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“Aw, what an adorable newborn baby. Love the name. Just want to pinch those cheeks and cuddle with it.”
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“Look, so-and-so is pregnant! Awesome! Congrats on baby #3!”
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Everyday. Everyday I scroll through hundreds of posts and see an abundant amount of my friends getting pregnant with their next child or giving birth. I am truly happy for them. I wish nothing but the best for them. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am also jealous and envious of them.
Another baby to hold. So many years I’ve longed for that. So many years I wanted another “Snoodlebug” to cuddle up on my chest and coo. The sweet powdery baby smell, even along with the explosive poopy diapers and spit ups. So many years. It was never a question of fertility that held my husband and I back… it was the question of mentality.
I barely survived my daughter’s infancy. Riddled by week three with severe Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, I became delusional, irritated, sad, angry, vomitus, and most importantly I feared my baby. This little buddle of 7 pounds and she scared me. I was afraid to be around her but loved her so much that my brain planned on ways to leave so she would get what I thought at the time was “a better life.” By week 5 postpartum, I had become so possessed I was admitted into the short term psych ward at our local hospital.
Mental Illness, my mentality, always comes into play with me for almost everything and ruins dreams of mine, but I have to embrace it. That doesn’t mean my ovaries do not dance a little when I see a sonogram or newborn baby image. In fact they have an all out dance party. By the time my oldest and dearest friend had her first child and I met that fun loving little baby in NYC a few years ago, my ovaries were conducting a full on Zumba Fitness class. He was such a cute and good baby. I was drawn to him. I wanted another child.
My rave-attending ovaries tried to convince my husband we should have another baby that very evening. Oh, they tried for days, weeks, months, but he wouldn’t budge. He would not relive those 12 days alone with a newborn and now a school-aged child if I were admitted again. Foolish me, it couldn’t happen again. My alpha personality wouldn’t let it.
Yet, I am banging my head now from that statement. So stupid of me. When my husband finally agreed to adoption which we both had discussed before, I was elated. Yes, it wasn’t a baby, but we would have a new person in our lives, a new character in our story. When we were matched with a toddler, my happiness grew, originating of course, in my ovaries. “Yay! We’re going to have a toddler, almost a baby!”. But when fostering or adopting a child other than an infant, there are many unknowns that you don’t have when having a toddler since infancy. This adorable little boy had a past, over two years worth, that we didn’t know. We didn’t know his character, his likes, his dislikes. We didn’t know him like we knew our daughter.
Once again, I fell quickly into tornado of anxiety. Rapidly my weight dropped from terrible nausea. I became very attune to every sound around me and they all scared me. I stopped sleeping. I then began to hate myself and the thoughts of running away for my family to have “a better life” returned. It didn’t stop there. The mental anguish I was experiencing gave me intrusive thoughts of hurting myself… hurting myself to a point where I wouldn’t feel it anymore. Ultimately, losing my little boy, for him to get a better life.
This last Depression, I agree with my therapist, is definitely linked to my Postpartum Depression and may or may not be a form of PPD itself.
A year later, I have reached a type of acceptance. When my ovaries start to dance at the sight of a newborn baby, I am able to tell them to shut up. I may not be fully happy about it, but I am able to. I will admit though, as I scroll through my friends images, through the sonograms, newborn photos, baby photos, I am still jealous. Extremely happy for them, but jealous.
Why? Why did I suffer so badly? Why did my initial postpartum experience have to be so bad that it is scarred in my head yet other mothers can just go on having the children I will never have? Why do they “get off easy”? Not that I wish them to ever experience what I did. No woman should have to. But why? Why, after imagining my future children for decades was I chosen to experience all this?
Questions I ask myself whenever these pictures pop up in my newsfeed. But, the answers have changed. Call it getting older, call it embracing who I am now. Call it whatever you want. All those “why’s” have turned into:
“Screw the ‘why’s’. You have a great daughter who loves you, who wants to help you get better, who doesn’t blame you for anything that happened. You have a great supportive husband who is happy with the life you helped him build. You have tools… tools to help others who experience what you did. You have grown a strength so immeasurable. You have become wise and learned.”
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“Aw, look at that cute baby, they’ve just learned how to sit up!”
And with only a spark of envy, I am content at just looking at the baby.