Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I've had a difficult time expressing myself lately, blog-wise. There are the universal constraints of every new-ish mother--time and energy--and there are the self-imposed constraints of an infertile who got lucky. The latter is probably more formidable to me than the former; everything I have to write about is either full of gooey sentiment or self-centered, woe-is-me whinging. Either way, I sound like a bit of an ingrate. But that's all I've got.

I am still, at nearly seven months, not doing too well. The sadness is no longer pervasive, but I am far from feeling like myself. An on-line friend put it perfectly:

"Even when I have a good's almost more like I'm an observer, noting that this is a good moment rather than actually enjoying it."

I watch these perfect moments--her smiles and wriggly, full-body excitement when I come home at night; the serenity of her face as she naps, naked after a bath, in a warm room with a towel draped around her--and say to myself, "This is it. This is what I longed for." But it doesn't feel like it's happening to me. Sometimes the joy overtakes me and I can feel an unplanned smile lighten the corners of my eyes; more often than not, though, I have to remember to react the way I should.

I love her with a rabid ferocity that I didn't know I had. Nothing else in life matters to me very much, even though I continue to worry about every last detail of every other thing--work, house, family issues, health and, neglected though it has been, my relationship with Jeff. It's as though my capacity for worry and stress--already high--have expanded like a slow-filling water balloon, but there has been no corresponding increase in my elsasticity, in my ability to deal with it or to take pleasure in whatever I do achieve, and no pinhole leak to relieve the pressure.

Jeff has asked me, ever so gently, to consider getting medicated. (My sadness troubles him: he had a wife who never cried before getting the very thing she spent three years dreaming of.) But I keep balking--afraid, in part, of whatever propensity for drug abuse I may have inherited. Much to my own surprise, I also do not want to give up breastfeeding until I have to: it is the only time in the day that I get her to myself, and it's something she enjoys so much. There are also the implications any drugs would have on our plan to proceed with another cycle in a few months' time: it's not like I can postpone for long, in hopes of getting my head back together. I'm 37 and have shitty eggs. It may, of course, be too late already, but postponing sounds like giving up to me, and I can't face that yet.

I don't want to give the wrong impression here. I am getting by. I don't spend my time locked in a windowless room of remorse. Most days, I don't have time to think about how I should be feeling. Olivia is flourishing and I feel a stab of obsessive adoration every time I think of her. She means more to me than my own peace of mind right now, and I feel a little self-indulgent even worrying about whether I'm happy.

There is no decision on the horizon; I haven't even laid out a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. To be honest, I don't really have the energy to choose a course now. But that balloon is getting pretty full.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bugs

I know of what you write. I had a similar experience after my ds was born. we had struggled with infertility and multiple m/c before being blessed with him, yet I felt distanced and cheated. It's not that I didn't love him beyond measure but I couldn't understand why I couldn't relax and ENJOY this part of his life. Looking back (he is now 4) I realize that I had a PPD and probably some PTSD . I wish I had got some help at that time. Would counselling be an option?

I know that the thought of ttc again was again very daunting and I didn't face it until he was over 18 months.

Have you thought about an medication that was safe with bf'ing. I know that I have to think about possibly weaning if we want to cycle again (I was lucky to have a second ds) but it's such a crapshoot, this IF stuff. I don't want to give up the bf'ing if it means that I may not succeed with my next ivf.

Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.


1:59 PM  
Blogger Thalia said...

Bugs, thank you for updating us. It's really good to hear from you, even though it's saddish news to hear that you're not feeling that great. I do think that counselling sounds like a great move, particularly if you aren't keen on the drugs ( I wouldn't be, either).

I do hope that there is a way to get more of the joy back.

2:11 PM  
Blogger S. said...

Bugs, I'm not sure if this has been posted before (I'm sorry if it has) but just take it one little step at a time.

Relish the moments when you smile - just because.

It took me about 2 1/2 months to get into being a parent. I didn't have the "instant love" so many other people had. I loved my child from birth, but felt like I was just an extended babysitter.

It does get better, just take some time.

As for PPD/medication, I don't know enough to post anything useful. I just hope you can get that balloon to deflate and give you some room to "breathe".

2:24 PM  
Anonymous laura said...

It's good you're being honest about how you feel ... a lot of new mothers wouldn't dare to admit that it's not all they'd dreamed up. It's a wierd place to be, caught between thrilled and deflated ... I hope you can find a place thta fits you well.

2:45 PM  
Blogger art-sweet said...

I think - and I say this not to guilt you but to give you another perspective - that before you dismiss meds, which don't have to be addictive, that you think about the impact on your daughter of having a sad mom. There's a lot of research out there on how maternal depression impacts kids, and it makes me think that I would rather be (relatively) happy and medicated than the alternative. But that's just my two cents... good luck facing up to a tough choice.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Your description is eerily similar to my experience of post-partum depression. Setting aside for a moment that a healthy babe needs a happy mom, Zoloft has been studied extensively and is safe for breastfeeding. My wonderful pediatrician told me, "I'd rather you expose her to Zoloft than formula." You deserve to enjoy Olivia and I hope you feel better soon, however you get there.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Boliath said...

Delurking to say I'm so sorry to read that your sadness hasn't lifted. I have no assvice for you just wishes that you feel better soon.

Hug her often, my boy will be 2 on Friday it goes so terribly fast.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous N said...

Thankfully I never had to deal with PPD, but I do have other health issues I deal with, and with my first child knew I needed medication by the time she was 4 months old. I was at a loss until I talked to my doctor and found out there were plenty of options perfectly compatible to breastfeeding. You don't need to wean to medicate. I cannot urge you strongly enough to talk to your doctor, because s/he'll be able to give you something you can take and continue breastfeeding. Then you can actually put yourself in the picture with your daughter, rather than just watching from the outside.

I have 3 kids and breastfeed for a total of 7.5 years, on meds for most of that. They are all completely healthy. There *are* options.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous danelle said...

You could really benefit from some short term anti depressants. Don't look at it as a negative need it. If Olivia needed heart medicine would you deny her that? Of course not, so don't deny her mom the balance she needs either.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't had a baby, but I have been depressed before. And I was never medicated, but it would have helped end it a LOT quicker I think. One of the non-medical things that helped was to do things for other people. And establish a routine so that I had something to look forward to at least once a week. Taking grandmother shopping, delivering meals on wheels, etc. It helped me stop being so much in my head, and rejoin society more(I tend to be very introspective, I think that's partly a contributing factor to my depression). At first it felt like a horrible thing to leave the house for anything other than necessities, but I realized that it WAS a necessity to my well being to help someone else, and a necessity for them too.
I hope you can find a way back.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

I've not had a baby, but I've suffered from depression for a long time. I fought the need for medication but once I finally agreed to it, I couldn't believe the difference that it made. I was still sad at times, but it didn't feel like that was my only emotion. I was able to see myself IN my life again, not just watching it. My best friends suffered from severe PPD, so much so that I spent the first 8 weeks of her son's life with her during the day so she wouldn't be alone. It was amazing the change in her and her son once she agreed to medication. She started enjoying those milestones as a participant and not just a spectator. It's all assvice and it's such a personal choice I'm not saying you should do that as everyone is individual. There are safe options out there and there are also support people like therapists that can also help. Thinking of you and hoping that things continue to get better.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Menita said...

Bugs, a couple of things: I was afraid of getting hooked on ADs too but the formulation they have now doesn't work that way. You don't get hooked on them. In fact, the opposite is true: sometimes you stop taking them too soon because you're feeling great.
Second, there are some that are really not problematic in breats milk. Z*oloft is the top choice for this. I took it when I had very bad PPD and a bit of PTSD after Polly was born. Now I have stopped breastfeeding Jack and am taking P*rozac, which works better for me (Z reduced the depression but made me a bit anxious).
I resisted ADs for years, and now lookign back my only regret is that I didn't take them years ago. They won't make you chipper, or into someone you're not. They will, however, let you reconnect with yourslef, and live in the moments, rather than observing them from the outside. For me, they lift that kind of numbing, greyish, jelly-like feeling and bring everything into sharp focus.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Lindy said...

I don't really know what to say except that I'm in tears again just reading this. I feel much the same way you do about medication. I'm very resistant to it even though I think it might help. And so far, I've had nothing but negative experience with therapists, so... well, I don't know.

It does help to know that I'm definitely not alone in feeling this way.

Just sending you a big hug.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear bugs...
please check and see if there are meds that might allow you to continue to breastfeed. You are not being selfish for worrying about your happiness- doesn't Olivia deserve the happiest mom possible??

I'm glad you're getting by, and I hope you'll be writing soon about how things are improving even more.

Thinking of you,

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Delurking to say your post connected strongly with me. I have 2 boys and had PPD after both births. Hung tough for the first so I could BF and chose medication for the second.

I learned motherhood is just better when you don't have to carry even a small pack of depression with you all the time. I learned with the second baby that I wish I had choosen to take medication with the first time. I think I would have been a better mother, I know I would have been a happier person.

I also want to thank you for posting this. It helped me to stop and look at myself now and realize I am mildly depressed, even on medication. And that I am tired of living with it. It's time for me to talk to my doctor honestly.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Moxie said...

The 5 ADs that are safe for BF (in order of preference) are

1. Zoloft
2. Paxil
3. Celexa
4. Effexor
5. Prozac

Here's the link on about it:

Whether you medicate or not, I hope you're taking Omega 3s and getting some exercise. Sometimes that can help you lift the fog a little.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Em said...

I can understand the feelings of the whole experience happening to someone else and not you, althoygh I wonder if it is because we have an 'idea' in our heard about what motherhood should be and what we should feel that we think we aren't doing it right? I would agree with other commenst that if you are feeling sad then maybe check out your options. Especially if there are some AD that can be used while you BF.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Indigo Wolf said...

You might also consider doing a little research on 5-HTP. It's a supplement that I take to help with my chronic depresion and it makes a big difference. It's given to children to help with sleep problems too. It doesn't make you sleepy, it just helps your body produce more sreatonin and melatonin.

1:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am taking Zoloft and nursing my baby girl. In fact, I've been on Zoloft since my son was 3 months old (he turns 3 in two weeks). I was pregnant on it, and I'm now nursing on it.

You need to do what's right for you - but it really can make a world of difference once that fog lifts.

Good luck

12:09 PM  
Anonymous babyfruit gal said...

I need to read your blog. I'm just hopping around looking at blogs linked from my blog and we seem to be in a similar place. Whoever said motherhood was hard work did not have the vocabulary to begin to describe what it is really like and how we'd really feel. I've heard that infertiles who then succeed in having a baby get hit really hard with depression after. Hang in there. You are not alone.

1:49 PM  

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