This is about me.

I start school on Thursday. Well, school is a stretch. It’s really 6, 6 hour long workshops that take place every other Thursday until December.

I’m starting to feel really excited, less anxious about it. I’m finally doing something for myself and I think this is going to be the best thing for me.

I haven’t been doing that great lately. Emotionally, mentally, physically even. And after much consulting with friends and therapists, and a change in my meds with my doctor, I finally feel like I’m, slowly, becoming myself again. I’ve been feeling like I felt felt in those first few weeks after Max was born. Hopeless, depressed, and that feeling of feeling like a stranger in your own home, sobbing all day in front of your child. All big fat red flags that told me I needed help. So I got it.

I think the biggest thing that’s going to help me though? This class. What this class is going to lead me to, a fulfilling job. I need to be doing something fulfilling, something that makes me feel good and worthwhile. Now, this is not to say that being a mother isn’t great, and I don’t want to be doing it. But it’s not enough, or it’s too much. Does that make sense? Probably not. It’s too much being Erin the Mom and not enough being just Erin.

I know it probably sounds like I’m an ungrateful mother, but I’m not at all. I love my kid so damn much, my heart actually aches, and my eyes are welling up as I type this because I feel like I couldn’t love anything as much as I do him. But in the last 18 months I’ve lost myself. I’m Erin the Mom. Max’s Mom. I have sacrificed everything for Max and to be a stay at home mom but it just isn’t working anymore. So I’m changing that. I’m taking my life back, for me. I’m doing something that makes me happy, that makes me feel fulfilled.

The irony of all of this is the job I will be doing is essentially playing mom to someone else. A postpartum doula is someone who cares for mother and baby in those first few weeks after birth. Basically I will be mothering the new mother, caring for her baby, and educating the family on baby care, breastfeeding, and providing emotional support for mom. You can read more about postpartum doulas here. This job means a lot to me and I finally feel like I’ve found my place. Photography was always my passion and I always thought that’s what I’d end up doing. It was for a while and I still do it for fun. But this makes me feel like I have a purpose (besides being a mother and wife). I know I’m going to be great at this, and I’ve never felt like that before, even about photography.

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Ditching the Zoloft for real feelings.

I’m almost done weaning myself off of Zoloft and in the process of doing so I’m rediscovering old feelings that haven’t been dealt with.  Mainly  surrounding those first few months after Max was born, among many other things.

I went on Zoloft, and Ativan as needed, just shy of two weeks after Max was born for postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.  I had made the decision later on to go off of it after Max had weaned from breastfeeding, because I was afraid with all the hormonal changes I would be going through, that the PPD/PPA would come back.  The last 5 months or so of taking it I’ve really felt the side effects: memory loss, loss of sexual desire, and the inability to really feel any emotion.  All of which made me all the more eager to get this shit out of my system.

When I started it, I needed it to get through each day.  I felt alone, scared that something was going to happen to the baby while it was just me and him home alone.  I wouldn’t let myself sleep during the day when he slept because I was so afraid something would happen to him.  I couldn’t eat because I was literally sick with worry and sadness over how he was born.  Nothing felt right.  My own house didn’t feel like home.  I was so uncomfortable being there.  I felt better being in the hospital and I remember thinking over and over how badly I wished we were still in the hospital.

I remember getting up in the mornings and making myself open the curtains to let the sun shine in, and making oatmeal that would sit on the coffee table for most of the day without being touched.  What I don’t remember?  Snuggling with my new baby, memorizing every little inch of his tiny body, actually enjoying my new life, because it never happened.  I was more depressed than I had been since the infamous high school days.  I didn’t want to be doing what I was doing.  I thought I had just made the biggest mistake of my entire life.  I never had thoughts of killing or hurting myself or the baby, but I had thoughts of running away, or “returning the baby” (whatever that meant).  I kept thinking about how great life was just two weeks prior when I was still pregnant, and can’t we just go back to that time and have a redo?

Big, bad, dark thoughts.  That’s all I had.

A week after Max was born I finally got the courage to call Katrina, who had moved to Texas for grad school just weeks after finding out I was pregnant.  I hadn’t spoken to her about his birth yet.  I hadn’t even called my best friend.  I couldn’t call her, it just hurt too much to admit it all.  It was so fucking hard to tell her about it.  It hurts still to even remember making that phone call.  At that point I knew something was very, very wrong.

It shouldn’t have been like that.  I kept thinking It’s not supposed to be like this.  This isn’t fair.  And it wasn’t fair, and fuck no it shouldn’t have been like that.  But it was and I can’t change it.  What I can change is how I feel about it now.  And I certainly do feel differently.

I have been so moved by my own experience that I’m thinking of getting into the birth education field or becoming a postpartum doula.  It’s taken me a long time to realize that this is what I want to do, and I’ve never felt like this before.  I want to help women realize the power of their own bodies and know their rights in giving birth in a hospital, birthing center or even at home.  I want to be the one telling the new mom that it’s ok for her to feel the way she does and it’s ok to ask for help and be there for her when she needs comforting in those early days of new motherhood.  I’ve been there and now I’m on the other side.  I’m not saying I know everything, because there’s no such thing as knowing everything in the game of parenting.  I’m saying I want to take what I know and put it to good use.  Now I just need to get the courage to actually go to the school I’m looking into, and enroll.

I’m absolutely terrified of, and incredibly excited about all the changes happening in my life, but mostly terrified.

(This photo is completely irrelevant to this post, but I wanted to share it.)