I’ve been doing some reading this morning on postpartum depression vs. “Baby Blues” and it seems to me that no one does a good enough job of finding the middle ground.
Do I want to throw my children out the window?
Not literally, no.
Do I blame myself for things going wrong?
No, I blame the child who puked on me or the husband who didn’t respond to the question I asked 6 times. I blame the toddler who jumped on my freaking head while I was sleeping or the visitor who didn’t understand that an invitation from my mother-in-law to visit MY house doesn’t necessarily lead to a warm welcome.
Am I so unhappy that I have difficulty sleeping?
Not as much as the screaming hungry angry gassy baby makes it difficult to sleep.
Am I having difficulty keeping up with chores and responsibilities? Am I overwhelmed by the pileup?
Yes! I have TWO needy children. I can’t open the freaking dishwasher without SOMEONE screaming at me.
Am I able to look forward to enjoying things?
I mean, sort of. I was super psyched to watch the premiere of Riverdale last night but the baby cried every time I put her down, the toddler and the husband came home 20 minutes in and neither would shut the hell up for 5 seconds, then the toddler threw an epic fit when I asked him NOT to put stickers on my face and it took half an hour to calm him down. So… CAN I look forward to things? Yes. Do I GET TO enjoy them? NO! NO, clearly not!
Am I able to laugh and find the funny side of things?
Sure. Maniacally. I can laugh maniacally at how awful things seem to be right now.
Have I thought about harming myself?
Bitch, I’m fabulous. Hurt belongs on other people, not on me. Unwanted visitors, for example.
So, what? I’m fine? I just have a touch of the baby blues because I’m not suicidal? Because I’ll tell you what: I’m not ok. I’m irritable and short-tempered and impatient. I’m totally overwhelmed and weepy. I find myself getting WAY too invested in fictional entertainment as an escape and forget to do things like… brush my teeth or make lunch because I’d rather being reading this 101,000 word fanfic than living my own life.
But I’m fine. It’s fine. I’m not experiencing any anxiety, so there’s nothing really wrong. I’m so glad they make you wait 6 weeks for an insurance-covered postpartum checkup instead of freaking checking on you a couple of times in the first few weeks to make sure you haven’t burned your house down in a fit of cabin fever.
Honestly, I don’t think I have PPD. I have enough experience with non-baby related depression that I think I’d be able to recognize it if I did. But I’ll tell you what: there is nothing normal or mild about these “baby blues” and it’s about time those damn medical professionals who like to dismiss women’s suffering–baby-related or not–got their heads out of their asses and started helping.
Just because I’m not tearing out my own hair doesn’t mean everything’s fine. Maybe I just have really good self-control. Maybe I really respect my healthy follicles. I don’t know, maybe it’s Maybelline.