aside these unrealistic expectations? Tune in soon for part three!