underground

There are things I haven’t talked about—I haven’t wanted to think about them. But it’s gotten to the point where that’s not workable anymore. Joey and Kit have had a lot of things in common; I guess they were/are both what you’d call high-needs babies, although it’s mostly just seemed like the way babies are, since that’s what we’re used to. But now we’re going through with Kit what we did with Joey—he will not sleep without me, and he’ll freak out if he wakes up without me, so he’s fighting sleep as hard as he can all of the time so that I can’t sneak out. But this time, I can’t just give in and stay with him. For one thing, he refuses to be worn; Joey could just nap in a front pack while I made dinner (or what have you). We also had a laptop, so that I could work in bed with the sleeping baby Joey—our laptop is now kaput. And we have a toddler now, and he needs a lot of attention and company, too. But maybe most problematic, I have postpartum depression.

I feel pretty guilty about the PPD. I’m still doing right by the kids—and let me tell you, it is just the weirdest thing to have to tell myself “smile at him” and then make it happen instead of just having that happen naturally—but I’m just not doing okay myself. A couple of days ago, I admitted it to my family, and we’re trying to change some things to help me get better. But if you are one of the many lovely people to whom I am not writing letters, or writing letters that I can’t manage to send, or not putting together an email for . . . well, this doesn’t excuse that, exactly, but you are not alone. I am in the tall grass.

Recently, Kit is spending hours in the evenings just screaming. He’s got an impressive set of lungs—they remarked on it at the hospital. We hold him and he just screams and screams, and then finally he wears himself out and falls asleep. We’ve tried an awful lot of things to help him, and nothing seems to really make any difference. I just want to get away from him at those times, which probably is making a difference, and not in a positive way. He’s started to be upset about more and more things, and it can be hard to predict what will set him off: he used to love baths, but today he flipped out when I put him in the water (tepid, and checked and rechecked several times); sometimes he loves a pacifier (I broke down and got him a pacifier!), and sometimes he hates it so much; he can love bouncing/being held over a shoulder/“walking” around until abruptly it is the worst thing, and he doesn’t slowly get upset but instead immediately is enraged and screaming. I need a better word than screaming, or at least a couple of others to throw in every so often, but it’s just screaming—screaming and screaming and screaming.

So that’s the word. I’m quiet, and I’m not really doing okay, but hopefully things will get better at some point. I’ll try to write again, about something else.

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9 thoughts on “underground

  1. So sorry to hear that you’re having such a rough time. You shouldn’t feel guilty about anything–you’re a loving mother who is doing her best right now, and that’s all you can do. Re: Kit screaming, have you tried vacuuming in his presence or driving him around in the car? Many parents of chronic screamers have told me that they swore by these two methods, especially the latter (even though it’s not the best for the environment).

  2. Oh Susie Book 😦 You have nothing at all to feel guilty about. PPD is so very common. You don’t have any control over what your hormones are doing, you are at their mercy. I’m so very sorry that you are struggling. I’m really glad that you told your family. It’s nothing to be ashamed about and they can help you through this. Also, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or midwife about the PPD. They can help you and talk through various options as well.

    That is really a bummer that kit doesn’t like being worn. That has always been a lifesaver for us. Have you thought about a weighted blanket for him? I think I probably sound like a broken record when giving sleep advice because I always jump right to weighted blankets but really, they are amazing. Lyric was the worse sleeper in history and buying her a weighted blanket changed our lives. It’s like voodoo. Kids sleep with these things! As long as you get one that is properly weighted for his size they are safe for babies. We have bought blankets from http://www.sensacalm.com and I highly recommend them. The upfront cost is hard to swallow but it has been really worth it for us (they do retain value so you could resell on ebay to offset the price). We didn’t discover them until Lyric was older so I don’t have one light enough for Kit, otherwise I would send you one to try out. If you have family or friends that can sew you could easily make your own too. There are lots of tutorials on line (just don’t put in stuffing, only the weighted pellets for babies). it should weigh 10-15% of Kit’s weight.

    I’m so sorry you are struggling right now. You’re not alone, so many other mamas get PPD. I hope that this difficulty lifts for you very soon.

  3. One more thing that I just thought of. but first, I’m sorry for just preaching at you and giving you a list of things to try. I’m a “fixer” and I just can’t help myself. I know that I’m really annoying so it won’t hurt my feelings if you roll your eyes and tell me to pipe down 🙂 I’ve had several friends who had babies that acted similarly to Kit that were helped immensly with a couple sessions with a chiro. There little bodies were just out of whack from the birth process and getting aligned made them much more comfortable and less fussy.

  4. Oh that was Madison and oh it was so awful and hard. SusieBook, I’m sorry that you’re struggling right now. The corner turned for Madison when she was three-ish months old and started army-crawling. I remember when she was a toddler and I was talking to another mom at a park and we started talking about colic. Her youngest was about eight (both her kids had colic — she waited a long time to have a 2nd because she was so afraid of going through it again) and she started crying from remembering how hard it was. Then I started crying. And it was such a RELIEF to know that it was really as bad as I thought it was because people who haven’t been through it just don’t know (they CAN’T know).

    Are there one of these meeting anywhere near you? Our local group is GREAT and I sure wish I’d known about them when Madison was small: http://www.postpartum.net/

    I am thinking of you.

  5. Susie~I understand. I have walked in your shoes. Those days were dark for me. I loved my little ones, but couldn’t shake the dark cloud. I am now 10 years out from it, so I can look back and know that it was a combination of pp hormones being out of whack, A LOT of exhaustion from having a very hungry/fussy baby, and me putting undue pressure on myself to do things the “right way”. I was hell bent on nursing, which I’m glad I did, but if I could go back and let hubby feed bottles at night during those times I was really just too emotionally and physically tapped out to get up again, I would do it in a second. (And 10 years ago I would have been appalled at that thought!). Motherhood is wonderful, but draining at the same time. Take care of yourself, and LET PEOPLE HELP YOU. You will feel better and be a better mother for it.

  6. I’m so sorry Susie!! This sounds incredibly hard and I’m going to be sending lots of love and prayers your way. It is so good that you told your family what you’re feeling and let us know, too. September can be an unusually painful month for people with depression, but I hope and believe that you will start to feel better over these next few weeks. Please check in with us again when you can and let us know how we can help. You are wonderful exactly as you are.

  7. Hi Susie,
    I came across your blog a while ago while searching for information about birth moms. My daughter is a recent adoptive mom of two and I was trying to learn more about adoption from all perspectives. I spent a day reading your blog from the beginning and you helped me so much to understand how I can be more sensitive to all involved. Thank you!
    It has been a VERY long time since I have rocked a crying baby but I can still remember VERY well feeling anxious, worthless and frustrated when I was unable to calm my fussy baby. These feelings are very common and you are not alone. My state has recently started a campaign to help moms. Here is the link: http://www.purplecrying.info/sections/index.php?sct=1&
    I’m so glad you have reached out to those close to you. You are a great mom!

  8. Thinking of you so much and hoping that things ease soon. The things you describe with Kit sound sensory related to me. Things like the weighted blanket could help, also maybe checking in with a pediatric occupational therapist to see if they have ideas for how to help him regulate with the different sensations (since sometimes he loves things like pacifier or baths and sometimes he doesn’t.) Sending love to you all.

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