I feel like I’m on a torpedo jetting towards 2011 and nothing I do will slow it down.  I can’t seem to cope. The joy I know I should be feeling this time of year is nearby – lurking under the bed or somewhere in the piles of laundry…and when I can catch it, I hang on for dear life.

But that’s the thing – it’s the most wonderful time of the year – and I’m just barely clinging to the merry ho ho of it all. 

And so I smile a lot and pretend a little bit.  All the other new moms are vibrating with the excitement of baby’s first Christmas…and I play along.   Facebook friends’ statuses are brimming with baking, wrapping and holiday preparation…and while I’m trying to get with the program all I really want my status to say is: What in the hell is wrong with me?

I know enough about mental health issues to know that depression can hit you at a time in your life when you “should” be the happiest.   A good friend of mine has had lots of experience with depression and anxiety so I have been chatting with her about some of the feelings I’ve been having.  It’s not that I’m having destructive thoughts; it’s more about trying to cope.  I have been weepy and irritable; feeling sad and hopeless, lethargic and un-motivated.  I don’t feel like I’m giving our daughter – or my marriage – the best part of myself. 

This absolutely kills me.  I’m ashamed to be writing it.  I was even reluctant to write this post.  I can remember reading woe-is-me blogs from new moms in the past and I admit it, they infuriated me.  I can clearly recall wanting to scream at my computer, “YOU UNGRATEFUL WOMAN! HOW DARE YOU!” I’ve even deleted blogs whose authors weren’t thanking their lucky stars for every moment they’d been given with their baby.  And yet here I am, coming clean…and suddenly understanding that life isn’t as black and white as I once thought it should be.

I truly don’t want to upset anyone who is still waiting to become a parent.   But I  want to be authentic and share my true feelings. I am so grateful for our baby it overwhelms me – not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what we did to deserve such a precious angel.  I need to make it clear that I’m able to separate our good fortune and the gigantic amount of love for this child from the icky feelings that have got me feeling lower than I should. 

To be fair, it is the time of year where the weather and the lack of light grabs a hold of my sunny disposition and tackles it to the ground.  I write about it every year. I know this. I miss being outside. I miss the sunshine. I miss our carefree days at the cottage.  Knowing that I’m affected strongly by the seasons helps a little, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m fighting a daily fight to keep it all together.  I have known for a while that deep down, it’s not just about the dull greys of a Canadian winter – there’s something else going on.

The other night I dug out the book, Unsung Lullabies, which should be a familiar title to anyone who has dealt with infertility.  I wanted to revisit what its authors say about parenting after infertility – and found this:

For infertile couples, the arrival of a baby, through birth or adoption, may be the first time in the grueling infertility process that you let down your guard. Only after you have a child can you comprehend and grieve the ordeal you have been through.  It is not that you are unhappy about being a parent or feel dissatisfied with your child – far from it.  It’s that now, after the nightmare has finally ended, the grief can – and does – come pouring out. So along with the challenges of new parenthood you may begin to release all the tension and grief that has been pent-up for years. Couples are often taken by surprise by these feelings that arise well after the difficult experience they’ve been through. But delayed grief is to be expected.

Delayed grief.  I do feel as though I’m in mourning, some days.  Perhaps I’m a textbook case study for the passage above?  In any case, it’s time to explore some ways to try and clear the fog that is surrounding me.

Update: I started this post 4 days ago and am happy to report I’m not quite so low today.  We’ve been getting out of the house more, decorating and just generally having a good time.  I have the option of NOT publishing this post, but I will just to demonstrate the rollercoaster ride one can experience, even after finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Other Mom’s thoughts are welcome.  Has anyone else had bouts of grief, tears or hopelessness while your pride and joy flips through Very Hungry Caterpillar and shows you the butterfly with the biggest grin possible, making you wonder if you’re losing your mind?   

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