My story starts before my little girl was born.
Man, she was a character even in my belly. She was ALWAYS moving in there! And boy, did she give my ribs and bladder a work out; being so petite (she was born 6lbs 6ozs pretty much right on time) she had neverending room to play.
The further into my pregnancy I got though, the worse I felt emotionally. We had planned this baby, we had been happily married for about 2 years and were excited. But something felt different starting late in my second trimester. When I brought this up to my doctor, I was told that since I was not suicidal that they were not going to pursue any treatment until after I gave birth.
So, at the beginning of my third trimester I made the decision to change doctors. I was scared to change so late in my first pregnancy, but other than the depression it had been a breeze so far. She put me right on a low dose of Celexa and that helped quite a bit.
Fast forward the next three months to my delivery. What an amazing day that was, so full of wonder and joy! We finally had our little angel in our arms and being a mom came so easy to me – everyone told me so.
Our first month went as well as any new family can expect with such a big change. Then came my six week check. As standard protocol, I took their depression evaluation. They especially wanted me to take it, being that I was on meds for depression. I’ll never forget when my midwife told me she had never, in all her years of practice, seen a mom with such a high score; I officially had Post Partum Depression.
I felt like I got hit in the stomach with a brick. How could I have this? This little girl is so beautiful and I am so lucky to have her, what’s wrong with ME? She upped my meds and continued to check in. I thought things would get better. Little did I know this little 10lb girl would rip my guts out for months to come.
Colic. The word every parent HATES. What the hell does it mean anyway? And why MY child, why US??
I honestly have no idea how I lived through this time in her life. She napped twice a day for an hour, was up every two hours all night long, either hungry or just in pain.
I cried, I screamed, I thought things about my child no mother wants to admit to.
We lived in a studio with no place to escape besides putting her in her bed and stepping outside the front door. I was scared and frustrated. Her doctor just kept telling us there was nothing to do but wait it out. Easy for her to say! She wasn’t the one with no sleep and an ungrateful screaming little bald creature in her house.
We tried every bottle, formula, and old wives tale there was. I became a member of the The Fussy Baby Site group when my daughter was about three or four months old, but even that was both helpful and not. All the ladies were only trying to be helpful, but when you are rocking a six month old for the zillionth time today and they say, “mine got better at 18-24 months old”, you feel so hopeless.
Like you could possibly make it that long in pure survival mode! Your mind is not capable of rational thought in the midst of it all. You love your baby, trust me we ALL know you do, but you also are so resentful and angry at them. Cant they just give you ONE break? Anything to make it just a teeny tiny bit easier?
I can tell you now, with a daughter almost set to be two, I look back on her first year or so of life and I do NOT miss it.
I was miserable, she was miserable, my husband was miserable. There is nothing other than her tiny size I really miss. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to go back to that hell. And you know what? That’s ok!
I know many of you are feeling the same guilt I did. Everyone tells you what a beautiful miracle you have and how happy you should be. Yet all you want to do is hand over this little bundle and run.
It IS ok to have not enjoyed that part of your life.
Who on earth would enjoy sleep deprivation, screaming, crying and everything else your baby is putting you through? If you are reading this, you ARE a great mom! Want to know how I know? Because like me, no matter how miserable you are, you just want to be able to help your baby, to understand her and to be a good mom to your child(ren).
There are still tough days. I won’t lie. Especially with a child who is smart as a whip and curious as all get out. But I know that I can get through anything after surviving that part of our life.
Those days that I feel touched out, and all I want is five minutes to myself, I think about the fact that we were made for each other. There are times she comes up and hugs and kisses me for no reason. When I’m crying, she is concerned; I can see it in her little blue eyes.
She can’t be anyone other than who she is. She was given to me because I’m tough as nails and I can handle her at her worst. And you can too mama, I promise.
Even if you have to live second by second, you will come out the other side and you will be amazed at your strength and the bond you have with your child from never giving up and doing your best. Keep your chin up tiger, you’ll live to fight another day.
Chrissy Pannell is a 25 year old wife and mom. She lives in CO with her high need daughter and her high need dog. She is in the process of earning her therapeutic riding instructor certification, and is also working on becoming an equine facilitated therapist to help those with depression, PTSD and anxiety.
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