I met today’s blogger, Jen, through #ppdchat on Twitter. I’m constantly amazed by her positive spirit and her ability to rally around all of those who are struggling. Thank you for being here today, Jen!
I’m Jen of the blog tranquilamama.wordpress.com. I have been happily married to my best friend for 9 years. We have two girls who I refer to as Munch (4 ½ year old) and Skeeter (19 months old) on my blog. My husband and I try to juggle parenting, professional responsibilities and housework. I started my blog to help other moms who were struggling with postpartum mood disorders. I received so much support from the online community that I felt called to pay it forward. I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression seven months after the birth of my youngest, Skeeter. I met Kristin through #ppdchat. We bonded over our lovely home state of Wisconsin. I am so excited that she will be moving back to the land of beer and cheese. I am looking forward to getting the chance to meet her and her adorable C when she is settled into her new digs. Thank you so much for letting me post and get a chance to vent about a family member who sometimes reads my blog.
The Mother’s Day holiday has always been fraught with impossible expectations for me. My first Mother’s Day we went to a restaurant with my husband’s family. Munch was seven months old. I was so nervous about how she would behave. I was very insecure as a first-time mom. I was very uncomfortable with the idea of nursing in public. When Munch needed to nurse, my mother-in-law suggested that I take her to the bathroom. I was mortified and horrified by the suggestion. I ended up taking Munch to our car and nursing her in the parking lot. I was seething with resentment. I ended up calling my sister because I was so upset. Munch nursed like it was an all you can eat buffet. This meant that nursing sessions took 45 minutes. I kept a lot of these feelings inside.
Last year I took Mother’s Day back for myself, and it was the most wonderful gift I could give myself. One of the main reasons was that I could not bear to be around anyone but my immediate family and my parents. I was deep in the throes of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. My requests for last year’s Mother’s Day was to attend Mass, go to a yoga class in the afternoon and have my husband prepare dinner. That yoga class was my wakeup call and realization that something was wrong with me.
This year I informed my husband that I did not want to go anywhere. I wanted to stay at home and relax. I wanted to be able to spend some time just reading books, magazines and blogs and take a bubble bath. I asked my husband to wash my car inside and out. One of the main reasons for staying at home again was to rest up for the start of my new job. I had been promoted at work. I would be on the same campus, but I would be in a different building. I needed time to relax and be physically and mentally refreshed. We had received a call from my mother-in-law earlier in the week about going there for dinner, but my husband told her that we already had plans. Never underestimate the power of Catholic guilt. My husband received a text message late Saturday night from his mom asking us to come to dessert at 3:15. My lovely husband is very protective of me, and he simply chose not to tell me about this. He knew that this would infuriate me.
My little ladies woke me early to present the gifts that they had made at their daycare. Skeeter made a birdhouse with wind chimes on it, and Munch had painted a plate with our family banana bread recipe. Their cards were so sweet and thoughtful. My husband gave me a stereo system that will allow us to listen to my iPod, listen to the radio or play CDs. I also got the Grease 2 soundtrack CD. These gifts were so unexpected. My mother-in-law called us at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday to ask me if we were coming. I told her that I didn’t know about this and that we would get back to her. I reluctantly agreed to go for one hour to see two people: my wonderful sister-in-law and my husband’s grandmother. Grandma is 95, and she has been declining this past year. My sister-in-law has been struggling with lots of personal stuff the past few weeks.
My husband and I ended up in a huge argument as we were on our way to his mom’s house. This time I wasn’t seething with resentment. I was letting out all of my emotions – anger, irritation and guilt. I ended up taking a Bach’s Rescue Remedy pastille on the way to my mother-in-law’s house. It helped lower my anxiety to a dull roar. After our discussion in the car, my husband and I made up. As I was still stewing, my mother-in-law gave me the sweetest card about how I wasn’t a daughter-in-law, that I was a daughter to her. She has been wonderful since I told her about my diagnosis of PPD and PPA. So I felt like a chump because I was still upset. I struggle with balancing my needs and articulating how the guilt trips make me feel. All I wanted was some time alone and some time with my husband and my girls. So I am thinking that I will write her a letter next year asking for a détente in the Mother’s Day guilt trips. Shouldn’t that one day be guilt free? If I write the letter ahead of time detailing my plans, it should save us from any last minute plans right?