Everything Will Change

Article by Amelia Muir

At six months everything will change.

That’s what I thought. For six months I could do anything, live with anything, endure anything. I could give everything to my baby because that’s what a mom should do, and because eventually it would change.

At six months baby will stop waking up every thirty to sixty minutes with a piercing scream. I won’t have to scoot downstairs on my bum because my brain is shaking inside my skull, and I feel my legs might buckle. I won’t have to start every day with pain killers to take the edge of the headache. I won’t feel nauseous with exhaustion, or wish that I could slip into a coma just to escape the crushing need for sleep.

At six months I won’t be worried anymore. I will stop thinking about SIDS and won’t picture myself waking to an unresponsive infant. I won’t have to imagine how I would feel and what I would do, how my life would be destroyed. I won’t have to stay awake and monitor baby’s breathing or temperature.

At six months I will be able to leave the house. I will be able to talk to people, even other moms, those ones who know what they are doing and whose babies sleep and don’t cry.

At six months I will be me again, I will have friends again, I will enjoy life again.

At six months everything will change.

But it doesn’t.

At six and a half months nothing is changing except me. I can’t endure the insomnia, the aural hallucinations,  the crying.

I lie on the bed and dissolve, losing all sense of where my body ends. Maybe I’m dying. It’s been three days since I slept. I’m failing my baby, my husband, my family. I’m worthless.

I call my husband at work and tell him he needs to come home right away because I’m falling. Inside my mind I’m falling and I can’t stop falling. I’m afraid to be alone.

Everything happens quickly.

I remember the Pacific Post Partum Support Society pamphlet a nurse had given me and call for support.

It’s a small thing, to have someone listen and understand; however, it gives me the strength I need to go back to my doctor and make him listen, not laugh, when I tell him how little I sleep.

I realize that nothing will change unless I change it so I join a group, I connect with a friend who experienced PPD, I hire a sleep consultant, I write down what I need to feel calm, I put myself first.

At the group I can talk without worry of being judged or misunderstood.
Most importantly I can talk without giving pain to my partner who tried so hard to support me, and failed; I can talk without giving pain to my mother, who tried so hard to help me, but said so many things that hurt me. I can talk and I can listen and hear that I’m not the only one. Finally, I can start to feel like me again.

At eighteen months everything is changed.

At eighteen months baby sleeps through the night and so do I. At eighteen months she’s happy and bright and strong and I don’t worry about her. At eighteen months we go out every day, we play, we sing songs, we visit friends. At eighteen months I don’t care what anyone else thinks because I know what’s best for me, for her, for us.

Everything is changed because I talked to someone.

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