HF: The Post I Never Wanted to Write

The words written out
Take that next step: Hit PUBLISH
I may regret itHaiku Friday

Everybody has things they don’t care to blog about, things that should be kept under a rock and never given the chance to see the light of day again — and all for good reasons. The preface for the faceless secret may be because they are ashamed, guilt-ridden, or it’s intensely personal. And why risk outing yourself to have your feelings, emotions and heart trodden over like 2×4 shielding careful feet from a mud-laden walkway?

In a nutshell, there are things I swore I’d never blog about. My two-year long battle with infertility was one of those high on the list. I also promised I’d never allow myself to open up and allow others to see me raw, for who I truly am. That didn’t last long, and after I got bored with adding Acronames and “What kind of blogger are you?” chincy, emotionless placards to my posts, I got real. But there has always been something I have never blogged about, something I have kept tightly to myself, inside Blogdom and out.  I feel that by sharing this, I will finally leave it behind, get it out in the open and rid myself of any guilt or shame I have felt.

Life has a way of dealing you cards you never thought you’d experience or live through, things that are so intensely difficult to cope with that ‘lemons’ doesn’t even begin to describe it or do it any kind of justice.

After Ian was born in June of 2004, my life was my ideal perfect. I had a baby and he was all mine. My little miracle boy that graced my life with purity, innocence and sweet love. I read parenting books and online updates, I became the mother I didn’t know was in me, and more surprisingly, I loved it more than words could describe. It came easy.

I saved up as much sick time and vacation from work that I could, and used it all in one fail swoop to care for and cherish my little one before the dreaded day of having to return three months later. The day I handed him over to my mother-in-law to care for in my absence was one of the most frustrating and painful days of my life. It was also the day I dropped my Mum and step-dad off at the airport to return to Scotland after a 13-day stay. What an emotional roller coaster, mostly swooping down and inverted!

My days at work were week-long and I ached to be home again, in our perfect little routine. As a new Mum, I loved that I was still me, that I could have that alone time we all crave, but I also enjoyed the responsibility of caring for him, the rewards of seeing him grow and develop and how motherhood was quietly changing me into a better person than my selfish twenty-somethinger already thought I was.

But being at work didn’t feel like it used to; the passion was gone, it became routine and mundane. It was hard to concentrate on anything: Worrying if he was OK – knowing he was with a registered nurse and someone who loved him passionately – but torn and guilt-ridden, wondering if my quest to provide as much as I could for my little one was at both of our expenses. I’d occasionally have him brought into work and have him hang out with me, but it just wasn’t the same. It was strange to me that in such a short time, I could grow to love and cherish this tiny little stranger; one that I had only gotten to know through bumps and kicks. He depended on me and I loved him implicitly.

Throughout my work day, I would pause to take a break in the Mothers’ Room and wander off with my beloved Medela: now the only physical link between my son and me. I wanted to do what was best for him, and if that meant putting him ahead of starting some assignments, I was going to do it.

As the weeks passed, it became increasingly difficult to find and make the time to pull myself away from my desk. My workloads increased and my responsibilities seemed more than ever. As I endeavoured to fulfill my responsibilities in both worlds, I’d hit snags: people would need things urgently and to add to it, the Mothers’ Room was getting a major overhaul, preventing me from entering.

A few weeks later, the company went through some extensive training to switch to Microsoft Office from Corel and it required many hours away from my desk. As I thought about how the change in software would impact the company — and more especially my department and the amount of man-hours it would involve bringing everything we used into line  — the dread and fear started. But there was something else: My appetite was slowly fading and eating suddenly felt like a huge burden. I didn’t feel hungry and often threw away food I had hoped I’d feel differently about once it was sitting in front of me.

I remember one night specifically. We were doing some early evening shopping in Target, and as I rounded a corner to join Bryan (one of us invariably wanders off), I felt an overwhelming amount of dread and panic come over me, that feeling of anxiousness we all experience, and it was for no apparent reason. No amount of deep breathing or fake excited-ness was dispelling it. It puzzled me and I mentioned it in passing to Bryan, but never really thought too much of it.

I don’t recall how much time passed, but I do remember not feeling quite myself and not being able to put a finger on it.  My appetite was still changing, I felt stressed and anxious over the small stuff, and now, I was skipping the occasional shower and wanting to avoid any kind of contact with people other than at work. It didn’t make any sense, but still, I brushed it off.

It was the end of October of 2004, beginning of November that I really noticed more differences. I wasn’t sleeping as soundly even though now Ian was 4 months old, he’d been sleeping through the night at 5 weeks. My night wakings increased, and as a result, my energy levels throughout the day suffered for it.

It was a Friday, I got up out of bed and went to go shower, I stopped dead at the sink and didn’t go any further. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was too much. The dread and fear of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on was still there – it was there all along – but it had intensified. My legs and arms tingled, but it was a cold, eerie tingle, like every nerve ending was in shock. It was hard to concentrate on anything but the tingles and it was now increasing my anxiety. I thought about going to work, and my stomach plummeted. I didn’t want to be around anyone, I didn’t want to make lists and organise, thinking about the things I had to accomplish felt like a huge rock had now been placed on my shoulders and it was now too much to bear.

…to be continued.


23 responses to “HF: The Post I Never Wanted to Write

  1. It sounds like you were in the throes of depression. Two of my friends experienced that, including the panic attacks, the nausea and the ‘I can’t summon the enthusiasm to think about anything’.

    I shall look out for your next installment.

  2. I’ve been there…and it’s scary!

  3. Bless your heart. I am so sorry you went through all that. I suffer from depression and know that feeling all too well. There is no logic to it and I have no control over it when the super lows happen. I will be here if you need me.

  4. Oh man, I’ve been there one too many times.

    Hope you are well.

  5. anticipating the rest…

  6. Waiting to hear the rest and hoping that this has resolved itself and that you are feeling good now.

  7. My goodness, what a cliffhanger! Thank you for sharing something so personal; I am, with the others, anxiously awaiting the rest! xoxo

  8. I feel i know where this is going. I also know how the story ends. At least, I think I do. I KNOW what an amazing woman you are. And who you are and what you are, NOW, is made up of all the little parts and pieces that precede NOW, including that bad bits.

    Still, I would wish that you didn’t suffer so.

  9. Wow. Powerful. I am sorry to hear how difficult and painful it sounds, and I do hope that things are much, much better.

  10. very powerful, and very brave. Isn’t it amazing how much we’re afraid to share, and yet there’s acceptance, reassurance and support out there. I haven’t been through exactly what you’re describing, but the hubs has, and I remember what a hellish time it was, simply because we couldn’t accept what was going on and find help. Once we did, huge difference. I hope you’re in a better place now.

  11. Like others said, this was powerful. I hope your next installment tells us about the help you received!

  12. Wow.
    I’m so glad we Plurk together so that now I’ve discovered you.
    You are a powerful writer and a darling person.

    Anxious for the next installment.

  13. i’m looking forward to the next installment!!

  14. I am so sorry you suffered like that. It sounds like post-partum depression – not a trifling thing at all. Brave you for being so open!

  15. Oh S, I absolutely hear you on this post… the things that we never think we’ll blog about.

    But I am so glad you are sharing this. I suspect it’s a place that is so difficult to revisit.

    Bravo to you… I look forward to more …

    (and ugh, 3 months of maternity leave is so

  16. I wish I could say something more meaningful but I am glad that it is behind you. I never have experienced that type of emotion before and after your description, I hope I never do. But I do think writing about it is cathartic.

  17. You’re very brave to write about something like this. I’ve struggled with anxiety for years but have yet to blog about it – maybe someday…

  18. I think talking about it makes you freer. We all struggle and I think realizing we aren’t the only ones and that people understand helps us heal.

  19. Aww sweetie! *hugs* I’m here if you want to talk…xoxo

  20. Great Cliff hanger, fantasticly written. Looking forword to your next installment. Hope alls well.. xo*

  21. Oh sweetie! Bless your heart! I remember how my similar realization went down and the confusion and angst that went along with it.
    Anxiously awaiting the rest of your story. Depression is something that is hard for people to talk about, but you would be surprised at how common it is out there.

  22. Pingback: T13: Because None of These Thoughts are Big Enough for a Real Post «

  23. Being a new mother is one of the most exhausting, hardest jobs. If people would have told me that it would be harder than ANY job I’d ever done, I wouldn’t have believed it. After that, I finally understood what “post-partum depression” was all about!

    Expat 21
    Expat Abroad (American living in the Middle East)

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