So, in a prior blog post I discussed my issues with Baby Blues in the beginning of my motherhood adventure. Last night, 9 months later I laid awake after my middle of the night pump (because it’s a bear trying to fall back asleep after that) and got to thinking about the state of my mental health at this point after seeing a chart yesterday. The chart below was in my Facebook feed yesterday:
After seeing this it got me thinking did I have postpartum depression beyond the baby blues? There were nights that I laid awake scared that something was wrong with the babies. My husband had to take the baby monitor and put it on his side of the bed so I would stop checking it. I would become panicked something was wrong with one of them. I’ve discussed my insomnia in prior blogs and my anxiety. These are things that I still battle. I had my well woman visit last Friday. She knew I was 9 months postpartum. She didn’t even ask me how I was doing in terms of mental health. I thought that was kind of odd. I brought up the fact that about a week before my menstrual cycle everything become too much to handle. My emotions seems to become volatile. She instantly went into birth control options. I explained to her that the birth control I had taken before constricted my blood vessels giving me ocular migraines. My options are limited, but my point is that she was very dismissive. I think mental health while you are dealing with babies is important. This isn’t an issue I need to go to a psychiatrist for this is something I would be discussing with my OB/GYN. She did mention stress levels being higher with twins but that was it. I left there thinking are there mother’s who are being dismissed that could be having severe symptoms?
I most definitely have anxiety that is exacerbated by taking the babies out in public. I am always scared that they will make a scene. I have noticed the more that I take them out the less and less this becomes an issue. In my younger years I was put on an anti-depressant and had a very adverse effect to the medication. It turns out with time and self reflection that my “depression” was situational. I had moved out of my parent’s at 18 and put my self in an unsavory position in order to escape. I knew it wasn’t healthy for me, I was isolated and felt stuck. As soon as I removed myself from that situation I was better. I had discussed these things with my doctor and the solution was putting an 18 year old on an anti-depressant. I didn’t know any better at the time. I’m not quite sure I have an exact point in this blog besides the fact that there is a huge issue in this country when it comes to the quality of care for mental health. It is dismissed or instantly medicated without trying to work on the inner working of the issues at hand.
Mental health is a very personal topic to my heart. On December 25, 2015 my brother took his life. His death certificate reads the 26th because that is when his body was found but he went missing on Christmas and there is no doubt in mind that is when it happened. My brother was in the Navy and had done training missions with the Army and was stationed in Baghdad. He was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. There is no doubt in my mind that my brother witnessed things that he could not handle. The only reason why I am sharing this is because it speaks to my subject matter that this country has a problem treating mental health. People that serve our country are not getting the mental health that they need along with the other millions of people. I’m not trying to make any kind of political statement in my blog here. All I am saying is that I have personal experience with this subject in terms of the effects of suicide and depression as well as seeing the lack of compassion and dismissiveness from medical professionals. If you have seen the movie, American Sniper, you will see the clear reality that military come back and they are thrown into a world that isn’t the way they left it. Not only are their minds different but they have to adjust to a home that isn’t the same. It is a sad state that we cannot provide military members the quality of care they deserve. But that goes for civilians too.
I am writing this because I think as mothers we should put our health whether that be physical or mental first. If you aren’t caring for yourself you cannot care for others. But we are also raising a future generation that can make change. I feel like I live in a generation that sits around and whines a lot (and I may be part of the problem and not the solution) but no one is making great leaps of change. I want to raise my boys to be compassionate human beings. I want to raise them to be aware of others, to have empathy and compassion. I also don’t want them to ever be ashamed of how they feel. As boys, I want them to know it is okay to feel emotion and not be afraid to tell me how they feel even if it is hard. My brother never left a note. I cannot exactly be sure of what was going through his mind. I sure wish he would of spoke up. There is a stigma and shame when it comes to mental health. I see this with postpartum depression. There are mothers that are scared to speak up because of the stigma that is associated with postpartum depression. If you say you have postpartum depression the image of a woman drowning a baby in a bathtub is what comes to people’s minds. That could not be any further from what actually happens. There are varying degrees from derpession to psychosis. Don’t be afraid to speak up and if your health care provider dismisses you, find another who listens to your needs.
I want to apologize for being so all over the place with my blog post this morning. Like I said these are my thoughts that were floating around last night while I laid awake after my 2:00 a.m. pumping session and I sincerely felt compelled to put it into words. Whether it is coherent or flowing I don’t really care, it’s my thoughts.