Living in the Light

Rich and I had a fight not long after Ethan was born. We had both been sick – him first and then me. I got really sick. And I got pink eye. Twice. And, as is the way with many breastfeeding moms, I was up at night while Rich slept. And, as is the way with many moms who are up in the night while their partners sleep, I was cranky about it because being up so much made it hard to get better. And that’s what caused the fight.

I won’t get into all the picky details, but it was about sleep – the too-little of it I was getting, and my perception that he wasn’t helping me out as much as he could have. And then he pointed out that when he was at home and I was working when Connor was little he never got a sick day either.

“You didn’t ask for help!” I countered.

“I did,” he replied, much more calmly than was probably warranted.

long shadow in the sunlightThe thing is, I have no recollection of that. I don’t recall him being sick and me going off to work leaving him to fend for himself (and the energetic two-year-old).

I don’t recall a lot of things from that time.

This is one of the things about postpartum depression that — in my experience, anyway — is so hard to deal with. It’s like living in a fog, except that fog leaves those weeks or months completely socked in so that there’s never a clear picture of them, even afterwards. My particular fog was built from my anger — my rage — as if spewed forth from a fog machine I couldn’t turn off.

But it’s not like I don’t remember anything from that timeframe. Just certain things. Often big things. It’s come up in conversation a few times, where someone will be recalling something, and every single time I’ll think, “I have absolutely no recollection of that.” It just doesn’t exist as a page in my memory book. Whether torn out or never properly recorded I don’t know. It’s just not there.

I’m not really sure the point of telling you this, except to say that this time is different.

Now, I know when I’m being a bitch. I know when I’m picking a fight (and sometimes I do it anyway). I know when I’m not doing what I need to do for myself.

It doesn’t always make it easier to do what I need to do, but at least this time I’m living in the light.

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Speaking of happy things, I’ve heard about three recently that are making the world a better place and I’d like to share them with you:

For the first time, there’s a product dedicated to helping fight postpartum depression. Jammies are the creation of Hélène Laure, a fashion designer whose clothing designs for women have been sold to such specialty stores as Henri Bendel, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. Helene wanted to create a new business that gives back, so she designed Jammies with the intention of helping to benefit moms with postpartum depression. For each Jammies Jar sold, Helene’s company, Two Mice, A Bear and A Bunny LLC, will donate 10% of the profit to Postpartum Progress, the national nonprofit that raises awareness of postpartum depression and promotes better support and services for pregnant and new mothers with mental illness.

150x150JammiesadThese onesies are so cute (perfect for gifts). Here’s the description:

“100% pure cotton onesies for boys and girls made from a soft and breezy light gauge cotton Jersey that are are uniquely packaged in a sweet little jam jar. The design is reminiscent of the all-American long john, with its henley tab closing and ribbed cuffs, and a flirty ruffle added to the girls’ style. Mr. Bear, Lily (the bunny) and Cinnamon & Ginger (the identical mouse twins) are the delightfully hand-drawn characters featured on Jammies onesies.”

You can see read more about them (and order them) on the Jammies page on Postpartum Progress.

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peacelove-teePeaceLove is working to combat the stigma against mental illness. One of the biggest ways they’re helping is through their giveback program: for each PeaceLove tee purchased, they give away a free expressive arts class to a child affected by mental illness. They just launched a tee campaign with the hopes of giving away 100 free expressive art classes (and they’re really close!).

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February 27 is Pink Shirt Day, an anti-bullying campaign supporting Boys and Girls Clubs/Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you’re in Calgary, you can get an official pink shirt at any London Drugs. (And if you’re not, wear a pink shirt anyway.)


 

Comments

  1. I’m sorry there are holes in what should have been a time in your life, that’s for the memory books, for better or worse. But I’m glad you have another opportunity to really be in these memories, and recall them further down the line. You’re in a good place, I’m so happy for you.

    Love that you’re highlighting the people who are making a difference – such great causes!

  2. It’s so true. The first few months of my second’s life is a blur. Thanks for sharing about those companies!

  3. I did not have PPD, but I have suffered from depression since I was a teenager, and it is very much like that. I would go days and weeks without remembering or participating in life at all. I can’t say that I’ve forgotten things from those periods, but I’m sure I have. I’m glad you are speaking out about this. It helps others to know that they are not alone.

    • It’s such a weird side effect, and one I didn’t anticipate at all. Kind of disconcerting, but I’m glad to know it’s not just me.

  4. I also had PPD … and have similar moments where I can’t remember whole swaths of time … but I also can’t remember much of 1996-2000 … except that’s Tequila’s fault.

  5. I’m sorry you have the gaps, but I’m glad you’re sharing about them here. (Also? I’m glad that sometimes you’re a bitch. I think recognizing that and acknowledging it makes it easier to get through hard spots.)

    Great causes by the way! Thanks for bring them to light. xoxo

  6. I am so glad you shared this and so glad for you that you are in a better place now.
    I have that, big chunks of time just gone from my postpartum depression surrounding my son’s birth. You have described perfectly here the way it feels to live in that fog and just miss those moments.
    I love your bravery to tell your story because it truly helps to know you are not alone. xo

  7. Gaps and holes in your memories can be so very frustrating.

    I’m so happy that you are finding this time to be different, and that you are in the light. That is a beautiful thing (even on a tough day).

  8. It’s those blurs and gaps that can be so painful. I’m sorry you have them, but I am glad you have another chance.

  9. Robin, I have those gaps in my memory as well. My husband brought home a picture of the girls. I do not remember that time or the girls looking that little. I am so glad that you have found the light. I am so grateful that I have found my light too. That fogginess in my mind and those lost moments are so sad.

  10. I tend to have gaps too, but I have always blamed them on wanting to be right :) Too little sleep makes anyone crabby and PPD or no, I’m guessing you got the brunt of the no sleep bit. See, I’m right, right?

  11. Love you and love this post. Because you’re accepting that you’re a bitch sometimes (gah, aren’t we all?), and taking responsibility for it without letting it define you. And because I know what a relief it is when things just suck in the “normal” way, y’know?