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Old 05-08-2008, 02:53 AM
 
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I just wanted to chime in here. My DD was very high needs, to the point that there were times that I had to lay her in her crib and go outside for five minutes just so I wouldn't lose it. Was she crying? Yes. Did she survive it? Yes.

I was so judgmental about parenting choices before I had her and now I know that all the ideal parenting strategies just aren't always real-world applicable. I was so incredibly tired, my nerves were shot, she didn't want to sleep very much and she nursed around the clock. The vision of what I had in mind during my pregnancy (which I also hated!) of what my new baby was going to be like and what I got were so far and away different that I think that was part of my stumbling block of realizing THIS was the baby I had not the baby I dreamed of and I'd better just make the most of it. I have said over and over again to friends and family that I am completely perplexed by the ooohing and ahhhing over infants. I much preferred her 12 months +. Don't get me wrong, I always loved her intensely, it was just so hard day to day. And I definitely did not have PPD. She is now almost 3 and such a joy. All the qualities that made her a demanding infant make her an incredibly fun and lively toddler. We have such a great time together, she is vibrant and intense and very dramatic!

I got pregnant with my son the very first time we tried. I hadn't even adjusted to the idea of trying and I was pregnant. Pregnant and petrified. I almost ignored being pregnant most of the way through, I mean I knew I was but I just refused to process the fact that I was indeed having another baby because I just wasn't sure how I was going to survive not sleeping again for another year and a half, etc. Well, out he came and he is so incredibly different from her, so laid back, snuggly and *quiet*. I still am in shock. So, don't assume your next (if you have another) will be the same. I am actually enjoying his infancy and I really appreciate what a gift it is this time around, how short it is.

Hang in there, I hope she settles down for you soon. Oh, my DD did have dairy allergy and that made the first couple months horrifying until I figured it out. I think the major difference that I read in your OP is that you seem almost angry, I don't think I was ever actually angry with my DD, just at my wit's end and exhausted which made me feel crazy. I do agree with all the PP's that have suggested that it is worth looking into about PPD. If nothing else, you can cross something off the list of possible issues to be resolved, right?

"Hey, I've got nothin' to do today but smile." - S & G
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:47 AM
 
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First, hugs and THANK YOU for your honesty. I could have written your post a few weeks ago. (IT DOES GET BETTER!)

There have been many many great responses, and I hope that they truly are bringing you comfort and peace. I have another thought to share that I don't think anyone has mentioned, something that has helped me recently as I've dealt with similar feelings.

Women are not MEANT to do this alone. We are not meant to have such a difficult job and yet be so socially isolated and devalued. Even under the best of circumstances (happy baby, supportive partner, friends) a woman in our culture is still living in a reality that other mothers in the world do not.

I've done quite a bit of traveling and have noticed some major cultural differences in motherhood and what it entails. Of course mothering is hard everywhere, but with extended family and close-knit communities, the burden is usually shared in other parts of the world -- babies are passed around and nursed by others, children are entertained and watched over. Women have more space, more freedom, more room to breathe. Unlike here where we are all supposed to be supermom and love every minute of it.

*Sigh*

So, my point, for what it's worth, is that there isn't anything wrong with you, or with any of us for that matter. We are doing our best in a far from ideal situation. We are told that we should have children, that we should devote all of our time and energy to them, and that we should love being mothers, but that we have to do it alone. We romanticize motherhood and then don't support mothers.

The answer? Fill in the gaps as best as you can with family and friends. Create a net of support so that you don't feel so overwhelmed. Realizing that it is not ME that is inadequate, that it's society, has really helped to motivate ME to reach out and connect with others. We need each other so badly!

Living simply with the loves of my life! :::
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:07 AM
 
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Women are not MEANT to do this alone. We are not meant to have such a difficult job and yet be so socially isolated and devalued. Even under the best of circumstances (happy baby, supportive partner, friends) a woman in our culture is still living in a reality that other mothers in the world do not.
This is an excellent point.

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Old 05-08-2008, 04:22 AM
 
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Women are not MEANT to do this alone. We are not meant to have such a difficult job and yet be so socially isolated and devalued. Even under the best of circumstances (happy baby, supportive partner, friends) a woman in our culture is still living in a reality that other mothers in the world do not.
I can't agree more. The fact that we survive it, and come out on the other side... well, that's because we're amazing.

And to add to the socially isolated part... it's not even necessarily always a physical isolation. You can sit in a group of mothers, and if everyone is putting on a "I'm June Cleaver meets Martha Stewart meets Pollyanna, all the time, and I love it all!" front... then everyone is isolated, in a crowd. It's a disservice to everyone. Without honesty about the wonderful parts AND the messy, lonely, frustrating parts - we're all isolated.

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Old 05-08-2008, 07:33 AM
 
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Women are not MEANT to do this alone. We are not meant to have such a difficult job and yet be so socially isolated and devalued. Even under the best of circumstances (happy baby, supportive partner, friends) a woman in our culture is still living in a reality that other mothers in the world do not.
Thank, you thank you, thank you! Not to mention that in almost all traditional societies pregnant women are given much more leeway and not expected to keep going 100% full-tilt ahead until the day they give birth. Oh, and don't even get me started on the post-partum period. Sooo many cultures give women the first 40 days (or somewhere around there) to recuperate from the birth where they are expected to stay in bed with the baby while other women come & visit, cook, clean and take care of the older siblings. Here in the west we expect pregnant women and women with babies to not have any additional needs or requirements. If I had a dollar each time someone told me "well, I didn't have x (x being husband helping, outsourcing laundry, etc) when I had babies, and I survived so you are spoiled" I'd be rich. Filthy rich.

Why is there this martyr need in Western culture, especially when it comes to motherhood? Can't we all admit that this is fr#$kin hard and stop the b.s?

Ok, vent over. lol I think I just got one too many "you're spoiled because at least your husband changes diapers" lectures. lol

Ami

Wife to dh, Mommy to my heavenly angel, J (06), and my earthly angels, S (07) and E (10)

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Old 05-08-2008, 09:30 AM
 
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First, hugs and THANK YOU for your honesty. I could have written your post a few weeks ago. (IT DOES GET BETTER!)

There have been many many great responses, and I hope that they truly are bringing you comfort and peace. I have another thought to share that I don't think anyone has mentioned, something that has helped me recently as I've dealt with similar feelings.

Women are not MEANT to do this alone. We are not meant to have such a difficult job and yet be so socially isolated and devalued. Even under the best of circumstances (happy baby, supportive partner, friends) a woman in our culture is still living in a reality that other mothers in the world do not.

I've done quite a bit of traveling and have noticed some major cultural differences in motherhood and what it entails. Of course mothering is hard everywhere, but with extended family and close-knit communities, the burden is usually shared in other parts of the world -- babies are passed around and nursed by others, children are entertained and watched over. Women have more space, more freedom, more room to breathe. Unlike here where we are all supposed to be supermom and love every minute of it.

*Sigh*

So, my point, for what it's worth, is that there isn't anything wrong with you, or with any of us for that matter. We are doing our best in a far from ideal situation. We are told that we should have children, that we should devote all of our time and energy to them, and that we should love being mothers, but that we have to do it alone. We romanticize motherhood and then don't support mothers.

The answer? Fill in the gaps as best as you can with family and friends. Create a net of support so that you don't feel so overwhelmed. Realizing that it is not ME that is inadequate, that it's society, has really helped to motivate ME to reach out and connect with others. We need each other so badly!
So well said! And I think your post touches on what has made me keep coming back to this thread which is this ideal that if you aren't farting sunshine and roses as a mom then you must have PPD and you need meds.

I get that PPD is real and we should all evaluate ourselves for that potential, but the reality is you can have a bad relationship with your spouse and no one instantly blames depression. But have a difficult time with you baby, fail to achieve the perfect June Cleaver moment and it has to be PPD. And if we just take a pill it will no longer matter that our baby keeps us up all night.

I think there are interim steps and strategies here before we get to PPD and I think that's what the OP was going for.

As I posted earlier I can identify with the OP's sentiments. My DD was a great newborn, but now she is very demanding and high needs and I don't get enough sleep for that! And I have absolutely no material help outside of my husband. No relatives nearby, it's just the three of us. I'm working on building up a network for myself, but it's going to take time.

I've noticed that babies expand to take up all available space in your life and managing that kind of never ending neediness can be a challenge.

To the OP:

1. Am I right in that you had a hard birth with a NICU stay? Do you think perhaps you need to carve out some space to process this experience? How could you go about it? A sitter for some you time? A therapist to hash out your emotions?

The first three months, I went through a bit of an identity crisis, I had no idea who I was anymore or what my values were. My DD put everything up for question and analysis. It was exhausting and I also butted right up against the "Mystique of Motherhood" which is this idea that 'my baby completes me'. In reality, sometimes I just wanted to put her down and take a shower AP and her needs be damned.

I had to renegotiate all my personal boundaries and completely change my thinking about what motherhood meant for me vs. what I thought it would be before I had DD. Seven months in and I am still doing this, it's an ongoing process.

2.It sounds like you had really high expectations and reality is not meeting them. This sucks, I know and creates pretty significant cognitive dissonance. You need to find a way to process that and let go of what should be and accept what is. If you've ever studied Buddhism now is the time to put in place the idea that things just are and avoid value judgments.

I have come to believe that motherhood is a personal definition. We must all find our own path because we are all unique as parents with unique children. It's hard to realize there aren't too many crutches you can lean on to limp along, you've got to do all the hard work yourself.

Also, don't have expectations. It's hard and I keep making this mistake, but the less I expect, the better off I am and the better I take things as they come instead of fighting against some arbitrary goal I made for myself as a mother.

3.Do anything and everything to make things easier for you. If you have to hire a sitter, hire a sitter. If you need a maid, get a maid. If you need a therapist just so that someone hears you out, go for it. Or start a journal and don't hold back. Now is not the time to skimp on your needs because, if momma ain't happy, no one is. Figure out what would make motherhood manageable for you right now and do it.

Don't hide from your emotions because you think you shouldn't have them. Purge them, face them, and things will start to make sense emotionally in my experience.

It is OK to find being a mother hard. It's okay to not love every minute. It's okay to feel letdown. Don't deny what feels true to you, but then take it and build on it, build toward a motherhood that fits you and that you can enjoy.

HTH and was more of what you were looking for with your original post.



V

Happy Momma to DD (almost 3) Fall Coleslaw -- Simple Italian Stuffed Peppers -- - Fall Toddler Activities.- We Made a Play Kitchen Selling gently used books on all topics here.
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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I couldn't help feeling like getting on a plane right away and just being there for a week to give you a hug, cook up a nice pot of chili for you, offer a massage and put you to bed and give you a break. All I can give you are some virtual hugs and my most earnest hope that things will improve soon, and a few of my thoughts.

I didn't have the time to read all pp's so ignore if it's all been said before. You do sound very angry, on top of (as a result of) being distressed etc. The times I've been most angry in the infancy phase has been while I've been incredibly sleep deprived, which it sounds like you definitely are. My first baby didn't latch for over 2 weeks, and I had to pump, try to get him to latch, feed him a bottle and do it all over again in 2 hr intervals. I was falling apart, getting 20 mins sleep at a time like that, and even considered not nursing due that period- fortunately, I had great doulas who kept me going. And that was just 2 weeks - I can't imagine going on and on for months like that. Even when I finally got to sleep for 3 hrs ish at a stretch, which at that time was a godsend, it was still a milder form of torture those first 6 mos or so. I was often snappish, miserable and practically delirious. Fortunately, the rest of infancy went fairly well for me (toddlerhood is not so fun, but at least the sleep issue was not so bad).

Remember, sleep is a basic need. People do become psychotic because of prolonged lack of sleep- irritability is the most common result of initial sleep deprivation, and I'm sure it's not off base to conclude that periodic rage can come from extreme deprivation. I don't believe attachment parenting is compatible with extreme deprivation of very basic needs of the parent (nutrition, health care, sleep, safe environment) - in fact, they are essential to competent parenting. While we certainly don't want to let a baby cry for a prolonged period of time, and I truly believe your little one needs YOU (despite her paci preference over the boob), she doesn't necessarily need to have you there 24/7/365. I read in a (non-natural parenting) infant tips book, of a woman who would take "sleep breaks" once a week - she would check into a motel and just sleep for ten hrs while her husband took care of the baby. With nursing, of course, this would mean pumping and taking a pump with you, but still, you would get more sleep not hearing her cry for whatever length of time you chose. You may be able to do this in your own home if it's big enough to not hear her in another part of the house and you can keep yourself from her for a bit. I'm sure your baby would still be attached to you in the long run, still have her needs met by whoever would care for her (your husband or even a hired babysitter), if you did this once in a while. Getting some rest can make all the difference in the world. And so can support in general, so I'm glad you're online talking about this even though i'm sure the time is hard to spare. Many hugs, and know that many people have you in their thoughts.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I get that PPD is real and we should all evaluate ourselves for that potential, but the reality is you can have a bad relationship with your spouse and no one instantly blames depression. But have a difficult time with you baby, fail to achieve the perfect June Cleaver moment and it has to be PPD. And if we just take a pill it will no longer matter that our baby keeps us up all night.
This was exactly my point. Thank you.

I don't want to "try" to keep this going, but I don't want to ignore people's questions if they have them, so I'm just going with it.

My dd was born with severe meconium aspiration. I needed an emergency c-section because her heartrate was flat, and she could have died any time during her first 12 hours of being in the world. She was in the NICU for almost a week, and I am lucky enough to have a baby who not only lived, but has no long-term issues.

You know why I'm pissed? I'm pissed at myself for not being good enough, and I'm pissed at my baby for "making" me feel that way. A baby doesn't go away, you can't avoid her for weeks at a time. I have to face my failure every single day, every hour even, and it's difficult. I'm pissed that this isn't what I expected, and it doesn't seem like other people are having this problem. As a result of all this drama I have created, I am trying to lower my standards, get more SLEEP, and quit thinking everyone else is perfect. I've been a little annoyed with some of this AP crap for awhile, but I've felt like I was evil for questioning it. No longer.

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Old 05-09-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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The thing about AP is that you havw to do what works for you. Take the good and leave th bad. It is not about being a martyr, I learned that the hard way. You HAVE to make sure your own needs are being met too. It is not all about the baby. When your own needs are going unmet it will just make you resent the baby, and it sounds like that is what is happening with you.

It may be depression, it may not; either way the baby is staying so it would be best to find a way to make it all work. You cannot continue being so pissed, it isn't good for you or anyone else in your family. Something clearly has to change to make you feel better.

I don't know why people think it is funny to tell a new mom that it doesn't get better. IT DOES GET BETTER, a lot better. You will feel more comfortable as the months go by and it will be easier. I promise.

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:18 AM
 
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You know why I'm pissed? I'm pissed at myself for not being good enough, and I'm pissed at my baby for "making" me feel that way. A baby doesn't go away, you can't avoid her for weeks at a time. I have to face my failure every single day, every hour even, and it's difficult. I'm pissed that this isn't what I expected, and it doesn't seem like other people are having this problem. As a result of all this drama I have created, I am trying to lower my standards, get more SLEEP, and quit thinking everyone else is perfect. I've been a little annoyed with some of this AP crap for awhile, but I've felt like I was evil for questioning it. No longer.
You have every right to grieve. Grieve for the birth you wanted, grieve for the dreams of cuddling a content newborn, grieve for the loss of that perfect picture you imagined. Anger and sadness, frustration and desperation. Those are normal expressions of grief.

I don't think anyone can understand what it is like to deal with a baby who cries all the time and never sleeps unless they have one themselves. It is hell. It takes every ounce of your resources and you never have a chance to refill. And it isn't as easy as just taking a break or letting the baby cry, it is so much more. The fatigue and stress run so deep that it takes a very long time to recover.

I had a difficult baby the first time around as well, he cried for up to 14 hours at a time, then he would sleep (on the breast) for 45 minutes then cry for another 3 or 4 hours, then repeat the cycle. He couldn't handle being held by anyone but me (or he would cry for another 3 hours) and he couldn't be put down EVER (or he would cry for another 3 or 4 hours). There was nothing I could do and I have never felt so helpless. I wanted to fix it but I just didn't know how. I felt like I was failing him every time he cried.

I hated when people suggested he had colic, he didn't. I hated when people suggested I had PPD, I didn't. I hated when people thought they could give me a break by taking him, they couldn't. I just wanted to be validated for what I went through and that was the one thing no one would offer. Instead they hinted around the fact that I was too overprotecting, that I was doing things wrong, that I should just let him cry, that he was spoiled. They made it worse.

My eldest is now 7. He still has his moments And in hindsight I wouldn't have changed a thing. Going through that experience bonded us in a way that doesn't happen with an "easy" baby. (I have one of those too and though I am absolutely in love with her it is a different kind of bond). He is such a unique person and has bettered our lives in ways we could never have expected while we wandered the neighborhood with a screaming baby every night at 3 am. And after living through those early months (years....) I am so much stronger, more confident, more outspoken, and more patient. His difficult beginning brought out so many things in us we never knew existed.

It wasn't what I expected when I dreamed of motherhood, but it was what I got. And I survived it. Not because I am stronger than other women, or a better mother, a more attached mother, or June Cleaver in training. I survived it because I had no choice. You will get through it too and your babe will grow into a unique and wonderful little person and you will know it is because of you. Right now you are in survival mode, but it will get better. And even if it doesn't you will get better at dealing with it.

I will say though, it is crucial that you find some mama friends you can relate to. Just not being isolated makes a huge difference. Good luck


 

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Old 05-09-2008, 01:50 AM
 
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You know why I'm pissed? I'm pissed at myself for not being good enough, and I'm pissed at my baby for "making" me feel that way. A baby doesn't go away, you can't avoid her for weeks at a time. I have to face my failure every single day, every hour even, and it's difficult. I'm pissed that this isn't what I expected, and it doesn't seem like other people are having this problem. As a result of all this drama I have created, I am trying to lower my standards, get more SLEEP, and quit thinking everyone else is perfect. I've been a little annoyed with some of this AP crap for awhile, but I've felt like I was evil for questioning it. No longer.

RaeAnne
I have 3 children. My 3rd (almost 15 months) is much like your DD. She was fairly mellow until 5 months, and then ... OH MY GOODNESS. She stopped sleeping (day or night). And the crying, oh the crying. If we're out, she is fine, but when we are home, she cries and screams so often. If I put her down, she screams. I am not "allowed" to sit down unless I am nursing her. If I am sitting down with her and not nursing, she screams, screams, and screams. (And she eats plenty of solids, so I don't think it's that she's hungry.) I don't think it's a physical thing because, like I said, when we are out, she looks like a baby who would never scream.

My husband and I planned on having 2 or 3 children, but let me tell you . . .my 3rd DD has SEALED THE DEAL that I am never, ever, ever doing this again. I never understood why women who had everything "in place" (enough money, support, etc.) would cry if they got pregnant. Now I know I would cry if I got pregnant. I feel bad for my other children. They do their fair share of yelling at each other, but this screaming and constant, constant neediness of my 3rd makes me feel like we live in some sort of disruptive home with no chance at peace.

It is NOT AN AP thing. It is a baby thing. You did not make her this way. There are no easy fixes with a baby like this (though I have hope that your DD will grow out of it far faster than mine has!). But one thing-- it WILL get better. Since this is my 3rd, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel . . .your DD won't always be screaming, even though it's hard to imagine. It is so hard to get through. This is the baby that has made me actually want to go back to work many, many times, but not as a teacher. I'd want to go to a quiet office and just do my job without someone screaming at me all day.

I can't tell you how many times I have wished for my 3rd to grow up a little faster. I feel guilty-- how can I not want to treasure every moment? But then I think, no, I do not treasure the screaming. I do treasure her-- the difference with such a screamy baby is that when she is happy, it's like the best gift in the world.

My best advice is to take it one day at a time, take care of her, take care of you, and let others help.


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Old 05-09-2008, 04:10 AM
 
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This was exactly my point. Thank you.

I don't want to "try" to keep this going, but I don't want to ignore people's questions if they have them, so I'm just going with it.

My dd was born with severe meconium aspiration. I needed an emergency c-section because her heartrate was flat, and she could have died any time during her first 12 hours of being in the world. She was in the NICU for almost a week, and I am lucky enough to have a baby who not only lived, but has no long-term issues.

You know why I'm pissed? I'm pissed at myself for not being good enough, and I'm pissed at my baby for "making" me feel that way. A baby doesn't go away, you can't avoid her for weeks at a time. I have to face my failure every single day, every hour even, and it's difficult. I'm pissed that this isn't what I expected, and it doesn't seem like other people are having this problem. As a result of all this drama I have created, I am trying to lower my standards, get more SLEEP, and quit thinking everyone else is perfect. I've been a little annoyed with some of this AP crap for awhile, but I've felt like I was evil for questioning it. No longer.

RaeAnne
This got me thinking a little more, because my first dd was also born with severe meconium aspiration. She was in the NICU for two weeks, and also clung to life her first few hours. I was always told we were lucky she didn't have any long term issues, and my dh always said, no we AREN'T lucky - we worked all through the pg to make sure she would be this healthy, and, in the end, we were robbed, and you were too, of those first hours, of that joyous birth, of resting after your baby was born. Instead, I am guessing you were recovering from major surgery while being as ambulatory as possible to be at your dd's side. Where I come from, we don't call that lucky.

It is a huge loss, and it takes some time to grieve, and you certainly have every right to be majorly pi**ed about it. It stinks. I am still a little angry about it, truth be told. So I am wondering if this is part of what you are pissed about.

And yeah, the never feeling good enough, I can totally identify. I STILL feel this way with dd1 - no matter what I do, it is never enough. I am told it is because she is a child, but, honestly, I think it is just her. I have never seen such a small being demand to have so much control over her environment, and demand so much... well, just so freaking MUCH - out of life and everyone around her. It is enough to anger a saint, especially when you feel you are doing everything possible and it is not enough. That part hasn't gotten better, I have just learned to live with it, but there are other rewards that outweigh that frustration, at least for me. And please try to stop the tape in your head that tells you that you are a failure. You aren't. You are a great mom. You have just been given a baby that is more demanding than 90% of babies out there, and you are trying to do more mothering of her than probably 90% of moms out there. The two together equal one very worn out mama. And like the pp said, it is not you. Again, you are a great mom, you are not a failure.

I do hope it gets better for you - I know there is no guarantee, but I will say, I was never as in love with my daughter as I was after she hit about six months or so - once she was able to sit up, scooch around, and start doing things on her own, she got a LOT happier, and, not conincidentally, a LOT cuter. Also, by ten months, she was down to one night waking, and having sleep was huge. I know now why sleep deprivation is a form of torture.

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Old 05-09-2008, 05:32 AM
 
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I'm new to these boards but I just had to send you a big hug.

My daughter just turned three. I am only NOW beginning to feel like I can see straight after what have been the hardest years of my entire life. Do I ever understand your post!!!!

I had my daughter at age 40, after almost 20 years of a challenging, interesting career as a writer. Suddenly I was thrust into a Bizarroworld of virtually NO sleep and the not so subtle message from society and my Mom friends that THIS was the most amazing part of my life, that it was my higher calling, that it was a "joy" and all of this Pampers commercial stuff that frankly missed me by a mile. Don't get me wrong -- I adored my child from the very moment I laid eyes on her. Actually, from the moment I knew I was pregnant. I loved her so much -- and I also had the distinct feeling that she would be my biggest challenge, that she was brought to me to teach me things nobody else could teach me. But all my zen philosophizing didn't mean much when she was 6 months old and had not EVER slept more than one and a half hours at a stretch. I was angry and tired and lost. I was no longer a woman with a career. I was covered in spit-up with stress fractures in both feet from walking the floors with a crying child. I had elderly inlaws who could offer no help and a lot of childless friends who stopped by with stuffed animals and left quickly. I found myself crying almost as much as my daughter.

People tried to tell me it was PPD. It wasn't. It was situational frustration brought on by torture and extreme sleep deprivation. If someone doesn't have a high needs kid they'll never get it. They will never understand what it's like to do everything right -- to give it your 100 percent -- and have nothing work the way the books, the pediatricians and the other moms say it should! Then to have some well-meaning mom tell you your feelings aren't normal ... it's enough to make you want to bludgeon yourself to death with your hardbound edition of Dr. Sears Baby Book. The feminist in me questions too hasty diagnoses of PPD. If a woman was getting routinely beaten by her husband and forced by him to stay up all night for months on end, nobody would call her "depressed" and expect Prozac to solve it.

My daughter didn't sleep through the night until she was 2 and 1/4. No kidding. My husband and I thought we were living an existential nightmare right out of Sartre. Co-sleeping helped -- a lot. We just realized that we have a kid who doesn't sleep for long stretches. Luckily, as she got older she didn't freak out when she woke up, she just snuggled and went back to sleep. Ah, small miracles. I also found that sunlight helped. UV light helps regulate circadian rhythms. In this age of sunscreen and fear of skin cancer, doctors warn of getting babies out in the light. I think this is wrong. Oh, and moderate amounts of sunlght helped my mood, too.

What truly saved me -- and continues to save me -- is knowing that relationships often come with good and bad, with rewards but also resentments and hurt feelings. You are NOT a bad mother because you are pissed at the way things turned out. This relationship is forming and right now you are stuck with all the giving and very little in the way of getting back. I remember a turning point for me was when my daughter was about five months old. She woke up crying -- as she always did, and after only being asleep for about an hour -- and when she looked at me she just stopped crying and broke into the biggest most gorgeous gummy smile I had ever seen. I knew at that moment that no matter how hard it was, it was going to get better. I also knew that I was going to be a better person for all of it.

It does get better. And in my case, my high-needs kid has turned out to be a highly smart, extremely sensetive sweetheart who has the empathy of a wise old woman at the tender age of three. She is caring and funny and loving and silly. Because of her, I think I've become more caring and loving and silly, too. I also know that I will probably not have another child because of this experience. I just don't have it in me. And that's okay, too. Don't let someone else's script get in the way of figuring out your own life.
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:57 AM
 
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Violet2, I love you. That's one of the most savvy posts I've read in a while.

RaeAnne, you've got it. I can't find a flip emoticon to express myself here, but to have this discussion- especially here, in the public domain- takes REAL guts. I think that your daughter has a very strong mama, even if this isn't the job you dreamt of, and I wish we could fast-forward a few years and get you to the good bits- whatever that may be for you.

Welcome, LaurieMoon

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Old 05-09-2008, 10:57 AM
 
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This was exactly my point. Thank you.

You know why I'm pissed? I'm pissed at myself for not being good enough, and I'm pissed at my baby for "making" me feel that way. A baby doesn't go away, you can't avoid her for weeks at a time. I have to face my failure every single day, every hour even, and it's difficult. I'm pissed that this isn't what I expected, and it doesn't seem like other people are having this problem. As a result of all this drama I have created, I am trying to lower my standards, get more SLEEP, and quit thinking everyone else is perfect. I've been a little annoyed with some of this AP crap for awhile, but I've felt like I was evil for questioning it. No longer.

RaeAnne
1. First AP can get kind of cultish and over-the-top I've noticed. Do what works not what you think you ought to do or what some book that doesn't require sleep says you should.

I try very hard to keep DD happy, but right now my milk supply is tanking and I need to focus on my high maintenance boobs or we'll wean. This means sometimes she has to be on her own and fuss so I can pump.

And I need a shower so I set her up in the bouncy seat where she can see me. If she flips out, she flips out. It's twenty minutes out of hours and hours and hours of one-on-one attention. If it scars her for life, we are doomed as a species.

There's no win-win with infants, at least not with mine. It is impossible to meet all their needs so fully and throughly that they'll want for nothing.

2.My DD had meconium aspiration and spent the first three days in the NICU. We almost didn't get to bring her home. Fortunately, she did well and wasn't sick. We narrowly avoided a CS due to heart rate issues.

My labor and delivery did not go the way I had planned it to go. It totally did not conform to all that positive happy thinking meditation crapola I did while pregnant. My anger post labor was focused more on the people and marketing that led me to believe I could control the outcome with happy thoughts, that I could force my body to do what I commanded it to.

I've since decided trying to control labor is like trying to tell the ocean what to do. It is a force of nature unto itself. If I have another child, I am not going to worry about it. What happens, happens. So long as my decisions are informed and everyone is healthy, I'm good.

What happened is not your fault. The mind-body connection is not so strong that you bear sole responsibility for how your baby was born.

Definitely grieve it and honor your anger, but don't blame yourself. Don't feel guilty.

I've made it a personal rule to never allow myself to cave to momma's guilt because it's crippling and destructive. If I did my best, then that's enough and it's all I have to give. I can't be perfect. I can't avoid failure. I can't do it right all the time. All I can do is love my child and make the best decisions I can with the information I have.

Perfection is a zero sum game. You always lose. So I refuse to play.

3. And the hardest thing I think about motherhood is the lack of downtime. There's just never any breathing room. It's sooo intense and the lack of sleep makes you desperate.

Ooops DD is awake so I have to type fast...

Our society offers no support for mommas and we are sold a bill of goods as to what motherhood really entails. I have read many threads were mommas say they don't tell other women the truth because they don't want to scare them. So most of us pretty much remain ignorant of what motherhood is.

You have every right to be annoyed. I'm annoyed too, but I'm doing my best to make it work because I do love my daughter. I just wish I had enough sleep to enjoy her kwim?

Okay gotta run.

V

Happy Momma to DD (almost 3) Fall Coleslaw -- Simple Italian Stuffed Peppers -- - Fall Toddler Activities.- We Made a Play Kitchen Selling gently used books on all topics here.
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Old 05-09-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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I love all of the honesty in this thread. It took a lot of guts for the OP to start it, but thank you. The perfect mother is a complete illusuion and it is time we dispelled all of the myths!

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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Old 05-09-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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Violet2, I love you. That's one of the most savvy posts I've read in a while.
Thanks

V

Happy Momma to DD (almost 3) Fall Coleslaw -- Simple Italian Stuffed Peppers -- - Fall Toddler Activities.- We Made a Play Kitchen Selling gently used books on all topics here.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:16 PM
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Just want to say thank you to the OP for starting this thread. I felt like that several times in the first 4 or 5 months. Luckily, it never lasted too long, but I definately would get into a rage sometimes and feared for my son during and after those moments.

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said, but I will say that it does get better. DS is 9 months and it started to get easier around the 6th or 7th month... he still doesn't sleep great, but sometimes 3-5hr. stretches...sometimes not, but it is getting more frequent that he sleeps longer stretches. He also doesn't eat non-stop like he did in the first 4 months, he's quick (under 3-5minutes) and only 6 times a day or so. He can crawl and get around on his own too, I always gave him tummy time everyday so he'd be comfortable crawling around on his own.

Another big help is to tell yourself "I'm doing a good job", and believe it!! It sounds silly to remind yourself to do this, but it really helps alot. You are doing a good job mama, its normal to feel anrgry and depressed when you're in a lousy situation. Don't worry though, do take it one day at a time and it really does get better!!
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:55 PM
 
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[QUOTE=lauriemoon;11174915] People tried to tell me it was PPD. It wasn't. It was situational frustration brought on by torture and extreme sleep deprivation. If someone doesn't have a high needs kid they'll never get it. They will never understand what it's like to do everything right -- to give it your 100 percent -- and have nothing work the way the books, the pediatricians and the other moms say it should! Then to have some well-meaning mom tell you your feelings aren't normal ... it's enough to make you want to bludgeon yourself to death with your hardbound edition of Dr. Sears Baby Book. The feminist in me questions too hasty diagnoses of PPD. If a woman was getting routinely beaten by her husband and forced by him to stay up all night for months on end, nobody would call her "depressed" and expect Prozac to solve it. [QUOTE]

I'm sorry as a mother diagnosed with PPD, and knowing how I feel like before I started getting help for it, and knowing how I feel like afterwards. I don't understand why anyone would not seek out help from a dr or a therapist when they are feeling angry and pissed. Nobody is telling the OP that her feelings will not be validated if she goes and discusses how she feels with a dr or therapist. In fact for me it was when I finally went to a therapist that I finally did feel like my feelings were validated. That how I felt was "normal" in some sort of strange way.
As for the women who would get beaten regularly beaten, I have lived with a friend who had just left an abusive relationship, and she was extremely depressed. The Prozac didn't help her "leave" her relationship in a physical sense, but it sure helped her "leave" it in a mental sense.
There are various forms of helping those with PPD, and you don't always have to chose the medication route. I'm trying not to go the medication route, but have chosen therapy and excercise. To be honest I find that excercising is doing the most to help calm my mood. I find that if I don't by the end of the day I'm extremely angry, my kids won't stop crying, they won't go to bed, ect ect ect. Another thing I found helpful was just getting out for a couple of hours by myself every 3-4 days (My therapist thinks it should be every day or min every couple of days, but I find it hard to do that) DH looks after the kids, and during that time dd2 rarely stops crying. But the difference is I'm not hearing her cry and so I'm better able to handle her when I get back. To be honest the diagnosis of PPD was more helpful to my DH, as then he could put a "name" to how I was acting and he then became more willing to help me.
The other thing is therapists and dr's can somehow tell the difference between sleep exhaustion and ppd. At first my therapist told me that it was probably just sleep exhaustion after talking for a couple of moments he changed it to ppd.
Really all I'm saying is if a person is feeling extreme emotions, just go check it out. Its difficult to self diagnose when a person is emotional and even harder for strangers who aren't qualified to diagnose to diagnose. As a pp said "why walk around with a pebble in your shoe if the solution is easy to just take the pebble out"
Also the OP mentioned she has had to go dairy free. I have really no scientific backing, but I think that dietary changes affects moods. I know it affected mine. I have had to go dairy free and soy free in the past couple of months. And at first it was extremely hard, because it has cut out almost every single "easy to make" food out there. And I was trying to substitute into the food I usually ate, and it just wasn't the same. The best advice I read was to change what I ate. For example instead of having cereal with milk in the am, I eat pancakes or porridge now. Instead of tea with milk and sugar I put honey in. We eat more ethnic foods now and more traditionally as well.

Pam, momma to Sofie Avye Seth
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:03 PM
 
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Raeanne. The infant times were the hardest for me. I do think every stage has it's challenges but for me it just keeps getting easier and easier. I have a two year old now and I like the toddler stage much more then the infant stage tantrums and all. It sounds like you have a high need baby, just like mine. It's hard. One thing that I read when she was small and crying a lot was about crying in arms. http://www.awareparenting.com/comfort.htm
It helped me let her cry in my arms or with me present without feeling like I had to make her stop crying. It helped me realize that it's OK for her to cry and to just be there with her without trying to get her to stop by bouncing, rocking, walking, just laying with her and let her cry so she can release stress. I think it helped her and just the change in mindset helped me so much. Anyways, it will get better, I promise!
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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I'm sorry as a mother diagnosed with PPD, and knowing how I feel like before I started getting help for it, and knowing how I feel like afterwards. I don't understand why anyone would not seek out help from a dr or a therapist when they are feeling angry and pissed. Nobody is telling the OP that her feelings will not be validated if she goes and discusses how she feels with a dr or therapist. In fact for me it was when I finally went to a therapist that I finally did feel like my feelings were validated. That how I felt was "normal" in some sort of strange way.
But you HAD PPD and that is not the same as NOT having PPD. If you have PPD then meds and doctors are *one* of the ways you can deal with it. But just because a mother is tired, stressed, sad, and angry it doesn't mean she has PPD. We can have those emotions because we have those emotions. Because the situation we are in warrants those emotions. Because that is just the way we feel right now. That doesn't take away from the very real emotions people who have PPD feel, but treating someone for a condition they don't have isn't any more helpful than not treating a condition someone actually has.


 

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Old 05-09-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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I may not say anything that hasn't been said a hundred times already (I just skimmed a few responses) but I just had to write to you because I have been in that dark place you wrote of so many times, with my first I lived there for several weeks constantly, then off and on for well over a year. I felt like I wasn't meant to be a mom and was angry at others for making it seem so easy/fun to have a baby and angry at myself for planning it, thinking I wanted it, like I had been tricked or something. My first was very high-needs, her behavior was much like what you describe. My whole life, I've been a book person, could find answers to everything in books. With motherhood that changed. The books, even Dr. Sears ones, made me feel terrible. They made everything sound so easy! "Just do x, y, and z and things will be perfect!"Well, I felt like I tried everything and things were still terrible. I felt judged from everyone. When I sought help, it seemed like I only heard from 2 camps: either, "If she wants to be held all the time and nurse every hour, just let her!" or "Let her cry it out, get her on a schedule, be the boss!" Neither of those was right for me and it took me a long time to find my own way but I did it. I'm still "evolving" but DD1 is 2 and 1/2 now and I feel like we understand each other so much better now. Yes, it's still hard sometimes but the hard times are so much shorter and the fun/rewarding times are so much bigger! I've come to realize I'm just not a baby person, never have been and that's ok, that's part of who I am. And Z. didn't like being a baby. She was frustrated all the time. The older and more independent she gets, the happier she is.
I hated not getting positive feedback from my baby. Intellectually, I knew she was communicating the only way she knew how as a baby but I really needed her to smile at me, to tell me she loved me, to thank me, and she couldn't. Now she can and it helps a lot. She even says things like "Thanks for dinner, mommy". It's awesome!
I also spent a long time blaming myself for the kind of baby she was. She cried hours a day, only napped without being held or in the car 7 times. SEVEN. And now she doesn't nap at all. She still doesn't usually sleep through the night. But having DD2 (yes, things got so much better after DD1 turned 1, we had another!!) who is such a vastly different baby, made me see they really are who they are when they are born. It's no one's fault. Not yours, not theirs. We all have to find out what works for our families and our kids and judge their progress based on who they are. Yeah, Z doesn't always sleep through the night but she does sometimes and she goes to bed way easier than she used to and wakes up happier and isn't up for very long so FOR HER, she's come a long way. It may not be good sleeping by another child's standards or according to a book, but it's good for her. Her strengths are in other areas. After all, a "bad" trait is nothing but an extreme of a "good" trait. Z is incredibly stubborn which can be maddening but she's also very tenacious which is an incredibly important life skill that has pushed her to learn a lot. She has also always been very sensitive to others' feelings, especially my own which makes her super difficult when I'm depressed and we get caught in a downward spiral. But that sensitivity has translated into wonderful empathy which makes her a good friend to other children.
I, too, remember saying things like "feminism is such a scam-you can't have it all, etc"I felt like AP parenting didn't mean families first as much as it meant children first, then husbands, pets, houses, communities, pretty much everyone except mommas who are always, always last. Again, I felt like I had been tricked somehow. I had to take some info from the AP camp, some from other sources, and lots from just following my own instincts to figure how the kind of parent i wanted to be. And I had to compromise for my own sanity. Co-sleeping is a wonderful idea but it didn't work for us, especially once Z was older and more active. We put her in her own room at 7 mos and I felt so guilty about that, didn't want my AP friends to know. But it helped us, it was right for us, it wasn't cruel, it was just different from what worked for my friends.
That's another thing: FRIENDS. Start a playgroup, a meetup, go to child-friendly shops and coffeeshops and introduce yourself. I actually had my husband make me "business cards" that said "I'm Zoe's mom" on one side and had my contact info on the other. I'm shy but this card made me bold. I could and did easily hand them out to any momma who seemed cool and had a baby near the age of mine. I'm sure I looked crazy in my desperation to meet others and many never called me but some did and I'm still friends with them. You need to surround yourself with support, with other honest moms who won't judge. Having that support from the beginning with DD2 has made all the difference. Now, on bad days, I call one of them and invite myself over. It helps a lot.
Try to get active if you can. Physical activity works wonders on depression (which you may or may not have, I'm in no position to diagnose.) I ended up on medication, seeing a counselor, and journaling and that all helped a lot. Walking with my baby in the park saved me. We went out no matter what the weather at my doctor's advice. SAVED me, I'm not kidding. Now I'm a member at a gym and the "me-time" I get to have while I work out is wonderful. I get to watch TV or read or listen to music while on the equipment with no interruptions while my children are in the daycare. It's the best money I ever spent. (Many places even offer scholarships or maybe you have family who can pitch in if it's too expensive.)
There's so much else I want to say but I've already rambled so much. I really feel for you, I have totally been there, it might or might not be "normal" but that doesn't matter. Forget you even know that word. What matters is that it is what you are experiencing now. And you need to find solutions that work for you. I hope you have.
Please feel free to contact me anytime, PM me or whatever, if you want to talk.
-Christina

Christina, proud mama of 2 strong, brilliant, creative, kind, beautiful girls from A to Z. Wife of 11 years to best friend and awesome papa, Brian. :::
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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But you HAD PPD and that is not the same as NOT having PPD. If you have PPD then meds and doctors are *one* of the ways you can deal with it. But just because a mother is tired, stressed, sad, and angry it doesn't mean she has PPD. We can have those emotions because we have those emotions. Because the situation we are in warrants those emotions. Because that is just the way we feel right now. That doesn't take away from the very real emotions people who have PPD feel, but treating someone for a condition they don't have isn't any more helpful than not treating a condition someone actually has.
This is a very valid point. But I think all any of us are saying - at least all I have been saying, is that it can't hurt to go talk to someone. I have an awesome therapist, and, honestly, sometimes, that is all I need Did I have ppd with my first? Yeah, I think so. BUT, I didn't medicate for it, nor did my therapist ever recommend that. She recommended other, natural means of treatment, including exercise, time to myself, sleep, etc., and she was great at helping me discern between sleep deprivation and depression. And, honestly, having someone impartial to talk to really really helped me. It helped me to figure out what was "normal" (though honestly I really don't like that word in the mothering context, I think "common" is a much better word) and what was due to my birth experience, and what might be chemicals and hormones. Just understanding all of it was a huge weight off of my shoulders. Just having someone help me to figure out coping mechanisms was a huge weight off too.

So, in sum, I was not recommending instant pill popping, but I was, and still am, recommeding a good therapist/life coach/mothering coach, whatever you want to call it. Just an objective, strong, third party (and I think having a woman be that third party is valuable in this context) that you can unload on, and be told you are not insane, you are not a bad mom, etc., etc. That has saved me, and so I would recommed it to any one, especially a mom with a high needs baby.

Like a pp said, we are not meant to do this alone, and if it takes hiring help so you won't be alone, so be it. That may just be the sad reality of some of our lives.

Wife to Thomas, WAH mama to Sofia Rose 8/04, Ellen Marie 10/07, her twin sister Amalie Joy lost 7/07 , and Maya Grace and Hannah Miriam 4/10
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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How are you doing today RaeAnne?

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14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:42 PM
 
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I do things a bit different with this baby. With my dd, I never let her cry for anything and I burnt out. With this one I will let him cry while I eat, drink, pee/poo, or shower. (I offer to nurse first and make sure his diaper is clean and dry) To me, those are needs and if I don't have those needs met I am not a good mom. If your physical needs aren't met you will be miserable. Maybe its not fully AP that I let my baby cry while I get a drink, but it keeps me from resenting my baby.
This seems obvious to me now but I didn't realize it for a long time when I was a new mom: there is a difference between "crying it out" and just crying. Putting the baby in the crib while crying so you can eat, drink, etc is not the same as leaving them in for hours when they are hungry, etc. I didn't allow myself to satisfy even my biological needs in a timely matter with DD1 and this led to all of us being pretty unhappy and me being resentful. I've learned to pee when I need to pee, even if someone's crying while I do it. Of course, I make sure the baby's fed and clean first, but you know what I mean. And DH takes care of the kids after I first nurse the baby in the morning and until I have peed, put my contacts in, and had coffee and breakfast. This is usually just 10 minutes, but it makes me a happier/better mommy and wife. I've heard the analogy before to think like they tell you on the airplane: strap on your oxygen mask first, then help your kid with theirs. You are no good to anyone if you're not taking care of yourself. This is easier said than done, but I'm getting better and you can too!

Christina, proud mama of 2 strong, brilliant, creative, kind, beautiful girls from A to Z. Wife of 11 years to best friend and awesome papa, Brian. :::
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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This is a very valid point. But I think all any of us are saying - at least all I have been saying, is that it can't hurt to go talk to someone. I have an awesome therapist, and, honestly, sometimes, that is all I need Did I have ppd with my first? Yeah, I think so. BUT, I didn't medicate for it, nor did my therapist ever recommend that. She recommended other, natural means of treatment, including exercise, time to myself, sleep, etc., and she was great at helping me discern between sleep deprivation and depression. And, honestly, having someone impartial to talk to really really helped me. It helped me to figure out what was "normal" (though honestly I really don't like that word in the mothering context, I think "common" is a much better word) and what was due to my birth experience, and what might be chemicals and hormones. Just understanding all of it was a huge weight off of my shoulders. Just having someone help me to figure out coping mechanisms was a huge weight off too.
Thank you, this is exactly what I was trying to say in my other post!! You just said it a lot more elequontly.

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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There's a book called "Buddhism for Mothers" that helped me a lot. (and I'm not even Buddhist or anything, it's more about a state of mind than a religion.)

Christina, proud mama of 2 strong, brilliant, creative, kind, beautiful girls from A to Z. Wife of 11 years to best friend and awesome papa, Brian. :::
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zoedeansmom View Post
There's a book called "Buddhism for Mothers" that helped me a lot. (and I'm not even Buddhist or anything, it's more about a state of mind than a religion.)
Oooo I'm going to look for that book! Sounds right up my alley. I've actually started reading more Buddhist stuff lately to help me be more objective.

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:22 PM
 
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More info now that the book is in front of me (I bought my own copy so I can reread as needed!): "Buddhism for Mothers; a calm approach to caring for yourself and your children" by Sarah Napthali ISBN 1-74114-010-2. I'm usually turned off by "self-help" books personally, but this one really spoke to me. In fact, I should read it again now that I have a baby again...

Christina, proud mama of 2 strong, brilliant, creative, kind, beautiful girls from A to Z. Wife of 11 years to best friend and awesome papa, Brian. :::
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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Raeanne. The infant times were the hardest for me. I do think every stage has it's challenges but for me it just keeps getting easier and easier. I have a two year old now and I like the toddler stage much more then the infant stage tantrums and all. It sounds like you have a high need baby, just like mine. It's hard. One thing that I read when she was small and crying a lot was about crying in arms. http://www.awareparenting.com/comfort.htm
It helped me let her cry in my arms or with me present without feeling like I had to make her stop crying. It helped me realize that it's OK for her to cry and to just be there with her without trying to get her to stop by bouncing, rocking, walking, just laying with her and let her cry so she can release stress. I think it helped her and just the change in mindset helped me so much. Anyways, it will get better, I promise!
I've been looking for this article since the thread started. One comment I hear a lot from older women to fussy/grizzly babies is "oh, are you telling me all about it then?" And they ARE. We live in a fix-it, fix-it quick society (let's face it, so far in this thread you've been diagnosed with PPD and PTSD, your DD has been diagnosed with milk allergies, reflux and needing the services of a cranial osteopath) and sometimes, maybe, we don't need to be altered. We just need to be accepted for who and what we are.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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