Saturday, June 05, 2010

Letting Go.

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Ok, so I'm going to talk more about 'it'. The big, pink, elephant that sits in the middle of the room that I have to walk around everyday. The elephant that I'm usually able to cover up and ignore and for the most part not know is there. But then sometimes, the cover slips off and whoops! there he is! Stinker. Thought I was done with you. Thought I got rid of you. Thought you were gone. Now here you are. What am I supposed to do with you!? Stupid elephant.
It's all the PPD crap. I don't suppose I talk about this a whole lot. I don't feel like I can. I mean, Rhys is almost 2 years old and Nadia is almost 5, I should be over this by now. I should be 'healed' and moved on. But for whatever reason I'm not. And it's hurting today, so here I am. And if you don't want to read about it, then don't, but I need to vent. And maybe, somewhere out there some woman needs to hear this. Maybe not, but this is therapy, kay?
Everyday that my son and daughter show signs of growing (which happens to be everyday lately!) I am reminded that my time in the 'baby-zone' is quickly coming to an end. Nadia is almost ready to start school. Rhys is talking more and more and initiating conversation more. He's starting to 'go' in the potty, not regularly, mind you, but still. He's using a fork and spoon and starting to nurse not as long. He's slowly becoming a big boy. Which is good, but it's also sad. I am grateful I had Rhys' baby-hood to enjoy. I am sad that I can't remember much of Nadia's.
I am so scared I messed that girl up. I was paranoid most of the time with her. I would try to force her to nurse more because I thought that if she ate more, she'd sleep better. And if her sleep was messed up, I was messed up. I could not stand to hear her cry before she 'should've'. Whatever. I now know that babies don't read the books. They don't know they are supposed to sleep such and such times. Poor girl. I read Baby-Wise. And if I ever meet the man who wrote that, I think I'll loose it. Maybe I'd just better steer clear of him.
I really do believe that the sad patterns I formed with Nadia when I was so sick with PPD have made our relationship what it is today. And behaviors in relationships are habits. It's hard to get out of them once they are established. It's easier to let a boulder roll then it is to stop it. My grief now is that all of Nadia's life has been a battle for her. I hate that. And it's not her! It's me. It was me in the beginning and it's me perpetuating those patterns. Here's what it is, before you go thinking I'm an awful parent. I did not feel a connection with Nadia at all when she was born, not the day she was born, not 3 months later, not even at 1 year. I struggled to feel those gooshy, lovey, affectionate feelings for her. And to this day, when I do feel those, they are so few and far between, that I consider them a blessing. Rhys is different, everyday I feel it for him. But I have to choose to love Nadia. I have to choose to spend time with her. I have to choose to be nice and kind to her. Grace is not a given in our relationship. This is everyday. I hate it. It is exhausting. Don't get me wrong, I do love her, I know that. I know I love her, because I want to love her, I want to care for her, I want her to grow up feeling loved. If I didn't love her I wouldn't care what she felt. But I do. And I worry that she doesn't feel loved. I work everyday on that. But I have a sneaky suspicion that it all started back when she was born and the PPD hit. Because I started to have the same feelings after Rhys was born and the PPD started in, but when I started the meds those negative feelings changed towards him.
I see myself getting farther and farther away from baby-hood and it saddens me. I can see myself wanting another baby and forgetting just how bad it was with Rhys. I know people say I could go on meds at the end of the pregnancy and be fine. Sure, I guess. But do they really know what those drugs do to babies? Short-term? What about in the long run? They don't. And what if this time the drugs aren't enough? Sure they helped this time, but it gets worse each time. What if next time I go off? I loose it? What then? Sometimes it hurts that I've made a decision because of a sickness to be done, not because I feel done. Am I really done because our family is complete? Or because this sinister demon is looming in the background everytime? I don't know. I can't really say because PPD is a big factor. I will never really know what it's like to be a normal post-pardum mother. Baby blues would be nice. I think I could handle that. This junk that I dealt with is nasty. It's craptacular as a boss of mine used to say.
I'm not saying I want more babies, I guess this is just part of the process. And you know what really irritates me? That other people are trying to get me to have more. They won't suffice with a simple, no we're done. It's like I have to lay it all out there, all the gory details, then they let me alone. But it's not their fault, they don't know, mostly because I've only told a few people close to me. So I don't blame them. But unless you've been there, you'll never understand what it's like. PPD is nasty. This helps to let go.


Kim said...

I completely understand the feeling of not being abe to choose - we thought this past time that we wouldn't be able to have more because of the severity of my varicose veins, and I HATED that my body was choosing for me instead of my heart. Thankfully, I found an amazing homeopathic that worked wonders and now the decision is back with us, but those months? Awful. I understand how that feels, Kathryn!

BabyWise is potentially the *most* damaging baby "care" book known to man. There is *nothing* biblical in treating people like that and I wish it was illegal to sell that misleading crap! Did you know that babies have been admitted for Failure To Thrive b/c their parents were following that book? So sad. I wish I could punch him in the face. I mean ... ummm ...

Kathryn, you're n amazing woman. You will figure it out with Nadia. Have you considered counseling with her and you? Perhaps with an attachment counselor in your area? I think the sooner you guys sort these feelings out, the better she will feel in the long-run.

Shannon said...

Oh Kathryn, I'm so sorry you're going through this. I have so much I want to say, but I'll try to keep it short.

First of all, those lovey dovey, sentimental feelings aren't necessary for you to know you love your daughter. Not everybody has them, and most people don't feel that way all the time. I'll share a link with you when I can find it.

I think you need to find a way to forgive yourself. Maybe even Nadia. I know I have some bitterness towards my kids at times because my life has changed so much since they were born. I've had a lot of forgiveness to work on. I think if you can forgive yourself, you'll find some healing in your relationship with Nadia.

I have very few memories of Ellie's and AK's babyhood. Someone showed me a pic of AK last night, supposedly when she was 1-2 months old, and I had no memory of her ever being that young. I didn't even recognize her until they told me it was her. I've actually been asking God to give me some of those memories back. I want to remember them being that little, but it was such a dark, hard time that I've blocked most of it out. I honestly don't have many memories of Ellie until she was 3!

I love you, my friend, and so much of this resonates with me. Don't be embarrassed that you're still dealing with this. Your honesty will help you heal.

myka said...

Kathryn, I just wanted to share something that I've recently been talking with God about. I recently found out that my youngest has a chronic condition that she probably has had her entire short life. When she was young, she had some medical problems which I always thought were caused by something, but the doctors made some assumptions about our family and our parenting skills. They would not listen to my experience and my concerns.

This condition that she has could be the 'answer' that I was looking for many years ago -- it could have caused her symptoms when she was younger.

I've been pondering "what if..." in my mind -- "what if I had pressed more, insisted... what if they had actually listened to me... did she suffer pain because we didn't catch it earlier?" But the reality is that God was and is in control and sovereign over her. No matter what I 'could have' done, He was ultimately in control over everything in her life. I had no control over our family situation, just as you had no control over your illness.

We can't change the past or worry about the future. We can only do what we can right here and right now -- and trust.

Jeanie said...


You are such a generous soul to share so much from your heart. You are a blessing to so many.

I was wondering if you have thought of physically tangible ways for Lydia to KNOW that you love her (for both her sake and yours)....stuff like little hearts with your names in them, little drawings or notes -- something age-appropriate but physical for her to have and look at.

Maybe a silly idea but I was just thinking of you loving her so much and your doubts and maybe there could be other ways, too, to add into what you are already doing.

You are a great mother to BOTH of your kids. Sickness is sickness, dear. Sometimes the body and mind is unkind.

God bless you as your parent those beautiful children of yours.