I didn’t know…

…how badly depressed I was after Aaron was born until I had Faith.

Looking back Im not sure how I survived that first year after he was born.

The biggest manifestation of my depression was anxiety.  Even the smallest things were enough to set me off.  What clothes should I put him in? Would he be too hot/cold?  Would I have enough changes of clothes for him if we went out?  I walked around with a nappy bag so full and heavy because I never trusted myself to have packed the right stuff.  If Paul or my mom or anyone for that matter told me that I was stressing for nothing or that whatever I had would be fine I would immediately assume I was a bad mother for doing it wrong.  I would get so stressed and anxious about these small things I would eventually find myself sobbing or screaming in tears on the floor, literally pulling my hair out in chunks.

I put on a happy face when we were with other people, no one would have guessed how miserable and bleak I was at home.  The only person besides Paul who ever saw me at my worst was my mom, she often got hysterical phone calls because the baby was crying and nothing I did was working and I was ruining him for life and he would never forgive me and would need therapy etc…  In fact she even came over a few times and made me go sleep or have a bath or go outside while she calmed Aaron down for me.

Dont get me wrong, there were good days, days where I could not imagine my life being any better but they were few and far between.  Then I started going for therapy and went to see a psychiatrist who prescribed an anti anxiety med called Cipralex and slowly I started becoming more the old me.  That was two years ago and over those two years I have often thought to myself that maybe my memory of that first year was wrong, maybe it wasn’t as bad as all that.  Sure I was depressed and anxious but look at how well Im doing now, it cant have been THAT bad.

Then I had Faith.  Let me tell you, the first 5 weeks of having her in our life was nothing compared to the first 5 weeks with Aaron.  Yes, I still get anxious, yes, there are times at 3am when she wont sleep and all I want to do is climb back into bed and I think to myself, what the hell have I done?  I cant carry on like this.  But those moments, and they truly are just moments, are very few and far between.  I look forward to waking up in the middle of the night to feed her, her crying doesn’t make me want to tear my hair out, I still over pack her bag but so what, its just how I roll!

I really didnt realise just how dark those dark days were until I saw how light these last few weeks have been.

I really wish I could go back and redo Aaron’s first year without being depressed.  I wish I could have enjoyed that time with him like Im enjoying this time with Faith.  It doesnt mean I love him any less.  Even through all those dark days I would still fight to the death for my son.  I loved him fiercely  and with all my heart from the moment he was born.  And maybe that was part of the anxiety, wanting to be perfect for my perfect child.

When we decided to start trying for a 2nd baby, I consulted my psychiatrist, my therapist, my GP and my OBGYN about continuing my medication.  They were all for it and insisted I continue taking it right through my pregnancy.  I cant tell you if I would have slipped back into a depression if I wasn’t taking the meds but what I can tell you is that I wouldn’t even want to try.  That single pill once a day keeps me sane.  It allows me to enjoy both my children, even when they are both crying and need my attention and my tea is getting cold and supper s burning and the beds are still unmade from the morning.

I hope that reading this makes a difference to someone who needs it.  I hope they know they are not alone.

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.  ~Norman B. Rice