Dark Spots

I’ve been reading about breastfeeding and antidepressants. Apparently standard procedure is to have the mother start taking the meds and then just watch to see whether any side effects turn up in the baby. I find myself flinching away from any sentence that contains both “side effects” and “baby,” so it’s been an awkward education. A woman I know slightly online has just started talking about her feelings—her daughter is Joey’s age—and she’s having to come to terms with having postpartum depression and work on getting better. And I keep thinking, That poor woman. She has to do all of the hard things that anyone with a newborn would (comforting a baby when you want badly to sleep, blown-out diapers, the works) and she says that she feels no love for the child. It takes a particular kind of dedication to keep slogging under those circumstances, and I can’t wait until she’s well enough to enjoy her little girl.

Fortunately, I’m pretty sure that I don’t have PPD. Less fortunately, I think that my normal depression is creeping back. That may sound like a distinction without a difference, but I don’t think so; Joey is my poopy little ray of sunshine, and I’m delighted by him. Sure, it is hard to be running through elaborate back-patting and gentle-bounce-while-shushing routines at four in the morning, but I don’t feel anything but love for him even when I’m a bit desperate to con him into sleeping. I don’t see an endless and dreadful future stretching out in front of me. I’m just fried and too often sad. So now I get to figure out what happens next. Mr. Book thinks I should try an afternoon away by myself, since I haven’t had one of those, and I feel guilty for feeling interested. It’s not that I want to get away from Joey, I explain. I’d love to take him with me if we could just leave the diaper/burp/nurse/diaper routine behind. But of course that’s not possible yet, so now I’m wondering about possibly leaving the house alone for a couple of hours tomorrow while the Mister stays home with the baby.

So far, my best effort at cheering up has been making breakfast for the Mister; I bake at night so he can eat in the morning. Nothing healthy yet—pumpkin bread, oatmeal chocolate-chip coffee cake—but my offerings have gone over well, and I do enjoy the making of them. They are not fixing my brain, however.

13 thoughts on “Dark Spots

  1. Oh goodness, do NOT feel guilty! When Noah was small we lived on Scholls-Ferry in a tiny apartment complex across the parking lot from a Fred Meyers and I used to relish my chance to go over there to pick up groceries. You know how big those stores are and I could spend ten minutes staring at cheap furniture or browsing tools or something and then run back home because I missed Noah. But even getting outside there in the fresh air was a help.

    I was never a “sleep when the baby sleeps” person because when the babies slept I felt like I had to do all the other stuff I had to do (like shower) and it took me a long time to nurse lying down but once I could, it was like a miracle of good sleep came back. (Even though I could never fall asleep while nursing — I can’t sleep when my kids are awake even now. I have to know they’re asleep first.)

  2. Never feel guilty about some alone time. That was the biggest mistake I made the first time around and my mothering abilities suffered because of it. I’m an introvert and I NEED some alone time periodically. With two small children I do not get as much as I once did, but as long as I get at least a couple of hours a week (not necessarily in a row!), I’m a happier mother. And that makes for happier children. And a happier marriage.

  3. I’m so glad to read an update. I think Joey’s about five weeks old, incredible! Sounds like you are doing really well with breastfeeding, and it’s a intimate time for you and Joey. I’ve been wondering how the nights are going and whether you guys are getting any sleep. I know it would be nerve-wracking to introduce a slight dose of meds and wait to monitor possible side effects, but I’d be interested in learning more. You could evaluate your options at set intervals, like when Joey turns 6 weeks and 8 weeks old.

    Your baked goods always sound so delicious. Looking forward to hearing how the few hours off go!

    • The nights could be worse—he’s usually up twice, once just to nurse and then once for anywhere from 1.5-3.5 hours. We trade off being the one up with him. I have noticed that he’s more just perky and unwilling to sleep when I’m the one up at 3 a.m. and more likely to howl when it’s Mr. Book, but that could be a milk issue.

  4. I see the distinction entirely.

    If the meds helped before, experimenting with bringing them back sounds smart. And a little separation is also good. So is bundling up, strapping babe on & taking a walk; it is in fact often a break from the routine–sleeping babe in motion, fresh air, new scenery. You can go out with him & without him. Both have advantages (with him when the Mister is working, for example).

    Baking can be very soothing, I totally agree.

    Pulling for more bright (same amount of poop).

  5. Going away is not only a gift to yourself but to your husband and little man aswell. Of course babies needs mom but dads are pretty great too and thety deserve some one on one bonding time too!

  6. Those baked goods sound awesome. If you get tired of the Mr. and want to move north, you could come make me breakfast baked goods 🙂

    I hope you are able to take a little time to yourself and find a way – medication or otherwise – to make your brain happier. You deserve for the dark spots to be balanced with light.

  7. Although I don’t have personal experience, I do have several friends who successfully nursed babes while on meds (no side effects, healthy kiddos). So, it might be something worth exploring with your doctor. I think we all feel guilty leaving little ones but we shouldn’t. Moms need to recharge, too!! Love the phrase “poopy ray of sunshine”. That is perfect!

  8. I had a very hard time being away from Mara, but forcing myself to do it (occasionally) let her build a better and different relationship with Lee from the great one they have with me hovering in the background. And yes, I needed the time to recharge myself. I recommend it, even if in a somewhat hypocritical way.

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