Category Archives: depression

Emerging

The twins are really growing and developing now. At 14 months, they don’t walk or say any words or even have much in the way of language/communication skills at all. In fact, we will be having developmental therapy 2 hours a week beginning this week to help them catch up.

But they crawl faster than I can run and smile and giggle and laugh and hug each other and eat enormous amounts of food. We are mostly in a sweet spot right now, where they can play and entertain each other for as much as an hour at a time. They take two decent naps a day and sleep all night, rarely waking up. They love their mama and dada very much and are healthy, happy boys.

The twins at 14 months

Peanut Butter & Jelly, my sweet loving babies

The stress never ends of course. As one thing gets easier another gets harder, but I have more hopeful days than not, and that’s a huge relief to me.

I stopped writing regularly here when I was going through a very difficult weaning process with them. It was absolutely heartbreaking for me and I was very depressed about it. I know that most people just don’t understand the depth of despair it caused me and it was hard to even write about it. I’m a little further removed from the whole thing now and while I’m still really sad and disappointed over what I continue to see as an absolute failure on my body’s part to adequately nourish my children, I’m feeling twinges more than stabbing pains now.

I hope I’ll have the self-discipline to write regularly now. I’ve convinced myself that I don’t need to have a long, soul-baring post every time. One of my favorite bloggers, eckids, posts nearly every day, with mostly short but interesting notes, ideas and musings. I’d love to follow her lead.

Until soon,

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Just Write, #2

Linking up with Just Write

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The babies wake up happy, as usual. We nurse and smile and talk to Daddy and the dogs. Diapers are changed, laundry is started, the Today show keeps me company in the background. I’m hungry and cross my fingers, hoping they’ll stay happy long enough for me to scramble an egg.

They don’t, and I have to turn off the stove halfway through the process. Peanut Butter is extra hungry and Jelly isn’t far behind. I don’t want to start the day with formula. I won’t start the day with formula. We’ll nurse every 30 minutes if we need to. I’ll put off giving them formula until at least noon. I am determined.

But so are they. I give in and decide that 2 ounces will be enough to take off the edge and we will resume our nursing non-schedule. Jelly is happy enough and plays with his toes. Peanut Butter is not. He is still hungry, so I pick him up and nuzzle him into my breast. He screams and arches his back, over and over. I prop him on my shoulder and pat his back, trying to whisper calming and encouraging things to him. I try again, he screams louder. I am struggling to hold in my growing anger.

Maybe he’s not hungry. Maybe he needs to be distracted by a toy. This doesn’t work and he continues to scream. We try the breast again and the rejection is tearing at my heart. I sob and shout out and pound on the arm of the couch. There is milk there! Why won’t you take it! Why are you rejecting me?

This is the only thing I can give you that is truly unique. Anyone can bathe you. Anyone can hold you. Anyone and smile at you and play with you. Anyone can give you a bottle with that wretched liquid in it. Your rejection feels so personal and it fills me with an irrational rage. I’m angry with my body, and myself and even you. I’m angry at myself for being angry with you. You’re an infant, telling me what you need in the only way you know how.

But every drop you take from that bottle is a drop you don’t take from me. Every drop is a reminder of my failure to provide for you. If I can’t take care of you in this most basic way, how will I be able to be a good mother to you in the rest of your life? These thoughts are ridiculous, I know. But they are so big and so real and sometimes, often even, I want to just give up. I want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and leave the rearing of you both to someone who can do a better job.

I resign myself to giving you a 4 ounce bottle. Drink what you want of it. I’m obviously unable to give you what you need and want. Six ounces is more than half of my daily goal of keeping the supplementation at or below 10 ounces. I know that the more formula you drink, the less I will produce and I am filled with dread and sadness at the prospect of you weaning early, but I can’t leave you hungry.

All is quiet now. Your brother is having his morning nap and you, satiated, roll across the floor and giggle at the dog. I cry and wonder what sort of monster I am to project my own feelings of inadequacy on a helpless child.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Up by the Bootstraps

Last week I wrote that I was feeling overwhelmed and rather hopeless. I appreciate the support I received and it’s great to know that there is a caring community of women out there willing to help, even when they’re reaching out to someone they’ve never met.

I still feel overwhelmed. My boys are rarely taking more than 20 minute naps and it’s really difficult to even find time to shower, much less eat, clean up, or cook dinner. I also miss being able to just hang out online for relaxation. I stay connected via my smart phone, scrolling through Twitter and my forums with one hand while I nurse or just hold a sleeping baby. I stay up way, way too late at night after they’ve gone down for the night. I write or read, and it’s virtually the only time I have to write blog posts. I made a quiet commitment to myself to write a post three times a week because I know it’s good for my soul and for my mental health. I get to write here about things I can’t tell anyone in my life. I don’t have real friends in my offline life. I am developing friendships with a couple of other moms I’ve met but we’re definitely not up to the level of true sharing. My husband is my best friend but there are lots of things I don’t want to share with him because he’s a dude and because I don’t want to put additional pressure on him.

I’m not feeling quite as hopeless this week as I did last week. I feel like I’m sort of teetering on the edge of depression but I’m not there. I do know all about severe depression and I’ve been hospitalized a number of times. I was diagnosed years ago with Bipolar II. My manic episodes are not as common as my depressive ones and the medication I’m taking seems to have almost entirely eliminated the mania. I think it also helps keep me from plunging into the deep darkness but it’s not pure magic. I have a responsibility to myself to do the things that help keep me out of that hole.

When I am at this edge, I know that it is up to me to take measures to avoid disaster. Once I start sliding down it becomes much more difficult – nearly impossible – to pull myself back up.

So I’m committing myself to doing some of the things that I know will help me. If I still feel like I’m sliding I’ll call my doctor and get an appointment.

  • Stare at my little miracles and think about what miracles they really are.
  • Talk to people, not about the depression but about life and my boys and our family’s activities.
  • Do tangible things for other people. I’m not in a position right now to commit myself much in the way of charity work, but I can make a card for my friend down the street or make some banana bread for my neighbor.
  • Go for walks in my neighborhood in the evening. Many of the families here do this and it’s a good way to connect with people, develop friendships, and get some fresh air.
  • Let as much natural light into the house as possible. In lieu of that, turn up all the lights.
  • Do little things around the house to make it more pleasant. Light a scented candle. Take five minutes while the boys are napping to sort through a pile of papers. Make the bed (this is a surprisingly effective pick-me-up for me).
  • Watch really funny sitcoms like The Office, Community, The Middle, and Modern Family. If I can’t muster up some belly laughs from those I know it’s time to go to the doctor.

I’m going to print out this list and post it on the refrigerator to give me reminders throughout the day. Hopefully I can stop this slide in its tracks.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.