I’m not entirely sure about this but I think that waterboarding is illegal torture by United Nations standards, right? But what about isolation and sleep deprivation? Are those still acceptable forms of POW treatment?
I ask because I blame those particular reasons for my increasingly poor attitude lately and sullen mood. I would go so far as to call it bitchy. And I know my husband would. But I am not a POW. I am a POM. Prisoner of Motherhood. But that sounds like I feel trapped and perhaps unhappy with my baby. It is just the opposite, though. I would say Liam is the best thing in my life and sometimes the only thing that can make me happy and laugh when I hit a downward-spiral,like the one I fell into last week.
Unfortunately, the connection is that the downward-spirals of (dare I say it?) depression coincide with whether or not I’ve gotten adequate sleep and have been able to socialize outside of my own home. And those issues are not a choice, they are mostly out of my control. You see, this past week Liam hit 4 months old. There is a “touchpoint” in this month, as Dr. Brazelton would say. So, he gets vaccines, he is getting over a cold AND he is completely off-kilter due to whatever development he is going through. The kid went from sleeping 7-8 hours straight last month, to waking up every hour. I hadn’t seen this kind of activity since his first month. And as the week wore on and my brain became foggier and my eyelids became droopier I remembered how miserable I had felt, mentally. Because sleeplessness is one thing, but then trapping yourself within the same 4 walls with a baby who just wants to nurse and sleep (but only in your arms. And not at night.), just creates that mental swamp.
I remember going to a birth class that I was taking at my midwives’ office. The topic was postpartum depression and I remember the midwife saying that one sign to clue yourself in on was hygiene. If you are not so careful about the showering you may be depressed. I remember thinking to myself that is may be difficult to pinpoint that one since it seemed unlikely that many new parents were getting daily showers. But now I know. That’s not what they were referring to. It’s when four days have passed and you’re in the same pajamas and you’re not even sure if your teeth are getting brushed twice a day, let alone an actual shower, that you need to have a talk with yourself. And it’s not because you need to face the fact that hey, that’s you, not the diaper pail. It’s the not caring. It’s looking at the clock after a morning of baby routine, realizing that at this point you’re not going anywhere anyway, and not bothering to clean yourself. Too much effort. Why bother.
So, try having dismal amounts of sleep, subpar cleanliness and isolating yourself within a house that is not within sight of neighbors, and then see how your voice changes to that of a whiny sixteen year old. Not only did I whine but I rolled my eyes and let out deep sighs of distaste after everything that my husband said. I cried over dirty dishes. Husband didn’t like me. I didn’t like me.
So, after a date with the shower and forcing myself into society, it is easier to look upon the situation with more clarity. First of all, I should be in bed right now. But writing is a stress-reliever for me and since I haven’t found time to fit yoga, meditation or consistent gym-time into my schedule yet, I write. Second, showers, as quickly as they may be, will be necessary for warding off the blues. Third, I need to leave the house. Even if the effort seems greater than the reward at the time. I can’t let more than 1 day go by without going anywhere. Fourth, I want to repeat that this is NOT about the baby. I covet the fact that I am even able to spend a lazy day with Liam, blowing raspberries in bed and watching him discover his old toys in a new light. Hours could melt away while we sing songs and crack each other up. It’s when I shake myself out of that dream-world that I realize I need to take care of myself, too.
Thank GOD for my flock. At Birth Roots we joined a Blossoming Newborns class and the purpose is to build that community and “family” of people going through the same (or similar) things you are as a parent. Having that one day a week, or more, when you see your flock makes the whole week worth getting through. And it’s always good to have a reason to shower.