Wednesday, March 27, 2013


So, I've been struggling a bit lately.  Not everyday, but enough days.  I understand enough about psychology and science to know that it's likely that I'm going through a bit of post-partum depression.  I wish I could rationalize it away, but I know it will just take some time.  It still doesn't feel good to have to live through it.  Not when I could I could be happier and likely should be happier with all the goodness in my life.

I wrote this blog post on Monday, but was too overwhelmed to post it.  Monday turned out to be better than I had expected, yesterday was also pretty good and today is going well so far, so things are seeming more manageable.  I'm looking forward to the long weekend and visiting family and celebrating Easter with two little ones (one who is VERY excited about the Easter Bunny coming).  While I'm  hopeful that things may be turning around, I still feel that maybe this is important to share, mostly for myself, but perhaps also for others who are dealing with some of the same things...


It’s 9:00am on Monday and it feels like a bad day.

I was awake every two hours overnight, so that probably doesn’t help.   I’m not upset about having to get up to nurse my baby.  Just tired.  So tired that I fell asleep while nursing her twice last night.  That doesn’t usually happen.  And while we’re not a co-sleeping family, I don’t mind having her warm little body nestled next to mine for a few hours while we drift in and out of our dreams.  No, being up at night is not the issue. 

Nor is it our children.  Our boy.  Full of energy.  Playful and funny.  Passionate and demanding.   Our girl.  Calm.  Happy and sweet. Observant and somehow, despite only being three months old, understanding.  I love them in a way that is impossible to describe.  As I love my wife, my partner and co-parent.  We are interdependent in the best of ways. 

The issue is me.  I know that I am not doing as well as I could be.  I am not doing as well as these loves in my life deserve.  I don’t seem able to stay on top of the simplest of things.   The breakfast table is often still covered in crumbs at noon.  The bed unmade until 4:30pm when I go in there to straighten the duvet and fluff the pillows before everyone gets home.

I should be able to do more and I should be able to do better.  This is my contribution to our family.  They deserve more and they deserve better. 

I try.  I try to make sure I’m reading to our little one.  That she’s getting tummy time and songs and cuddled and cared for.  But when I choose books I never feel like I’m choosing the right ones.  At three months, does she still need high-contrast images?  Photographs?  Single words on each page or rhymes?  You Are My Sunshine is “Sprout’s song”, as her brother now calls it.  Do I sing it to her too often?   She used to smile every time I sang it to her, now she only smiles sometimes.  Does she know I’m sad?  Is it bad to nurse a baby when you feel depressed?   Are the chemicals making me feel this way being transferred to her while she eats.  Am I doing her harm? 

Yet she seems happy.  She does look at me and break into the most beautiful toothless smile, her whole face lighting up.  My sunshine.  Maybe she knows that despite my shortcomings I do love her more than anything.  I try to hold on to that thought.  If she knows how much I love her, then surely I am doing one thing right. 
So that's where I've been lately.  Like I said, not everyday, but enough.  The sun is starting to shine a little more brightly these days though and the snow is finally melting.  I think I'm going to be okay.  


  1. Oh, Allison! I'm so sorry you're going through this. You're so brave to write about it. I've been there. I had so many feelings like that after my cesarean. I really felt like that experience kicked off a slump of depressed, inadequate feelings I couldn't shake. I was just so depressed at what I considered my biological failing to birth my babies... Do you have a good psychologist? I found (and continue to find) so much support from my therapist.

  2. i'm sorry you're going through that, and i'm glad the days seem brighter this week. i didn't have any PPD issues, but i still struggle with a lot of those same questions lots of days. do what you can to take care of yourself, and don't beat yourself up about little things like crumbs and bedclothes. it's so easy to forget how consuming infants are (and how quickly their tastes change!) -- even now i think, "why didn't i get more writing done in the zunzun's first year?!" and i beat myself up about it until i remember that i was exhausted and overwhelmed and consumed by him (literally and figuratively). you're doing just fine!

  3. My wife went through this, almost exactly what you are describing, when we had Erik. The guilty feelings, the feeling of not doing enough and not being good enough, not enjoying her baby enough, looking around and knowing things needed to get done but not having the energy or patience to do them, leading to more guilty feelings. With her, although it was probably an issue all along, it really came out when she stopped breastfeeding when he was about 6-7 months old. That's when she talked to her doctor, who diagnosed her with PPD. She was put on medication and she told her mom and my mom what was going on, which helped immensely, not having to pretend everything was wonderful all the time. She had a good support system and she started feeling better fairly quickly after that. Depression is something she still deals with, but she's open about it and tuned in to what she's going through. I'm glad you're paying close attention to how you're feeling because you'll know when to reach out for help if you need to, and I'm really glad you're writing about it because I think it helps to get it out on paper, and it also helps to have an extra support network in your blog community. If you need anything or want to talk to Kim at all, just let me know.

  4. You will be okay. You are strong. Resilient.

    That being said, it is OKAY to be here, in this place. Not everything is sunshine, especially in the early months of newborn life. But your children, look at them, they are amazing and happy and thriving. A true testament that you are doing exactly what NEEDS to be done....that is what matters, not the crumbs on the table or the wrinkled duvet. Take it easy on yourself honey. Being a mom is not easy and you are a superstar at it!

  5. Sorry you're going through this. Depression is hard.

    I want to say don't be so hard on yourself. I mean, my house usually has crumbs everywhere, dog fur drifting on the floor, dirth clothes tossed down our stairs on their way to the laundry room, our beds are never made. Being a parent means embracing some mess. Perfection will only kill you.


  6. It takes great courage to be as open and honest as you were here. I'm sure it isn't much solace, but you are not alone in this. There are others out there who are suffering like you are, and you can get through this. You have your amazing partner who will catch you any time you stumble. You are doing exactly what you need to be doing, you're children are happy, loved, and cared for. You are being you, and tackling it honestly and truthfully. I commend you, and will support you via my words and my thoughts.

  7. I'm sorry to hear you're having bad days. I am glad to hear some days are starting to look better. Hopefully the bad days get further and further apart, filled with many days of joy.

  8. ((hugs)) I had no PP depression and yet my house is always a mess. I guess because I am too busy doing fun stuff to worry about boring housework.
    Sounds like you have it all in hand, at least you have recognised it for what it is.

  9. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this, Allison. It sounds like you really are enjoying her and enjoying your family, which is good to hear. She sounds happy and healthy, so know that you're doing your job. I'm impressed that you actually even make your bed - ours is constantly unmade.

    The exhaustion really does nothing for our moods, and I don't know what the weather like is over there, but on the west coast Spring JUST came and I feel so much better this week than for the last 2 months. Not to say that it's a cure or anything for PPD, but it does help to get out of the house.

    You can and will get through this. Ask for help and get the right support systems in place. Take care of yourself first.

  10. So sorry to hear you're having a hard time and also very appreciative of your honesty.

    Mama-ing is such incredibly hard work. It's every day all day work and not to be measured by the presence (or absence) of bread crumbs. Read your post again. Look at that loving mama who cares enough to read to her baby, who sings to her baby, who nurses her baby through the night if necessary. That's a whole lot of lovin' - bed made or not.

    I had a hard time nearly every day until our second was about 18 month old. Then there came better days. I read somewhere and repeated to myself often "the days are long but the years are short."

    Best of luck to you!

  11. Thank you for your honesty. This Mothering thing is so very, very hard. No matter what choice you make, you will later feel it is the wrong one. The hormonal roller coaster you are on after birth is one so little talked about. Everyone just assumes you are "just tired" but it is so much more. The enormity of the role you take on as Mother crashes down on you. It can leave you feeling completely defeated. The good thing is you recognize this, you are being open about it, you have love surrounding you on every side and tomorrow you will wake up and it will be ever so slighter better. Hang in there Mama!