Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Everything is Just Fine (Sure It Is)

I've been delaying posting something all day, and now it's late and I'm telling myself I'm now to tired to do anything of quality. It's a perfectionist thing. But then I remember my commitment to just write something, good, bad, or indifferent. Here we go...

I took Little Kidlet for his well check-up this morning, something that gives me anxiety for days in advance. We do things a little more alternatively than our HMO would like, but we have about as wonderful a doc as one can get within such a system. But I fret nevertheless, praying that I will be able to properly articulate our positions on things when the touchy topics inevitably emerge. This whole dance is a loaded one for another time.

And there is another reason I realized I was dreading this particular visit--the new mom "state of mind" checklist questionnaire, intended to screen for signs of depression. I knew I was going to have to lie. I've had to acknowledge over the last few weeks that I'm indeed struggling with some post-partum depression. I am not someone who has chronic depression issues, mine have always emerged hormonally and situationally, both coming to bear right now.

Why would I lie? For a few reasons. First, honestly I didn't want to be thrust through their protocol that gets triggered when you mark down such things. When I was pregnant with Big Kidlet I will never forget the fact that the combination of marking down that I had been in treatment for depression (saw a therapist a grand total of THREE times during a particularly difficult professional patch), coupled with a positive answer to the "have you had a drink since becoming pregnant" question (I had a SINGLE margarita before I knew I was pregnant) landed me in a prenatal counseling session, and a very uncomfortable prenatal visit with a substitute doc who assumed that I had "issues" based on the fact that I had had to have this prenatal counseling session. It was well intentioned, but I assure you anything but helpful.

And there is the issue of feeling, well, a little self indulgent. The narrative that runs in my head goes something like this: "c'mon drama queen, you're not depressed, you're whiny." Curiously this voice sounds very like my mother's voice. I can't imagine why. (Sarcasm intended) Suffice it to say that my emotionalism was one dimension of my person that made her muse often, out loud, how I could possibly be her child? It was not welcomed, and not tolerated. Consequently I don't have much tolerance for this "nonsense" in myself either, and feel that if I shake myself hard enough I'll snap out of it.

Except when I don't.

But a positive legacy of my childhood is that once I drop my denials, I get down to the business of accepting that I've got to deal with the demons pounding on my doors, and re-balance myself. Easier said than done with kids. Jobs, and sadly even husbands, can and are walked away from everyday. But for me, my family, the one I've created for myself, and especially those babies keep me in it, even when I feel like screaming that I want out, and it's just too painful to endure one second longer. When they aren't particularly nice nor gentle with me, take that feeling and add some exponential compounding to it. But, I also (try hard to) remain mindful that it's not their job to keep me here, it is always my choice and my responsibility.

I know I'm not alone in this little subterfuge. If I've read one obligatory quote from one celebrity new mother, I've read them all. The one that goes, "being a mother is amazing, I love it so much everyday." Right there, she just lied.

Photo by alibubba

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