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.
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.
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.
“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.
PeaceLove 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!).
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.)