MBA Turned Mama {Baby Blues}

I didn’t realize I was depressed until I became pregnant with my second son. My heart aches for our sweet, darling first born. In retrospect he must have felt my sadness and desperation during that time. I spent the first two years of his life not knowing who I was anymore, an identity crisis that too many parents experience without talking about it.

Newborn Kiss 300x225 MBA Turned Mama {Baby Blues}

Can you relate? Are there days when you wake up, or stop whatever frantic chore you are doing for a quick second to catch your breath and think: “Who is this person?”  The wretched “how did I get HERE?” thought that most parents, especially stay at home parents, don’t like to acknowledge because, well, that might seem ungrateful.

Here is the thing. I am so very grateful. I practice gratitude every day. {Health. Family. Friends.} It frightens me to think that I could be ungrateful. So, I am paralyzed to admit truthfully when I am in pain, when I am sad, when I need to talk to someone…so afraid to admit when something doesn’t feel right because feeling ungrateful, for me, at least, is the worst feeling of all.

That circular thinking is what led me to suffer for two years.

I am not sure if I didn’t recognize it or didn’t admit it, or both. This having a kid thing is no joke: Sleep deprivation, a total loss of control in your life and the defining moment of realizing “this” is the way of your new life.  Those circumstances are tough. I also had a difficult labor and delivery, which, admittedly made my recovery a bit more arduous relatively speaking. So, my sadness, well, it HAD to be because of all those THINGS. Right?

Two words: POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION*

{gasp}.

Truthfully, I had always been vulnerable to depression and anxiety. I probably should have dealt with that earlier in life but better late than never. Having a baby gave me an out, finally, after two years that is…

…and a very honest conversation with a good friend who was suffering similarly. She recommended a therapist to me. Then I took the giant leap and moved forward. I finally admitted to MYSELF that I needed to work through these feelings. That decision on its own merit was enough to make me feel “better’. 

I wasn’t alone.

Going to a therapist was such a relief. Finally I felt like I could let my guard down, process outwardly, and, the best part, it was acceptable to talk about myself for an hour to this person I am paying to listen and to help me make sense of “my story”.  I wasn’t burdening anyone. I wasn’t wasting time that could otherwise be spent thinking and doing “happier” things. We parents internalize a lot of things. Talking is so important.

I will never forget what my therapist said to me at our first meeting. She said, “Marnie, there is nothing we can do to change your narrative, your life story, but what we can do is change how you view it.” Such a great foundation to start the journey of feeling “better”.

Thank you for choosing to read my story. I look forward to connecting and sharing more with you.
Marnie

* For me, dealing with postpartum depression was two fold: 1) chemical and 2) emotional. A woman’s brain chemistry changes PERMANENTLY during the experience of having a baby. So, sometimes that chemistry shakes a woman a bit and medication is required in the interim. I don’t think I have to explain #2.

** The statistics on postpartum depression are startling to say the least. If you think you are experiencing PPD, even mildly, please do yourself a favor and seek help. Many extraordinary resources exist to help you and/or someone you love.


Comments

  1. Marnie thank you for honesty and openness. I went through so many life changes when my son was born, and being someone who likes to feel in control, it was impossible for me to keep a handle on things. Like you, I look back on the first two years of his life and feel such sadness that I was struggling with the exact identity crisis that you describe. I wish I could take back those tow years and appreciate them instead of struggling the way that I did. Thank you for bringing these issues out into the open. There is not enough dialogue on this and you are really helping to demystify postpartum depression.
    Ness recently posted…New Theme: On DemandMy Profile

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story of PPD. I myself suffered thru PPD and had depression/anxiety before having my son and still suffer w/depression/anxiety now. Having fertility issues didn’t help matters either. I have the same feelings when I look at “J” and feel so sorry for him that I couldn’t be the mom he deserved that first year.

    I just started seeing a therapist too b/c I can’t seem to get out of the “mommy” funk. But in addition to having J, we moved 200 miles away from our family and I stopped working to stay home. So I had a major life shift and have never really had time to deal with it properly.

    It’s so nice to talk to someone that won’t judge you, put you down or tell you you are doing something wrong! I just wish that getting help didn’t have such a stigma attached to it.

    Thanks again ;)

    Jen

  3. Oh Marnie, 22 years later and I still need to work through this. Thank you for starting the conversation!

  4. It gets the best of us, I have chills though at the thought of you someone i have and will hug suffering unable to ask for help. Motherhood is every emotion I have ever felt magnified and for me while I didn’t suffer PPD I did suffer anxiety after O was born. I still do, although it’s managed without meds and much more easily now.

    I can only imagine the change it’s been for you, as a wife of one of your business school buddies I remember the “otherness” I felt. After I had O it was worse. It was no one’s fault but it definitely made things harder. Going to parties an only being asked about your kids is really really isolating, but until you are in those shoes it’s hard to understand. You are such an ambitious brilliant woman and I can only guess how drastic a change in your identify this must have been.

    I am so proud to call you a friend and applaud you for talking about this and sharing Katherine Stone’s amazing Postpartum Progress for other women.

  5. Brave and powerful. When my daughter was four-months old, in the throws of silent reflux, I broke. My body was so sick and I felt like I was dying. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, apparently commonly occurs post-partum, and didn’t know how I was going to go on. Slowly through time, diet, exercise, and love I have come back to myself, but those were dark days where I felt helpless. It’s too common that moms try to make it look easy and don’t want to be honest about the real emotions of such a life-changing, mind-altering, and body-morphing experience. Now, I can laugh. Last week as I carried my daughters potty seat in a bag over my shoulder, I thought back to my cute handbags I used to carry when I was a San Francisco single lady. What a change a few years can make!
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    • Kim, thanks for sharing your postpartum story! So great to hear that we’re in this together! I lived in SF from
      22-28 years old and have similar memories. I often think ‘what did I ever complain about??’ funny how times change!

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope it will help a lot of women.
    Rebekah recently posted…Spring Nature TableMy Profile

  7. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been through ppd too, and it was hell. The positive thing is that it really forced me to appreciate the simplest pleasures, like sleep! It changed my life, for the better, but the process of changing from a work-a-holic professional into a mommy/wife/friend/professional was painful. Loving my daughter and husband as I do, I couldn’t fathom WHY I was so empty. I think that sharing our stories weaves a web of support and community, and hopefully those who are suffering and read this will know there is help, and it gets better.

  8. thanks for sharing!!! I’ve had to work through postpartum anxiety ….not depression but certainly another version of issues related to healing after delivery.
    After my 3rd child was 2months old, I realized that my random feelings of sudden, overwhelming anxiety was not improving and I had to do something about. But with God’s grace and more time, I am improving. Thanks for speaking out and inspiring others!

  9. Lisa Nolan (Confessions of a Montessori Mom) says:

    I just read another post about this, and wanted to share it with you as I remembered reading about your PPD a while ago and pinning it (you should think about joining up with these other moms who write at http://yeahwrite.me who write about all kinds of stuff, some heavy, some funny, some zany, some brutally honest). Here is that other post about PPD http://www.semidomesticatedmama.com/2012/05/mother-that-she-deserved.html See ya on Pinterest! It’s all about Google plus now! Whup-ee!
    Lisa Nolan (Confessions of a Montessori Mom) recently posted…Climbing StairsMy Profile

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