High Needs Toddler, Mama with Depression, Family Planning - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 04-10-2014, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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**This was crossposted in the Mental Health Forum, but I'm hoping maybe someone here can help me too.**

 

Hey mamas. 

 

This is all really new to me. I've always tended towards melancholy, always been one to feel lonely and sad from time to time for no apparent reason, etc. Thyroid issues and mental health issues run rampant in my family. 

 

Anyway, 14 months ago I birthed the loveliest little girl to walk this earth but she is extremely spirited and has several food allergies which had her sleepless for at least her first year of life. That first year, and still now, has been the hardest time for me. I love my daughter with everything I have, but it's very draining just keeping up with her various needs, it's tough listening to her scream/whine, it was tough (back when she was little little) to do several total elimination diets, eating nothing while breastfeeding and enduring TRULY sleepless nights. I look back and don't know how I lived to tell about it! 

 

Now, things have simmered down a bit and I've learned a few tricks for handling my spirited toddler.... but I'm left still feeling tired, drained, lonely, guilty, sad, and angry. I also have random aches/pains and random bouts of insomnia, as well as anxiety attacks. So, I went to my doctor to rule out nutritional deficiencies and thyroid issues and what they came up with is that they just think I'm plain old depressed.

 

I have an appointment tomorrow to discuss my options. And I think I'm going to go with meds. In the past, I've always been able to climb out of melancholic episodes myself with exercise and good food. Now, I'm not so sure I can handle the feelings of despair that overtake me sometimes. 

 

I feel like I don't know where my life went. Everything is centered around my daughter right now and I don't have the money or time to take care of myself. My husband is in medical school, he's very busy and we don't have ANY spare funds. We live 2000 miles from our family.

 

To top it off, we'd always wanted a "large family" (DH says 5-7, I always said at least 4)... but this whole experience of being isolated from family, caring for a high needs kiddo, and going through depression, has me rethinking if I even want another kid at all. My husband says this makes him sad and that "I'll get through this tough time and then see differently". When he says that I want to scream because I feel like he's discounting what I'm experiencing right now. The combination of him being in training and having our baby be so high needs has put me through emotional/mental HELL. I don't know that I ever want to take the chance of feeling like this again.

 

I know that I can work through this hopefully and become the mother I want to be to my little girl (i.e. actively engaging her when she's moody/grumpy/screaming/tantruming instead of zoning out and letting her watch Pooh Bear). I want to be a good mother, and maybe that means limiting the amount of children I have. Clearly, motherhood is overwhelming to me.

 

So, the crux of the issue if you've read this far (thank you if you have!!) is that I'm not sure as a depressed mother, if having more children is right for ME. Or, maybe in a year or two I'll rethink things but I cannot see myself having the 4+ kids we "agreed" on so early in our marriage. Now, I'm thinking 3 kids will be the most I can manage.

 

What's been your experience, as a mama with mental health issues, choosing to "add on" to your family? Have any of you dealt with high needs kids AND a mental health problem? How did your spouse/partner respond to everything? I really really want to get my husband to understand my point of view- that just thinking about having another child makes me ill. (I know that sounds terrible, but it's the truth. My husband, I think, is just waiting for me to "get better" so we can discuss our original plans and I want him to understand that maybe this will always be a struggle for me and maybe we need to rethink our future.)

 

Anyway, thanks for reading.

www


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#2 of 20 Old 04-10-2014, 06:50 AM
 
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You are allowed to change your mind.  You "agreed" to something neither of you had any idea about.  It might make him "sad" but what does it do to you? 

 

I'm guessing you're fairly young.  My best advice is agree to wait a year and then talk about it again.  It's not no forever, it's just not right now.  In a year, you might feel entirely different.

 

My daughter cried and threw up non stop for her first year or so.  She didn't sleep through the night until she was well past three.  Otherwise, she was and is a really easy kid but man, the lack of sleep and constant puke can wear a girl down.  I am not sure my marriage could survive that again, I'm really not.  So my daughter is an only.  I am sad for her that she doesn't have siblings but I am not sad for myself that I don't have more kids.

 

You don't have to decide today.  You can revisit this later.

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#3 of 20 Old 04-10-2014, 07:06 AM
 
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My husband was a Marine in our early marriage, and we had 3 babies, 3 deployments, and 3 moves in about 4 years. Our second was a high needs baby, and at a year old, I was scared to go places alone with him, for fear of the unexpected bouts of frantic screaming. Just last night, dh and I were talking about that time, and I recalled how thankful I was to move out of that house. Because of the screaming, I was kind of traumatized. I always felt like something awful was about to happen. It was incredibly stressful.

Then, my husband was very sick. He had months of recovery, and we didn't know how it would go. That was between baby 2 and 3, and deployment 2 and 3. Shortly after that, I was expecting our third. And shortly after she was born, he deployed again.

I have no idea how I did that. I look back on that and remember how I was on the brink of sanity so often, induced by extreme stress and exhaustion.

Now, our oldest is 9, and we are expect
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#4 of 20 Old 04-10-2014, 07:08 AM
 
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Sorry, phone typing.

We are expecting our sixth. Those hard days seem a world away, almost as if I had never lived them. But, i am very thankful for the family we have grown. It didn't stay that hard forever.

I am not saying that our choices are right for you. I never felt like I needed to seek help. It doesn't mean I didnt need to I guess, but I managed. Anyway, i just wanted to give another perspective.
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#5 of 20 Old 04-10-2014, 07:13 AM
 
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I am not sure if my response will be helpful to you because it is just my personal experience, but yes, my son is spirited and yes, I was depressed for the first year of his life. I did go on meds (around 10 months post-partum) and it did help. Before he was born, we had agreed to have 2 children, but after he was born, we found ourselves struggling so much that neither of us could think about adding to the family before he was 2 years old.

 

During those two years, DH and I talked a lot about whether or not we should have another child at all (he was actually the one leaning towards no), but I found that--even though I had no desire to have another child right away--I couldn't let go of the idea of having two children. I could not make peace with the idea of having only one. So when he was 2.5, we decided not to prevent pregnancy anymore and just let nature take its course. Since then, I have had 2 miscarriages, which have negatively impacted my mental health, but told me that I am meant to have another child. I have just found out I am pregnant again. We are in family therapy to get strategies for handling our high needs child and help him deal with the effects of a depressed ("emotionally unavailable for the first year" mother). Overall though, I am hopeful that, if this pregnancy succeeds, I will not experience the same level of depression because I will be able to ask for and receive the support I need much earlier along this time. And even if it turns out that I get depressed again, I guess at least I know I can handle it now.

 

But that is just my experience. My advice to you in your situation is to not worry about this right now. Your daughter is still very young. I recommend revisiting the decision when she is 2. See how you feel then about having two children vs. one. No need to decide on the total number yet. Take it one at a time. Certainly you will be reflecting on it between now and then, but there is no need to make a decision at this time. Focus on your own mental health for now and see what your gut is telling you a year from now. A lot can change in a year. Good luck!


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Cautiously expecting Dec 2014!

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#6 of 20 Old 04-10-2014, 07:26 AM
 
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First off, hugs to you mama! Depression is hard, REALLY hard. I have been through this so I will tell you a little of my story to give you some perspective.

 

I have been on meds for depression and anxiety since I was 20, long before I had children. Let me just say, meds (the right ones at the right dose) make a HUGE difference. Once I found the right meds it is like night and day for me. 

 

With my first, I used a standard ob-gyn practice. My doctor weaned me OFF my medication before birth and never put me back on. BIG mistake for me. I never went back to him, but without medication I was an absolute wreck, not functional at all. I found a doctor who understood my needs and was knowledgeable about medications that were safe with breastfeeding and we found a treatment plan that worked for me. For my next two pregnancies I used different care providers who were able to keep me on medication safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding and I had two more perfectly healthy kids. I had no post-partum depression issues with my second. With my third it has been a bit harder but still not NEARLY as hard as my first. We had recently moved across the country from a town that we loved and DH took a demanding job so I think that is a big factor. I am working through it though and I'll admit there are days when I question if I really want #4, but other days I am want 5 children. I think once I get my mood stabilized again I will be ready for another in a couple of years or so. But that is just me. Things may change.

 

That is something else to consider, SO much can change in 6 months, let alone a year or two years. Reevaluate then, there is NO need to make these big decisions now. 

 

As far as high needs is considered, that can change too. Being a first time mom is HARD, even with an "easy" baby. It is a shock physically, emotionally,mentally and even spiritually. On top of that, your dd had some special challenges that make it even harder. Be easy on yourself. From what you described I don't know how you survived either! I think your situation would challenge any new mom's mental and phsyical health. But it will get better. She will get older, and more independent. It won't always be like this. The second baby may not have these special needs. Honestly, by #3 I feel like an old pro at this baby thing, my eldest can help, the dynamics are very different. But don't get me wrong, 3 kids can still be very challenging. I am NOT saying you should have more children, Only you, DH and your doctor can decide that together. I just want to give you some perspective from the other side.I know  from experience how hard it can be to imagine feeling anything else but depressed and hopeless. But it does change!

 

Finally, do NOT let DH discount what you are going through. He needs to understand how SERIOUS your situation is. PPD is no joke, it is very real and should be taken very seriously. Find a support group if you can. Take him to your doctor's appointments with you so another doctor can make it clear that this is nothing to dismiss. Provide DH with literature or online resources so he can really understand that he needs to help you with your feelings and physical state NOW. Really, put off any discussion of more children until you come through to the other side of this. You need to get through his and feeling normal again first.

 

I know you are far from family, but do you have any support where you are? A church, synagogue, or other spiritual community? Any friends, playgroups, or even a good therapist? I would at the very least seek out a local mom's group. They often trade off childcare so moms can get a break, know of other resources for mom's and families, and helps provide some much needed commisseration.

 

My post is long, but I hope some of it helps you. I totally know what you are going through. Take care of yourself, and try to have hope, it DOES get better.


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#7 of 20 Old 04-16-2014, 01:32 PM
 
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I am kind of in the same boat as you.. My daughter is 23 months and has been extremely high needs. The first year was awful! Nothing like what I had hoped for. My husband is very helpful and supportive but it was hard on our relationship. I don't feel depressed anymore thankfully (I actually had some PTSD symptoms from it but thankfully it's getting better). Our daughter is much better then she was but she is still HN. The thing that is the hardest is that she barely sleeps and when she does if is a light restless sleep. I have a lot if fear about going through that again with another baby and so does my husband. We don't want her to be an only child though. Right now we are planning to ttc around next Christmas and have another baby when she is a little passed 3. I was feeling all of this pressure to have another one sooner but when I took a step back I knew I needed more time.. Anyway my point is that what you went through is very very hard. You may need some time and that's ok. You don't need to make any decisions right away if you don't want to. Or you can tell yourself that you are definitely not having any more and then change your mind which is what I did wink1.gif
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#8 of 20 Old 04-17-2014, 04:52 AM
 
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{{{HUGS}}}  Good for you for seeking out help.  My baby is just a little younger than yours (he just turned one), and I have four much older children from my first marriage.  I suspect that I had undiagnosed PPD when my third DD was born, and it was really hard for a few years.  I wish I had sought help at the time.  :(

 

I think that, as previous posters have said, that first you have to move on from where you are right now, before you will be in the right frame of mind to think about future children.  It is so hard to make a decision when you're in a dark place.  

 

Enjoy your little one now that things are at least a bit easier, and see how things go?  I wouldn't even talk about more kids at this point, since it sounds like your toddler NEEDS to be an only for quite a bit longer, anyways.  :)

 

Good luck on your journey.  :)

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#9 of 20 Old 04-21-2014, 06:26 AM
 
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Dear Mama, 

I understand your description of melancholy as I have struggled with the same for most of my life.  Despite it all, I always wanted a big family with which I would be happy and feel completely full filled.  Well anyway. . . I had my first baby two years ago and although he is the light of my life, I struggle greatly with everything you describe.  I read articles before I gave birth about postpartum depression and how it's more common in women who already struggle with anxiety/depression.  I did find that medication helped along with seeing a therapist.  I also do acupuncture once a month and massage which you might really like because it helps release actual physical hyper tension.

 

In terms of your husband, it sounds like he does care and wants you to be happy but most likely he doesn't officially grasp what you are going through with these feelings.  Not to mention, there is a mind frame with depression that already makes you feel like no one really gets it. . .so it might also be helpful to find a therapist who specializes in postpartum/anxiety/depression and after you have done some work, ask for some joint session with the hubby.  You could then work through whether or not you will have more children and make a plan for whatever goal you decide.  For myself, I tend to resent my husband for not "getting it" and that isn't good either because it can engage the feeling of isolation.

 

Hugs to you and your baby.  I can sympathize greatly and hope you find relief that will allow for more balance and joy.

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#10 of 20 Old 05-13-2014, 03:34 PM
 
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YES to meds and YES to changing your family plan. I have bipolar disorder and twins. I take my meds and it makes me a better mother. And a better partner. Even though my meds are not always perfect or working, I know that I need them. And acknowledging that is empowering. It isn't my fault. And it isn't your fault. Some thoughts:

 

1. Are you able to work? Working outside the home keeps me sane. I couldn't possibly stay at home with my kids. By Monday morning, I'm ready for my own time. It's hard to admit that, but when I get home I can be all about them and spend Saturdays and Sundays being very engaged. If you aren't working, then try to carve out time for yourself. It's amazing what 30 minutes can do. And if your husband wants to have more children, then he has to understand that that means taking the kids to the park for an hour or more on Saturday. You can't be around the kids all the time, even if you want to.

 

2. Can you see a therapist? It can really help to sort things out. You can often see one through yours or your husband's employer or school. Or find a low-income provider. Sometimes students are available to help for free or for a low cost. I go to a therapist in my office and I dread it every time, but I feel amazing afterward.

 

3. I suggest putting all family planning talks on hold for now. Your husband needs to understand that you can't possibly make those difficult decisions until you are treating your mental illness. It's already difficult to be with someone who is depressed, and fighting about kids or family planning just makes it harder. Once you feel more in control of yourself and your emotions, you might feel better about having more children. And if you don't, THAT'S OKAY. I'm not having any more and I don't feel badly about that. This is all I have to give, and I'm okay with that.

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#11 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 03:23 PM
 
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WWW,

While my experience is similar to many of the others who have posted, I figure it can't hurt to hear that there are more of us out here.

I've dealt with depression since my teens. Meds have helped immensely, especially when I have, like you, done the extra work to take care of myself. Therapists have helped to some degree, but I have found it difficult to find one I click with. (I can vouch that a therapist who talks more than you do during the session is not the most helpful.)

I also have a partner who's got a lot on his plate. My husband is working in a family business that requires a lot of his time and energy. Also, his family is (in my opinion) extremely dysfunctional, so he's been emotionally drained by his work as well. None of this is very healthy but he's working through all of it in order to find some resolution. After that, who knows what will happen for his work and, consequently, if we will need to move.

I'm used to working and school, but now I'm home full time with an adorable 16-month-old high needs baby girl. This new situation requires all my time and energy in a way I've never experienced before. (It's funny- another thread was asking what have you experienced that was more painful than childbirth. Well, I wouldn't say it's more painful, but if the most difficult thing about being a mother was delivering the baby, this whole thing would be a breeze!) And to top it off, my husband is not really available as much, emotionally or time-wise, as I would like. Hell, as much as I NEED.

Having a child has changed everything, of course. But I don't think I could ever have imagined what those changes would really mean for me. There were times in the middle of the night when I laid in bed nursing Zo that I felt so exhausted that I was twitchy all over with an incredible urge to run. Run as far as I could and maybe when I reached the place where I could run no more, I could drop and finally, finally sleep. I couldn't bear one more second. But I breathed in and out and I tried to think of something else and, somehow, I made it through.

While I was pregnant, I worried that I wouldn't be able to cope with motherhood. That I'd get depressed and end up like the mothers in novels who go to bed and don't get up for days. I haven't done that, but, like you, there have been days where Zo's watched The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh over and over. And over.

As much as my husband loves me and our daughter, I just don't think he gets it. He doesn't understand what motherhood has taken of me. At least not on that visceral level; you can only understand if you've been there and done it yourself. (To be fair, I don't think I'll every truly understand what he has been going through with his family.) While we never planned on having a big family, he has mentioned once or twice that he thinks it would be nice for Zo to have a sibling. I told him, I'm sorry, I just can't do it.

Please understand, I love my daughter more than anyone or anything. There are parts of motherhood I don't like so much and plenty that have been difficult, but I would never wish it away.

I guess what struck me about the similarities of our situations (other than the love of Pooh), is how you've also had to parent largely by yourself. I'm not pointing this out to bag on your husband; what he's doing is for the benefit of your family and I'm sure you knew you'd have to bear a lot of the load by yourself going into this. But knowing it is very different than doing it. And you have done it.

Now you need a little time and support to give yourself the same care you show your daughter and husband. And some space before you make any decisions about the future of your family. You deserve that.

I wish you the best. And thank you for posting this thread. Replying made me put into words a lot of nebulous feelings and fleeting thoughts. I haven't written this much in a long time and it feels good to get it out and get it down on paper (so to speak). So thanks for inspiring that.
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#12 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
 

You are allowed to change your mind.  You "agreed" to something neither of you had any idea about.  It might make him "sad" but what does it do to you? 

 

I'm guessing you're fairly young.  My best advice is agree to wait a year and then talk about it again.  It's not no forever, it's just not right now.  In a year, you might feel entirely different.

 

My daughter cried and threw up non stop for her first year or so.  She didn't sleep through the night until she was well past three.  Otherwise, she was and is a really easy kid but man, the lack of sleep and constant puke can wear a girl down.  I am not sure my marriage could survive that again, I'm really not.  So my daughter is an only.  I am sad for her that she doesn't have siblings but I am not sad for myself that I don't have more kids.

 

You don't have to decide today.  You can revisit this later.

 

Oh, I do know I'm "allowed" to change my mind. I guess I just feel guilty that my DH and I talked about family size before we even got married... and we wanted a large family then. And now that I've gone through having one child, and struggling with depression, my feelings have changed. I feel like I misled my husband, or like I've let him down. (Those are my *feelings*. Intellectually, I know that people experience growth and change throughout life, and that it's only natural to edit oneself as one goes through different life experiences. I did not mislead him because I honestly wanted many children then. And now I don't.)


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#13 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by FisherFamily View Post

Sorry, phone typing.

We are expecting our sixth. Those hard days seem a world away, almost as if I had never lived them. But, i am very thankful for the family we have grown. It didn't stay that hard forever.

I am not saying that our choices are right for you. I never felt like I needed to seek help. It doesn't mean I didnt need to I guess, but I managed. Anyway, i just wanted to give another perspective.

That's a really amazing testimony! And I do hope that that's what's going to happen with me. I still dream about having a large family and somehow magically being able to function as a mother to many. 

 

I feel much more stable since writing the OP, and have even begun watching a little boy the same age as my daughter to bring in some much needed money. It hasn't been easy, but seeing my daughter interact with another child on a regular basis, how loving and caring she is toward him, has started my wheels turning as to what she would be like as an older sister. DH and I really want another close in age for her, especially if we're only having 2 or 3 children.

 

So, I guess the update is that we're not actively trying to prevent a pregnancy right now. After I have our second child, we'll see how I cope and whether or not we'll add on further to our family. I'm really excited about potentially having a second and building up a tool set to work through potential difficulties. 


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#14 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by CrunchyMama19 View Post
 

First off, hugs to you mama! Depression is hard, REALLY hard. I have been through this so I will tell you a little of my story to give you some perspective.

 

I have been on meds for depression and anxiety since I was 20, long before I had children. Let me just say, meds (the right ones at the right dose) make a HUGE difference. Once I found the right meds it is like night and day for me. 

 

With my first, I used a standard ob-gyn practice. My doctor weaned me OFF my medication before birth and never put me back on. BIG mistake for me. I never went back to him, but without medication I was an absolute wreck, not functional at all. I found a doctor who understood my needs and was knowledgeable about medications that were safe with breastfeeding and we found a treatment plan that worked for me. For my next two pregnancies I used different care providers who were able to keep me on medication safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding and I had two more perfectly healthy kids. I had no post-partum depression issues with my second. With my third it has been a bit harder but still not NEARLY as hard as my first. We had recently moved across the country from a town that we loved and DH took a demanding job so I think that is a big factor. I am working through it though and I'll admit there are days when I question if I really want #4, but other days I am want 5 children. I think once I get my mood stabilized again I will be ready for another in a couple of years or so. But that is just me. Things may change.

 

That is something else to consider, SO much can change in 6 months, let alone a year or two years. Reevaluate then, there is NO need to make these big decisions now. 

 

As far as high needs is considered, that can change too. Being a first time mom is HARD, even with an "easy" baby. It is a shock physically, emotionally,mentally and even spiritually. On top of that, your dd had some special challenges that make it even harder. Be easy on yourself. From what you described I don't know how you survived either! I think your situation would challenge any new mom's mental and phsyical health. But it will get better. She will get older, and more independent. It won't always be like this. The second baby may not have these special needs. Honestly, by #3 I feel like an old pro at this baby thing, my eldest can help, the dynamics are very different. But don't get me wrong, 3 kids can still be very challenging. I am NOT saying you should have more children, Only you, DH and your doctor can decide that together. I just want to give you some perspective from the other side.I know  from experience how hard it can be to imagine feeling anything else but depressed and hopeless. But it does change!

 

Finally, do NOT let DH discount what you are going through. He needs to understand how SERIOUS your situation is. PPD is no joke, it is very real and should be taken very seriously. Find a support group if you can. Take him to your doctor's appointments with you so another doctor can make it clear that this is nothing to dismiss. Provide DH with literature or online resources so he can really understand that he needs to help you with your feelings and physical state NOW. Really, put off any discussion of more children until you come through to the other side of this. You need to get through his and feeling normal again first.

 

I know you are far from family, but do you have any support where you are? A church, synagogue, or other spiritual community? Any friends, playgroups, or even a good therapist? I would at the very least seek out a local mom's group. They often trade off childcare so moms can get a break, know of other resources for mom's and families, and helps provide some much needed commisseration.

 

My post is long, but I hope some of it helps you. I totally know what you are going through. Take care of yourself, and try to have hope, it DOES get better.

Thank you so much for your response! It's been so helpful to read through. 

 

I hope I didn't make it sound like my DH doesn't understand how serious depression can be! He's in training to become physician himself, and our good friend is entering a psych residency next year, so we do both understand the gravity of struggling with mental illness. I think I was (badly) trying to say that he just doesn't quite "get" what it's like for me to be a stay-at-home mom to a HN baby, in a town far away from home, with extremely limited money, muddling through depression, and having had to postpone my own career goals for the moment. Of course he can't get it. He's a father, not a mother, and right now we've BOTH made the decision to prioritize his career goals because it's the one that sucks the most money from us (medical school, that is) and will one day hopefully provide for the family. 

 

My husband is SO supportive of me, though, even if he doesn't quite understand what I'm going through. I hope I get that across, at least.

 

As to support, I do have a playgroup we go to regularly, and we are also a part of a babysitting coop that trades babysitting hours. I still don't quite feel like I click with anyone or that I belong, so it's difficult to feel truly supported. But I'm hoping with time I'll mesh better with the group. 


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#15 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am kind of in the same boat as you.. My daughter is 23 months and has been extremely high needs. The first year was awful! Nothing like what I had hoped for. My husband is very helpful and supportive but it was hard on our relationship. I don't feel depressed anymore thankfully (I actually had some PTSD symptoms from it but thankfully it's getting better). Our daughter is much better then she was but she is still HN. The thing that is the hardest is that she barely sleeps and when she does if is a light restless sleep. I have a lot if fear about going through that again with another baby and so does my husband. We don't want her to be an only child though. Right now we are planning to ttc around next Christmas and have another baby when she is a little passed 3. I was feeling all of this pressure to have another one sooner but when I took a step back I knew I needed more time.. Anyway my point is that what you went through is very very hard. You may need some time and that's ok. You don't need to make any decisions right away if you don't want to. Or you can tell yourself that you are definitely not having any more and then change your mind which is what I did wink1.gif

Hugs. It's always really good for me to hear that others have gone through having a HN baby, too. It makes me feel a lot less alone.

 

I think we're going to try for baby #2, and see what happens! And if the next baby is also HN, I know for sure that we're done having children because that's all I can handle. 


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#16 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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{{{HUGS}}}  Good for you for seeking out help.  My baby is just a little younger than yours (he just turned one), and I have four much older children from my first marriage.  I suspect that I had undiagnosed PPD when my third DD was born, and it was really hard for a few years.  I wish I had sought help at the time.  :(

 

I think that, as previous posters have said, that first you have to move on from where you are right now, before you will be in the right frame of mind to think about future children.  It is so hard to make a decision when you're in a dark place.  

 

Enjoy your little one now that things are at least a bit easier, and see how things go?  I wouldn't even talk about more kids at this point, since it sounds like your toddler NEEDS to be an only for quite a bit longer, anyways.  :)

 

Good luck on your journey.  :)

 Thank you! Your response was beautiful to read :heartbeat


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#17 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dear Mama, 

I understand your description of melancholy as I have struggled with the same for most of my life.  Despite it all, I always wanted a big family with which I would be happy and feel completely full filled.  Well anyway. . . I had my first baby two years ago and although he is the light of my life, I struggle greatly with everything you describe.  I read articles before I gave birth about postpartum depression and how it's more common in women who already struggle with anxiety/depression.  I did find that medication helped along with seeing a therapist.  I also do acupuncture once a month and massage which you might really like because it helps release actual physical hyper tension.

 

In terms of your husband, it sounds like he does care and wants you to be happy but most likely he doesn't officially grasp what you are going through with these feelings.  Not to mention, there is a mind frame with depression that already makes you feel like no one really gets it. . .so it might also be helpful to find a therapist who specializes in postpartum/anxiety/depression and after you have done some work, ask for some joint session with the hubby.  You could then work through whether or not you will have more children and make a plan for whatever goal you decide.  For myself, I tend to resent my husband for not "getting it" and that isn't good either because it can engage the feeling of isolation.

 

Hugs to you and your baby.  I can sympathize greatly and hope you find relief that will allow for more balance and joy.

Abigaile83

You've exactly nailed it. DH cares immensely, but doesn't get it- and then, those feelings of him not "getting it" are exacerbated by my depression. Put that on top of being so far away from family, and having DH be so busy, and you have a recipe for feeling isolated. :(

 

I've been feeling much better lately with the onset of Spring, sunshine, and exercise weather. :) And I've also been doing online CBT, which has helped A LOT. So, things are looking up!

 

Thanks for your response!


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#18 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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YES to meds and YES to changing your family plan. I have bipolar disorder and twins. I take my meds and it makes me a better mother. And a better partner. Even though my meds are not always perfect or working, I know that I need them. And acknowledging that is empowering. It isn't my fault. And it isn't your fault. Some thoughts:

 

1. Are you able to work? Working outside the home keeps me sane. I couldn't possibly stay at home with my kids. By Monday morning, I'm ready for my own time. It's hard to admit that, but when I get home I can be all about them and spend Saturdays and Sundays being very engaged. If you aren't working, then try to carve out time for yourself. It's amazing what 30 minutes can do. And if your husband wants to have more children, then he has to understand that that means taking the kids to the park for an hour or more on Saturday. You can't be around the kids all the time, even if you want to.

 

2. Can you see a therapist? It can really help to sort things out. You can often see one through yours or your husband's employer or school. Or find a low-income provider. Sometimes students are available to help for free or for a low cost. I go to a therapist in my office and I dread it every time, but I feel amazing afterward.

 

3. I suggest putting all family planning talks on hold for now. Your husband needs to understand that you can't possibly make those difficult decisions until you are treating your mental illness. It's already difficult to be with someone who is depressed, and fighting about kids or family planning just makes it harder. Once you feel more in control of yourself and your emotions, you might feel better about having more children. And if you don't, THAT'S OKAY. I'm not having any more and I don't feel badly about that. This is all I have to give, and I'm okay with that.

 

Gosh, I wish I could work. But working isn't financially feasible for us right now, because any work I could find in this town wouldn't pay much, and I'd pay everything to childcare. I want to go back to school for my BSN (eventually MSN), but right now all of our finances are tied up with medical school, and taking out more student loans isn't possible. So, I'm stuck. And that feeling of being "stuck" really does contribute to my depression. :(

 

I'm doing online CBT, which has helped a lot. I'm looking into getting childcare for a monthly depression group that meets at our local hospital. And I've been feeling a lot better since Spring sprung. So, things are looking up a bit! Not nearly as bleak. 

 

Thanks for responding!


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#19 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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WWW,

While my experience is similar to many of the others who have posted, I figure it can't hurt to hear that there are more of us out here.

I've dealt with depression since my teens. Meds have helped immensely, especially when I have, like you, done the extra work to take care of myself. Therapists have helped to some degree, but I have found it difficult to find one I click with. (I can vouch that a therapist who talks more than you do during the session is not the most helpful.)

I also have a partner who's got a lot on his plate. My husband is working in a family business that requires a lot of his time and energy. Also, his family is (in my opinion) extremely dysfunctional, so he's been emotionally drained by his work as well. None of this is very healthy but he's working through all of it in order to find some resolution. After that, who knows what will happen for his work and, consequently, if we will need to move.

I'm used to working and school, but now I'm home full time with an adorable 16-month-old high needs baby girl. This new situation requires all my time and energy in a way I've never experienced before. (It's funny- another thread was asking what have you experienced that was more painful than childbirth. Well, I wouldn't say it's more painful, but if the most difficult thing about being a mother was delivering the baby, this whole thing would be a breeze!) And to top it off, my husband is not really available as much, emotionally or time-wise, as I would like. Hell, as much as I NEED.

Having a child has changed everything, of course. But I don't think I could ever have imagined what those changes would really mean for me. There were times in the middle of the night when I laid in bed nursing Zo that I felt so exhausted that I was twitchy all over with an incredible urge to run. Run as far as I could and maybe when I reached the place where I could run no more, I could drop and finally, finally sleep. I couldn't bear one more second. But I breathed in and out and I tried to think of something else and, somehow, I made it through.

While I was pregnant, I worried that I wouldn't be able to cope with motherhood. That I'd get depressed and end up like the mothers in novels who go to bed and don't get up for days. I haven't done that, but, like you, there have been days where Zo's watched The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh over and over. And over.

As much as my husband loves me and our daughter, I just don't think he gets it. He doesn't understand what motherhood has taken of me. At least not on that visceral level; you can only understand if you've been there and done it yourself. (To be fair, I don't think I'll every truly understand what he has been going through with his family.) While we never planned on having a big family, he has mentioned once or twice that he thinks it would be nice for Zo to have a sibling. I told him, I'm sorry, I just can't do it.

Please understand, I love my daughter more than anyone or anything. There are parts of motherhood I don't like so much and plenty that have been difficult, but I would never wish it away.

I guess what struck me about the similarities of our situations (other than the love of Pooh), is how you've also had to parent largely by yourself. I'm not pointing this out to bag on your husband; what he's doing is for the benefit of your family and I'm sure you knew you'd have to bear a lot of the load by yourself going into this. But knowing it is very different than doing it. And you have done it.

Now you need a little time and support to give yourself the same care you show your daughter and husband. And some space before you make any decisions about the future of your family. You deserve that.

I wish you the best. And thank you for posting this thread. Replying made me put into words a lot of nebulous feelings and fleeting thoughts. I haven't written this much in a long time and it feels good to get it out and get it down on paper (so to speak). So thanks for inspiring that.

 

Your response really really resonates with me. Especially that bit about your DH not understanding what motherhood takes from a woman. I wish YOU the best. Sending you lots of sunshine, happiness, and laughter. It's a Windsday here, so maybe it'll blow all the way to your neck of the woods. :goodvibes


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#20 of 20 Old 05-15-2014, 06:21 PM
 
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ahh, yes, I think I feel that gentle spring zephyr...;)

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