You’ll have to excuse me. I haven’t quite been myself for the last little while.
I’ve done things, said things, not done things, not said things–all amounting to a compilation of actions or non actions that are not part of my true character, things that do not reflect who I truly am. So, I’m sorry for the emails I never sent, the texts I didn’t respond to, the thank you notes I never wrote, the phone calls I never answered, the plans I blew off, the mean things I said, the hurtful way that I acted, and even the secret angry feelings that I had that no one knew about.
I think/hope it’s behind me now. The postpartum depression, that is. More than five months have passed since I gave birth, and I should be on the other side of it by now. At least it feels like I am.
At the times when I felt my most low, I wanted to write about it. I wanted to work through it with words and I wanted to share it but I never knew if it was really real. Mostly, I really and truly desperately wanted to look at the bright side, find the silver lining, but there were some days where I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t allow myself to feel the sunshine in my life. And some days I was much more successful than others–feeling good, looking good and setting all the bad feelings aside so that I could enjoy this extraordinary life of mine.
I didn’t talk to my doctor about it, no one confirmed it for me. I’m pretty sure, though, it was the good ole baby blues. The part after giving birth that no one tells you about because they simply can’t explain it to you in a way that will help you understand what you’re about to go through, should it happen to you. I wouldn’t typically recommend the “wait and see” approach when it comes to mental health matters. If you’re feeling sad, anxious and might be suffering from any sort of depression, talk to your doctor. She can help. But in this case I felt strongly that if I waited long enough, I could see it through.
It probably wasn’t that bad, looking at the bigger picture, and comparative to other women who suffer much much worse than I ever did, but it was very real, and I felt very, very inexplicably sad.
Martin would lovingly ask questions that I couldn’t really answer, and make suggestions that I really didn’t want to hear. I was just sad, and I was so sad that I just didn’t want to do anything about it other than move far away from everyone and everything. And the guilt–guilt for being sad when in my head I knew how fortunate I was to have such an amazing, loving and supportive husband, two of the most beautiful and hilarious children ever to grace the earth, an awesome job, and great friends, and food to eat, and a charming apartment in a city that I love. How could I possibly be sad when I have all those things and there are so many people that have so much less? But I WAS sad. Those feelings were real.
I turned to Google for advice, naturally. I then felt strongly that the people who had written these articles for the internet about what to do when you have postpartum never actually had postpartum depression, because I certainly did NOT want to
- Talk to someone
- Get exercise
- Eat healthy
I wanted to
- lay on the couch
- eat copious amounts of potato chips and chocolate bars, and drink gallons of Jones Cream Soda
- never see or talk to anyone I knew ever again, aside from the people that lived in my house
I felt so alone, and I was the least amount of physically alone that I’ve ever been for my entire life. And I wanted to shine, I wanted to be me, I wanted things to be normal but I just couldn’t bring myself to turn it all around. I did, however, keep telling myself that it won’t last, it’s only temporary, and that it isn’t me. And then it went away. Mostly.
The loneliness is still here. But motherhood, in general, has been rather lonely for me. It feels so strange to admit that. I feel like an outsider in the realm of motherhood, which is a feeling that is so foreign to me. Usually, I’m right in the middle of things–I’m the one making the plans, organizing, keeping shit together and getting the party going. This is a whole different playing field. I’m shy, and self conscious and feel like the other mums are judging me. Judging me because somehow they know that I let my kid eat food that’s fallen of the floor sometimes, that the amount of hair on my bathroom floor is disgusting, and that I put brown sugar on my daughter’s Shreddies and sometimes I let her pee in the park . I feel as though my attempts at forging friendships haven’t really been that well received. Maybe I’m simply not as congenial on the playground as I typically am in a bar after a few tequila sodas, But I’m working on it.
A lot of the loneliness probably stems from missing my friends, my crew. My life changed…our lives have changed. The scene changed, we’re doing different things. And I’m ok with that, but I miss it. And I think it’s ok to miss it. isn’t it? But missing it does makes me lonely.
I remember on a particularly sad day walking along Queen, by the park, listening to LCD Soundsystem’s All my Friends. I was walking along and people were smiling at me and my beautiful baby. I was wearing sunglasses and tears were streaming down my face. I don’t think anyone noticed I was crying. But James Murphy was blasting in my ear, singing “You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan and the next five years trying to get with your friends”. I couldn’t NOT cry. And later he sings, repeatedly, “If I could see all my friends tonight”. And honestly I thought, if I could see all my friends tonight! It would make me feel better. Because I miss them. And I’m thinking it again now! But now I’m excited, because I’m feeling better and I’m looking forward to seeing them all again. Yo dudes, what’s up? I miss you guys. Let’s hang. August 6th? Yeah!
So there it is. It’s out there. The last 5 months haven’t been the absolutely most best and amazing and shiny times in my life. I don’t write this because I want your sympathy, or your pity or because I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m writing because this is what I do. I write to remember it all. I want to remember that I felt bad for a little while after my little baby was born, it’s part of me and it will serve as a reminder to be additionally grateful on brighter days in the future. And now, I’ll pick up and return from this little detour and re-focus on living an extraordinary life. It’s time to polish it up–don’t just live, Peatts–SHINE!
The weeks and months leading up to my maternity leave were slightly stressful. Stressful only because the pressure I put on myself of course. I love working. I love working hard–I love accomplishing things and being good at what I do. I also enjoy being a part of a growing company and building a team and providing products and services I believe in. While it sounds like a cushy deal, taking a year off for maternity leave, for me, is a lot harder than it sounds.
Don’t be mistaken, I love my family, and I love being a mummy to Marigold and a wife to Martin, but it really doesn’t define me as a person. It’s not the be all, end all of me. Neither is my job. I am the sum of these things and many others–all of which make me who I am.
While my current job isn’t exactly my dream job, it’s still awesome and I like the company and love my boss and the people I work with. The hardest part is the timing, of course. Putting my career on hold when things are positioned for growth in a major way isn’t the ideal scenario I had imagined when I first found myself with child. I hadn’t expected that I would be getting a new boss, and that I would need to make a new and lasting impression on someone when I was tired, bloated and irritable. I didn’t think that I was about to miss out on something really rad for the next year. I hate to miss out on things–I love to be right in the action!
I’m sure tons of other women and men go through the same thing when they take their respective parental leaves. I truly am grateful for the opportunity to take the full 50 weeks to spend time focusing on my new baby and growing family.
The last time I went on mat leave, I was literally counting the minutes before I could walk out the door and not return for several months, even though I was still there late on my last day. This time I was really sad to go. I was having sleepless nights thinking about the many projects I had on the go just before clocking out for the next year, and as my last day crept closer, I had expected my stress level to spike, but it slowly dissipated. I was ready to go, and I know that I’m not in any real danger of being left behind at work. I’m confident that I’ll be able to return and pick up where I left off and just spend this year focusing on real life–and my family. What a treasure.
Almost three years ago now, I revived my blog because of this overwhelming need to write it all down. I needed to tell everyone how I had never loved as much as I loved right then. With hormones running rampant, I’m sure, I was plagued with so many feelings and emotions, but it was the love that overflowed.
When I first discovered I was pregnant with my second child, of course I was thrilled, but there were hesitations that I hadn’t expected. I was worried about how I could possibly have TWO children (people survive with many more, I know I’m ridiculous) and look after them successfully. I was worried about our finances, and the size of our apartment. I was worried how Marigold will adapt. But most of all I was worried that I couldn’t possibly have any more love to give to another child. I just loved my little Marigold so much that I didn’t think it possible to have the capacity to love a new addition to our little family.
Martin gently reminded me that love multiplies as a family grows–and we have a never ending supply! We have found love in places that we never even knew existed.
The hardest part has definitely been dealing with my feelings for Marigold. It’s weird, but I miss her. I still spend time with her everyday, but she’s no longer my one and only, and I feel bad that my attention is divided. This has been the greatest source of postpartum tears. She is the most amazing big sister in all of the land, and I’m so proud with how she is handling it all. She is a huge help with Baby Alice, and I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard her say “Don’t worry, Baby Alice. Big sister’s right here” in the last 10 days. And it melts my heart every time.
One night I went to lay in Marigold’s bed with her before she went to sleep because I just missed her so. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming, as they so often do these days. I talked it over with Marigold, and for a not yet three year old, I’m impressed with her understanding. I apologized for not spending as much time with her as I used to. I got up to let her fall asleep, she said to me as I was leaving “Baby Alice needs you, Mummy.” She totally gets it, and it just made me cry harder. I’m so proud of her and I’m amazed at how awesome she is every single day.
Baby Alice is just perfect from head to toe and I loved her just as much as I did Marigold when she was placed in my arms. It’s like there’s a love explosion in your heart when you give birth–I would do it over and over again because the feeling is incredible. And the results–well, they’re incomparable.
So our love has grown. Martin was right–I didn’t have anything to worry about. We’re a family of four now. I’m truly grateful for all the things that I have in this life, and I honestly don’t take it for granted. I came from nothing, and now– I have everything. And it’s definitely not lost on me, this extraordinary life of love.
As Marigold continues to grow, I have less and less time to write. She’s requiring more attention to keep her amused each day, which means, less time for me to do the things I want. That on top of household chores that are mostly getting done at the bare minimum leaves me with only a few minutes to surf the internet, and play video games. And I’m going to learn to knit plus I want to learn to sew. God, if only I was one of those people that could get by on 4 or 5 hours sleep then I might be able to do the things I want.
I keep being faced with decisions that I really don’t want to make. We are constantly making easy choices from the minute we wake up in the morning and often we don’t even give it a second thought that we have a choice. Getting out of bed, brushing our teeth, what to eat for breakfast, what to wear for the day and the list goes on. And on and on and on. Then there are the larger life decisions: who you are going to marry, where you are going to live, what you are going to do for a career. But sometimes, an unexpected quandary presents itself before you and suddenly you have to make a decision about a situation you have no prior experience with. Or sometimes you are faced with a decision you have made many times before, and you need to be reminded that you’ve done it before on blind faith, and it’s worked out in the end…hasn’t it?
It would be great if every time you had to make a decision that the only person affected would be you, and you alone. I think this is the reason why decisions become so difficult–the outcome has a great impact on someone around you. And it’s typically someone close to you. Someone who you love very much. I always think back to moving to Toronto, the biggest decision of my life thus far. Again–my decision to move meant leaving Matt (and dumping his sorry ass–I can say that now, it’s been long enough) and hurting someone I loved very much. I was leaving behind my friends and family and the only life I had ever known, but on the other side of that decision was tremendous opportunity which I would not have had otherwise, and I’ve been reaping the rewards ever since.
The last unexpected quandary I faced was a high impact/low return type of decision. My decision, in fact, has permanently damaged a friendship, and hopefully most of that damage will be repaired, though I’m sure some scars will remain.
Sometimes you just need to stand up for what you believe in regardless of how much it might hurt someone and regardless of how supportive you really want to be. It makes me sad to think that I had to choose at all let alone make the choice I made. And though my decision is hurtful, I hope it makes a strong statement. Because after this, I’m not going to beat the dead horse, because the horse is already dead, there’s no sense in that. And beating dead horses just makes a bloody mess that becomes pretty impossible to clean up. I’ve said my piece and voiced my concern. I’m going to let the issue die and rest in peace. At the very least I can show my support for moving forward.
God, disappointing people sucks so bad. And I really fucking hate letting people down. I want to make everyone happy all the time, which is probably why I’m so great with customer service. But, I know deep down that making EVERYONE happy is an impossibility. I have to think now of how my decisions–high impact/low return, or high impact/huge opportunity will affect Martin and Marigold first and foremost. I have to do what is best for our family, even if that means letting other people down that I care about very much. I have to make sure that the choices I make are ones that Marigold will admire once she’s older.
You can’t take a mulligan. There are no do-overs. Life was so much easier when it was just me. I don’t mean because of the extra work of taking care of a family. I mean that if I fucked up, the only person that faced the consequences was me. Gone are the days of risking my job with people calling in sick for me because I was passed out on a toilet in the bar’s basement bathroom the night before (Thanks Peter Peattie). Gone are the days of complete and utter irresponsibility. Now MG and MM are in the line of fire, and I just want to do what’s best for all of us, even if it means moving to Scarborough**.
I want to be someone she is proud to call her mother. And sometimes that means closing some doors and opening some windows. Right now I’ll just wait for the window to open, and decide whether or not it’s time to close the door, and try not to get black out drunk while I’m waiting.
**For the record we are not now, nor ever moving to Scarborough, it’s just a phrase I use now to demonstrate just how much I’m willing to sacrifice for my family.
For Christmas this year, we got satellite radio, and what an excellent gift it was for us. There’s about a dozen channels that we listen to on a regular basis, one of them being “Lithium”, the 90’s station. Try listening to 90’s radio and see what it does to you! It’s funny how many songs I hear that cause me to think of certain people, or certain times in my life.