Luckily I did not suffer from post partum depression. But I think it was a good choice to go into therapy again because this year has been one huge transition. And although depression hasn’t been a problem anxiety sure has. Familiar, crippling, agoraphobic tendency inducing anxiety; my dear old friend who never quite left but is now an hourly presence our lives. I was going to say my life, but of course Z and T are just as affected by it.
Being a new mother is a mind fuck whether you suffer from mental illness or not. And I find myself spending a lot of time wondering if my feelings are normal crazy or crazy crazy. Sometimes it is pretty clear cut. I know it is not normal to cry every day. I know it isn’t normal to feel crushing guilt because I am so happy. I know I shouldn't think it is obscene to be so happy and therefore something is going to happen to take the happiness away. And I know I shouldn’t constantly and obsessively worry that something unspeakably awful is going to happen to my baby.
The reality is that I do all that stuff. The solution is it goes on the list to talk about in therapy. The hope is being in therapy will help prevent me from getting to the place where all that stuff takes over and I cease to function. So far it is working.
But sometimes all the therapy in the world doesn’t prevent a person from having another episode of depression or paralyzing anxiety. And that is what scares the shit out of me. It is too late now, but I still wonder if it was the right choice to have a baby because I have these problems. Was it selfish in the extreme? Is it fair to T? Will my behavior damage him permanently? Can I be a good mother with the storm cloud of mental illness hanging over my head? Will he suffer from the same problems I do?
The last one is the biggie. He is so perfect to me, so wonderful and full of possibilities that I can’t handle to thought of him one day hating himself the way I hated myself during the worst of my problems. Heck, I don’t want him to experience the mild dislike that plagues me to this day. How does someone with low self esteem raise a boy to have a healthy sense of self worth?
The bottom line is I am a mom now. There isn’t any going back. And my motivation to stay well is my son. I want the best for him, and that includes the best mother possible. I know I will fail to be that mother much more than I would like, but while it was so easy to give up on myself before he was born I simply don’t have that option anymore. It wasn’t the selfless choice to become a mom, but he is the biggest motivation I have ever had to get well and stay well.
He loves sharing his food with us. Now if we could just figure out how to get him to eat it himself...