A whiff of cowardice
I have a million excuses, but the bottom line is this: I couldn't quite say it. My OB was standing there, removing her gloves post-exam, asking hurriedly how I was doing, and I hemmed and hawed and said I wasn't feeling great, exactly, and not like myself, and that I was crying a lot, which just wasn't like me. She asked if I was getting sleep, and I'm not, so she said to hand Olivia off to Jeff and get as much rest as I could manage. To buy ear plugs and an eye mask and turn off the baby monitor. That sleep would go a long way toward making me feel better. That colicky babies can really drain a new mother, and not to let it get to me so much. And that maybe I should look for support at a moms' group if I was still feeling down.
And as she was clearly in a rush, that's where I left it. Instead of saying, No, seriously, I'm having real trouble--hormonal trouble, physical trouble--and I think I have postpartum depression and need more than a nap, I just thanked her and said my goodbyes, feeling very, very small.
That night I did hand her off to Jeff, and I did get a little sleep, and I did feel a little better. I thought, Maybe that is all I need--maybe I've really overblown this thing. And today, I went to write a thank-you note to a friend and found that we had used up all the cards, so I curled up in a ball and sobbed. Over cards. Because they were the cards I bought for Olivia's shower, and now they were gone, and she was five weeks old and I was never going to get to experience those five weeks again. And then I thought of the grief that she will have, that one day she will have her heart broken by a lover, by an illness, by a dream unfulfilled, by something, and that even this brand-new creature will have to face longing and pain and, finally, the end. That I have done this to her. And then I felt more selfish than I can say, and then more foolish, and then I reminded myself that this is crazy talk.
I'm not sure what to do next, to be honest. I am a little afraid of actual treatment; drugs are not something I would be very comfortable with, given my mother's countless addictions and my father's dependence on antidepressants and sleep meds. There's also the breastfeeding to consider. So I just don't know how to move on from here, but I know I need to.