Friday, June 11, 2010

Playing The PPD Card & Manning Up

So I've been doing my routine blog reading lately and have come across some posts regarding the legitimacy of PPD. I am saddened that Allison over at O My Family had to write a follow up blog entry to her post on being blindsided by motherhood.  It seems that some people assume that you cry that you have PPD when in reality you just can't handle being a mother.  You know, because it wasn't what you expected it to be. 

Look, if you don't have it, then no, you don't and can't understand.  And why does it have to be so blanketed?  Everyone has to fit a certain definition of symptoms to qualify and if you don't fit those exactly then you are a whiny attention whore who can't cope with having a child and should never have another one.  PPD is different for every single person that suffers from it.  Just like depression, anxiety, OCD and any other mental disorder is different to those it affects.  We are all different and so are our symptoms.

For example...I do not want to harm myself.  I don't want to push my car into a lake with my babies inside.  I don't fantasize about the ways to make it all go away.  I do not wish I never had children.  I do not wish I could disappear.  I don't dread spending time with my children.  Other women do.

I guess I fall into several of the PPD/PPA/PPOCD categories.  I am obsessive over my children.  Hypervigilant.  I constantly check on them at nap & bed time to make sure they are breathing.  I haven't been out with my husband alone since before my son was born.  I can't leave the house alone without calling home 95021387 times to make sure they are alright and I'm absolutely miserable when I have to be.  I sleep with a light on because for some reason my brain thinks it will prevent anything bad from happening to my children while they sleep.  Like a lamp is the cure-all prevention for SIDS.  I am constantly checking my rearview mirror...when my children aren't in the car with me.  I am constantly second guessing my husband when he tells me the kids are OK.

"Are you sure?  Did you see her breathing?  Did you look or are you just saying you did?"

Yeah...imagine how helpful that kind of behavior is on our marriage...hmm?

And what pisses me off more than anything are those people who think we are "Playing the PPD Card" in order to get attention.  As if 'our' depression/anxiety/OCD is worse than those people who deal with it outside of postpartum-ness.  Are you serious?  All mental disorders suck...whether you have children or not.  I never once thought..."Gee, it might be cool to have a mental disorder and get labeled by people I thought were my friends as being a nutcase.  And it would be totally awesome to have to take medication since I can barely remember to take my thyroid medication and how I'd rather suffer than take something for a headache because I hate taking pills so much.  This will be so sweet!"

Do you think I like sobbing uncontrollably at my screaming baby and just staring at her rather than being  a mother who can 'push through it' and soothe her and do what I can to comfort her?  I know every mother has those moments where you just need to walk away.  When you find yourself crumpled on the floor and crying because it is all so overwhelming.  But for those of us who can't push through isn't because we don't want to, it's because we can't.  No matter how hard we try we just can't stop ourselves.  It becomes something more than being an inexperienced mother who hasn't fine tuned her ability to deal with screaming babies. It becomes more than a woman who is labeled as selfish and told she shouldn't have any more children because she viewed them as a material object and thought they would be nothing but snuggles, hugs and rainbows.  When you become afraid that your irritability becomes so irrational that you might accidentally hurt your baby by trying to comfort her a little 'too' much or be a little 'too' aggressive with the rocking and jiggling.  When you find yourself screaming at her at the top of your lungs to SHUT UP because you cannot control yourself.  The feelings of overwhelming guilt, worthlessness and inferiority.  Knowing what a failure and how horrible of a mother you are because you can't be effing Donna Reed.

This goes way beyond motherhood not being what you expected.  I am not naive.  It is the hardest job in the world.  I have seen firsthand what my cousin, who lives 15 minutes away and who is more like my sister has gone through with her 3 (now 4) children.  No, it's not a walk in the park and I was never entrapped in some delusion that babies were easy.  Chubby little angels who coo and smile and always smell of Johnson's Baby Shampoo and never cry.  Please....for the love of God, give me some credit. 

I adore my children.  I wouldn't give up one day I've had with them.  There is no where else I would rather be than with my babies.  I have never wished I could go back pre-children.  I desperately wanted my babies and tried for years to get them.  I am grateful, blessed and undeniably fortunate to have them in my life.  I thank God that they are healthy and I pray that they continue to be.

Motherhood is the hardest job you will ever love...and I do love it.  I love being a mother.  I just don't love being irrational, irritable, paranoid and depressed.  So, I 'manned up' and got help for it.  I went to the doctor because I knew that as a mother I 'shouldn't' feel like I do.  I 'manned up' for the sake of my children and my relationship with them.  I want them to know me as a loving, supportive, comforting mother that would give her life for them, who would do anything for them, who would rather spend time with them, than do anything else in the world and who praises God everyday that she has them.

So I sought out help, I got medication and I am on my way to being the mother I want to be.  The mother my children deserve.  THAT what you call "MANNING UP."


  1. You have a wonderful family, you know? And I can say that you are a great mom and a great partner to your hubby. Let in all things, God may be glorified.

  2. Good for you!!! This is a BEAUTIFUL post! Thank you so much for sharing. I had a similar PPD/PPA experience, where it wasn't the extreme that many refer to as PPD, but all the same it was totally there. {Hugs} to you and continued strength as we all support one another through this incredible journey!

  3. Great post! I just "manned up" myself, and saw my doctor to get medication for PPD. My littlest one is 12 weeks old, and I should have gotten help weeks ago. I also have a 2 year old with special needs (heart defect, immune disorder, severe speech delay), and my 14 year old stepdaughter just moved in with us.

    It's actually reading blog posts like yours and connecting with other moms through Twitter that gave me the push I need to seek help. Thanks for telling it like it is! You have a new follower! :)


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