I have struggled to write this post for some time. I was afraid revisiting my thoughts on and memories of postpartum depression (PPD) might cause more anxiety as we talk about possibly expanding our family in the future.
I am more scared today of having a(nother) child than I was two years ago before Aliya was born.
Before Sassafras was born, I feared the unknown. I had no idea what to expect. I was afraid of being an unfit mother, of being able to survive on little to no sleep, on failing at everything. And much to my chagrin, I believed all of these fears had come true when she was born. I am not sure how much the chemical/hormonal imbalance affected my mind, or how much was due to my Type A and self-critical nature. My feelings of guilt, worthlessness and failure, coupled with insomnia and anxiety, ultimately led me down a dark path of despair and depression; I felt like an impostor, completely helpless and out of control, and was the most scared I had ever felt in my life.
Today, I fear the known.
Moms always say, “You’ll forget!” Or better yet, some moms used to say to me, “You’ll miss this!”
Perhaps I am not far enough removed to miss it because I have not forgotten and still remember the painful details of that time.
I have forgotten things like when she learned how to sit up. Or when she rolled over for the first time. Or how many ounces she was drinking at 4 months. Luckily I have thousands of photos and fewer blog entries documenting these milestones. Yes, I am that mom – the one who litters your Newsfeed with hour-by-hour updates.
I have not forgotten the sleepless nights. Or how Aliya would cry and scream during feedings and how defeated I felt when I made the decision to put her exclusively on formula at eight weeks. Or feeling completely alone. Or wondering when KK would realize I had completely lost my mind. Even though I was in a fog, I still remember all of it.
Who knew having a newborn could be so terrifying?
I am sure part of my experience had to do with the anxiety every first-time-mom has with her first baby. And while I know I will never be a first-time-mom again, I also know there is a very real possibility I may experience postpartum depression again.
I may just be insane enough to do it all over again. I just need to finish writing my pros and cons list.
For you moms who experienced a difficult time TTC, or a difficult pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum period – have you ever felt this way? Were you afraid to try again?