Thursday, December 9, 2010


So one of the symptoms of PPD is anxiety. For me, it was the most significant and debilitating symptom and the one that prompted me to seek help. At times these periods of anxiety would develop into panic attacks and, on rare occasions, would be debilitating.

Things got better. Griffin was sleeping a bit better, I had a bit less stress, and my anxiety was manageable.

But recent events have brought me to what seems like square 1.

Maybe I should start at the beginning... hopefully that will help this all make sense. And hopefully it will mean that someone will have some suggestions, because I NEED YOUR HELP.

This pregnancy began on an anxious note. I lost my job when I was 5 months pregnant, Bryan's hours were cut, we didn't have healthcare. We were concerned with Penelope's motor skill development (which, thankfully, resolved itself). G was breech for awhile and we were concerned with delivery. I had TPA's and school work that ran up to his due date. Bryan started school. I was worrying about placement for student teaching.

And the ENTIRE pregnancy I felt as if the other shoe was about to drop. As if I was waiting for something to go wrong. I was convinced something was terribly wrong - because nothing was going right (or at least it felt that way).

When Griffin was born I half expected something to be wrong. The first words I said to him were "I love you so much" - in part because I NEEDED to say that in case something happened to him. I needed him to know how much I loved him in case he died. Or I died.

Sounds silly, right? But I was convinced that something was going to happen.

That fear has persisted. I am terrified that I'm going to lose the kids. That something will happen to one, or both. My overwhelming fear is usually focused on Griffin. But lately it's seeped to Penelope. Sometimes I find myself paralyzed with fear. Literally. I tell them endlessly how much I love them. And I do love them... but my mantra is recited not just because I love them, but because I'm afraid that something will happen and I won't get to say it anymore. I need them to know how much I love them. It's a physical need - I don't know how else to explain it...

And, of course, as I type this I'm crying. I can't help it. It's overwhelming and frightening how absolutely terrified I am that I won't see my kids grow up.

Part of it is that I "know" three people who have lost children since I got G's BFP (big fat positive, the pregnancy test). One who delivered a stillborn baby, one whose baby died of SIDS at 4 months, and one whose baby died after only 45 minutes on this earth. "Know" is in quotations because these people are friends/relatives of my friends/relatives. I've only met one of the families, although I did meet the 4 month old baby just weeks before his death.

Add to this, Griffin's sleep is HORRID. We're up 5-6 times a night. And we're back to co-sleeping. I get more sleep co-sleeping than if he's in his crib, but sleep-nursing is not great sleep. Bryan is there to help, but Griffin wants Mommy. And B just doesn't have the right faculties (i.e. breasts) so there's really not much more B can do to help out. We just have to get through this stage and hope it's not a long one.

Anxiety pre pregnancy + stress + continued anxiety postpartum + more stress = me.

I am a mess.

Some of you who have seen me lately may not see it. Heck, I'd bet this is news to a lot of people who see me regularly. I've been doing everything I can to keep it together; because that rational part of me KNOWS that I'm overreacting. KNOWS that it's hormonal. KNOWS that it's stress. This part of me knows that things will get better. Griffin will sleep better. The kids will be ok. I will be ok.

This part of me is starting to lose its energy.

I am currently sitting in a dark classroom crying.

I haven't gotten anything done this afternoon. And I have SO MUCH TO DO.

I'm also starting to feel a little nauseous. I hope it's just stress and not an actual illness.

And so, my friends, there you have it. We have discovered exactly how much I can take. This is it. I'm tapped out.


  1. This came up on my blog-reader thing, and I had to reply! BIG HUGS! PPD is absolutely awful. I ended up taking meds for three or four months. Things were still awful, but they were less awful. During that time I started exercising regularly, and I just stopped taking the PPD meds and was fine after that. For me, exercise was a miracle. Even though I'm still slow, it made me feel good about my body. I can accomplish stuff when I'm exercising. It's nice to accomplish something because you want to and not because you must (grad school and motherhood stuff). Also, how often do you have time to yourself? Cleaning, working, and doing school stuff don't count. You need time, and you need your own identity outside of being a mother and a wife. Who is Jessica? Exercise might not be your miracle, but there is some hobby out there waiting for you.

    There's hope. PPD is awful, but I promise you'll make it through this.

  2. I love you Jess. You have so many plates spinning right now I am in awe.

    I think you are brave and wonderful and brilliant for putting this all out there.

  3. I knew a little of what you wrote but not all of it. I understand (wish I could underline). When I finished up with Katrina I was where you are now and lots of shoes dropped after that, but I learned a few things and now a few years later I am doing so much better! 1) Let people love you and share some of the burden (this one is really hard) 2) The other shoe may or may not drop but if you live expecting it then life will suck. Plus, even when it does drop, there is always at least a little bit of positive involved. 3) If you can go talk to a professional, I never wanted to spend the money on a therapist but let me tell you it is the best money I have ever, ever spent

    Those are my two or three cents. Please let me know how I can help and enjoy your time off of school. Our babies are growing so fast and anytime we get with them is a blessing, we will die and leave them some day but until then, we get to have all the joy. Plus, who can really be told "I love You" too much :)

  4. I agree with all of the previous posts. I didn't experience much of PPD, just a little bit of "what have I done?". But like you (and I think most moms) I took on more than I should have as well. I found a hobby I enjoy, but ultimately it caused me more stress than it relieved. Now that I'm done with classes & only have my thesis to work on, I feel much better. The deadlines were killing me. The only thing I found to really help me through the days was deep breathing. It wasn't a cure, but it did help in the moments I was getting overwhelmed.
    I've been to therapy in the past, and it was the best thing for me. Just knowing someone has to listen & not judge is fantastic.
    Just remember there are people out here who love you, understand what you are going through and are here to help.


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10 months - 31.75 inches, 23.4 lbs
7 months - 29.25 inches, 21.4 lbs
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