I’m always happy when I see a post from Warrior Mom Robin Farr, of Farewell Stranger, in my inbox. Today Robin writes about having another child after postpartum depression, and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
My second child – my baby after postpartum depression – is now five months old. And it’s been about 4½ months since someone asked me that tentative how-are-you question.
Shortly after Ethan was born, I got that question quite a few times. “How are you?” But it wasn’t just a casual question. It was a question with a head tilt: “How ARE you?”
What they were really asking was, “Are you depressed?” “Are you going to have PPD again?” And while the questions were asked with genuine concern, I sort of had the feeling that they were really hoping the answers were “good” and “no” and that they wouldn’t have known what to say if I had told them I was not okay.
But the thing is, for me, postpartum depression didn’t happen after two weeks with my first. It didn’t even happen after two months. I’m not even really sure when it started, but I think it was probably around the five-month mark. Right where I am now.
I’m feeling good now. Really good actually. I could write a whole post about how this time is different and I finally feel like a mom and not just a sort-of-mom who might just be taking care of someone else’s kid. I know what it’s like to have a baby and feel overwhelmed with love, instead of overwhelmed with love and just about everything else too.
When I got that how-are-you question early on this time around I always wanted to say, “But you don’t get it. I’m probably going to be fine for a while. This isn’t when I struggled.” But it felt as though saying that would be like saying that in a few months I’m not going to be okay. And I really didn’t want to spend the next few months having everyone watch me as though I were a kid who had been exposed to chicken pox and they were waiting to see if I was going to break out. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, as it were.
So now here I am a few months later. Some of the same things are challenging – Ethan is up three times a night still. If I feed him he goes back to sleep, but so did Connor. And eventually Connor was just up and it didn’t matter if we fed him or rocked him or whatever. He just wasn’t a good sleeper. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was four, and I went insane from lack of sleep long before that.
But this time I’m getting more sleep in the mornings, thanks to my awesome husband. And Ethan is a different kid altogether. He’s mellow where Connor was fussy. He’s quiet where Connor was a screamer. He will actually go to sleep when I put him in his crib (at least most of the time).
I’m trusting that this time around will be okay and that if the same challenges come my way I will know what to do. So people can ask if I’m okay without feeling like it’s going to prompt that other shoe to drop. So far, I think PPD will be a one-shoe kind of experience for me.