Friday, April 25, 2008
Blue is more than a color
I get depressed after giving birth.
I don't know the actual percentages of those who experience post-partum depression, but I know that I am firmly in that category. After Jo was born, I felt wave after wave of sadness. I was convinced that it was related to my imminent return to the working world, or perhaps even my anxiety over being left in charge of this little creature for the rest of her pre-adult life. The whole thing abated just as I made the decision to stay home full-time, so I shrugged it off. When Atticus--in all of his refluxy, screaming glory--hit the scene, though, I went into a full-on tailspin of depression that left me sobbing in my ob's office four months after his birth. I went on an antidepressant and boom! Life evened out within six months. It may have evened out too much, actually--Logan was conceived when Atticus was 16 months old. See? I was happy! So happy that when I felt the familiar pangs coming on after delivering Logan, I got myself in to the doc post-haste. Fill 'er up, guys ... I feel a storm coming on.
Here I am now, holding a not-quite 17 month-old angel that I have fought tooth and nail for since before his bio parents even met. I prayed and waited and pined for my three bio kids ... but this one ... you have no idea how my heart has longed to feel the weight of this child in my arms. Almost four years have passed since I first felt the pangs of wanting to meet this little man. And you know what? I'm starting to slide.
Apparently, I get post-placement depression, too.
I realized it earlier this week, when the sun wasn't shining and the days seemed a bit too long and nothing seemed to taste quite as good as say, a nap. In all honesty, I feel a bit entitled to an episode of the blues. My hormones have been adjusting to their pre-pregnancy levels since my most recent miscarriage. My entire family has been wracked with ongoing illness. Dealing with social workers is the pits. I drive 72 miles roundtrip twice a week to take my baby to visit with the people who put him in the hospital when he was an infant. And yeah, it's still raining in the NW.
Reasons aside, I don't want to feel this way. So I'm fighting it. Instead of running for my friendly bottle of chemical relief, I'm praying like mad for God's own version of relief. I'm boosting certain vitamins and exposing myself to as many UV rays as these cloudy skies can manufacture (and my fragile system can take). I'm playing more and obsessing less. And I'm leaning hard on the people who I know love me enough to prop me back up.
I feel very vulnerable even posting this, but I want to be as real as possible for those who may be walking the same path. What they tell you in adoption planning classes is true, friends: it is just like giving birth. It just hurts differently.