Growing

Baby #1: I was excited. I was in awe. I read all the baby updates in all the manuals on the assigned week. I brought my legal pad of questions to each appointment. I was petrified of labor. I cried the hollowest cries while my husband slept beside me on the couch cradling our baby. Who would now console me?

Baby #2: I was excited. I was exhausted. I worried about my first baby with a new baby. I began to look forward to those late night/early morning feedings for the quality one-on-one time they provided. I was so fiercely devoted to protecting baby’s soft little skull and sacred nap time from boisterous big sister, I screamed a lot.

Baby #3: I was blindsided. I was in shock. I was overwhelmed, agitated, obsessive, irritable. I still hadn’t come to terms with the idea of a new baby even as I lay on the delivery bed. I loved her so fiercely I was afraid someone would take her from me. I flipped out at hair elastics stretched over finials of dining chairs. I swore, I flew off the handle, I hid in the bathroom. I cried, begged for it all to be over.

Baby #4: I was surprised. I thought I was done having babies. I have moments almost daily where I think, ‘we’re doing this again?’ and yet, I’m strangely at peace. I still get irritable. I hurt from the physical toll of four pregnancies. I put myself to bed before my children sometimes. I see a therapist. I take meds. I go to acupuncture. I do yoga. I pray the rosary.

But I’m okay.

When I look back at the timeline of my pregnancies, I can see the mounting mental anguish I couldn’t at the time. What could’ve been the ‘baby blues’ with #1, escalated into moderate mood dysfunction with #2, and plunged me into the deepest despair of postpartum depression and anxiety with #3. It still irritates me that something that was probably underlying all the time was manageable for me until I kept adding layer upon layer. However, I am not superwoman.

I am a woman, a mother armed to the teeth with resources and self-knowledge. Fighting, clawing out of that hole after #3, I will never let all that hard work be in vain. I will see the signs early on; I will know which preemptive strikes to take; I will make self-care measures so that I hopefully won’t even need the interventions.

I do not feel strong as a victor shining brightly; but stronger in my resilience, in my survival, my steely will to not succumb.

There is life after postpartum depression. It is different. It’s not easier – but somehow it’s clearer. The unrealistic mist of life as we thought we knew it dissipates. The real, the ugly, the harsh – and the beautiful – are etched crystalline. We see it all – and appreciate the beauty that much more.

To the life, growing inside all of us

Advertisements
Next Post
Leave a comment

8 Comments

  1. Little Mighty

     /  March 9, 2016

    Truly inspiring and beautifully written. May you continue to grow strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Four children, God bless you. I have two: with the firstborn, I underestimated the joy. With the second, I underestimated the fatigue. Nonetheless, blessings.

    Like

    Reply
    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  March 9, 2016

      Very good point on both counts 🙂

      Thank you for the blessings!

      Like

      Reply
  3. My father-in-law has been a coach his entire life and is filled with clichés. He has a way of striking the right note with them. One of my favorites is, “Never change a winning game. Always change a losing game.” With #4 you have changed your approach and strategy. You will get a different result. I hope this pregnancy and postpartum bring you healing. You are a great mom. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  March 9, 2016

      Thank you so much for acknowledging that. That’s certainly what I’m hoping – and praying – for ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. I agree with Ruth … with this pregnancy, you carry forward everything you’ve learned in the past several years, so you will be better prepared to navigate some of those treacherous spots in the always undulating sea of motherhood. You’ll end up being friendlier and more forgiving of yourself, because you have the confidence of having endured before. And never forget the value of resting your body (and mind). Rest, recharge, and keep moving.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  March 10, 2016

      Friendlier and forgiving with oneself – that is a new concept, that I hopefully will hone. Thank you for your kind encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

Throw Another Potato in the Pot

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: