Monday, October 13, 2014

Postpartum Depression, Goats, Formula and Walter White


That may be one of the most bizarre titles I've come up with in all the time I've spent writing.

It will make sense in a minute, I promise. Well, maybe. It might not make sense, but I'll try to explain.

Four weeks ago, my son entered the world in a bright, sterile operating room in the middle of the night.

I've written a few status updates on the great book of face about how odd the whole process was, the pieces I was as prepared for as I could have been, the things I wish I had known, the things I'm glad no one told me.

Like the fact that you can feel everything, even though it isn't per se a painful sensation. They say things like "you might feel some pressure", which is amusing considering what is actually happening. Perhaps there should be a little more of a focus on, they should say, "you're going to feel like there are six people pulling every part of your body in different directions, like you're being punched in the gut over and over again, then there is going to be this overwhelmingly strange sensation of emptiness".

"Oh, and you can't get the sound of the suction devices out of your head."

"Oh, and your incision isn't going to be symmetrical and that's so totally going to make you insane in a few weeks."

So, there's that.

Seriously, birth trauma is a thing. Even if you know that you've having a c-section. Even then.

With my personal history of postpartum depression, having a c-section really wasn't the greatest outcome I could have hoped for. The circumstances set me up for all kinds of problems, and I'm doing the best I can to work through them. I am taking my placenta capsules obediently, and as much as I wish I could tell you that they are helping, I have no idea. I'm guessing that they are because I could be in so much of a worse place right now, even without the whole birth trauma shit.

So maybe they are helping.

The baby is good. He doesn't cry much, really only when he is hungry. He has fussy periods occasionally where nothing in the world will make him happy, but so do I.

He comes by it honestly.

And he's in goat phase. If you've had a newborn, you probably know what I am talking about. It's that period of time when they don't really cry so much as sound like a baby goat.


Like that.

He'll be a month old in a couple days, which doesn't even seem possible. I'm hoping that he'll be way past his birth weight at his next appointment, which he should be. He's growing, he seems bigger. At his last appointment, he hadn't gained as much as he was "supposed" to, but he's also early. I've had early babies. I've had slow gainers at first. I'm trying really, really, really hard not to obsess about it because I am totally the person who can get sucked into that. The freaking out about how many ounces are going in and out. The worrying about pumping and giving bottles and freaking out about supplementing and hating the fact that there are freaking samples from the formula companies in the house.

(and OHMYGOD I hate formula companies for this exact reason because I swear to god that they undermine the confidence of nursing mothers this way and I know better than this but in the middle of postpartum mood swings and emotions and exhaustion, you can't freaking see straight and the canister is right there in the cabinet...I should just donate them to get them out of the house for serious.) 

The only thing that kept me sane when The Oldest was a baby was a breastfeeding support group where I could weigh him before and after feeding him to make sure he was getting "enough". Which he was. And I was just freaked out.

I know that this baby is fine, I do. My experience as a mother tells me that, and it's trying to overrule the anxiety in my brain that tells me to weigh him constantly and let the fear that he's malnourished win even when I know that he's not.

I know he's fine.


I just need to trust the part of myself that knows that and not let the anxiety win...because once it starts to take over, I will have a hell of a time stopping it.

So I push it away.

Plus, the whole doubting of self thing = fucking with your milk supply = making less milk = hungry baby = not gaining enough = lecture from doctor = pushing more formula except now you might need it.


I really need to toss those samples. Drop them off somewhere.

Chugs water, takes more fenugreek, finds zen.

That zen thing?

Part of that has been helped along by distraction. Thank you, Netflix.

I watched Breaking Bad. All of it. The whole series.

Don't do the math and tell me how many hours of my life I just wasted watching this show. I don't even care right now. It's keeping me sane.

Yes, a show about a guy dying of cancer who becomes a meth manufacturer and consequently ruins his entire life is helping to keep me sane.

I've never claimed to be normal.

The thing about Walt...I get him. I understand him. Like WAY more than most people probably do.

I've had to do things, I've had to make choices, I've had to sacrifice things, I've had my morality challenged, I've been held up to the fire more than once and tested the way he was. I get it.

I know his motivation. I understand it. I have lived it.

I mean, I'm not cooking meth or anything....honest....but I get it.

Oh, do I get it.

I got through the entire series and felt lost for a few days. I'm still processing Walt and Jesse and Skyler and Mike and the fates they all met.

I was talking to a friend about it, how I couldn't watch the show for the longest time. Because of the lung cancer. Because of Walt's resemblance to my Dad at times. Because of the drugs. Because of the questionable moral code. Because of the jacked up marriage.

I gave myself tons of reasons not to watch the show for a long time, for the entire duration of it really. I wouldn't let myself watch it and made up all kinds of justifications.

Until now. I'm just in a different place now. I relate to Walt now, not because I'm necessarily any different than I used to be...but because I see it now.

We're all imperfect people who make bad choices. We all hurt other people whether we ever intend for that or not. We all do what we do for our own set of reasons...which is the real point of the show. The show isn't about meth, just like The Walking Dead isn't about zombies.

The show makes you ask yourself the hard questions in life. What's your motivation? What would you do for your family? How much is enough? What really matters?

Deep thoughts from the postpartum couch.



  1. Good thoughts. I'm proud of your swimming medium-if you know what I mean. *high five*

  2. Lots of love to you, lady. <3


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