the winding road to postpartum depression

You never really pay attention to the signs, even when they’re staring you in the face. Carlos kept asking me what was wrong. I could feel my mom tiptoeing around me, always around the corner making sure I was never left alone with the girls for too long. My dad made sure to make himself scarce to avoid my wrath. And my poor baby girls got a shadow of my normal self.

Postpartum depression hit me hard. I didn’t notice it right after Catalina was born, it could be because my sister came from Holland and I was distracted, or maybe it was something that developed later on. All I know is that in the beginning of May I started secluding myself. I hid in the bedroom under the guise that I was breastfeeding the baby but really I just wanted to be alone. I couldn’t handle leaving the house unless it was absolutely necessary, and even then every outing was full of anxiety and self doubt.

I couldn’t bring myself to take a shower because the water on my skin felt like knives. I wanted to eat any and every thing I could get my hands on. No amount of sleep was enough and so I just wanted to be in bed all day hiding, trying to sleep while Catalina slept. I couldn’t be bothered to cook or clean, let alone keep up with my own personal hygiene.

I kept apologizing to Carlos. I kept telling him I would get better eventually. I kept telling him how much I loved him and our girls but I just wasn’t myself…and I didn’t know how to get back there. And my husband lovingly replied that there was no need to apologize and reminded me that adjusting to a new person in our family was going to take it’s time.

Finally, my mom sat me down and told me I needed help. Not just help around the house but professional medical help. I broke down crying because I knew it was true. I knew that this wasn’t going to go away on it’s own. A few days later I was seeing a psychiatrist who sat down with me and after listening to me cry, rant, and rave for what felt like forever prescribed me an SSRI and told me to come back to her in ten days.

Here I am, about six weeks later and I finally feel back to normal. Taking  a shower isn’t torture, I’m working out and eating right, and most importantly, I’m able to be present when interacting with my family. I feel free.

To all my fellow mothers out there, please do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not be ashamed or bound by the stigma society has placed on depression/mental health. Finding help makes you strong and honestly will give your children just another reason to look up to you.

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Grumpy baby, grumpy momma.

The past few days have been rough on our little family.

Sunday morning the family decided to head to la Feria Tristan Narvaja in Montevideo to look at some antiques while my aunt is in town. We had fun, walked around, saw some cool stuff, but decided to head home after about an hour. Paloma was being fussy and I could tell she just wanted to be home.

When I sat her in the car I noticed she had some green eye boogers but thought nothing of it, she must be tired. But when we stopped at the grocery store on my way home I noticed that there were more boogers than when I put her in. My aunt made comment that Carlos had spent the drive home wiping off the liquid and that I should take her to the emergency room to get it checked out.

PJ had been increasingly fussy and scratching at her eyes, so I decided it would be a good idea. We took her to the emergency room in town and the doctor diagnosed her with conjunctivitis, aka pink eye. He prescribed some antibiotic drops and told us we caught it in time. Seeing how it was Sunday there was only one pharmacy in town open.

The pharmacist spent about fifteen minutes looking for the drops but said they ran out and wouldn’t get anything in until Wednesday and to come back then. I know I must’ve given the man the look of death when he said, “Or go somewhere else.” I knew what this meant. I had to go to Montevideo, have PJ seen by an emergency room doctor at our hospital to get the same prescription and then head home. It was 6:30pm at this point so I went home, fed PJ, gave her a bath and changed her into comfortable clothes.

As always, our emergency room wait time was short. I’m pretty sure we were only there for half an hour. Much different than anything I’ve experienced in the States. The doctor did a quick exam, saw the pus-like liquid, checked PJs lungs, and gave us the prescription for the eye drops. Carlos ran to the pharmacy to grab the prescription and off we went. Two drops in each eye every six hours until tonight. Then it’s one drop in each eye every eight hours until Sunday. Wipe the eye with gauze and chamomile tea in between each dose. No big deal, right?

I didn’t realize how HARD it would be to get my kid to be okay with me touching her eyelids. Then there’s the part of dropping liquid, that may or may not burn, onto her eyeball. It’s been tough to say the least. But she has shown a bunch of progress. The eye cleared up almost immediately, she still scratches at it every now and then but at least it’s not leaking.

Today was awful. She has been exceptionally cranky, screaming and yelling at me. Wanting nothing but to be in front of the TV and eating crackers. She’s been punching and biting me for no reason. And I know this comes with the territory of motherhood. I know that toddlers are cranky little humans with lots of attitude. But somedays I’m just not up for it. I love her with every fiber of my being but today was one of those days where I wanted to be anything but her mom.

My parents ended up taking care of her for dinner and noticed that she kept tugging at her ears (and now is when we cue the mom guilt). I started touching her ears and noticed she would wince every time I even put my hands near that side of her head. I gave her some Tylenol before going to sleep and plan on taking her back to the emergency room in the morning to get her ears looked at.

These are the moments I have to wrangle every bit of strength and patience I can muster to not lose my cool. And really it has nothing to do with Paloma. She’s a baby; she cries and she’s in pain and she’s allowed to express however she feels. What bothers me is when people, and really I mean my husband, thinks that comforting our child is mom territory and he is exempt from helping. Or when he just lacks total common sense when it comes to PJ being sick. I know that this is a ‘man’ thing, or so I’ve been told, but I just really hate when all of the parenting and nurturing falls on me. I love him but right now I could strangle him.

I’m just having a bad day. Throwing myself a not-so-tiny pity party. I’ll be better tomorrow. I have to be better for PJ.