I just started reading through some of the posts and they sound as though I could have written them. My son is 8 months old; is still EBF and I work nights as an RN. I haven't slept more than 4 consecutive hours since before my second trimester and I have wished, at least once a day since my son developed "colic" at 2.5 months, that I could just be dead and done with this life.
I used to love being outside. I moved to my home so that I could do the things I enjoy year-round. Now I cannot do any of them. I am fat, out of shape and exhausted. I don't have time for anything I enjoy; I read board books instead of novels, I walk a stroller instead of run, I do short day hikes instead of backpacking alone for a week with my dog, I cook 5 minute meals instead of experimenting with my cookbooks, I ski for 1 hour instead of loading up and going backcountry for the day, I have a thousand half-finished craft projects around my house because he doesn't nap well and by the time he goes to sleep I am too exhausted to finish any of them.
All of my friends do not have kids and do not understand why I am so lonely and despondent. A few of my husband's friends have kids but are part-time breast-feeders or formula feeding, like to tell me about when their MD turned off the epidural so they could have a "natural" childbirth (however you deliver and feed your kids is between you and whatever god you believe in; I just mention this to explain why they do not quite relate to me. I have nothing against formula or pain meds - my choices are made based on what matters to me as an individual parent and I have nothing but respect for other moms out there doing the best they can for their babies) and told me about how they were depressed in the days after their baby was born but it went away or the antidepressants kicked in the same day (if you know anything about pharmacokinetics, they inexplicably take weeks to take therapeutic effect).
I saw a counsellor when my baby was 3 months old. She told me to let him CIO so I could sleep, and that it would get better - in a few years we'll be able to "ride bikes around the neighborhood." That afternoon I considered leaving my son with the neighbors until my husband got home and taking off so I could kill myself in peace because if a few bike rides was the only positive she could think of then I might as well give up. Every complaint I have - that he eats very few solids and tries to nurse constantly still, that he doesn't sleep, that he screams when I try to change his diaper, some well intentioned person tells me "It will get better." It has only gotten worse and worse and I no longer believe it will ever get better.
Becoming a mom has been the most isolating experience of my life. I love my boy and wouldn't give him back; but I wish I could go back in time and enjoy my life a little before he arrived because I am not sure I ever will again.
In all, I kind of just needed a safe place to vent.
It feels a little better to say it out loud (without hearing "oh yeah, mine used to wake up all night when he was a month old" or "I was depressed for a few days and then I realized I had been given the greatest gift and stopped feeling bad for myself - ou should be grateful.)
Thank you for this forum.
I don't know very much about PPD or colic but I read this and it sounds incredibly hard. I'm so sorry and I hope it gets better for you really soon. I hope someone else who knows more posts soon.
Hang in there...
Mama, that was me. I know how horrible it can be. And I'm so very sorry you are going through this. On top of a baby you have a very busy life. Does your husband understand the severity of your situation? I think I was lucky compared to one friend of mine who suffered with PPD until her youngest was 2, so 5 yrs before she got help. I can't tell you the difference in her now but it's night and day. I suffered with PPD for a year and a half and for some reason got pregnant with DD2. I worked nights was still in the military and had no help other than DH. We were both in a bad place. I can't tell you what changed, one day it just did. I didn't get help and I wish I did because I know I could have really enjoyed motherhood if I had. I wish you peace and I really think you should get help. I know you said you've spoken with someone but I don't think she was the right someone. I promise you it can get better and you can enjoy your kid. But I'll be honest it's a long road.
I went back to work after my first one and I think she was 8 weeks old. From the time I gave birth to her to the time I went back to work I lost 60lbs. People were in awe at "how great I looked" on the outside that is. I wanted to shrivel up and die. I wanted to throw my baby in a trash can and walk away. I hated myself and I hated her. I hated every stupid comment about how fricking great I looked. I certainly didn't feel great. I felt lost and sad. I felt guilty for not liking my baby and I felt like a failure altogether. A guy at work noticed I wasn't me anymore and he really tried hard to get me to feel better. I guess knowing someone really cared about my welfare helped me.
Again I really think you need to speak with someone. And again I'm so sorry you have to go through this. It's terrible and lonely. Bless you mama.
It is really hard. Really, really hard. It is such a massive adjustment and I felt so resentful of not knowing what it would be like. But I guess how can you know? People talk about it being hard, but you just can't know til you do it. Have you read "operating instructions" by anne lamott? (not sure of spelling) Man, that helped me when I was in PPD bad. It sounds to me like you are dealing with depression but I am no medical person. I relate to everything you said. I hear you that you get sick of hearing it will get better but even after feeling as you do for 9 months, I did end up choosing to have two more children. BTW didn't have much PPD with them. Anyway, I don't want to minimize your pain by saying this will not last forever, but just to give you hope, and also acknowledge that even months of this can be horrifying and draining.
That counselor is wretched. You will be biking. The sooner the better. You are smart to take every chance to hike, even short. If there's any way you can hire someone to babysit while you get out, I would. Maybe think of the cheapest gym membership and set that aside for babysitter while you exercise in nature? For me, even eating breakfast outside helped a little bit. And you will be outdoors with your little one early and often because that's your choice!
I hope for resources to come into your life to support you. And I hope looking at other posts here can give you less of a sense of isolation.
You are right mama it doesn't really help to know that it will get better eventually when what you are dealing with now is so overwhelming. I have a 10 and 12 year old so I went through the baby thing and the horrible isolation and came out the other side and saw how much better it can get and I still am having PPD issues now that I have a baby again. If I'm having issues and I'be already experienced it once no wonder a mama in the thick of it can't easily see pass what they are doing right now.
I can tell you what I am doing right now to help stop the isolation. I joined the Le Leche
League and go to the monthly meetings. I joined Holistic Moms Network and do those monthly meetings and moms nights out because it's a group of women who understand that a nursing infant might need to go along on a night like that. I also looked up Mommy and Baby yoga and travel 40 minutes to do that so that I can get out of the house and see other adults while getting a good workout. Finally I'm doing Gymboree classes.
I also got in touch with my state coordinator from Postpartum Support International and got information on local groups and therapists who specialize in that.
Keep posting and talking and if you aren't in a space where you have the energy to look up this info send me a PM and I'll get all the phone numbers for you.
I wanted to thank you all for your responses (albeit a little late). I kept meaning to get back to this but kept putting it off because I was too pathetic to take any of your advice.
Lo and behold; on 2/1 (a month after this post) it occurred to me that my weight gain, trouble pumping more than 3oz, sore breasts and general exhaustion were all signs of pregnancy - sure enough I was a little over a month along with baby #2. Seriously.
My husband enthusiastically agreed to a homebirth (last time he was adamantly against it) which went so well it was hard to believe. I didn't think I was in labor until I was pushing. My daughter is beautiful and growing well, sleeping a few hours at a time already. My 18 month old sleeps through the night and has been a joy the past few months. Still, at least 3 or 4 times an hour throughout the day I wish I were dead, or that I'd died when I got so sick with my son. In the past few weeks my little girl has started getting colicky for a few hours throughout the day, my son started teething again, and I've been diagnosed with a cystocele.
We swore up and down that this time I'd be out of the house more, doing the things I enjoy while my husband took the kids for me. Now, because of the cystocele I physically can't do any of what I want to do; moreover, I cannot lift my son without symptoms.
I feel as though, even though I was suicidal throughout the pregnancy, I was given the chance to heal the trauma and doubt from my son's birth and with her birth and the first weeks I was feeling a little like myself again. Now it feels as though my world has fallen apart. I'll never be able to do the things I love without wondering if this is the day my pelvic floor gives out for good (doing PT, seems to be getting worse, though). Every day that my daughter cries and prevents me from enjoying time with my son while I nurse and rock and soothe her I hate life just a little more.
My poor husband is trying to help but I just want it to all be over.
Do you have any family nearby who can help?
Have you researched causes of colic? Cutting out wheat is a big one, and so is non-organic dairy.
If all else fails, to save yourself and your family, leave for a night. I know a Mama who had to do that and she did. Her husband was all for it and she came back stronger.
Please hang on... the world and your family need you.
I really want to reach out to you and let you know that everything you're feeling is really not unreasonable or uncommon. You've had major life changes and physical and emotional stresses. Having children can be wonderful but it is also exhausting, stressful, frustrating, and sometimes downright boring. With a newborn and a toddler, plus unresolved PPD and probably a huge sleep debt, you are right in the middle of the most difficult time.
That being said, I think it's really imperative that you get some good psychological care. You sound severely depressed and you're unlikely to get out of that without some professional help. Feeling suicidal regularly is something that absolutely must be addressed. Find a good therapist, a good doctor, and work with them. If you don't like one, try again until you find someone that you think can help. If it seems too daunting because of the depression (and it is the nature of depression to make things like this seems impossible or doomed to failure), please tell your husband and have him make the appointments for you.
Your kids need a happy, healthy, LIVING mother more than anything else.
I'm afraid this won't be welcome, but I offer it with the best intentions--it's what I needed to hear when I was in a similar place, though I'm sure I would have resisted hearing it: Try to let go of some of the pressure you are putting on yourself to parent perfectly. You don't have to give everything up and suffer as much as possible in order to be a good parent. Get some sleep. It makes a tremendous difference. Find ways to do things you enjoy regularly, even if it means you have to leave the kids with someone else for a while. If you need to wean before you planned in order to take medication or try some kind of sleep scheduling just for your own sanity, do it and don't feel guilty.
It will be a while before you have any semblance of your former life back, but it will come back. The kids' needs will be less intense as they get older; there will be less crying and diaper changing and nursing and there will be more sleep and novel reading and more interesting interactions as they get older. Yes, they'll do bike rides in a few years, but there will be lots of other positive developments before then.
I agree with everything Rana said. Please talk to your doctor and/or find a better therapist than the one you saw. This is important. YOU are important.