Sunday, September 13, 2009
My baby turned 4
Mallory is now 4. She has been waiting for months for her birthday. Everyday she has been asking, "Is today my birthday?" and this started maybe back in June. This second child and baby of our family is four years old. Wow. Yes, time is flying, and I wrote about that before.
I went back and looked at her baby pictures and looking at pictures of babies or especially seeing a baby in person, takes me back almost immediately to a dark place. It doesn't matter how cute they are. Babies give me an immediate anxiety, and then I work through it in my head and then pretend that I love babies the way you are supposed to. I have the exact opposite reaction of most people. I DO have post traumatic stress from my postpartum depression. I see babies, I think, crying, sleep deprivation, more and more crying and that's not the baby. That was a little joke there, he he he. I'm thinking one day I will get to the point that I can joke about the experience but it so profoundly affected my life and how I parented in the beginning that it's still not funny and I still haven't worked my way through it.
I also have to accept that it was SEVEN years ago...my personality was maybe not that off from what it would have been had I not been in that dark, lonely, isolated pit of despair and maybe it didn't affect me as much as I thought it did. Or maybe I just have to let it go and move on. I bet that is what you are hoping for. I want to as well but these feelings are still here. It was traumatic I think especially in conjuction with the long struggle to get pregnant. I realized in looking back and talking to the social worker that I had the anxiety before I actually gave birth, and that is not uncommon either from what I learned.
Carrie Fisher wrote in her latest autobiography about coping with mental illness. She said something to the tune that people that have mental illness need to be patted on the back instead of shamed. Do you know how much harder one has to work to survive on a daily basis with mental illness than a person who does not??? But instead the person can't talk about it at all because it's taboo, and shameful. You can't be proud of it. I asked my therapist why I want to talk about it in public, and get applauded for what I made it through. She thought perhaps it's our western society, which wants to be recognized for everything we do. The superbowl champions, Olympians, the Oscars, the MTV VMA awards, all major recognition for their accomplishments. Kanye can't accept that someone else wins an award. I want a pat on the back for surviving PPD. Kanye and I need to get over it and move on.
But I digress, we had a fabulous time celebrating my beautiful wonderful baby daughter's birthday. Yet, she's not a baby anymore. The flashbacks can cease. She is a thriving, smart, active, funny breath of fresh air. I'm grateful for her and her sister however we got here. Happy 4th Birthday Mallory!!