This was originally going to be just one (blathering) post about my experience with PPD and beyond (because can it still be called that when your youngest is 4-1/2 years old?), but I found when I started writing, I couldn't stop. Lucky you! Hang on for the ride...
After Eldest was born over 8 years ago in October 2001, I would describe my mood as euphoric. I never, not even once, experienced any sort of sadness, letdown, melancholia or gloominess after his birth. Hubby and I were both blissful, for we thought Eldest hung the moon, the stars and the sun. He was our world. It helped that he was a perfect baby. From Day 1, he breastfed like a champ. 10 minutes on each side, every 3 hours. Like clockwork.
I also had 2 close friends who also gave birth to their firstborns shortly after me. So the three of us were able to compare notes, to kvetch, to seek advice. I had a sounding board.
After Middle was born over 5-1/2 years ago in June 2004, I would describe my mood as optimistic. Optimistic that yes, I could love another child as much as I loved Eldest. Optimistic that yes, I could juggle being a mother of two. That optimism was short-lived, however, for Middle was nothing like my first. I realized this right away, while still in the hospital, as a matter of fact. Middle cried. Constantly. The nurses would bring him to my room and inform me, "He's hungry." Yet he wasn't a great nurser. On, off, on, off, his little head would bob. 3 minutes here, 5 minutes there. And yet, still crying. This lasted weeks.
I was beyond frazzled. Uncertain. Constantly feeling guilty that 3-year old Eldest was suffering because his newborn brother was demanding all my time, energy and attention. After 3 weeks, I took him to the pediatrician. After further testing, he was diagnosed with colic (no shit, Sherlock) and reflux. My decision to quit nursing him came as a relief. He began taking Enfamil with Nutramigen from a bottle, along with prescription Zantac. Yet he still cried. Rocking him didn't help. Holding him didn't help. Bouncing him didn't help. The hours between 5pm and 7pm were the worst. I don't think we ate one dinner that summer without Middle's high-pitched screams echoing in our ears.
When Middle was 4 weeks old, I went back to work one day a week, for my sanity. Do you know what a constantly crying baby can do to your psyche? It wrecks it, that's what it does. I became so unsure of myself, indecisive about every move I made. What kind of mother was I to not be able to bring comfort to my own child? My Sis watched the boyz that one day a week. When I would walk in the door at 5pm, she would practically THRUST Middle at me and say, "Here. He cried all day." And then she would leave.
By September, things were seemingly getting better. I went back to work 3 days a week. Eldest started preschool. And Middle's colic seemed to be lessening.
I was actually able to accompany Hubby to San Diego for his yearly conference in late September. It was a much needed break. From everything. For those 4 days, my Mom watched the boyz, and was certain that Middle's crying was now stemming from hunger. Perhaps it was time to start him on rice cereal?
2 weeks later, in early October, Hubby and I attended a wedding in Connecticut.
At that point, I felt like I was BACK. More myself. More in control of my life. Able to handle this motherhood gig.
I took a pregnancy test.
To be continued...