This is a very difficult topic to discuss, and even a year after coming out of my mental fog, I still don’t know the person I was for the first 10 months of R2’s life.
Since R2 was days old, I had guilt over my son’s birth day. As someone who has a December birthday I understood how much of your special day is overlooked by the holiday season. I felt guilt that his first Christmas was spent on a BiliBed for jaundice. I felt guilt that, since he was a few weeks early, that I didn’t anticipate celebrating my son’s first Christmas a matter hours after his birth. I felt guilt that he was born late preterm. I felt guilt that I ended up needing some interventions, things that I had worked so hard to avoid. I felt guilty because I didn’t feel the bonding I was told I would. It didn’t take long for those feelings of guilt to grow into darker thought.
I had a great postpartum support system. My mother took a week off, and my husband took three. They were able to give me time for myself to heal physically. The first day by myself my son cried for hours, I had no idea how to sooth him. The endless crying went on for months. The dark voices in my head were telling me that the reason he was always upset was because he could sense my negative feelings toward him. I kept wondering when this kid’s mom would show up. The only reason I didn’t just leave him on the side of the road, was because he was exclusively breastfed, and I was worried he would starve to death. I was feeling more and more lost.
By the time my son was 6 weeks old, I was having visions on how to kill myself. I could see the crimson lines across my skin, wishing for the strength to follow through. It was at this point that I sought help. A group of mothers had just started a postpartum support group. These women had all been through different degrees of birth trauma, postpartum depression, and birth PTSD. The group met every other Friday and quickly grew to be some of my best friends, and something I relied upon.
I would go through times of almost feeling like myself, just to turn around the next day and feel twice as bad. This went on for 10 months, until I had a final breaking point. I wanted so badly to throw my son down the stairs that I called a neighbor at 10 pm to come get him. My husband took me on a drive and I vented everything going on. The endless venting, along with prayer, helped me turn around that night. By the next day the fog was still present, but I had a heading. Like a ship being tossed on the waves, with no compass or stars to guide by, I weathered the storm, and as the fog began to lift, I was able to find my north star and begin to return to who I knew I was.
My healing took lots of time. I still have guilt over some of the things that happened, like stealing my son’s first Christmas, but I have found ways to reconcile many of them. We treated my son’s second Christmas as his first. I know that he had come when he needed too, and how he needed too. I actively work to inform women of the help that is readily available, and bring the two together. Since I know if I hadn’t had help from those same sources myself, my son, or both would not be here. I let mother’s know they are not alone. I have held other peoples babies while they cried that they too didn’t want their child. I help raise awareness for birth trauma, postpartum depression, and birth PTSD. I am going to school to eventually get a PhD in Psychology to help postpartum women. The stars shine brighter now, and I know there are others still lost in the storm. So I work to help others see through the fog, and find their stars. Today I had an epiphany “I have healed from the past, by helping the future.” This is my newest mantra.
If anything here sounds familiar I implore you to get help. If you don’t know where to turn DM me on twitter, PM me on Facebook, or use the contact us form, here on my site, and I will help you locate the help you need. You are wonderful, and powerful, and deserve healing. Don’t feel bad if you need medication, it exists to help. Don’t feel bad if you need counseling, it can help. Don’t feel bad that you feel bad, it will pass. Even though I have never met you, know that I love you and you are special.