This One is a Girl

As a general rule, I don’t discuss a woman’s pregnancy status with a stranger… that is, unless she’s about-to-pop, dropped-to-the-knees, 9 months pregnant and wearing a shirt that says “Baby” with an arrow pointing to her belly. I thought this was the common consensus of “normal” people. Obviously, I’m giving too many people credit for being normal.

We’ve had a soccer tournament for the 9-year-old this weekend. After losing our game this morning we went out for lunch and a bit of day drinking with our son’s teammates and their families. I love day drinking on a holiday weekend. Something about it screams “I’m still young” while twirling like Maria in The Sound of Music. It was lovely.

We are having a huge barbecue tomorrow with lots of family and friends invited. Which means I had to do some serious shopping at Costco. Hubby and I don’t usually shop together but since we were right next door to our local Costco, the whole crew went shopping. So there’s the 5 of us… 2 carts, and a whole lotta crazy. I’m pushing the sleeping baby while hubby is pushing the 3-year-old (and he’s muttering something about fruit smoothies and butterflies.) Yeah, don’t ask. I find I’m a lot happier when I don’t ask.  We find all the items on our list and hit up the checkout line.

If you’ve ever been to a big-box-store, especially on a holiday weekend the checkout line is the fucking worst. Especially with kids, especially with 2 carts, especially after a touch of day drinking. It almost makes you want to throw up your hands, say “Fuck this” and leave. But we had to put on our adult panties and complete the task. Sometimes being an adult is lame.

As we’re waiting in the line the older woman behind us starts talking to us…

“Well what a lovely family!”

{Yeah, thanks lady… I’m thrilled we meet your standards…}

Oh, thank you.

“And are they all boys? My word!”

{That’s not the word that I’d use}

“Oh but I’m sure… THIS ONE (pointing at my belly) is a girl!”

{OMG!! Is this lady fucking serious? I have a 3 MONTH OLD BABY in an infant seat right in front of me, I know I’m not “thin” or “in shape” but for Christ sakes I’m not pregnant}

No, THIS ONE (pointing at my post-pregnant pouch) is just fat. I’m done having babies.

The only cool thing about being mistaken for pregnant is the look on the idiots face when you set them straight.

If you need me I’ll be planking next to a glass of wine in the kitchen.

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Suppertime Confessions of The Babywearer

It’s another night and I’m wearing the baby.

I’m not complaining. Wait, am I complaining?

I really shouldn’t be. I loved “wearing” him for 9 glorious months. It was awesome actually. If every time I strapped this child to my chest I was given a dose of my pregnancy hormones, I’d be just fine. But this isn’t a sci-fi movie. That would be a cool premise though… gotta remember to come back to that.

What pisses me off about this whole “wearing the baby” thing, is that it’s my husbands fault.

NO…. not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Okay, put it back in the gutter, have a dirty thought for me, and now, come back to reality.

It’s my husband’s fault because the baby likes to sleep on his chest. And my hubby, CAN SLEEP ANYWHERE!!! THROUGH ANYTHING!  It’s a gift, and I’m totally jealous.

So, the big boys are at soccer practice with Daddy and I’m wearing a baby. The baby. My baby.  At least I finished making the rigatoni first. It’s super hard to cook while wearing a baby.

Don’t Call It The Baby Blues

I know I’m not alone in this. I know the statistics, I have lots of Mommy friends who’ve experienced the same thing and I’m sure that you, sitting there reading at home, will be nodding your head in agreement at some point of this post.

Yet, even with that knowledge, this topic is still hard to talk about.  It feels wrong and shameful and selfish in so many ways. And that is what is so fucked up about it. The taboo. The unknown X-factor that is super scary. The knowledge that it can go from manageable to a mental shit show in the blink of an eye.  Postpartum depression is real, it really happens and I am still completely terrified by it.

I’ve heard people refer to postpartum as “the baby blues”. Nothing pisses me off more. It sounds so trivial, so minimized. Like it could even be the name of a chord progression in a song. I realize that some people are too stupid to understand medical terminology…. so “the baby blues” sounds perfectly fine to them. But I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman, who’s fought with the demon that is postpartum, refer to it that way.

My youngest son is almost 3 months old. So it seems to me that I have dodged the bullet this time around. Which is probably the only reason I’m even venturing into writing about it. Because otherwise I’d be in the bathroom crying right now.

Here’s a disclaimer that I feel I need to point out. I am not a parenting or mental health authority, by any means. I’m just a gal with a computer, a big mouth, too many kids and a shit-load of thoughts running through her head.  If you need help, ask for it. Call a doctor, or a friend, hell, you can even send me a message, I’ll point you in the right direction.

After my first son was born I was a fucking wreck. I’d never stayed at home before, I’d always held a job. A job where I was able to use my brain on a daily basis, and interact with other adults. Now, I’d given birth and became a stay-at-home housewife overnight. Rote behavior was my new best friend. Wash laundry, fold laundry put away laundry. I imagined this is what postal workers must feel like… and knew the madness behind the repetition. I was so ashamed this was happening to me. People kept asking if I was alright and I kept lying through my teeth. Completely sure it was all my fault with a smile on my face and a lie in my eyes. And my son, this beautiful, perfect child whom I felt I didn’t deserve. I couldn’t stop staring at him, convinced that my husband was the only reason I had been so fortunate. Looking back I can’t believe the tricks my brain played on me. I ended up self-medicating, trying to get that inner voice to shut the hell up. It was awful, and it got really ugly before it got better. Embarrassing ugly. I’m not proud of my behavior. I alienated friends and family. Although I never endangered my son, I endangered myself. If it wasn’t for my husband’s determination, things would have been very different. I owe him my life.

When I got pregnant the second time I was petrified. I had a glorious pregnancy and vowed to myself I wouldn’t let my brain get the best of me. But that isn’t how postpartum works, unfortunately. You can’t will yourself into good mental health. There is no recipe for what causes it. Sometimes it just is. And after number 2 was born, I found myself falling down the rabbit hole again. Scared shitless that I was powerless.

This time around I consulted my Doctor. I wasn’t embarrassed like I’d been the first time around but I was worried. Really worried. I couldn’t go back to the person I was before, I wouldn’t. My Doctor put me on an antidepressant and it did help. But the thing about antidepressants is that while you don’t feel sad, you don’t really feel… anything. I’m a pretty passionate person, so this was a real shock. No ups, no downs, not to mention no orgasms. You’re just… kinda numb.

But the antidepressants were a very good call. After about 6 months my Doctor and I weaned myself off and my hormones had regulated themselves back to normal levels. I felt really good. Great even. But the time on the medication had helped me to put on some weight that I had a very hard time taking off. Still, I would have done it again in a heartbeat.

You can just imagine my fear when we decided to have a third baby. Beyond fear…. real, true, fucking panic.

But here I am. Another awesome pregnancy under my belt (and thighs, and boobs). A beautiful baby boy smiling in my face and that postpartum monster is nowhere to be found. I have no idea why?

Believe me, I’m just too busy being thankful (and making lunches and washing dishes and folding laundry).

If you are lost in the sea of postpartum depression please know you aren’t alone. And you shouldn’t be ashamed.

And it will get better.