"As soon as the doctor issues your discharge papers, you can go home" the nurse says to me. My husband smiles, my other 3 children are excited to be out of the confines of the maternity ward, my newborn son sleeps peacfully in his "going home outfit" all snug and secure in his carseat. 2 days after an emergency c-section and 37 weeks after the begining of a very complicated and scary pregnancy, it is time to take my 4th child out into the world...well ok, home.
I smile weakly at the nurse. I can do this. I am a seasoned pro, I mean this is not the first time I have brought a completely helpless baby home. The alarm for the fetal monitor sounds and the nurse says she will return shorty. One other reason I should be grateful to go home, the labor and delivery unit is full. The constant alarms of fetal monitors and b/p machines have kept me up most the night (while I understand the concept of when an alarm goes off in one room, it can be heard in all rooms...after giving birth I would have liked to have a little quiet)
I am dressed. I should be happy to be free of the IV's, catheter, and unbecoming hospital gown. Happy to be out of the bed that caused my lower back and butt to hurt to holy hell. Happy to be taking my baby home, when I know how close we were to having a different outcome.
I look at Noah, sleeping. I am lucky I tell myself. I had pre-ecclampsia, Noah had a growth restriction and was unreactive the day he was born. He came into this world weighing 5pds 15oz a very tiny little boy.
If this is a happy occasion, then why do I feel on the edge of tears? Why do I feel like I am having a panic attack? At that moment, I blamed it on being tired. 37 weeks of sleepless nights followed by a traumatic birthing experience wore me out. That HAD to be the reason.
After leaving the hospital, we had to make a stop to pick up my pain meds. This also happened to be my husbands place of work. Usually I enjoyed trekking out with my just released newborn to his work and showing the baby off to adoring co-workers, watching as my husband beamed with the new dad glow. But this time I just wanted to go home. I didn't want a bunch of people drooling over my newborn. I didnt want to answer the countless questions about his weight or how I was feeling. So I forced a smile and toughed it out.
Since that day, I have been pretty much forcing a smile and toughing it out. When anyone asks, I tell them I am fine. No one knows that I cry. Alot. My smile isnt real.
I live in fear of being "made". I have told myself that I cannot break, I cannot let anyone see me cry, because that is a sign of weakness, and I dont want to come across as weak.
My mind races a mile a minute, and I have many moments where I feel like I cant sit still. At night, I check on Noah a million times, convinced that something bad will happen if I close my eyes.
I am still forcing it. I refuse to admit to even myself that I am in need of help. I don't want to have to depend on anyone...or anything.
But the fact of the matter is, Post Partum Depression is very real. And many women, just like myself, suffer in silence for fear of seeming weak or for being thought of as a bad parent.
Please join me this week as I take you on a journey through my PPD and how I am getting better, with a little help from my friends.
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