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Thursday, January 21, 2010


So yesterday was an interesting day. I did somehting I wasn't sure I could: I went to the parent-baby drop in at my local health unit. Considering the place is all of two blocks away, I couldn't use distance as an excuse not to go. But I get anxious at the thought of being in a room full of people I don't know. Now, first off, if you've been around, you'll know that that is very unusal for me, as I am generally a very open and outgoing person. But then again, depression alters my personailty so drastically at times that I scare even me. You may recall that I tried to go to the holiday social back in December, only to find out that it was cancelled due to the flu shot clinic. [insert sob here]

So, I woke Bean up from her nap (she had been down for only 30 minutes), packed her in the stroller and made another attempt at being social.

It was both wonderful and awful.

Let's discuss the awful part first. When I first got there, there was only one other mom there and the two nurses running the show. Then slowly more people arrived. It was fine at first. But the more people that showed up, the less space there was in the room and the harder it was to have a conversation with people I didn't know. Add to that, that about half the women knew each other from coming to the group before, and I felt so alone. Bean was pissed off about being woken from her nap so I had to hold her and soothe her back to sleep. I couldn't put her in the stroller without waking her, so I held her through her nap. I felt so alone in a room full of people.

[Enter massive anxiety attack.]

I got up, walked around the room with the baby, and did a hell of a lot of breathing. Thankfully, it never progressed into a panic attack, but I had to fight to keep myself together.

No one in the room knew. I think maybe I'm too good an actress sometimes.

I calmed down a bit and tried to keep from crying. Bean woke up and interacted with people for a bit before indicating that I best get a bottle ready before she erupted with displeasure.

Then the wonderful part happened. As I sat on the floor feeding her, the group came to an end and people began to disperse. One of the nurses was talking to people as they left. At one point I caught her eye and asked her if I could ask some questions. She sat next to me and I began to explain the whole PPD mess including that I was freaking out a bit over having to wait so long for my appointment. I told her about the anxiety attack I had just had.

We talked a bit. Then she left to go get some info for me. While she was gone, a mom whose baby is only a couple of weeks older than Bean came over to chat with me. We had talked a little earlier. It turned out that she lived just down the street from me. She gave me her phone numbers just as the nurse returned and suggested we get together sometime. She asked if I was coming next week and I said I was planning to. We would make plans then.

The nurse gave me a pamphlet for a non-profit PPD group who might be able to help me in the interim while I waited for March to come around. She expressed concern about my anxiety and wondered if the group might be too much for me. I wasn't sure, but I knew I should give it another try. She gave me her card and told me to call or come see her or the nurse who did my homevisit after Bean was born (love her!). And, she asked if they could call me to keep tabs on how I was doing. I said YES! She also said that if I didn't show up for group next week that she would be calling me.

Three cheers for nurses! Sometimes I swear they get things more than the doctors do (and I have had great doctors).

The other really important realization is that I DO have an anxiety issue, whereas before I tried to convince myself it was nothing. My mom even asked at one point if my tension and axiety over being alone with her all the time might be what makes her more difficult on certain days. Then, I said it didn't. Now, I'm not so sure. My bad days correlate pretty well with her bad days.

And that bothers me! I have a hard time dealing with the fact that what I'm going through if affecting her negatively. I hate that I could cause her distress. Could this have a long lasting impact on her? I don't know. It's a question I have to ask. I'm going to take her to her pediatrician for a four-month checkup next month. I have a feeling that there will be lots to discuss. Good thing I LOVE her pediatrician. He's one of those doctors you can actually have a conversation with. Amazing, isn't it?

After I got home from the group yesterday, I re-took the post-partum depression questionaire. The scale evaluates whether or not some has PPD and to what degree. Anything over 13 (I think) out of 30 is considered significant. 30 is suicidal. I scored 20 6 weeks ago. Yesterday, I scored 23. Not a dramatic change but a change in the wrong direction nonetheless. A good sign is that the last question concerns thoughts of harming yourself. I still score 0. Small mercies.

So, the next step is to call this PPD Society and see what they have to say. I suppose we can only go up from here, right?


areyoukiddingme said...

Hurray for nurses! And for you, for taking some action to get out and be with other people. I know the instinct is to stay home, but this will help. Next time, though, maybe you could put Bean in her stroller when you put her down for her nap? That way you don't have to wake her - you can just cover her with some blankets and be on your way.

Also, your tension and anxiety may be in response to the baby's mood, too. Babies are often cranky and difficult for no good reason, and when you can't figure out what's wrong, you're bound to think you're the problem. This may be a chicken/egg connundrum.

Good job, Lindsay. Now stop taking that test, because it's not helping. And call that society - maybe they can help.

Meg said...

I personally think taking the test a few times is helpful, especially once you begin feeling better as it can help show you tangible progress.

I love that folks are not only reaching out, but you are accepting the contact.

I want to recommend you go visit a friend of mine's blog. She JUST posted an amazing reflection of PPD at the mark of he son's first birthday. It may help shed light on your worries about the effects on Bean.

Good luck sweetie. It is a long journey.

Meg said...

woops. it is http://spicysister.blogspot.com

Melis.sa said...

The nurse sounds like a wonderful person. I'm so glad you met another mom too!! I think i was so isolated after E was born and that magnified everything.


Quiet Dreams said...

So glad you've got some more folks on your side. I hope things just get better. I wish I had a magic wand for you...

T Lee said...

Nurses usually are on the ball, lol. Definitely call that society, and I think the fact that you're aware of how you're feeling makes such a HUGE difference. Best of luck with everything.


Willow said...

What a wonderful nurse! So glad you got to talk to her! And yay for a possible new mommy friend, too. Good for you going to the group. I have a hard time going places where I don't know anyone too, and know exactly what you mean about being alone in a roomful of people. Though when I feel that way with baby, I just pretend to be thoroughly absorbed in him ;) I hope you get the support you need and that things improve for you soon.

Claire said...

Yay, I'm glad you went. Being the odd person out in a room full of people is one of my worst anxiety triggers......in fact, I think it would be for most people. But now you know at least one person and the nurses, so next week will be a little bit easier.

Kristin said...

I'm so very glad you met up with that nurse and the lady from down the road. I really hope you get some help from the PPD Society.

Steggie said...

just wanted to let you know that you are not doing any permanent damage to Bean. My bad days were linked to my cranky bastards bad days before i got treatment-his bad days were even worse because i couldn't cope...after treatment he was still a cranky bastard but at least i could handle it and at times manage to soothe him. Now you wouldn't believe he is the same kid! Nobody beleives me when i tell them how cranky he was because he's such a happy go lucky guy!

i'm glad you are getting some interim help...keep getting out,even if it is just for a walk with Bean and the camera!

Kelli said...

Thanks for stopping byt my blog and commenting...I hope you're enjoying ICLW after your little sabbatical. :)

What a journey you've had. As a newbie here, I'll send you my congrats on your Bean...what a wonderful blessing! I think that you're being quite brave in the face of the PPD...facing things head on helps sometimes, don't you think??

And three cheers for the nurses! I'm glad that you've found ones who you like and who obviously care about you and Bean. I hope that both the nurses, the group and the new 'friend' that you met give you an outlet and a listening ear.

All the best to you and Bean! :)

JamieD said...

I know just what you mean about the anxiety of being in a room full of strangers. Actually, just the full room would bring me to the brink.

I am so glad you befriended another mom. And it sounds like you and that nurse were meant to find each other. I love that she took the time to listen to your thoughts and fears and go get more information for you for what to do in the interim.

I'm thinking about taking kiddo to an infant social hour held weekly at the local library. He seems fascinated by other babies but I am nervous for myself.

IF Optimist, then... said...

First of all, I just have to say how very PROUD I AM OF YOU. You did a fabulous job to try to get out there and meet people. That took some resolve. You handled your anxiety well, despite the situation but more importantly, it took a whole lot of courage to stick it out and talk with the nurse at the end about your PPD. I am also so glad that the nurse was caring and compassionate and was there to help you on the path.

Now Lindsay honey, don't brush this aside, give yourself credit. You did an extraordinary thing for yourself and the Bean. You should be proud too. Little steps to take you to the sunlight. Big hugs. -Traci

Saige said...

I have totally been where you are. I don't know if you read my ICLW intro, but my PPD was pretty brutal too. At least you realize early on that you have it and are taking care of it. I denied mine for months before I went completely off the deep end.

In answer to your question about your mood affecting your baby, yes, it does. I found this out the hard way too. I started going to a shrink who said there have been studies done that show your baby reflects your mood. She encouraged me to get onto antidepressants because studies also show that children of depressed mothers are far more likely to end up with depression themselves later in life. After hearing that, I was all over being medicated.

I can't tell you what a HUGE difference it has made. I only wish I had done it sooner. I am a much happier person, and the difference it made to my baby was night and day. I get comments all of the time on what a happy baby she is. She is happy because I am happy.

You are headed in the right direction with your PPD, and the best part is you are doing it early on. You're a fighter, and you should be proud of that. It will get better, seeking help is the first step, and you're already doing that.

Best wishes with the group next week. I will be following along on your journey, and hope to provide you with the hope, help, and answers you need.


Lucy said...

Glad that even though it was touch, you found some comfort in the nurse and meeting someone new. Sounds like the PPD Society might offer options. I found so much support when dealing with treatments from support groups--I was in two different ones, and I needed them! Talking with others going through what you're going through was helpful for me at least.

wifey said...

Nurses rock! It's wonderful that they seem to be so caring and supportive. And I also think it's wonderful that you met someone you can connect with - that is so so important!

Another Dreamer said...

A big hooray for nurses. Hang in there. Glad your getting help, making progress, and getting answers.