After our recent move I decided it was time to organize all of the random baby items and clothes throughout the past year that were literally shoved into a box as we stopped using them. What this really should have been called was "after our recent move I decided to surround myself with triggers." Remember triggers? We talked about them before, it's a situation/thing/person/anything that triggers your mental illness. I am somehow in denial that I have triggers, yet I continuously throw them in my own face.
Anyways, I started organizing. And I was doing great; boxes were getting emptied, items were getting organized and grouped by size and age group and I was making great time! And then, as I started folding the teeny, tiny baby clothes up and packing them into boxes with size labels it hit me....
I am mad. I am still mad. And I am so, so bitter.
I think it's hard for people who haven't experienced a perinatal mood disorder to truly understand how I could STILL be so mad for something. I think it's hard for those people to accept that I still get sad about it. Well screw those people, because it's real and it sucks. As I folded those tiny clothes I realized I didn't miss having a baby, I missed having my baby. Do I want another baby one day? You betcha! But I will never, ever, ever, get to hold my tiny, newborn P and smile and love her and wanna be with her and cuddle. I will never get to experience first time mommyhood laying around on the couch with my newborn and walking lazily around the mall on a Tuesday afternoon. Nope. Because when I had a newborn, I couldn't leave my couch (ask hubs - I legit never left the couch). And I wasn't rooted to my couch with my little bundle of joy, I was paralyzed with sadness, fear and regret while P slept in her swing next to the couch. I could not physically hold her or emotionally enjoy her.
And that's kind of about when I lost it. I realized I will never get to hold my newborn again. This is what makes me bitter. And it makes me mad I feel this way because so many women wanted to hold their newborns and actually couldn't due to tragedy or otherwise, and yet I was able to hold mine, but was too sick to pick her up, and that's where the guilt comes in. The guilt that makes me want to apologize to all women that I'm sorry this happened to them and that I couldn't make it better, and the guilt that I'm sad over a period lost with my child, while others are sad over missing out on the entire lifetime of their children. How do you cure guilt? How do you cure sadness and anger and bitterness? Is there a cure?
So there I sat, in the middle of my living room surrounded by boxes of clothes and bottles that P will never need again, and I felt so small. I had failed my child at a time in her life when she needed me the most, and I know she won't remember those first couple months, but I will, and I'll be spending forever trying to make up for it to her. I will spend every day kissing her too much and hugging her too tight (sorry P) and splurging on her every chance I get (sorry Hubs) and doing everything I can to try to justify the bad mom I was to her in the beginning.
Damn those boxes.
I stacked those boxes up in a closet and there they will sit until I can use them again. And I promise that the next time I need them it will be different. I will revel in self care and selfishness to keep the guilt at bay and happiness on the forefront. I will enjoy the moments I have with my new little family when we decide to add to it, and I will learn from the past and fight to make sure it never happens again. PPD won that last one, but I am determined to win the next one. The fight never ends, but there is progress. There are days I see glimpses of my PPD peeking it's head around the corner to say hello, and although I cannot ignore it, I can acknowledge it, validate it, and learn from it.
Not everything can be packed away in a box, and that's okay.