I feel that this fog will lift. I have been depressed for a long while, but I didn't realize it because my depression did not take the form of sadness and crying. I'd felt angry, irritable, to the point that I was overreacting way too much to my children's mischief. I thought that I was somehow morally deficient as a person. That was on a good day. On a bad day, I felt like I should never have been a mother in the first place. I felt like an explosion waiting to happen. It took all of my self control to not spew hateful venom at my children. I felt ashamed. A couple of mothers on a message board that I am on talked about how when they are depressed, they feel a great deal of rage. Then something clicked. That was me. That was depression talking. It's not that I hate my children and their antics. That was the depression talking. I talked to my husband, he's a psychiatrist and an internist. He said that I just needed to try harder, my self esteem was low, he said, because I was not accomplishing much, but if I tried harder, I would feel better about myself. I felt worse, deficient as a person and lazy. To think that a few months ago I contemplated writing myself a prescription for some kind of antidepressant. Or asking one of his friends to do it for me. I felt the stigma of being depressed, of being angry. Even though my friends and I talked about everything and anything, the subject of postpartum depression and the various ways that depression can manifest never came up. Today I confessed to my husband that I am tired of feeling so irritable. He said that it's because I am with my children 24/7 and I just need some time away. I said to myself, fine, he does not understand, but as soon as our insurance kicks in I would see a doctor and get meds. I talked to my friends on line and took 600 mg. of St. John's Wort, followed by some liquid cal/mag.
I feel like I have some clarity for the first time in a long time. I'm not a terrible person. The depression was making me feel and react in a way that I would not have felt/reacted otherwise. I saw a difference this evening when my oldest tracked mud onto our carpet. It didn't have that effect on me. I didn't see red or curse. I just got a sponge and cleaned up the mud spots. I don't know how to explain it, but for the first time in a long time, I felt God's grace and understood it.
It's been a while since I posted here. We moved a little less than 3 weeks ago, and while a lot has been happening, I haven't been able to be on the computer too much. Before we left NY, I was talking to a friend of mine. She commented that she was just amazed by how I was out chasing after my children immediately after having a baby. I said, what else can I do? They need to go outside and run off their energy. Someone has to be out there with them. She said, well, it seems like it helps you with your recovery after giving birth when you are active, instead of staying in bed. I don't know if that is true. I mean, with my firstborn, after coming home from the hospital, we were in the process of moving. I was immediately back to loading boxes and then less than 2 weeks later lugging them up the stairs and putting things away because my mother in law and my husband's uncle and aunt were coming so the house had to look nice. It hurt because I had stitches and tearing. The first thing they tell you is no heavy lifting, avoid climbing stairs, and rest after giving birth. That was not feasible because we had a deadline to meet. After my middle son was born, I was back to doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, everything. My mom was staying with us, but she really does not do much for me, except hold the baby. I had a one year old and a newborn. My husband was starting a new residency, one that required him to work even crazier hours than when he was doing his first residency. If I had stayed inside the house all the time, I would have gone crazy from loneliness, so I was back outside interacting with other parents and their children shortly after giving birth. With my daugter, I did not even stay in the hospital for 2 days, only 1 day because my oldest was giving my mother in law a really hard time. I kind of wish that I knew what it felt like to relax after giving birth. Maybe I do avoid postpartum depression by becoming active immediately after having a baby, I don't know. I wish though that I could be pampered just a little bit after giving birth.
So much to do and so little time. Moving is a bear. I'd rather be outside chatting with friends, but instead I'm cleaning, packing, and sorting through our stuff. I'm short tempered with my sons--unfortunately they keep waking up their baby sister. I cannot wait for this to be done.
My friend's husband was saying to me "Tammy, would you please try to convince my wife to wear a head scarf? I want for my daughter and her sister to wear them when they are older to keep them from going wild". This bugs me on so many levels. First, a head scarf is no guarantee of modest, properly behaved little girls. Second, what would he do if he had a son? Would he make his son wear some special attire to guarantee that he will remain chaste? Why the double standards? Third, for people who wear a head scarf, there is a religious significance attached to it. It's not just something to keep a daughter/woman in line. My husband is Muslim, I am not. I have watched the nieces in his family as they started donning a head scarf. Some of them started wearing it upon having their first periods. Others waited until they were in college. Even the girls who waited until college to start wearing one were very modest and not acting wild and crazy. They still looked like they were 12 years old with their freshly scrubbed faces, blue jeans, long sleeved shirts, and sneakers. I know and understand the reason why some Christian women choose to cover their hair, as I have been covering my head for a few years now. I'm not going to tackle why Muslim or Jewish women choose to wear a head scarf because it is beyond my field of knowledge. This couple *I think* is Hindu--he is from Ecuador and she is from one of the countries that is part of the former USSR, but they have pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses on the walls of their apartment. At any rate, I think my friend's husband has good intentions--he wants to protect his children as much as possible, but I don't think that the head scarf is the be all and end all to protect a daughter. For the record, his daughter is only 17 months old and the second daughter has not even been born yet.
My oldest son started school in December 2007. He needed speech therapy and some help with his social skills, so finally after 5 months of evaluations, a meeting, and waiting, he was able to start school. It's been great for him, but there was an unexpected side effect from school. He was exposed to some things that I would have rather he not be. On Fridays most weeks, as a special treat the teacher would show Disney movies. Cars, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and some children t.v. like Dora. I don't have a problem with Disney movies per se, it's all the marketing that bothers me. Dora, Lightning McQueen, and Buzz Lightyear paraphernalia are all over the place. I'd really prefer that my children not have a room decorated like a movie character. Fads change so fast. There's no way that I am going to change comforters every year based on who the movie character du jour is. I don't like trendy stuff. Typically when I take my children to Walmart, I steer clear of the toy section. I hate dealing with the gimmes. We don't buy a whole lot of toys for our children, just for their birthdays, typically we buy them a soccer ball or a bike or trucks or something that encourages them to be active. Where we have lived for the past 7 years, there is a paved area for riding bikes, a quad where children draw hopscotch grids in brightly colored chalk, a concrete climbing toy, a sand box, and lots of grass and flowers. I'm amazed by how much fun my children have with a bucket and sticks and shovels. When they were younger, we would take nature walks and I'd point out the squirrels, the birds, the bugs, and the flowers to them. Now they just want to ride their bikes and explore for themselves.
The other problematic thing that children are exposed to are preservatives. It seems like there are always birthday parties where parents put together goody bags full of candy. Every week my son would be learning a new letter and the teacher would have snacks on Wednesday, and on Thursdays and Fridays there would be some lunch. D is for doughnuts and Dorritos. B is for burgers at Burger King. I is for ice cream. I try to keep processed foods to a minimum, and sweets are typically cookies or cakes that I made from scratch. I guess there's only so much that a parent can protect their children from.