Thursday, May 06, 2010

There is Hope

A conversation in the car this morning.  ("T." is J's preschool teacher, who got engaged last weekend.)

me: So, T. is getting married! That's exciting!
J: Yes, it is!  She shared her celebration cake with us at snack today.
me: That was nice of her to share.
me: Do you remember going to the wedding in New Jersey in January?
J: Yes.
me: Well, now T. is planning for her wedding so she can do that next year.
J: I've never met who she's marrying.
me: True.  I've never met him either.
J: It could be a her.  I don't know because I've never met them.
me: You're right.  But I heard T. say "him" today, so I'm pretty sure she's marrying a boy.

It struck me that J. has no pre-conceived ideas about weddings and marriage.  Over the winter, we spent time explaining what a wedding is and what it means to make that pledge in front of family and friends in preparation for the wedding we went to in January.  But as far as he's concerned, any two people can get married.  And I'm happy to keep the politics of that away from him as long as possible.  Because, at least where we live, he's absolutely right.

And that makes me happy.  It gives me hope that we can raise a generation that thinks the gender of the people getting married is irrelevant.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

A Bucket of Tears

It's so hard to understand post-partum depression.  I certainly didn't.  Not until it happened to me.  And even after it happened to me, I find myself at a loss for how to describe it.

It happened again this week.  My third baby is 1 year old and I had almost no issues with PPD after she was born.  It was the easiest, happiest recovery of all three of my births.  But a few days ago I was hit hard.  

It was late afternoon and I was helping the boys clean up their rooms and vacuum upstairs while Brett finished up outside.  I was in a bit of rush because the downstairs was still a disaster and my in-laws were coming over with dinner to stay with the kids while Brett and I were going to a play.  I left the boys to finish and went to start on the downstairs.  

A few minutes later, I went back upstairs to check on the boys.  They had finished up, and then proceeded to pull stuff back off the shelves to play.  And I broke down in tears.  I did the best I could to choke out the words admonishing the boys and directing them to pick up again.   They knew something was very wrong and jumped right on board.  And that's when I heard Brett and his parents downstairs.

I lost it.  Utterly and completely.  I locked myself in my bathroom, sat on the floor, and sobbed.  And sobbed.  And sobbed.  For no real reason.  (Because the boys did what I asked them to and then started playing?  Not a real reason.)  It was beyond any control I had over myself.  The tears would not stop coming.  And I knew with absolute certainty that I would NEVER be able to go downstairs for dinner (ever again!) and that I was NOT going out of the house that night, and that I would NEVER stop crying and that I would NEVER feel happy ever again.  Everything was a shambles.

So I cried nonstop for a good 40 minutes.  Every time I even thought about trying to pull myself together and interact with other people, even my children, the tears came stronger.  And after I was cried out, I crawled into bed and fell asleep for 30 minutes.  When I woke up, it suddenly seemed like it might actually possible to see another person and not break down into tears.  I might not be happy, but I could function.  An hour before, I didn't think that would ever be possible again in my lifetime.

So I survived dinner.  Brett and I went out to the play (which was phenomenal, though I probably would have enjoyed it even more on a different night).  And when we got home I went straight to bed.  By the next morning, life seemed to be returning to normal.  And by the end of the next day, I was left wondering if I imagined the whole thing.

I felt it for a few hours this time.  I try to imagine what it must be like for the women who live with those feelings for days and weeks and months on end.  I remember it a bit from after my first was born.  I still can't talk about some of the thoughts that lived in my head during those dark days.

May this give you just a touch of insight.  It's not a fun place to be.