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Monday, June 10, 2013

"A person's a person, no matter how small."

Years ago in the Pink House, Kev and I had one of our many movie nights. We rented "Horton Hears a Who" from Redbox and Kev fell asleep before the movie ended. I stayed awake and found myself crying unabashedly at the conclusion of the movie. Something about all those little guys yelling "WE ARE HERE! WE ARE HERE! WE ARE HERE!" gets to me. Last month while grocery shopping, I spotted the movie on sale for less than $5 so I added it to my cart as an impulse buy. Aspen and I watched it the next morning and I once again cried as the Whos did all they could to be heard.

The last few years, I've felt just like a little tiny Who, living on a speck of dust on a clover. I feel like I struggle to be heard and seen as I try to fulfill my different roles: wife, mother, friend, sister, PERSON.

What I struggled with the most was the role of mother. If you've been around for awhile, you're probably familiar with my postpartum experience. For those of you who are new, I'll try to sum it up as I kick off a series on this blog about pregnancy and depression.

For a couple of years, Kev and I actively did not try to have a baby. We bought our house and fixed it up and worked. There were a number of times Kev was without a steady job, so I kept working full-time for Weber State and hated it. I eventually found a different job that I liked a lot more, and we started to talk about adding to our family. We were hesitant to have a baby because we were figuring out our job situations, but I distinctly remembering telling Kev that perhaps we should just move forward with faith that we'd work things out.

So we started trying to get pregnant and in November 2009 it happened (after just two months). We were really excited and looked forward to this new adventure. That very same month, Kev lost his job. And he remained unemployed (for the most part) for my entire pregnancy.

It was a huge trial for me. I stressed about having to go back to work full time after the baby was born and I wondered what we would do if Kev couldn't find a job that would really support our family. If you want to read more about this, feel free to browse my archives (I announced my pregnancy in January 2010 and started openly talking about my fears from then on). Those days consist of a lot of whining posts and you could probably get the gist of the story without reading them.

The month Aspen was to be born, my current boss offered Kev a job with my company. He was hired to do property maintenance for the agency (rentals and real estate listings) and we were really grateful. It meant that after Aspen was born, I wouldn't have to work full time, but could instead just teach Yoga and Pilates classes part time as my childcare options allowed.

So we thought we had everything worked out. And then Aspen was born and I felt suffocating isolation and overwhelming depression for many months to follow.

I invite you to continue reading along with me this week, even if you were there when all of this happened in real time. I've gathered up the courage to share some of the things I never even said out loud back then, let alone put into writing for all the Internet to see.

What I hope to do with this series of posts on pregnancy and depression is increase awareness. Maybe you don't realize that someone you love is experiencing this. Maybe you don't realize you're not alone. Maybe you don't understand why some mothers hurt or kill their babies. Sometimes those terrible tragedies are related to postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis or other forms of mental illness. It doesn't mean that a woman is ungrateful or undeserving of her child, or even that she intentionally wanted to hurt it. It's not an excuse, but merely an explanation.

My main point is that no one should have to feel like those little Whos. Just consider me an advocate like Horton. I want these voices to be heard and their existence validated.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you are going to be talking about postpartum depression. It is great that more and more people are beginning to talk about their troubles as a way to help other people. I have a sister who suffers from infertility and I know that posts that talk about others' struggles (with it and other issues) have helped her and me to better understand. Thank you!

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