I really hate when people ask about baby number two. I swear they start asking days after baby number one arrives. Aww, your baby is so adorable. You and your husband need to make more. A boy! He’s going to need a sister–or a brother–a playmate–and soon! You had one–just keep going–what’s one more? You say you don’t want another one right now, but you’ll change your mind–you’ll see. Um…no I don’t think I will…but good talk.
Hello! I need to get used to being responsible for one tiny human. How the eff am I supposed to even think about more than that right now? And at the end of year one of new motherhood? Yeah, I’m still getting used to being responsible for my only tiny human. At the end of year two? Yup, nothing has changed. Still adjusting to taking care of the one single human.
I don’t just hate when people ask me about having more babies. I hate when anyone gets asked this question. How about it’s none of your fucking business! How do you know if someone desperately wants more children, but isn’t having the easiest time conceiving again? How do you know that a mom hasn’t suffered one or multiple miscarriages? How do you know if one parent wants more and the other doesn’t and it’s causing strain on the marriage? You don’t! If someone wants to talk to you about having more babies, they will. You don’t need to prompt them to have the discussion. If they don’t bring it up with you, then it’s probably an off-limits conversation right now. Respect it.
May is mental health month, so let me shout this from the rooftops–I AM A MEDICATED MOMMY! Yes, I take antidepressants. No, I am not ashamed. Not even a little bit. And if you do, you shouldn’t be ashamed either.
Let’s start at the beginning. On day six of being a new mom, I was overcome with crippling anxiety and non-stop tears. I had no desire to leave my bed ever again. All I wanted to do was sleep or go back to the hospital where people would take care of me and I didn’t have to be responsible for the well-being of another human. Obviously something was very wrong.
After a diagnosis of postpartum depression followed by three rounds of different anti-anxiety medicine and two rounds of antidepressants, my therapist and psychiatrist finally found the right drug cocktail to help me.
I realize now why becoming a mom threw my world into upheaval and sent me spiraling into the black hole of postpartum depression in that first year. The answer is actually very simple. I was completely unprepared for motherhood past the act of giving birth and I had a false notion of what having a child actually entailed. Well duh…because no one talks about any of that.
No one told me about postpartum depression or that I would wouldn’t fall in love with my baby immediately. No one told me that breastfeeding could kill my spirit every time my son refused to latch and screamed in the process. No one told me that I would rather stay in bed asleep all day then smile and coo at my new little one. No one warned me that motherhood could strip me of my identity in a matter of minutes. And I definitely had no idea then when I got better, my version of motherhood would be completely different than the one I had pictured during pregnancy. I had no idea I would spend the first year of motherhood on antidepressants, talking to a therapist who finally convinced me that my identity as a mother was good enough and to not give a fuck about the identity I thought I should have had based on moms I knew, celebrity moms I followed on social media, and Pinterest boards.
All I knew was the vision of motherhood I had created for myself based on what I thought others experienced. I would welcome my baby into the world and feel an overwhelming sense of love, joy, and amazement the minute I brought him home. I would happily breastfeed him while supplementing with formula at night for the baby nurse so I could sleep. I would spend my days outside walking him to the park and meeting other moms with new babies. As he got older, I would make his baby food, sit on the floor and play with him, read him books, and continue smiling and cooing. Time would pass, and he would be my little buddy, coming with me everywhere. We would do crafts together and build towers out of blocks and legos. I would be supermom, master and lover of all things motherhood.
Let’s talk about Grandy, Tammi’s momma, the creative writing/journaling savant, and all around life of the Campowerment party. Grandy the fabulous, fierce, sassy, adopted mother to all us campers. Yes, that is her in the above photo, wearing her crown and basking in all the birthday love bestowed upon her at camp. She is my woman! The brilliant, compassionate, and kind woman who brings light and joy to everyone she meets. I told her I would be sharing this on my blog so here it goes…
One of camp’s signature circles is Journaling with Grandy. During this session, Grandy gives a prompt and you write whatever comes to mind for a set number of minutes. When time is up, you put your pen down, no matter where you are in your writing. No prepping, no outlining, no editing, just the raw thoughts inside your head being put to paper. The results are powerful. The women who write and choose to share or not share and just listen are brave. No-one judges ever. It’s a safe space with Grandy as the leader and protector of our words. We all group hug at the end because after sharing such personal truths, hugs are needed. We leave the circle sharing a new closeness with each other and feeling freed by the words we didn’t realize needed to come out.
So there we were, awake and still in labor after a decent night’s sleep. I was loving the epidural and my husband was too. It made me very pleasant and easy to be around. I remember saying, “This is nothing like the movies. Movie labors and births are pretty…this is bullshit!” The only pretty thing about this was the green paisley hospital gown I brought to wear. And that didn’t end up mattering. I didn’t feel prettier. It just got covered in blood and who knows what else while I pushed.
Nobody tells you the truth before you have a baby. It’s like you can’t be privy to this secret club until you physically experience it for yourself. Sure women write articles such as “The Seven Things No One Tells You About Labor” or “Myths of Childbirth.” But they all sugar coat. I’m even sugar-coating right now…and I do not like to sugar coat…but no future mom really wants to hear about the blood and shit and screaming and fear and pain and overwhelming emotion. They just want to think about precious little babies and rainbows.
Maybe no-one would want to have babies if they really knew the truth. Perhaps that’s why we don’t tell you moms-to-be until after you have actually gone through labor and delivery.
At eight months pregnant, a close friend asked me, “B are you worried about any postpartum depression stuff?” I quickly replied, “Of course not! That would never happen to me. We are so excited about the baby.”
I couldn’t have been any more wrong! And I wasn’t just wrong, my case was textbook. Do you like to be in control? Duh! Did you move to a new house right before the baby was born? Of course…we couldn’t fit a tiny human and all the crap that comes along with him (and multiplies over time) into our apartment! Were there lots of people around when you had the baby? Um, it was Passover…how about at least 20 Jews arriving in the South to wait for this baby while doing the Seder thing. Did you have a long or traumatic labor? Hmmm…does labor for 20 hours, pushing for two, and then a C-section count? And the list of questions the therapist asked me at my first went on. And the answer to each one was always a big fat yes.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I should start at the beginning…the night my son decided to begin his journey to grace us with his presence.
I think I had a nervous breakdown yesterday. Some of you will think I’m a baby. That this just comes with the territory of being a parent. But I’m not like you. I’m me. I love my son, but sometimes I don’t want to be a mom. Like this is not what I signed up for. That’s my truth. This is my struggle.
Let me explain. My son is clearly getting ready to give up his afternoon nap. I’m so not on board with this. I am not ready. I look forward to those two – three hours in the afternoon. I need them. When I don’t have them, I’m bitchy. Ask my husband, he will happily tell you! Lately, my son has been napping every few days. Of course the days he naps are the days our nanny comes. Little fucker! But we do quiet time. He has to stay in his room whether he sleeps or not. If he doesn’t fall asleep, he usually hangs in his bed and looks at books. Sometimes, he gets out of bed and destroys his room. These are the afternoons I dread. Yesterday was one of those afternoons.
When I go to his room to get him after his not so quiet time, he is naked from the waist down. No pants, no pull-up. I know this going in because I could see on the monitor. What I did not see on the monitor is what he informs me of the minute I open his door. “Mommy, I poopied on the floor!” “I poopied right there. And there and there. And I peed right there.” Holy shit! No pun intended. My toddler took his pants and diaper off and shat and peed on the rug. As I enter, he is trying to pick up the poop with wipes to throw it away. Exactly what we do if our dog poops in the house. How adorable. He is at least trying to clean up. Should I be proud of his cleaning skills? He is hysterical laughing. I am trying to breathe…trying to remain composed.
Happy New Year and welcome to my blog: The Medicated Mommy. I know, how cliché to launch your first blog post on January 1. And even more cliché, to actually write “new year, new me”. But it’s true. This is my year. 2016, I’m going to make you my bitch. This endeavor has been a long time in the making and I am finally sitting down to make it a reality. I have been pent up and repressed (in so many ways) for too long and this blog will be my release. My space. My safe place to write honestly about anything and everything I feel like writing about. No topic is off limits. It’s so safe that I won’t even be giving my husband the address (for now). Duh, I need to be able to write about him too! I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
A little bit of background. As the About Me page states in fewer words, I’m a 34 year-old wife and stay at home mom to an adorable and intelligent, yet bossy, strong-willed, energizer bunny-type toddler. I should also mention I’ve been married for 7 years, but with my husband for 12 and things do get monotonous as I’m sure you all know.
I’m Northern and my heart belongs to New York City, but I’ve been living in the South for quite some time and guess what: It’s booooring! And slow and did I mention that I’m booooored? And people settle for good enough and I want amazing. Oh and there is no Soul Cycle. I just want to live near a Soul Cycle. I’m in Soul Cycle denial. I have the app on my phone and wear all their gear (which I obviously have to order online), even though the closest one requires getting on an airplane. Is that too much to ask for?