Tuesday, July 23, 2013
What a difference a pill makes
Posted by Amanda Ball
A friend stopped by to see the baby. As he was holding her he asked, "So, is she totally your favorite right now?" Bizarrely, for me, I could answer yes! She is!
When my other babies were infants, I felt like I was stuck in a babysitting job that never ended... and that's all I felt. Other moms talked about this magic bonding love that exploded inside of them when they saw their infants for the first time. My first thoughts were much like Bill Cosby- "I just gave birth to a lizard."
With Lillian, I attributed my lukewarm attitude to the fact that I was sailing in uncharted waters, largely alone. I lived away from my family and Tyler and I were the only people in our group of friends to be married, let alone have a kid. Tyler was working to finish his degrees and was gone a lot. Then it was just me and the kid. All. Day. Long. Very lonely, who wouldn't be a little depressed?
With Nora, I attributed it to the fact that I was, once again, very alone. We had moved to Arizona in the middle of my pregnancy and I didn't have very many friends by the time that she came along. Plus, she cried a lot. A lot. Who wouldn't feel a little ground down by a baby that won't stop crying, especially when you have a total of 3 friends... none of whom you know very well.
With both of those kids, I mostly just hid and cried and cried some more and then it got better and I decided that I loved them with that heart-exploding love that everyone talked about. Then we had Ethan.
Nora was only 19 months old when Ethan was born. It was summer, which is my darkest time of year anyway. Tyler's company was laying off people left and right, which was stressful. I had just decided to go back to school to finish my degree and started online classes a few weeks before he was born. The stress and hormones outstripped my coping abilities. I sunk into full-blown post-partum depression. Tyler suggested that I call the doctor and I cried for two days just thinking about it. I never thought about hurting my kids, and I wasn't afraid that they would come take my kids away, I was mostly afraid of admitting a weakness.
In Mormon theology, gender is an inseparable part of one's identity and I was raised to believe that I was a mother by design and that the bearing of children is part of my eternal calling. To aid me in this calling, I was endowed with all the attributes I would need to be successful... and here I was, failing. I felt like I was defective. I cried and cried.
Eventually, I called the doctor and started on an anti-depressant. The nature of the pills is that they take about two weeks before they start working, and I was amazed at how much better I felt. It was magical. I all of a sudden could handle the stress. I loved my baby. I could think clearly.
This time around, I asked for a prescription when I left the hospital. The past few days, the blues were starting to creep in, but now, after taking the medication for two weeks, I'm feeling much better. And I get it now: I can sit and look at Evelyn for hours while she is sleeping and I feel like my heart is going to burst.