So this is what it feels like05/17/2011 at 10:10 am | Posted in Motherhood, PPD | 30 Comments
Tags: Motherhood, new motherhood, newborn baby, postpartum depression, PPD, toddler
Today is my first day home alone with the baby, and I’m not scared.
This is a big deal.
When Marc went back to work after Lily was born, my downward spiral accelerated. I didn’t want to be alone with her. She was so fragile and tiny and needy. I didn’t believe I was capable of taking care of her by myself.
I remember crying to my mother that I just wanted to wash a dish. To feel normal.
Not this time.
Of course, it helps that Sophie is one mellow babe. She cries only when she’s hungry (which is often) or poops her diaper (which also is often). She is consolable. She sleeps. She sits in the bouncy seat by herself, content.
These things never happened with Lily. She cried non-stop. Around the clock. For any number of reasons we simply couldn’t figure out.
I quit dairy, then stopped breastfeeding altogether. We tried 500 different kinds of formula, bottles, nipples. The doctor put her on reflux medication. And she never wanted to be put down.
To this day, I still don’t understand why she cried so much. But my instinct tells me (three years later) that she was hungry. My depression and anxiety, I’m convinced, compromised my milk supply. And this devastates me. I do still feel like I failed Lily in those first few months of her life. But I also believe that she has benefited — and thrived — from our undivided attention for the first three years of her life. She is healthy, happy and smart. She knows love.
I need to keep remembering these things as waves of guilt wash over me this time around.
By comparison, Sophie is easy. I never understood how new moms could find time to brush their hair or fix a meal. Push a weeks-old baby in a stroller. Check their email.
And, believe me, I am taking not one second of this experience for granted. I am trying to relish each moment with Sophie. Moments that escaped me when Lily was so little. And I’m also trying to love on my big girl more than ever.
I can’t erase the dark memories of my paralyzing fear during Lily’s first few weeks of life, but I can focus on that which I know to be true: I am blessed to be mother to an amazing three-year-old. I am blessed to be given another shot at actually enjoying the newborn experience.
I am blessed. Period.