My husband is not the soup Nazi but rather has become the baby Nazi. It began with me getting pregnant with the Chiquita. Even back then he questioned my ability to parent.
The Post Partum Depression only confirmed his fears that I ‘couldn’t handle it’. I think when PPD is talked about (which is too little in my opinion except when they throw a bunch of paperwork at you after your delivery…too bad when I actually said ‘Yes, I have PPD, now please help me’ they put their arms up in question like …now what do we do?) the focus remains – rightfully so – on the mother.
But, in my experience, the fathers are completely forgotten about. My poor husband not only had to deal with taking care of the Chiquita on the days I simply couldn’t do it but also had to wonder every day if I would actually come home from work. Many-a-days I told him I was going to drive into a concrete barrier.
I don’t even think some of my friends know the depths of the depression I was drowning from. I sheltered everyone. Yes, I said I had Post Partum Depression. Yes, people knew that I had suffered from depression/anxiety since my teen years thanks to PMDD. But, the fact that I hated being a mother as much as I did had to be a secret. The fact that I prayed every night for God to take me in my sleep I couldn’t tell people. No one would understand.
I remember after I had the Chiquita I was like why do people have kids? Seriously. I couldn’t believe that anyone in their right mind would have more than one child. I felt like all the friends and celebrities who said how great being a mother was were lying. Like it was some big scam.
My husband tried to be supportive but my erratic behavior frightened him. I honestly don’t know if he questioned whether I would hurt our baby. I wouldn’t have and I never did.
I remember one time he was sitting in the dentist’s chair yanking the bib off during a cleaning saying he had to get out of there…trying to explain that his wife had Post Partum Depression and was home with the Chiquita…and that he didn’t know what I was going to do.
I had called him sobbing. He had been at work all day and then went to the dentist immediately after. I was on maternity leave and was still recovering from my near-death experience and was dealing with a sick infant (the Chiquita had gotten very sick on bad formula, but we didn’t know so had continued to feed it to her. Eventually we had to get X-rays done…this was all more than I could bear) who had spent the last six hours screaming. I thought I was going to lose it.
I put her in her bedroom and shut the door. She screamed and screamed and screamed. I was losing my mind. I was sobbing. I wanted to die. I called him in a complete panic and he raced home ….
Those devastating times are behind us. If you’ve been reading you know that I hit rock-bottom in February 2011. Yes, I admitted to and reached out for help for PPD in as early as September 2010 (two months after the birth of the Chiquita). But, because I wasn’t getting proper treatment my downward spiral continued until February 2011.
At that point I knew it was do or die. I fired all my doctors. I quit writing my blog. I quit drinking alcohol. I started intense therapy. I turned it around because I knew I would lose it all if I kept it up. It was terrifying. It was six months of recovery. Well, that’s an understatement. I’m still recovering to this day, but it was six months of Britney Spears head shaving therapy.
And here I am. I tell you my story because it helps me to forgive. Forgive who? I’m not sure. All I know is for a long time I was really angry. Why? Why did this happen to me?
I don’t know why.
A couple of months ago I started to yearn for another baby. People have asked me time and time again about Baby #2, and my response was this, which is still one of my top-rated posts. I really like this post as well ~ and I still agree with it. Nothing has changed…my husband is still old, my family is still complete, I’m still blessed with an amazing kiddo.
But now I wonder about trying it again. I feel like it would be different. I have a great team of doctors and therapists behind me. I’ve done it before so the whole ‘unknown’ no longer applies. I’m mentally better than I’ve ever been.
I was truly robbed of the first few months of my daughter’s life. I was there physically for it all, but mentally, I was not. My brain was in trauma so I’ve actually blocked a lot of things out. I can’t recall many things, and I ache for that time back. I look at pictures, and I cry. I see mothers with their infants, and I feel so deprived.
I approached my doctor about it, almost expecting her to say it was a bad idea. My old doctor had suggested that I not have another child due to all my complications, both physically and mentally. My new doctor – who I love – was excited, supportive and very encouraging. She said that in her experience PPD is not nearly as bad the second time around. She would help me every step of the way and we would be proactive in my treatment.
I went home and told my husband. He said, “If you want to have another baby we can have another baby!”
Many of my friends and cousins are on babies #2 and #3 and here’s me still with one. Not that I’m looking to compete or feel like something is wrong with me, but it’s more that I’ve just officially moved into this next chapter of my life whereas right after the Chiquita was born many of my friends were still without child…and going out and doing all the things I used to do and was longing to do in my depressive state.
Life is completely different now. Life is no longer manicures and bars. It is going to bed at ten o’clock and watching The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And you know what? That’s fine!
But then a few weeks later on a hard parenting day (those do happen!) he said, “There’s no way we’re having another baby.”
I started fighting with him about it but then left it alone for a while.
I brought it back up this weekend. He looked nervous and uncomfortable. He said that he doesn’t want to have another baby.
I felt hurt and betrayed – he said he wanted another one. What happened?
Was it because I got angry with the Chiquita for hitting me with Mr. Bear and yelled, “If you hit me with him again I’ll cut off his arm!” to which Hubs said, “Hey now…geez…that’s a little Mommy Dearest…”
Oops, it is?
He must think I’m a bad mother. He’s told me before he sees me get flustered sometimes. I do yell a lot – Italians are yellers. We always agree that we like it two against one.
But why? Why was it yes and now no?
“I can’t go through it again,” he said, suddenly, with my persistence to answer me. He looked into my eyes and said, “The Post Partum. I just can’t do it again. I can’t risk it.”
I wanted to cry but said nothing. What’s there to say? That night I cried in bed after he fell asleep. What am I supposed to do? I’m supposed to support my husband. We are a team. We tell each other the good, the bad and the ugly.
Yes, this is ugly. Yes, this hurts. But I respect his opinion, and I’m going to choose to thank God every day for the Chiquita and will continue to enjoy all the beautiful bundles of joy around me. Not everyone is meant to be a mother. I’d hate to think that I’m not meant to be a mother, but in this case, I think one is truly a blessing.