Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Ain't Fakin' It

This post inspired me to write this post...

I ain't fakin' it.

I'm going to tell it like it is.

Well, mostly like how it is...
I probably won't tell you about how I don't wash my hair every day or that our fridge is empty but I don't have the energy to go to the store or that I am no longer able to keep the clothes folded in the drawers of the little ones' dresser. (Three toddlers in one dresser...they're folded when they go in, but in the rifling through to find what they want to wear, it just doesn't stay folded.)

But I'm ready to tell you how it is when I come home with a new baby.
It's hard.
Really hard.

I didn't experience this until Christopher came along. I cried from the time he was about three days old until he was two weeks old.
I felt so out of control of myself. Odd things would set me crying.
Loudness would make me want to just run out of the room.

I tried not to let anyone know. After all, having a baby is a happy time, right?
So why was I so sad??

These feelings eventually passed and I began to feel like my old self.

Skip ahead 14 months to Elijah's birth. A lot of things were going on in our life at that time, too, and the whole time was a rather rocky one.
I cried and cried, but not as long as with Christopher. Elijah was about 2 days old when it started and it last about 5 days.
The crying, that is. The anxiety lasted longer than that...I don't recall exactly how long.

Next was Ruby. We thought that maybe if I stayed in the hospital longer to recover, that that maybe would help for when I came home. Wrong. I stayed the full time allowed and came home and balled and balled.

The house was so quiet, and even though my grandma had been there and had made a pot of soup, I wasn't hungry at all.
Dennis, of course, had to go out to the barn.
There I was, all alone.
And crying and sobbing like everything.

And now with Ivy, well, it's been more of the same. I was so disappointed because I thought I was going to avoid it this time around. A good friend of mine, we teasingly call her Dr. Jen, is a nutritional guru. Her children have some severe allergies and she has learned her stuff, let me tell you!
She suggested I get on some high quality fish oil, so I did.
The bottle said to take two a day, so that's what I did. Along about the last month of pregnancy, I upped it to three per day, anticipating the post partum period.

Turns out, I should have been taking more like 6 per day. Oops.
So that's what I take now and I think it helps.

But what I was taking wasn't enough to ward off the awful post partum stuff I deal with. She was born on a Friday and everything about the birth was so fantastic! (I know that a less-than-ideal birth experience can lead to post partum issues.) Saturday, I felt so good! I was ready to go home.
We got home and I did up all the dishes that were on the counter and got the kitchen straightened up.
And then it hit.
Dennis was going out to the barn, the two big boys with him, the other five were still with my parents and would be coming home the next day, and I was in the house alone with Ivy.

That first night home was terrible. She wouldn't sleep. I nursed her constantly and cried just about as much. I finally woke up Dennis on the couch and asked him for just five minutes...just five minutes. She fell asleep with him and stayed sleeping for about two hours. Thank you God.

Sunday morning when Dennis came in from the barn, he found me rocking Ivy and crying my eyes out. He called Jen. That's when we figured out the fish oil dosage was off. ( I couldn't talk on the phone because I couldn't stop crying...)

Sunday afternoon wasn't so bad...the kids came home early that evening and I only cried a little. I am ok with that in front of my parents now. With Christopher, it took everything within me to keep it together because I didn't want them to see me like that. I'm over that now.

Sunday night and into Monday morning were awful again. Such anxiety and crying and sobbing. I got out of bed, and bless Linnea's heart, she offered to hold the baby. It was earlier than she usually wakes up, about 6:30 or so, but she said she had heard me crying and Ivy crying, too. So she held Ivy while I took a shower and balled my face off.

This lasted about 4-5 days, this terrible post-partum stuff. I hate that they call it "Baby Blues" because it sounds so silly. I know that because it doesn't last longer than 2 weeks that it isn't post-partum depression--I wish there was a name for it.

And so...this time around I am trying to be way more upfront about it. If someone asks me how I'm doing I say "today's a good day" or "yesterday was a better day".
It has helped me a lot to talk with my friend Kim, who has experienced some of these same things. I have found very few others who have gone through this, which adds to the isolated feeling.

One of the things that's hard about letting it be known that I struggle post-partum is the ever present specter of people saying something like "then quit having babies" or "you see...this is why it's obvious that it's just too much for you."

I realize that the only one who's opinion counts is God's. He has called us to obey let Him show us the blessing of children, no matter how many he sends our way. I know that I should just let it roll off my back, all that stuff people say. Some days that's easier said than done.

So today, as Ruby has spent a majority of the day fussing, and Ivy has spent most of the day sleeping--and therefore will most likely spend most of the night awake,
I'll tell you that
yesterday was a better day.


  1. You inspire me, Melissa! You're a terrific Christian and mother. I hope your next many posts say, "Today is a good day." You deserve it, and I admire your strength!

  2. Melissa,

    I just wanted to let you know how very much I love you! It makes me so sad to hear that you are feeling sad. If there is anything I can do for you, let me know.

    You are so blessed to have such beautiful and caring children and it warms my heart to know how caring Linnea was to offer to take Ivy so you could have your time that you needed. Kudos to a job well done on your family. Love you to the moon and back Melissa! Take care and remember, I am always here for you. XOXOXOXO

  3. You are a good mama and obedient woman of God. The love of God radiates from you! :) It's good that you know the crying and anxiety will only last for a few short days. Is there anyone, a family member or older teenage girl, that can stay with you until you feel more yourself? I'll be praying for you friend!

  4. Telling it like it is ...some good therapy for you..YOU are normal and this too will out support and try to be you...just you!! LOVE your posts!!

  5. Oh I wish I could help you. I too went through a period of this after my first was born (and that was directly related to my horrible birth experience with her).

    I will be praying that God would give you strength when you need it and consistent rest.

    So proud of you for being willing to "quit faking it"! :)

  6. I'm guessing that there are alot more women who suffer from this than you'll ever know. Like you said, you didn't want people to know how you felt because "having a baby is one of the most wonderful experiences in life! Why should I be sad? I have no reason!" I experienced the longer depression but kept it to myself. I wish I hadn't. Thank you for sharing, Melissa, because I know you are helping other women more than you'll ever know! I love you!

  7. Thinking of you always Melissa!

    Love, Tami

  8. I've wanted to call you and give you some encouragement but I also know interrupting your day with a phone will probably not make it better! Know that you have my prayers and encouragement and tell Linnea she is a wonderful daughter and big sister!

  9. Melissa I had the same thing happen with Kate...with her it was the worst. Olivia was easy and pie, and then I cried again with Brady.
    No one understands (except those of us who have dealt with it) how you can feel so blessed, joyful, etc, yet so out of control of your own emotions.
    When I went in to Brady's one week check up/lactation consultant follow up, she told me something that continually resonates with me. She said that women experience amnesia for the first week after birth, b/c that is such a HARD week. Through breastfeeding into the equation, and boy or boy it's tough....
    I feel for you. Thanks for sharing everything. I bet you felt better just writing this.

  10. Thank you for telling me why you wrote this. I read the Storing Up Treasures post. I must admit my eyes were not dry less then halfway thru. You may wonder why... Because I am a faker also. Part of the reason we took a break from the TEAM is because we were tired of being fake.

    I don't leave many messages yet I read every post. I wanted to respond to this one, and let you know that you touch my life. Thank you and God bless.

    Matt Schweitzer

  11. Thank you for being transparent and real !
    I too can say I have shared your path.
    Blessings friend

  12. Melissa, You're not alone AND you're an AWESOME mother. I too have experienced very strong happy/sad emotions and a lot of crying for the first week or so. At those times I dwell so much on the facts of life and death, and to me it is God's way of reminding me how precious life is. It is one of those times where everything else can sit by the wayside for a few days while reflecting on life. I now actually enjoy going through the emotions and having the time to reflect and become closer to the Lord. I have experienced the longer post-partum depression and regular depression only when my nutrition was off, before I knew the Lord, and when our marriage wasn't so great. Otherwise I just consider the post-partum crying something that goes with the turf. Glad you're feeling well enough now to talk about it. Congratulations on baby number 8, to me that is quite the milestone. Some of my other friends are hitting that number too, and one family that we were very close to has eight, with the youngest being about four or five when we spent a lot of time with them. It has helped me have a vision for maybe having up to that many, I can't see much beyond that--Yet. Yesterday morning though I had the most vivid dream of four African(-American?) children that we were helping and I felt so strongly about adopting them. But also felt the concern of not being able to spend enough time with everyone. I have that feeling already anyway from spending three days a week at school/work now. Anyways, enjoy the baby, and remember that this too shall pass. . . . and then someday when we're old we'll have something so precious to think about. I didn't know my grandparents super well, but I treasure the time I saw my grandma silently shedding tears as she watched me nurse our firstborn. I'd like to think she was reminded of nursing her own. She was old enough and fortunate enough to have had her children before the time when nursing wasn't the thing to do. My other younger grandma did not nurse at all. How sad to miss that experience. Anyhow, gotta go watch the kids blow up some stuff in the front yard. Should be interesting. Have a great day. Laurie S.

  13. ho smesso di cercare il Signore da un pò..le cose non vanno bene a casa mia.. Tuttavia rutrovarmi qui ora a leggerti con il traduttore di google e piangere,,ti assicuro che inizio a pensare che è tutta opera del Signore..forse vuole aiutarmi, a superare la mia separazione e a vedere la mia famiglia come la mia unica salvezza e il mio amore. sei fantastica davvero. qui nella tua fattoria c'è aria d'amore e tranquillità. Niente a che vedere con la vita caotica e consumistica..;)) Grazie Nicoletta


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