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Sunday, December 4, 2011

finding a tree and the baby blues

I was talking to my sister the other day, she was excited about Christmas and coming back home for the holidays. And I was all, eh.

And then it kinda hit me in that moment. I am NOT in the holiday mood this year. Huh, weird. I am usually all about Christmas. Ho ho ho and fa la la and all that. I feel blah, instead, like all the goody goody happy happy is sucked dry.

So dada found a cut your own tree place, complete with hot chocolate and horse rides. So we drive for an hour, getting lost more than once. The skies are grey. Snow is in the air. We get out, locate the tree in 10 minutes, walk around a bit, and somewhere in here my mood starts plummeting. Okay, to be honest probably back when we got lost, the first time. It was not just an irritable mood, more border line panic. Baby is going to scream the whole way back, she wont sleep, wont nurse well.

I start losing it.

And even for the kids sake I cant zip it all back up. I am becoming unzipped. Hanging out, all my raw-ness, my vulnerability.

And as we drive home in a coming storm, the sleet picks up (I am a horribly nervous bad weather driver) I can feel myself losing grip on my rational side. Like watching it happen to someone else, some poor sap of a woman on some Lifetime Movie, the one that teaches us all a lesson about postpartum depression.

And we get home and get the tree up and I can NOT pull it together. And I have a discussion with dada, that is extended because of interruptions from children, wrought with my ugly raw emotion. And I say to him, you know, I think I am dealing with some kind of postpartum thing. I dont want to say depression, what makes it technically that anyhow? But it is a thing. Definitely a thing.

And he goes, oh, right, I see that now.

And I dont know what to think, realizing this, so I shut down. Autopilot. Kids fed. PJs. Teeth. Books. And I go to bed. It will be fine in the morning.

And I wake up, today, and its still there, I realize it has been for awhile. But I do much better at zipping it back in. We run errands. Little miss starts running a fever as we are out. I dont lose it as she screams and baby cries. She falls asleep in the car on the way back. We get home. Car unloaded. Fa la la. Lets trim the tree. And we do. And we laugh. And we listen to the Muppets Christmas album. And little man victoriously places the star on the tree, as he has been plotting for days. And then somewhere in there again I feel the glue melting away. The stress of the day tugging at my zipper. I feel almost panicky, holding the baby in the sling, trying to get little man's boots off after playing outside.

I put baby and sling in the swing, sit down on the couch in front of the lights and I start to cry.

What is this? Who is this?

Where I come from, we dont believe in falling apart. Or therapy. Or, depression, for that matter. We hold it together. We are super good at it. But somehow, maybe from a hard scary birth, I am not holding it together. I can, most of the time, but then suddenly, and overwhelmingly, I can't.

Its weird. But. It is what it is right? And I wonder how many mommies out there do this? Quietly, alone with this, embarassed, even. (As I do) So, this is why I write this. Even if awkwardly.

All that said, I sit now holding my sleeping baby girl, egg nog by my side (yes, I do like egg nog), shining tree in front of me, lovely kiddos and loving dada in the next room over. And I know, I KNOW, it is good. All of it. So much.

WHY do i have to hold her hand? she is slowing me DOWN.

nope, this aint it!

waiting for dad to cut the tree down

heavy laden lower branches, ha!

AH HA. i DID it.

isnt it great mom??

cozy little holiday razzle dazzly room


  1. This is a lovely post. The Baby Blues is real, and you write about it so honestly. I'd encourage you to talk to a midwife or post-partum doula about support services in your area. And I say this as someone who also grew up in a culture that thought therapy or similar "help" was only for "failing" people. But you're not to blame for this and you deserve the best sort of care!

  2. It all fell apart for me when Katherine was 6mo. Before then I did my best to go with the statusquo...classes playdates etc. it suddenly was all too much. I started seeing a counselor. It wasn't officially ppd, but I was struggling. I highly encourage you to find a great counselor. Mine specialized in women and motherhood and transitions. I'm going back to her in the new year when our insurance improves. It's always nice to have someone to talk to!

  3. I really went through that with my second child. And it really wasn't even until I was about due with my third that I put all the pieces together and realized that I had been depressed.

    It's OK to scale back and do only what you need to do for a while. More time feeding your soul. Maybe this is a different kind of Christmas for you--less hoopla and more reflection. Like Mary keeping some things pondering in her heart. Though different, it might be exactly what God wants for you in this season.


    Been there and I understand. I'm glad you're sharing it and not keeping it hidden or bottled up.

  4. Don't forget fish oil and vitamins- I started taking beet root powder and that seemed to help.

    But yeah- after Ellaine was born I had a very hard time, lots and lots of crying and feeling like I should be happy and I am so blessed but it's all gray. :/ (besides the deployment- it was more than that for a few months)

    I'll be praying.

  5. you are not the only one who has struggled with baby blues....the difference is that you have access to support systems, and daylight lights to help the lack of sunlight thing. adding another child to your family is wonderous, scary, taxing, strength sapping.....but fortunately life comes one day at a time and that's all the strength you need. Love you.

  6. thanks for the love all. i totally do know i am not the only, just kinda coming to terms with it know? but yes, daja, totally about the christmas can be a quiet pondering sort of year (as much as we can be quiet with three kids and 25+ family members coming to town! ha!)and yes, beth, my midwife (who i called this morning) suggested more fish oil...good to know. thanks all...

  7. You're brave to post this. Please do whatever it takes to bring you back to health -- it may take more than fish oil. Treat this as a bad flu, one that will harm your health and your children's if it doesn't get out of your system completely, and banish it from your life using whatever it takes. You deserve to be joyful during Christmas, and always. Warm wishes to you and your family.

  8. Good luck! It's so hard and I've been there. I didn't realize until I was coming out of it. I hope knowing while you're in it helps on some level.


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