February 13, 2013 9 Comments
Today I’m thinking of all the babymamas. All of the mothers in our beautiful God-made universe — past, present and future. Some good, some great, some beyond stellar and some well…Hey, they gave birth…but one of my friends in particular:
“Mamacita L” you are smart. You are strong. You’re beautiful and have great hair. You are loving and you got this. You really got this. I am praying for you. I’m thinking of you and here for you in any way possible. I wish I could take all of your worry and anxiety and heave it into the deep blue sea where it will sink and disintegrate. Forever.
Mothering is tough. I find it mind-boggling that the “fairer sex” was bestowed with such colossal responsibility. Even when you’re doing everything within physical capability…there are times when it isn’t enough.
Not enough sleep.
Not enough food.
Not enough peace.
Not enough money.
Not enough hours.
Not enough soothing.
Not enough words.
Not enough faith.
Not enough love.
Not enough answers.
Not enough comfort.
What do you do when you’re maxed out?
You get help. Do whatever it takes to stay afloat.
This part is not aimed at you — Mamacita L — because what was good for me may not be the answer for you.
I kept saying I was ok and didn’t need help when my babies were really small circa 2006. But I was a mess. A nervous, worrying, anxious ball of nervous-worrying-anxiousness. If you reach that point after having a baby from all the wild-crazy nursing hormones just-a-surgin’ in your poor, exhausted body you can’t climb out. You can pray. You can try to sleep. You can try to eat well while taking care of your family but you won’t get far.
Husband took me to the doctor. My mother kept the babies. I didn’t even make it to the consult room because I was weeping in the arms of my nurse (also a mother) and telling her how I worried that I just found out an inactive fault line is beneath our city and that three, THREE sex offenders are registered within a twenty, TWENTY mile radius of our home and how stray dogs seem so much meaner and scarier when you’re holding an infant. I told her that driving in the car I’m clenching my teeth and white knuckle gripping the steering wheel because I just knew something was going to slam into us and hurt my babies. It goes on and on and on and on and on.
My awesome doctor explained very gently and kindly that post partum is real. Hormones cause an emotional low and horrible feelings of loss of control and emptiness that you can’t fight it alone.
I didn’t want medicine.
I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to wake up for night feedings. I was afraid of being a zombie. I was afraid it would do more harm than good. I was more afraid of taking a medicine and not being all natural. I was afraid of what people would think. I was afraid of being afraid.
The doctor said fine, don’t take the medicine, but that my anxiety and post partum would not fix itself. It would only escalate.
I took the medicine.
I stayed on a few small mg of Doxepin (look it up it’s an old and very safe drug) and it helped. I stayed on it for two years. It’s not a happy pill for mommies. It didn’t hollow me out. It helped me sleep. It helped me eat. It helped me deal. It helped me stop worrying about things out of my control. It stopped fear from creeping in about events that were not happening.
Sometimes it’s beyond us. Out of our hands. To me the worst part about anxiety and worry is the massive gaseous cloud of distrust it forms around you. As mothers we don’t like feeling helpless. We like to fix and patch up everything. It’s hard to admit we need or have issues that require attention because we want our care and love to be selfless.
You can’t take care of your family if you are in pieces. This I have learned.