Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Have Secrets

As moms, we all have our little secrets. Our secret fears, our quiet guilt. the messy bathroom, or the box of candy we hide where the kids can't find it. Maybe even a real secret or two, like the fact that a family member drives you crazy or sometimes you can't stand your nine year old.

I have a secret. I have hardly ever told anyone this secret, afraid they would think I was truly crazy or maybe think they should report me to someone. It started after my first baby was born. Mostly just crying, just for a couple of weeks when she was two or three weeks old. The next baby was much the same, though it is hard to remember because she got very sick at three weeks old, and that has blotted out anything else that happened at the time.

I do remember clearly though, after my son Kolbe was born, I started eating. I do very well during pregnancies, as I don't want to do anything unhealthy for the baby. So, I started eating, and crying. I always cry, but the eating was new. I am talking about self destructive eating, to the point where you look at yourself later and wonder how and why you would eat all that food.

Kolbe's birth also brought the voices and the paranoia. I would hear voices, dark voices. They would say horrible things, but I could blot them out with prayer. The paranoia was harder to control. I would have images of falling down the stairs and crushing the baby, or somehow dropping the baby. If I was unloading the dishwasher with the baby nearby, I would see the silverware flying out of my hands and hurting the baby.

Never anything intentional, just ridiculous things that with any regular caution would never happen.
This type of thing would happen after the birth of each child. It would start sometime after two or three weeks, getting worse around the third or fourth month, and finally it would go away before the fifth month. Each birth it lasted a little longer, and was just a bit more severe.

This time has been worse. The crying has not been as bad, but it was replaced by panic attacks, at least more frequent than any other post partem period. That was bad enough, but the voices were back, stronger, and more dark and awful than before. I  picture myself doing the horrible things they suggest. I know I won't, and I tell them I won't and to leave me alone. But it is still frustrating. I called the doctor, finally willing to tell someone what was going on, and they gave me an appointment two weeks away. Not stellar. I can handle it, it is more of a nuisance than a danger, as I know I would never do anything, but I need it to go away - NOW!

I have kept this a secret all this time because I was afraid of what people would think - maybe that I was crazy or that they should take the kids away from me. Then, when I do tell my husband, my mom, and the doctor, they all sort of acted like it was no big deal. Does this happen a lot? Why does no one talk about it if it does? I know people talk about PPD, but no one really discusses what happens. Maybe if they had, I could have told my secret a long time ago. I am a little disturbed that no one thinks anything of it though...


  1. Oh Megan...
    I just read this and I can't believe that your family has not suggested you to see your doctor sooner. It is a form of PPD (Post Partem Depression), and because you do have so many children your hormone level is probably so unbalanced that it never really got back on track from previously. You need the proper medication to help you deal with this problem. It can become a very dangerous problem if let gone undetected. I know you could never do anything to harm your children intentionally, but PPD sometimes puts you in a frame of mind that you are NOT responsible for and you do things that you may not remember doing. I had Separation Anxiety with my son. I had him when I was 36 and I couldn't put him down, I wouldn't let anyone hold him. I wouldn't even out him down to sleep!!! It was awful. I had to be put on antidepressants for a while, which helped. Now, when I had my daughter last year at 39, I was fine. I hope everything works out for you. Please, let me know if there is anything I can do. Shannon.

  2. HI Shannon, thanks so much for your repsonse. My family has not suggested I see anyone because up until recently, I never told anyone any of this. I finally did say something to my family doctor, and just talking about it helped a lot. Then, I started getting a little more sleep, which helped the symptoms disappear almost entirely. Stress is a big trigger for me, and my family has been helping in that department as much as they can, so I am much better.
    You mentioned the separation anxiety. I did not realize that could be part of it. I have had a bit of that with Caleb, which has never happened before. I felt like I had to watch him all the time. Now, after having so many kids, everyone thought this was a little nuts, because he was fine, but I just felt like I had to be very close by, all the time. I was able to leave him with my husband, as he is more cautious than I am, even, but noone else, because I did not think that they felt my fears for him were credible, and I knew they would not watch him as closely as I would. I am getting better about that, too. Thanks for your comment, and concern, I think moms should talk about this a bit more, as some of us go through it, and may not know what to expect or do. So thanks and Happy New year!


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