Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Baby Blues

Postpartum depression warrants discussion. Brooke Shields thought so when she felt dissed by Tom Cruise's comment about her baby blues. 

I don't know whether I could classify my vacillating mood swings as PPD, but I do know that I have crazy, erratic mood swings that make Kristie Alley's yoyo dieting look tame. Poor Alex. The guy has to deal with this on top of a screaming baby and loud neighbors. One day I'm gonna turn into the normal woman he met, the composed person who knows how to keep her cool even amidst hormonal rushes. Until then, watch out!

Apparently, it's something that even doctors can't ignore. When I asked my opthamalogist the reason for my staph infection, he tells me, "The hormones a woman produces during pregnancy and breast feeding affect many things, including the production of proteins on the surface of the eye." So, if breast feeding's hormones can throw my eye out of whack, it makes perfect sense that hormones can make my mood change instantaneously.

All I know is that it feels like PMS times a million. I'll be fine one minute, cooing with the baby, looking lovingly in her eyes, and then, bam!, I feel overwhelmed and irritated, not with Adelle but with something trivial, like the fact that I missed my morning walk. Poor Alex is the only one around, looking at with me befuddled eyes, as I enter my rage. My sister coined a term, 'fire in the eyes' for people who turn crazy mad. I think it's an appropriate nomenclature when talking about my emotional temper tantrums. 

I promise I was never like this before, which is probably why Alex looks even more confused. It's also probably why he's willing to stick it out. Depending on memories of me as a sane partner is the way he deals with it, but I tend to forget that, beneath this emotionally turbulent exterior, I once was a pretty kick ass chick, one who could control my moods far better than the I do now. 

On this Valentine's Day, I've learning that forgiving myself is just as important as loving Alex and Adelle.  The french have a saying that I adore; 

Comprendre, c'est pardonner.
To understand is to forgive.

So simple, but it speaks right to the heart. Forgiveness is only possible when one truly understands the circumstances. As I look at my little baby and realize that I have nurtured, birthed, and breast fed this baby (despite a yeast infection), that I walk with her, sing to her and soothe her until my limbs go numb, I can forgive myself. More importantly, I hope I am starting a habit that will influence my daughter. Women are the hardest on themselves and I want her to understand that everyone is capable of giving and receiving forgiveness, most of all, herself.

1 comment:

jen laceda said...

Hi Jo,

Believe me, I went through a similar experience! The first month was a nightmare. I was a zombie, sleeping in 45 minutes intervals 3-4x a day. You do the math. I called my husband at work, begged him to come home because I was so tired.

PPD is real. I work at a hospital-Centre for Addiction and Mental Health-and we treat PPD seriously. It has devatating effects on family and we have seen clients who carry this depression way after childbirth. But this is not to say that all mood swings are considered PPD. Many women get back on track eventually. I know that because I once felt that the hardship would never end...but it did. I can now breathe easy and sleep at night.