Friday, January 11, 2013

Post-Partum Depression-The Good Stuff about it

I have been waiting, waiting, waiting to write about this because, partly because I've been waiting to get my act together with managing a newborn and haven't had the time, but also because I didn't feel like I could express it well.  I still don't know if I can, but I'm going to give it a good college try.  I don't want this to be too personal or melodramatic, so if you were worried about that, keep reading.  This is probably going to benefit me to write all this down more than anyone else.

First let me say (mainly to Tom Cruise):  Post-partum depression (PPD) is real.  Depression is real.  Particularly to the person going through it.  Whether it is biological, environmental, or both it is very real and can be very scary.  It becomes less and less real and less and less frightening as time goes by, and as I got more and more help.  It came very quickly after Miles was born, and was pretty intense, so I started asking for help right away. 
Psychotherapy has been very helpful, not because I "talk about my feelings," which is what I thought was all it was, but because my counselor has given me so many SKILLS for dealing with depression and anxiety.  The skills are what help.  They are skills that are helpful for life, for being happy, not just when dealing with some form of depression.  I would encourage anyone that feels like they could use this kind of help to pursue it because I'm so glad I did.  Also, Zoloft works.  It takes a while, which was hard, about 4 weeks before I really felt anything, but it has been helpful and I'm glad I got this kind of help. 
A lot of people are apologetic towards us about Miles, or feel bad that we have to go through something hard like this.  And while I appreciate their empathy and sympathy, the difficulties of having him casted and everything surrounding that are nothing compared to PPD.  That to me, was so much harder, and I believe, a preparation for helping Miles. 
First of all, we waited and wanted a baby for about 2 1/2 years (I know a lot of people wait longer or never see this dream fulfilled) so we were so grateful for Miles.  The night he was born and we knew he had some deformities, James and I talked before we went to bed (or like, didn't, because it's our first night with a newborn baby).  We both felt that Heavenly Father wanted us to have him, that he was trusting us with someone who needed a little extra care and compassion.  We are so grateful to have him.  He is exactly what we wanted.  I feel oddly proud to have a son with some special needs.  We don't know exactly what the future holds for Miles.  Most likely his feet will be corrected, but there are really no promises with his hands.  It's pretty experimental.  We don't think he has any mental disabilities but that's a possibility.  The doctors would say he's "syndromic," because it's both hands and feet, but I would be surprised, based on his development so far, if he had mental disabilities.  He is cooing and smiling at us, tracking things as they move side-to-side, moving his arms and legs and doing normal baby things. 

I know Heavenly Father allowed me to go through PPD because He wanted me to develop the strength that comes through adversity.  It's something I've been starting to figure out over the last 8 weeks, but it became very clear to me this morning as I played with Miles.  I put him on his tummy for "tummy time" and he started to fuss and cry a little, but was also starting to calm himself down. The thought came to my mind, "I wonder if he will eventually start to realize that I'm not intervening because I know it's good for him." And it made me realize that Heavenly Father probably thinks the same thing ALL THE TIME. We go through trials and they are difficult and we just want to cry and fuss and we even sometimes demand, "TURN ME OVER!" but He doesn't because He knows what's good for us.  And if you question if He knows what's good for you, it will just take you longer to overcome the trial.  It is not until we can calm ourself (with help from His Spirit and His words which we must seek out) that He is able to intervene, or know that He can let us endure it a bit longer or let the trial run it's course. He doesn't usually take our trials away while we are fussing and crying.  And He doesn't take them away if they are going to make us better.  And He doesn't give us more than we can endure.  

I am grateful for this trial for the strength it has given me.  Miles needs a mother with compassion for pain and struggle.  He needs a mother who knows her strength.  I should say parents, because James had to go through all of this, too.  I've learned that happiness is a choice.  I've learned that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.  I've learned to rely on and trust my Heavenly Father much more than I did before.  I've learned to appreciate the Savior and Atonement much more.  My scripture study and prayers are much more meaningful.  Although therapy and medication have helped, what got me through the darkest days was my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and my wonderful, wonderful husband and my beautiful, beautiful son.  I'm so glad Heavenly Father knows what He's doing.