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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me start by saying that I'm not quite sure what my intent is in posting this. I think maybe I just want to let my feelings out, because I have nowhere else to do so.

I'm five months postpartum. Since I went back to work two months ago, I've been having off and on problems with depression. Right now they're definitely "on." My memory has become so bad that I can't remember anything DH says. The littlest things make me angry or weepy. (Today, arriving at the cafeteria after closing hours brought tears to my eyes. Not being able to find a cashier at a store made me furious.) I'm fatigued, I can't concentrate at all, and I'm disgusted with myself because I can't get anything done. The only part of life I find joy in now is when I get home from work and get to snuggle with my sweet little boy. That's like a ray of sun through the darkness.

I finally went to see my doctor today and she ordered blood tests for hypothyroid and gave me a Rx for Zoloft. (More on that later.) As I was walking out, I got a call from work.

I'm a consultant, which means I do work for a client. I also work in a male-dominated field. Well, apparently the client I've been with for over a year has announced they're getting rid of me because "I'm never at my desk." Hello, I breastfeed! What am I supposed to do, pump milk in my cubicle while men walk by and ogle?! I would imagine they're also not happy about the fact that I can't get as much done now. Thanks, postpartum depression.

If my employer can't get me a new client, I'm out of a job. I have no recourse against the client for any kind of medical or mommy discrimination, because they're a client, not my employer. They don't legally owe me anything. So whoopie, I get to update my resume and pretend to be enthusiastic about interviewing. I never imagined that breastfeeding and depression would get me fired. So much for advances in women's rights.

We just found out a few weeks ago that my DH's company is undergoing a merger, and his position is being phased out. So we already have to worry about him finding a new job. His brother (in another country) is in the hospital right now with all sorts of health problems, and if things make a turn for the worst, we'll need to find money somehow so that DH can go see his brother.

DH doesn't understand my depression, I think, or if he does, he doesn't know how to deal with it--and he has plenty of problems of his own. He seems to want to avoid the issue. I have no family support; my family pretty much disowned me because I got into it with them over their alcoholism five years ago. My only friends live over a hundred miles away.

Some days I feel like if I didn't have my little guy to snuggle at the end of the day, I'd just want to step in front of a bus.

So now I have this Zoloft Rx, and I don't even want to take it. I've been on antidepressants before, and they left me with lots of side effects and helped only a fraction of the time. And how the hell am I supposed to get a new job now, when I don't even want to get out of bed in the morning? Getting a new job requires effort, and I don't have any of that to spare.

Tell me if this is crazy, or at least familiar: I have this overwhelming desire to just START OVER. We have no ties here. I want for us to just sell our house and our stuff, and move somewhere with a cooler climate. Buy a smaller house, get rid of the extra car, get rid of our stupid material crap, maybe I could take just a part-time job so that I could have a few days a week with the little man. Seattle, Alaska, HELL, Scotland, I don't know. I just want to start a new life. Maybe that's the depression talking. Maybe I'm deluding myself into thinking that if I leave it all behind, things will get easier. DH thinks I'm nuts. "We couldn't move with so little in savings," he says. Always the voice of reason. Way to make me feel trapped.

I don't know what to do. The last time I had a day like this, I whomped the punching bag in the basement and badly pulled a back muscle. So now I don't even have that as an outlet.

Any kind words, advice, been-theres, or heck, even a snap-out-of-it-slap-in-the-face, would be appreciated. Thanks for letting me vent. It's good to have this forum.
 

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Wow that's terrible. I'm so sorry about your work situation, it sounds so unfair. Plus I know how much you would rather be home with the baby.

Can you wait a couple of weeks to search for a new position? I know that sounds insane, especially as you might not be getting unemployment. But maybe if you can catch up on your sleep, you will be able to think.

The only other thing I can think of is, if you ask your dh for specific kinds of help, he will be more able to help you. I mean, he might not know how to support you. Of course what you want is for him to say "Honey, how can I support you?" Maybe that's the first thing you need to ask him to do.

It's not that I've BTDT, but my friend who has chronic depression has modelled asking for help in this way. From her I learned that no one really knows how to help people with depression (except of course therapists!) and so you have to figure out how to ask.

I hope you get a lot of good support here and that you get a lot of good snuggly time with the baby.
 

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Gosh, what a rough time you've been having.
I'm so sorry you're going through this. I feel outraged for you at the injustice of your job predicament.
But I'm particularly concerned to hear that you lack in both a support system and supportiveness from your DH. (BTDT. Raise your hand, those of you here who've left behind your "tribe" to live somewhere else with your dh/dp, only to suffer without your familiar supports and find that dh/dp has no idea/inclination to support you in rough times?)

I agree with captain optimism's suggestions. First, as tiresome as it can feel to have to do so, you might be able to effectively summon support from DH by being verbally explicit about what you need from him. Writing it all down for them in a letter helps some men (like my dh) feel less intimidated by their own uncertainty about what's going on with you and what their role should be, while saving you from any premature, defensive comments/reactions he might make when you start to bring it up. It also helps you to feel more in control.

Also, a week or three at home just resting and taking care of yourself and your precious little one might go a long way toward giving you the mental and emotional energy you need for a fresh start. It would be vital to have dh's support in doing this, though, and to have some kind of understanding that you are not to be burdened verbally with financial woes during that time. You're under so much stress right now, with anger and weepiness so close to the surface, and you need a cognitive break. At five months post-partum, it's a crucial time not to push yourself any further given these warning signs.

Oh, and can I ever relate to your urge to pack up and move away from it all! It's never been logistically possible for me, either...


Take care of yourself, and write again to let us know how you're making out.

Kate
 

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WOW! That's a heavy load you are carrying!


I am glad to hear that you would like to start over... that shows that you have hope! Starting over would be nice, and if you are both at a place where you can swing it, then look at your options!

Losing your job over the new little one just plain sucks! I agree with Kate, if you can take a few weeks and be at home, rest, get yourself grounded, that might be really good for you!

I don't really know what to say, but I wanted you to know that we are pulling for you! Being a new mommy is hard! I went through the PDD for way longer than I thought it was supposed to last... it does eventually get better!)

Smiles,
Sunshine
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to all for your support. I wrote DH a letter, and we're going to talk about it tonight when I get home. I hope I didn't give any of you the wrong impression about DH. He's the most wonderful, loving person in the world; I think maybe until now he didn't really know how bad it was. I'm very good at "pretending" that all is well.

I've also found a self-help group that meets in this area once a month. Not sure if I'll start the Zoloft yet. We'll see how things go with time...
 

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So glad you found a support group!
Bravo to your for dealing with the issues with DH!
Sounds like you are on the right track!
Hugs,
Sunshine
 

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SD, I'm sorry you are going through all of this at once. Life really has a way of hitting us when we're down.
I know that you aren't thrilled at the idea of taking an anti-depressant, but it's important to remember that depression is a chemical imbalance, and for many, the best way to get things back on track so we can deal with life and get well again is to fix it chemically. It sucks to feel like we are relying on a medication to make us "right," but we don't fault diabetics for taking insulin. When it came to my depression, I might have come out of it by myself in time, but taking the med most certainly speeded up the process and got me back to "me" again. I didn't know how bad I was until I got healthy.

You said that you have taken an AD in the past. Not all antidepressants work for all people. You may have to go through some trial and error to find what works for you. I have taken both Lexapro and Zoloft and had success with both, but Paxil was simply awful and made my depression worse.

I hope that you are able to get back on track again. You deserve to feel good again, and your family deserves a happy mom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I started on the Zoloft. Not expecting results immediately, as I know it takes a while with meds. Still having bad days. I feel like I've hit bottom, so hopefully it at least won't get worse. My talk with DH helped me at first, but then it kind of didn't. I don't know, maybe I expected some profound change in how he'd react to me, or perspective from him that would make things brighter.

I guess my big gripe is that even though DH loves me a lot, he's always seemingly putting money first. My job is making me miserable, and I want to be with the baby, but I know if I bring up any mention of working part time, DH will get that panicky look and start babbling the "we couldn't afford it" stuff that he always does. We could afford it, if we really had to. We could sell the house and one of the cars, and live more modestly. Translation of DH, I think, is "We can't affort to live like THIS."

Ultimately, he can't tell me what to do, but I do realize that my choices in regard to my job impact the whole family, not just me. So I feel really trapped. And trapped isn't good when you're depressed.

DH keeps telling me that the last thing you should do when you're depressed is make a major career change. But I keep thinking how I feel so much happier when I'm with DS. He's my little sunshine. My depression didn't get really, really bad until I went back to work and had to be away from him so much. What if a career change could actually make recovery from depression easier? How can I tell? How do I know whether I'm thinking of a change that would help me, or if I'm just wanting change for change's sake, erroneously thinking that it will do me good?

I'm so confused. I wish I could stop feeling so trapped. I have this awful urge to just "run away."
 

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Working part time wouldn't be enough? If you could be a consultant part time, you wouldn't lose all your work expertise or all your income, but you could spend a lot more time with the baby. Perhaps your next step should be to sit down and draft a budget with your dh. Figure out what you really need financially. Maybe you can come to some kind of compromise. I don't know where you live and what public transportation is like there, but that's a way to have only one car. Also in some major cities they have those Zipcars. It seems like you might want to think about cutting back anyway, just because you will both be job hunting at the same time.

It does feel terrible to have to decide your whole life instead of just addressing your immediate future. It's way more confusing and overwhelming. We are also doing the double-job-search thing. My thought about this is: we are a family, and that means when we make decisions as a family, we need to do our best to meet all of our needs as individuals. If your need is to spend more time with the baby, and the baby's need is to spend more time with you, those needs should have as much weight in your decisions as your dh's need for you to own two cars. (Or more likely, his need for financial security, which sounds better and more reasonable than two cars!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, Captain Optimism. (And good luck on your job search, BTW! I'm sorry that you're finding yourself in this situation, too. Hopefully you're faring okay and have good support.) The thing is, I don't think DS really needs me at home on workdays. He absolutely loves daycare, and I have the greatest confidence in the people there to keep him happy and learning. But I need DS. This is about my needs, not his, so it makes me feel kind of selfish. And possibly going part-time is about my needs, not DH's. DH, much as he wants to help me, has this innate need to keep things as they are--and I don't think he even realizes it.

I'm so fed up with the societal need for accumulation of worthless crap. It feels to me like DH has bought into the materialism. I guess I'm guilty of that, too, but at this point, the last thing I'm worried about is my "stuff."

Two cars? Heh heh. Little do you know this definition of "we can't afford it"! My old car isn't doing the best, and it's a two-door (very difficult for most baby seats), so we invested in an SUV before DS was born. It's our "baby mobile." It's a nice car, but we could always do without it, because we already have two other cars! Then there's our house. We got a bigger house than absolutely necessary, so that we wouldn't have to move once we had our "2.2 kids." And then DH has his computers, and his PS2, and his workshop full of tools so he can indulge his car-tinkering hobby, and two acres of land. I probably have about $300 in houseplants, then there are tools for a stained glass hobby that I haven't done for well over a year because of fear of lead exposure. Lots and lots of yuppie crap.

I don't think he understands how much damn STUFF we have that we don't need. He came from modest beginnings; why can't he see that? If we had to give up this stuff, we'd still have food and health care and transportation and all the basics. That's what makes me mad. It feels like he's not willing to "give anything up" for me. And I get the feeling that he's read somewhere that depressed people have bad judgment, so he doesn't trust mine.

The bad thing is that we have $15,000 of credit card debt. I don't see how we'd shake that, if I went part-time. I suppose I could start selling things. (If ever there were a time to win the Lottery, this would be it. And damn, I just spent the dollar in my pocket on an oatmeal raisin cookie.
LOL)

DH would put up with it, if I went part-time without consulting him, but I'm afraid it would make him bitter, and despite my bitching here, I do love the man and don't want to hurt him or our relationship.

But this doesn't address the underlying issue: I'm not sure if I can trust myself. Is my desire to change my job situation just an attempt to run away from problems?

Thanks so much for the advice and support from all of you. It's good for me to have a place to just let it all out.
 

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This is just my advice so take it for what it's worth, but having been there, I tend to agree that making major decisions when suffering from depression may not be the best idea. We often don't realize how different we have become from our true selves until the meds fully kick in. I know it can be frustrating waiting for the meds to get going, but you will get there. The decisions can be made six or eight weeks from now, but decisions made now may not be able to be reversed then. Did that make any sense?

I hope things look up for you soon.
 

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I am jumping in late, but I tend to agree with Jish. It's never a good idea to make big decisions until you start to really get the depression under control. I did make a big decision to quit my job before I was diagnosed with PPD. Fortunately, my DH has a rule, that you should never leave a job unless you have another lined up. He kept me sane while I searched for a new job and I did get one and THEN I could quit. I REALLY wanted to run away and just hide, but DH helped me stay.

I doubt that you DS doesn't need you. Sure, he is happy with daycare, but he would be just as happy if not happier with you PT. I do work PT and I really enjoy those days with Goo...

Sending you some hugs....I wish I had more advice
 

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Even if you perceive it to be your need and not your son's or your husband's need that you spend more time with your son, it's still a valid need. You are part of your family, and your family unit has to meet the needs of all members in as balanced a way as you can manage it. Functioning families demand compromises from every member, not just one member!

I've never had depression (that I understood as such, anyway) so I'm not much help on the "making decisions while depressed" front. My concern is that your sense that depression is clouding your thinking might stop you from speaking up for yourself and your vision for your family. Maybe the way to think about this is to write out what you want now, and take some steps in that direction, and then to reassess as your depression lifts.

It will lift.

If you find in a few weeks, as you are looking for part time work, that you are feeling a lot better and thinking, "Whoa, I really would love to go back to work full time, I was just feeling blue before" you can switch to looking for full time work. But I don't think you should do this without consulting your dh. Talk it over. He's your husband you know, he's not your boss, teacher or dad--you are equals.

What I mean is, your needs count, even if you are depressed.

I should be posting about my own job search and its ramifications on my life as a mom. But that's for another thread.
 

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I'm so sorry for all the crap that's hit the fan lately. I just wanted to say that your need to be with your son is not only valid, but frankly I think it's biologically appropriate. You are the mother of a young baby - so you're "pre-programmed" to want to be with him! Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad for feeling that way.

I agree with the others that during depression is not the time to make huge changes. However, if there is a change that you actually always wanted to make but never had the courage to do it, then maybe it is an okay time to consider it. It has to be something that you really and truly wanted even when life was good, though. Otherwise it is likely to just be a bandaid masking the real issue(s). I say all this because the first time I experienced depression, I was "trapped" overseas with my husband b/c of his crummy job. I had no friends, his job sucked, and we did NOT want to be there. So in my case, I felt certain that his quitting his job and our moving someplace WE wanted to be would not be rash. Once we regained control of our own destiny, the depression began to lift. Feeling "trapped" is very suffocating.

Do you WANT to work full time? If the answer is "no" then don't do it if you can manage financially. Work part time or quit, whichever feels right. If the answer is "yes" then take a couple weeks to sleep extra and then polish your resume. If you don't know what the answer is, then wait awhile, keep thinking on it, and someday soon the true answer will make itself known in your heart.

As you so eloquently pointed out, the yuppie stuff isn't essential. It certainly isn't worth working more than you want and/or accruing credit card debt. I hope your husband can learn to accept that. If you want to move to a smaller house so you can stay home with your son, then I think that's perfectly fine. There will be plenty of time to work full-time when your kids are older, and plenty of money then to buy a bigger home. There will always be two acres available somewhere; but your kids are only young once. (I'm not saying you SHOULD do that, I'm just saying that it's a fine choice to make if that's what you want.)

BTW, I hope the meds "work" for you. Taking an A/D has been really helpful for me. And in all honesty, going back to work part-time has been good for me, too. I didn't do that till my DD was 2.5 years so we were at a different "place" than you're at, but I thought I'd mention that FWIW.

Good luck,
Carol
 
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