Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Glowing Motherhood - the Rest of the Story

 Today I'm taking a big step out on a ledge and I understand that doing so will make the fans of my blog drop suddenly - All I ask is that everyone reading this today will be civil and respectful in their opinions.

Today  I'm reposting a post from last year about my experiencing battling severe ante-partum depression while pregnant with my son.  At the end of the post there is a new section about something I wasn't will to share last year.  Please read down to the end.



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Tonight is the eve of my sons first birthday.  Tonight I glow as I feel I've glowed throughout my first year of motherhood.  Sure there have been some sleeplessness nights and graceless moments, but it's a year that literally glows gold in my memories.  I am so thankful to be at this stage in my life and I am so thankful for this wonderful little person who was given to me; trusted to me to shape in to a good man.

Tonight also marks the anniversary of last night of the worst 9 months of my life.

Now before I begin I want to say one thing, I hated being pregnant, but I loved my pregnancy.  These were two very different things to me; one was the state of carrying a living human being for nine months and the other was the little human being.  So if you have trouble sympathizing or relating while reading this please remember that to me there was a line.

My pregnancy was planned, but nothing could have prepared me for being pregnant.  After well over a year of trying and deciding that perhaps God was leading us in a different direction we discovered I was pregnant two weeks after our second wedding anniversary.  We were elated, a little surprised, but elated and promptly sat down making lists of names while we continued on with that nights "date" at the laundromat.

For me that elation was short lived.  In a matter of days the sickness started.  Not that "once in the morning, walk it off" kind of sick, but rather all day, every day, constantly running to the bathroom to revisit the paltry meal I managed to keep down for an hour sick.  Little did I know this was to last well into October, and it was June - the beginning of June.

I tell you of the sickness just as back-story.  Severe morning sickness is nothing new in the course of pregnancy history, and though I lost upwards of 15-20 lbs during the whole course I always managed to just barely keep my self hydrated enough to stay out of the hospital.  That alone was miserable, but it was only the tip of the iceberg.

Within those first few weeks the worry began.  A small niggling concern in the back of my mind had grown to full blown despair within a month.  By the time, at 12 weeks, when we made our announcement to the world I could barely muster up a "Yea, I guess."  when asked, for what seemed like the millionth time, "Aren't you excited?"

It was a combination of things that snowballed into hopelessness.  I was concerned at the type of mother I would be, and I was very concerned about how we'd provide for a child, the costs of pregnancy and birth, everything.  I was so sacred at how little I knew and how little I felt prepared that one day all I could do was sit in my dry bathtub holding my cat while sobbing.  I kid you not.

It wasn't long after the tub/cat/crying incident that we realized where we were living and what we were making a living at was not going to provide the type of life we wanted for our children and by September we were in a Uhaul driving back cross country.  My parents had offered us safe-haven at their house for as long as necessary as we got our feet back on the ground in our new location.

I thought that the move was going to fix things.  We'd be closer to family, in a better location to raise our family, in a state with a better economy; all those things so many of us want, but that wasn't how my mind was going to let me see things.  I wasn't someone make a temporary sacrifice for the betterment of her family; I was a looser, a bum living in her parents basement, bringing a new life into the world that she didn't know she could provide for, I was the lowest of the low.  I made list of everything I should of had and achieved by the age of 27 - the house, the stable job, the income and compared my self mercilessly to every friend and acquaintance who had what I had lost.  Everything I had worked for was  for naught, my mind told me, and this was going to be my life forever and I believed "Me".

By November all of these dark thoughts were also combined with the reality that the thoughts were keeping me from connecting with being pregnant at all.  I couldn't stand the fact that I was never truly alone.  I hated the attention and unprompted opinions of strangers.  I was filled with life and felt so empty.  It was all just too much.

By the time winter started to roll across the mid-west, a particularly bitter winter at that, I was defeated.  I'd had enough and it was at that point I had a long conversation with God.

I told Him that I understood.  I understood that some women weren't meant for motherhood and I was certain that this was what He was telling me.  I had obviously been coveting something that I wasn't prepared for and I had learned my lesson. 

I am not proud about this next part, but it is true.  Completely true.  I'm sorry.

I told Him that I understood that sometimes children were taken away and that it was often for the best.  I loved this little boy so much that I'd understand if that was His choice.  My little boy did not deserve the mother I was bound to be.  I told God I wouldn't resent him, I told God I'd understand and I told God I'd understand if He wanted to take me too because I was a failure and I was beyond worthless.

I know God listened to me that day.

He just didn't act in the way that I expected.

I can't tell you that things got instantly better.  Physical pain replaced physical sickness in the last month and I eventually got to the point where I had just accepted my fate in life which was the the culmination of all those terrible thoughts.  In the days before my induction I was fairly convinced I was going to die, and my labor and delivery was, well, let's just call it "eventful".  There were no booming voices, no trumpets and choruses of angels come down from the heavens to tell me "fear not".  Rather the little things kept going.  The bank account kept balancing, the bills got paid, the savings even increased.  A few days before Christmas I had a good, solid job interview and two weeks before delivery I had a job offer.  I even had a few moments, when my son wasn't practicing his roundhouse kick to my ribs that I even thought "I make a darn cute pregnant lady."

And on February 8th 2011 at 9:15 p.m. I knew it had all been worth it.  With my sons arrival to this world every fear and concern melted away.  I was just where I was supposed to be, doing just what I was supposed to be doing.  I spent the early hours of February 9th speak quietly to my slumbering son thanking God that he knew what he was doing and telling Henry everything I hoped and dreamed for him, all my plans for, everything and every bit of me that I'd gladly lay down for him and trying to put into words all my love.  I still can't do it justice.

I now believe that my 9 months of being pregnant were so dark because I need to know and appreciate how much my journey through motherhood glows.  I needed to know how to truly value life and how to trust in the timing.  I need to understand the signs so that I could be there for friends and I needed to know that what can come from sacrifice and how amazing it is to be filled after feeling so empty.

I share this story not to be be applauded or praised.  I have my reward and I have my battle scars.  I would gladly and willingly go through it all over again and that is enough for me.  I share this story because APD, antepartum depression, needs to be recognized. Because we, as a society need to understand that not every woman's nine months are glowing and happy and we need to be able to say that that is alright.  I believe that these uncontrollable fears and panics, when coupled with a strained relationship or an uncertain situation can be the push over the edge that makes women make life altering decisions.  While I, even in my worst moments, would not have made those choices I can see how those options can appeal to those who are lost and confused.

 I wrote all the above last year because I was ready to share my secret, but I didn't share the whole story.  The part I wasn't ready to share happened in June, only weeks after I discovered I was pregnant and only a few weeks in my depression.  

I was scared, incredibly scared.  I was sick, incredibly sick and the combination of the illness, the hormones and crushing reality that the career I had chosen would not support the family life I wanted meant that I was feeling desperate.

Desperation and fear always make for rash decisions.

Up the street from my home was a place that could make all the fear and the illness go away - you know what kind of place I'm talking about and I considered it, heavily considered it.  My opinions about my child's life were not what they are today and I spent about two weeks considering my "options".  I even told myself no one needed to know - it was early enough I could just tell people I had a miscarriage.

I am ashamed of myself plain and simple.

But I am also proud of myself, in the most important adult decision of my life I decided that I couldn't do it.  I had already made a choice and that choice had resulted in a new little life and I knew I had a responsibility to it.

I know I was lucky - I had support, I had job training, I had experience and skills and a lot of women don't.  We need this to change so that no one has to make a decision like that out of fear and a lack of resources.

If there is any woman out there facing the same situation please know that there are people in your community dedicated to helping you through this - they just don't have the marketing budget of other places and it may take a little more work to find them.   

Fear is not a choice.  Lack of resources is not a choice.  If a woman feels abortion is her only choice then we have failed her.  Choice is support, resources and protection.

 APD can happen to any woman, in any pregnancy.  APD can be caused by everything ranging from changing hormones to the stresses of real life.  It can strike the woman who finds herself alone and in an unplanned situation, the mother multiple times over and even the one who's spent months or even years waiting to see that extra little line on that test.

If you know a woman who's expecting a seems less than radiant extend your arms to her.  Let her know that it's okay.  It's okay not to glow.  Tell her that it will get better and that you'll stand by her side until it does.

For more information on APD please go to:


If you feel that you are showing the signs of APD please open up to your doctor and your loved ones.  If you feel that you are having suicidal thoughts or tendencies please seek help immediately.

Proper support can be key in getting you through this moment and on to the next and know that it's okay not to glow now, but I know you will someday.

I know this is a touchy subject for many and I've tried to address it and my feelings without getting too political and preachy because that is not the point of this blog.  If you feel the need to engage me in discussion about this subject I welcome your reasoned, controlled discussions via email @ mollymakesdo at gmail dot com.

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25 comments:

  1. Sweet Molly, what a brave and beautiful post. APD isn't something that gets talked about and I'm so glad you told your story.

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  2. Molly, I feel like I just need to give you a hug. I'm so sorry for what you went through, and although I cannot completely relate, I know the feeling of being pregnant and uncertain of the future. At the same time, I can't help but smile, knowing that you made it through it all, and are such a wonderful, caring mother. We were both very blessed to have support and our faith. Thank you so much for sharing, I know it's not always easy. I am so inspired by you taking a stand and being open about this. This is such a beautiful article, I loved every single word.

    Hannah

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    1. Thank you Hannah, I know there are probably a few things our pregnancy had in common and I'm glad that you too had all the support you needed - I know you're setting an amazing example for your son and any future children!

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  3. Wow. It's hard to believe you went through all that! Thanks for sharing your story -- it has to take a lot of courage to talk about these things, especially amongst Christians. We're not supposed to have those thoughts and feelings. But oh, we do. (Many of us, anyway).

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    1. That's exactly why I never opened up while I was pregnant - all of us were pregnant at the same time and I was (unnecessarily) worried about if anyone would actually sympathize.

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  4. ((hug)) i am so sorry your pregnancy left you anything but glowing. i have to be truthful our 5th baby (now 5) was planned and so wanted but after 3 months of being sick, being broke, and being scared, i had those thoughts too. i felt so alone, even though i had a house full of kids and a wonderful husband. it was all so overwhelming. thankfully i was able to get the support i needed and didn't make any rash choices at those desperate moments. you know, i have dealt with PPA but never really thought about APD. thank you so much for this post.

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    1. I'm so glad you're story had a happy ending too. =)

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  5. Oh Molly, that is an amazing struggle. I don't think you need to feel shame for those emotions though, clearly God was with you even in those dark moments, and no thoughts or emotions can separate you from His love. Motherhood is a vast thing that really encompasses so many emotions that it surprises all of us, and often in unforeseen ways. Obviously God is bringing so much good through your suffering! Thank God for your perseverance and your motherhood!

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    1. An Amazing Struggle - that's really sticking with me, it was an amazing struggle is so many ways and I too believe God was with me. There were so many lessons and changes of heart that came from the whole thing that I'm thankful for it today.

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  6. Though I never suffered this severe depression, I did suffer some depression with my two winter babies (one born in Jan and one in Feb). It is good for you to write about this. People should know they are not alone.

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  7. I'm Molly's mom. Every day, since Molly was a mere tot)I have prayed that God keep my girl safe in body, soul, and spirit. And in spite of the extremely difficult time she had, God answered my prayers to watch over her. God does answer prayers! And now, I have added Henry to this little breath prayer I say every day.

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  8. I had that with my first, my second was a little better, but I had it with my 3rd and she didn't make it. I still struggle with feeling like maybe she didn't make it because I felt so bad, even though I know that's not true. Thank you for writing this. I felt so guilty because I would hope for miscarriage (although I didn't really want that, it gets so mixed up) just so my babies wouldn't have such an awful mother, when really I had APD. I didn't even know that was a real thing until this post. Thank you.

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    1. Oh Sarah I'm so sorry for your loss - I'm certain the results had nothing to do with your pregnancy. APD does need more recognition - pregnancy hormones can cause down days for many women, but there is definitely a different, more severe version that is not really recognized and not easy to talk about because everyone expects pregnant women to be naturally happy and excited. I wonder how many women have given into those feelings to end their pregnancies because they were also in the grips of severe depression! God bless you!

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  9. Molly, I don't know how many followers you might lose (I would hope not a one! This is honest, real, beautiful blogging at its best!) but you can count me in as one new fan. We all have our stories, our struggles, our heartaches, our regrets. God has written them on our hearts and offered us the gift of grace in return.

    Blessings to you and thank you for sharing!

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  10. My dear, this post was so beautiful and so honest - it tore straight through to my heart.

    I don't know if you will lose any followers, but I do know that you've just gained one.

    ~Peace,
    LuAnne

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  11. Molly, you have so beautifully shared your heart here. I just know it will help other woman. Thank you for your bravery and transparency. I'm so glad you shared this with the Tuesday Baby Link Up Community.

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  12. Molly, I was just reading around your blog today after you had commented on mine, and I can't remember if I ever read this before, but wow. I was there. With my second pregnancy. It was awful. It's only now that I can talk or write about the prepartum depression without feeling completely guilty, overwhelmed, or anxious. But now that it is almost three years behind, I see with such clarity exactly what you say - that these are stories we HAVE to keep sharing. Because they are true and should not be a source of shame, and we do not need to suffer alone. I was so terrified that the depression would come back with this pregnancy, and thank God it has not. But I still think about it every day and pray for women going through that same darkness. Because it is much more common that we think or even share with each other. Thank you for the honesty and power of your story, all over again.

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  13. May God bless the courage and trust it took for you to share that with us.

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  14. Thanks for sharing Molly. I had ante-partum depression as well, though mine didn't set in until my 6th month or so. It wasn't caught until my 8th month when I was so depressed that I often thought "maybe if I just lift my foot a little off the gas, I'll get hurt but the baby won't". It was terrifying and it makes me nervous to get pregnant again. I also felt the same way about being pregnant as you did.

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  15. Becky at MommyWantsVodka.Com has written about her struggles with APD as well. There's even a page devoted to it at Band Back Together.

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  16. This is an important post for people who struggle with pregnancy.

    "These were two very different things to me; one was the state of carrying a living human being for nine months and the other was the little human being."

    I totally and completely understand this statement. I have not had depression during or after pregnancy, but I do not like being pregnant. I get quite sick and feel pretty terrible during most of the pregnancy. I don't get excited while pregnant. I spend most of it just slogging out the days waiting for the misery to end. People say, "Aren't you excited?" My standard response is, "I will be later."

    My babies are completely worth it, but I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed it.

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