Tuesday, May 3, 2011

20/20 Part 3

After googling "Zoloft and breastfeeding" (for like 3 hours), I finally decided I would try the medication. I got q-tips and birthday cards at the pharmacy so I wasn't just buying antidepressants. Maybe the pharmacy techs wouldn't notice my prescription. Because clearly I was the only woman to ever buy antidepressants before.
I got them home and I set them on the counter. I started making dinner. David came home and saw them. "Happy pills, huh?" I tried to laugh this off, but in my gut I felt so stupid that "happy pills" might be the only thing to make me happy. I decided not to take them and to try it by myself for a few more days.

A few hours later Abe was screaming, the dogs were barking, and I burned half the dinner I was cooking. I turned around and like a movie camera I zoomed in on the pill bottle.
Fine, I thought. I'll try it.

So what's the irony of reading every possible side effect of Zoloft and breastfeeding? Not reading the possible side effects for the person who's actually taking the drug. Abraham slept for 8 hours that night. I, on the other hand, did not sleep a wink. At about 4am, I googled "Zoloft side effects." Guess what was #1?
I decided to wait a day and the start taking the medication in the mornings.

It took about 2 weeks. One morning I woke up and felt less cloudy. I had forgotten what it felt like to wake up feeling anything but cloudy. It's what I imagine someone feels like after they lose their glasses and find them after 6 months, put them on, and suddenly remember that trees are made of individual leaves and branches, not just a big blob of green and brown up high.
Day after day, I felt further and further away from sadness. And one day, Abe began screaming in the grocery store (for no apparent reason other than to emabress me). I hurried along getting the groceries and holding him while simulataneously shoving a pacifier into his mouth. We got into the car and I sang him songs on the way home. I nursed him in his room until he fell asleep and laid him down to go unload the groceries. It was that day I realized I was better. A few months ago, that epiosde would have put me so far down the rabbit hole that I likely would have forgotten the groceries in the car and laid on the bed until my husband got home or the baby started screaming, whichever came first. But instead, it was like water off a duck's back. Babies cry. They scream, even. It's a little bit of a bother, but it's not the end of the world. Not like it used to be.
I guess my point of all this is that it's hard to know when you're suffering from postpartum depression. A lot of women have a few days of blues, some crazy hormones for months, and many are terribly affected by sleep deprivation. But if you've never felt postpartum depression, you can't know how to tease out the side effects of a having newborn from the side effects of something more serious that you can't control. Looking back, I truly had no control over my feelings. I was sad, and all the things I tried to do to "fix it" didn't work because it was past the point of anything I could do on my own.
Today I am so madly, passionately, crazy in love with that kid. I want to squeeze him until he pops, kiss him until he's 18, snuggle him so long he can never learn to crawl away from me. This is what I was meant to feel. And for all the lies I told about being in love with him during his first 4 months and glorious fibs I told about how great life was, I feel so fortunate that NOW it is real and I can truly understand what people are talking about when they say they never knew they could love someone so much.
If you think it's even remotely possible that you suffer from postpartum at any point during the first year of your child's life, don't wait as long as I did. Just chat with your doctor about it. Even if it turns out you are just sleep-deprived, it's better to know that than to find out you could have been the mom you wanted to be 6 months ago. Either way, give yourself a break. Remember, WWAWIATD? She would ask for help from her friends.

1 comment:

  1. SO brave of you to post this and I applaud your honesty! I agree that mothers are put under TREMENDOUS pressure to do everything and be happy and no one knows that they're not the only ones feeling miserable because NO ONE is supposed to talk about THAT side of it! What kind of mother ARE you ANYWAY?! Um, the normal kind. I just read your linked post about tribal moms and YES (I saw 'Babies' too)! Look at all that support and togetherness! Nowadays most of us don't even live near our families, let alone have a tight-knit group of other moms to ask advice or get help and support from. Wow, long response. Great post. This is Kristy Munoz Miller, btw. :)