“Cortney, do you think this thing I have with Alice is because…well…I haven’t had any PPD, have I?”
“You are different with Alice, yes. And I think a lot of it probably is because you haven’t had PPD this time. I think you might be right.”
Every second of the past almost eight months has not been glorious, but not once did I want to throw my baby off our back deck. Not once did I feel like driving my car into a tree. Not once did I consider that my children’s and my husband’s lives might be better if I wasn’t in it.
Do you know what that means? It means I experienced being a new mom without “mah crazy” seeping in. I was REGULAR.
I loved my boys when they were babies. Eddie was difficult, but I loved him. Charlie was easy, and I loved him.
My love is not different, but I am different.
There is no cloud or fog or walls.
There is no rage–ok, there is rage. But it’s different. It’s normal, Mom Anger, not anxiety-triggered panic-attack rage. No rage that feels like the only way out is to hurt myself before I hurt someone else.
Not at all.
The first week home with Alice I took care of her. Cortney was home with me, making sure I took my meds, lifting things that needed to be lifted. But I got up with her. I fed her. I napped with her.
I mothered her from the start.
I can’t say that about my boys. Sure I was better with Charlie, but now with my 20/20 hind sight, I know that I have been my best with Alice.
The monster is not lurking behind a corner or in my closet. In fact, the monster is not in this house. Not this time.
Of course I am not naive enough to think it’s gone for good. I have too much experience with my own brain for that. I know I need to stay the course with my depression meds and my talk therapy. I know I need to get enough sleep and read books and write in my journal. I know I need to drink hot tea and find comfort. I know that letting the crazy of life overwhelm me without letting Cortney know will mean a slide back into the hole with the monster.
After Charlie was born, I watched for it. I was vigilant. I knew it was coming, but it took longer than I thought and I let my self-care slip. The monster burst in one summer afternoon.
This time, I was again prepared. But I stayed the course and it’s paying off. Right now, as I type this, Alice is snoozing on the floor next to me. It’s her new thing. After her dinner bottle, she plays until she tires herself out and she passes out with her blankie on the floor where she was just grabbing her feet and giggling. Then she wakes for a quick bottle and we put her to bed.
She is my last baby, and I am so thankful that I am taking care of my mind so that I can be here for it. So I can enjoy each snuggle and toothy grin.
Yesterday was the release date for the anthology I am a part of, Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience. I am incredibly proud to be part of this project in part because this is the book I wish was available when I was first struggling six years ago.
This book has the potential to help so many moms. Not only is it 35 voices telling those moms they are not alone, but it offers hope. It shines a light down the dark tunnel that is postpartum mood disorders.
Click here for ordering info.
And thank you for supporting me all these years as I struggle to put words to what I have experienced.