Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My daughter lights up my life

and has done from the moment she was born into this world. I tried so hard to have her, we lost 3 beautiful babies in our quest to have her. By the time i was pregnant with Lucy i just figured that it wouldn't happen, that I'd lose her too. Up until i was 30 weeks pregnant I was waiting for her to die. I was negative, hurting, and completely terrified. I looked at pregnant people around me, the ones who were glowing, and happy, and was jealous. I. WAS. SO. SCARED.

and then i had her in my arms, and everything seemed OK. We had our gorgeous baby girl. Sure i was tired, and feeling a bit detached, but really, after 19 hours of labour, 48 hours of no sleep and no food in almost as long, who could blame me right?

We took our precious girl home. At home, we muddled through the first few days, working hard to get Lucy to recognise night time for sleeping and day time for waking. It took a week, but we did it. Together.

And then they turned off my happy hormones. I don't know who "THEY" are exactly, but I know that one second i was holding my tiny week old daughter, and the next i put her in the bassinet and walked away practically hysterical.

In an instant, all that i had achieved, all the love that i felt for this tiny being evaporated into thin air. And i was horrified. I was disgusted with myself. I couldn't believe that this had happened to me so quick. Or that it had happened to me in general. I had wanted her so badly, tried so hard, cried so many tears on the road to holding my beautiful baby. And now, i couldn't even look at her.

Depression kicked in mighty fast. And i had NO idea what to do about it. Or that what i was feeling was depression. I was the dark shadow in a room of love and sunshine. I faked my way through the first 6 months. I knew i would never hurt my baby. But it scared me to know that while i would never hurt her, i could feel so detached, and so separated. When i was still pregnant with Lucy i heard this awful story on Oprah about a man who was depressed and killed his twin daughters. They interviewed him and he said that he couldn't even remember doing it, but that he remembered coming out of this trance like state and seeing, with his own eyes, how devastatingly his mind and body had betrayed him, and his beautiful family

I WAS TERRIFIED that it would happen to me.

Only recently, it occured to me, that i had suffered from Post Natal Depression. I looked it up in books a few times when Lucy was tiny, but really, I didn't recognise the symptoms as things i was displaying. I wasn't sleeping all day, i didn't lose my appetite, i wasn't moody or showing signs of weight loss or gain. I thought that this was my problem when I first started to feel strange with Lucy. I looked it up, and discounted it.

This is probably the hardest entry I've ever written in my life. My own husband has no idea, that i EVER felt like this, nor that i went through it. I love my daughter. Lucy is the light of my life, and i honestly believe, that I'm past the depression. Every now and then, i have a bad day, like everyone. But I'm no longer depressed.

I feel like i cheated Lucy. My own inability to love her as i should have, my inability to seek help for my emotional detachment from her, has left me regretting much of her early days, because i simply didn't enjoy it in the way i feel i should and could have.

Today, we are a happy, loving family. Lucy is a well adjusted 2 year old, and I'm truly happy again. But its taken me 2 years to realise that when we have our next baby, I will need to have a counsellor on hand. I'm not prepared to spend another 2 years feeling distanced from someone i love and treasure so deeply. And my next step - is to tell my husband.

1 comment:

Samantha Willis said...

Tam, that must have taken a lot of courage. Your daughter looks like she has one of the better mums around. Keep up the good work.