Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gimme a Break

Remember me telling you about my hubby's new job that only required 40 to 50 hours per week and weekends off, every second weekend being 3 days long? Well, now that fall has arrived, it is no longer that easy. Now he is regularly putting in 5 - 10+ hour days and at least every second weekend he is working all weekend. This has been one of those weekends.
He thought they might be done by 3pm. At 4 he called. Not finished yet. I hung up crying. I just really need an itty bitty break. Someone else to hold the baby who is only happy when eating or sleeping, to just hold him for 5 minutes and give my back a break. I would like someone else to take a turn listening to Girly's lovely, wonderful, non-stop chatter. Someone else to play a game with her or build a puzzle. I would really like someone to give Monkey some of the attention he desperately needs and I am having a hard time giving him. I would really like....

We interrupt this whine to take a break...

As I sat typing this big whiny, feel sorry for myself post and crying, I stopped. I got up and went downstairs and told my big kids to get their stuff together. I went back upstairs and got my little kids ready to go out. I nursed baby quickly and buckled him into his car seat and put them all in the car. I realized that I needed a break and that it was stupid to sit around feeling sorry for myself. I would just have to make my own break.

I was going to take them all to the rec centre, but the big boys decided to go out and play with friends and have dad take them to the rec centre one evening this week. So my 3 littles and I drove to a nearby store. I got the stroller out, took my babies to the store to get a bag of cookies and then we went for coffee and hot chocolate. Monkey and Girly were happy because they got to have special time with me, sitting with me like big people and having a treat. Baby Zed was happy because we went in the car and that put him to sleep. I was happy because I had my hands wrapped around a hot latte and I was actually doing something other than feeling sorry for myself like I had all week.

I am realizing, once again, how easy it is to slip from tired and frustrated to overwhelmed and depressed. At almost 6 weeks post-partum, the baby blues should have abated and my hormones should be starting to stabilize a bit. But there are still days when I have to make myself get out of bed and deal with my life. Days where I don't really want to go anywhere or do anything. There are many times each week where I am in tears over little things. There are more and more moments of feeling completely overwhelmed. I think I am walking a fine line at the moment between regaining some balance and normalcy in my life and slipping into depression.

I had fooled myself over the years into thinking that I could keep depression at bay through sheer force of will. I hadn't allowed myself to fall into postpartum depression again for the past 3 pregnancies. (Never mind that pesky prenatal depression that plagued me for 4 of my six pregnancies to differing degrees) Even after birthing my stillborn baby I did not suffer from PPD. Does that sound weird? My baby dies and I was not depressed? Grief and depression are completely different animals. Completely. Of course depression can come of grief, but that didn't happen to me.

I had let myself believe that I had the tools to prevent full-blown depression. I knew the signs and could lift myself out of its evil grasp. And in reality, I have felt myself starting to go there a number of time in the past 10 years since my big post-partum bout. And each time I was able to (lucky enough to) avoid it. But I am realizing again that sometimes it is not avoidable, sometimes depression comes and you just have to deal with it, get help for it.

I am not there yet, but I can feels it's nasty breath on my neck. I am still coping, still have tools to deal in my arsenal. But I have the horrid awareness that I may not be able to prevent the fall this time.


  1. Just make sure you know when it is time for more help. I can relate, but sometimes those darn hormones take over and we really are not in control any more. Prayers.

  2. It is interesting how much grief and depression can resemble one another and yet they are not the same thing. I too never fell into depression in my grief, although I am sure there are people who wondered at times!

    I feel for you. One of the reasons I have made the difficult decision not to have another baby is because of my very real fear that I would not cope well with all of the demands on my emotions, my energy, my body and my time. I think I might fall apart. So, reading this, it just makes me want to come find you and whisk all of those kiddos away for the day so you can nap with baby and just focus on one child's needs for a moment.

    Take care of yourself. And I really mean TAKE CARE of yourself. Don't try to be superhuman. Get help, any sort of help, if you need it.

  3. Wow. Thank you for being so transparent about this subject. A lot of women don't really know that you can have PPD and not really know it. Like you said you can "feel it's nasty break on your neck."

    Great post. Hope you get some more relief soon!

  4. I hope you can figure out a way to get a real break (like by yourself!) I know how hard it is with little kids and a husband that works long hours (been there), but even a solo trip to the grocery store can be very therapeutic.

  5. I know just how you feel. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on it, just like you're doing, and try your best to do something good for you. I know how stretched thin we become during those first weeks.

    Sending you love, my friend.

  6. My tricks were no caffeine, and lots of vitamin C and exercise. Then I went and got the good drugs. Why not? we live in an age when there is help. You wouldn't try to wait until you were blind to get g lasses. Honechile go get a little something extra. You are brave and full of life and love. You and your kids deserve a little extra help. Please go get it. Then you won't have to wait until your really miserable. Go now. if you are well and happy in a few weeks you can always ditch the crutches....

  7. I'm happy that you were able to make your own break.

  8. Kristen.. I wish that we lived closer to each other! I would love to come over & help you out for a few hours every couple of days. :)

    Know that you are in my thoughts & prayers, sweet sister! :) Keep your chin up.. God has a plan in all of this.

    You are an awesome Mommy & have amazing kiddos! :)

  9. I think it is so good that you are so aware and that is a big part of making sure your stay healthy - mentally, emotionally and physically. Stay on top of it and if you feel like you are slipping in to far - get help. We are here for you!

    See you soon - Kellan

  10. Your potential PPD sounds like what I am battling right now....There are times where I feel like am dealing with it ok on my own, but my resources are dwindling. I'm coming to terms with it and will be soon taking my own advice that I have given so many others....if I had a heart condition I wouldn't have issue taking meds for that would I? It's going to be ok. We will be ok. hugs.

  11. You recognize it. And that is key!

    I've been where you are and feel your frustration and your struggle. Please email me if you need to chat. Prayers coming your way, friend.

    This blog is a wonderful place to vent, isn't it? It can be so cathartic.

  12. Whine on. Seriously. You are *amazing* with all you do. I wish we were all a little closer to help you out some! It's HARD work. Prayers for rest are being said for you.

  13. You have so much on your plate--I'd think it would overwhelm even Angelina Jolie and her fleet of nannies.

    Good for you for taking your mental temperature frequently. That's a real sign of strength.

  14. Do you have real live face-to-face friends who know what you're facing? People who will watch your kids while another takes you away for a few hours? People who will help monitor? And alert your husband when you're slipping and can't?

    Good for you, seeing the storm and preparing for the worst, while getting up and living in the moment.

  15. I understand the struggle but taking the kids out (refusing to let 'it' set in) sounds like a good idea.

    I have been walking a very thin line over 'stress' lately. I finally said "forget all this 'perfect mom' stuff" I hang over my head. Let the house be dirty and take the girls out to play.

    I also took time to sit for a few minutes and 'talk' to the boys. They are getting to the 'teen' years and I dont want to shut down the lines of communication.

    The past two evenings have been much better- all the way around

  16. At leat you are aware and willing to seek the help you need, should that need arise.

    I had PPD with my first and until you experience it you have NO idea how bad it can be.

    So glad you got out of the house and took a little "break." Prayers and hugs for you my friend.

    Oh and here's a smile too! : )

  17. I so understand this.
    I felt that way with this pregnancy. I can pull myself out of depression. (and I have) But the looming feeling sucks.
    I do the same as you. Get out of the house, go for a walk - do something!