I’ve posted before about my struggles with my mental illness. It took me a long time to accept that the diagnoses I had were legit and part of who I am. I have been in and out of therapy for most of the last 15 years, so it was with open eyes that I began to prepare myself for the possibility that I might have to deal with Postpartum Depression once my son was born.
I expected the symptoms that I struggled with to resurface, the feelings of overwhelming sadness, helplessness, and self loathing. I counted on moments of sheer panic, inability to breathe or function and crippling self doubt. What I didn’t expect was that the exhaustion and wild hormone fluctuations that accompanied new parenthood to make these last two weeks the hardest of my life.
It’s nearly impossible for me to even think about some of the heavier aspects of my self doubt these days without breaking down in tears. The outpouring of support from my friends has been so incredibly helpful. But, when I texted my therapist to set up my first post-baby appointment and didn’t hear back from him for nearly four days, I began to feel like I was not worth treating. It was like being dumped, only by someone you pay by the hour.
Beyond that, I worry about everything I’m doing with my son. Am I doing any of it right? When he’s in full meltdown, unable to be comforted and writhing against my attempts to soothe him, I worry that he’ll never want to be close to me, and that I’m a failure as a mother. We are still struggling with breastfeeding, lacking any real pattern of correct latching because of my inadequate anatomy. I feel like less than human, robbing my son of the bonding experience and nutritional benefits that he deserves.
I was able to finally score an appointment with my therapist, but only after texting him again. The next day he moved me to another day later in the week. During the day I feel okay about it, but at night, in the still hours when it’s just me and my son, the creeping voices of self doubt crawl back into my brain and I can barely hold it together.
I’m hoping that with a few sessions and some time as a mother under my belt, I’ll be able to outgrow these feelings. I realize there’s a biological component that I can’t control, but hopefully this will work it’s way out too. In the moment though, I struggle so hard to keep my cool and feel like everything’s going to be okay. Hopefully that will get easier with time.