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Luck of the Draw?

January 24, 2011

I’ve often wondered how someone like me who really has nothing to complain about can end up with postpartum depression. Luck of the draw? Or genetics, or hormones, or whatever. It happened. Is happening. It’s a legitimate illness and most days I accept it even if I don’t always understand it.

But then I read stories that are so heartbreaking a little piece of me thinks, again, that I just need to suck it up.

Over the weekend I came across Finding My New Normal – one woman’s painfully honest story of having a stillborn child at 36 weeks following years of infertility. I can’t imagine.

Through following a trail of blogs tonight I found this post on transplanted thoughts. Holding your 7-month-old son as he takes his last breath? Almost unbearably awful. I can’t imagine.

When Connor was really small, I participated in an online community of pregnant and new moms. Through several weeks I followed one woman’s story, from her finding out through testing that her baby would have a birth defect to her daughter being born and their endless trips to the hospital. The baby was better. And then she wasn’t. She was better again, and then worse, and then really bad. Finally, none of the things they did were working and she couldn’t breathe. They had to keep her throat open with a tube, but the tube meant they couldn’t feed her properly. One surgery and then another, but in the end it came down to feeding or breathing. And those things aren’t mutually exclusive.

They made a decision. They took her out of the hospital and to the beach. They showed her the ocean. They held her and talked to her and soaked in every bit of her small being one last time. And then they took the tube out and let her go.

When this was happening, she let us know this is what they planned to do. It was awful to read, especially because none of us could do anything for her except hold her virtual hand. And when it was done, she came back to let us know. The community rallied around and a day or so later, at a specified time, we all lit a candle for this small child who had left the world far too early, and for her parents who had to carry on without her.

I lit a candle and cried. I cried, and cried, and cried. What an absolutely horrible thing to have happen.

So what on Earth is my problem? So my child doesn’t sleep well. Eventually he will. Right? (Right?!) So he had to be bounced all the time when he was small so he didn’t scream. And he was heavy. But hey! I lost all my baby weight and then some. I could have had a baby who slept and played happily and rarely fussed. Luck of the draw, I guess.

Compared to other stories, none of that matters. He’s alive. He’s healthy. He’s beautiful. And I love him with all my heart. My heavy heart. For tonight I will be grateful for all I have and send loving thoughts to those moms who aren’t so lucky.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Bluebird permalink
    January 26, 2011 4:02 pm

    I found your blog and am I ever happy I did. This post moved me to tears. Thank you for sharing.

    I too had a baby who cried and cried in the beginning and like C, the only thing that worked for her was sitting on a big purple exercise ball and bouncing, bouncing, bouncing. I did it for so long that I thought I would have to bounce her down the aisle when she got married. I’d say luck of the draw for sure. Now she’s grown up to be the most beautiful, caring, thoughtful, tweenager I know (Ok, I’m biased).

    I’m so happy to know this side of you; happy that you have the courage to share your story. šŸ™‚

    • January 26, 2011 4:31 pm

      Oh mah lord, you found me. šŸ˜‰ Well now you know the work me and the other me.

      And your tweenager absolutely is beautiful and caring and thoughtful. And confident! She was awesome at your shower. You have every right to be proud.

  2. Briegh permalink
    January 25, 2011 7:31 pm

    Ok. Here’s what I thought in my head when I first read this one…

    “What on Earth is your problem?” Umm, honey, your kid doesn’t sleep. I mean, COME ON. That’s BRUTAL. This is your reality. Yes, it ROCKS that sleep is your major issue – on the spectrum of issues, of course there could be worse. But hey, this is what it is. And it is not easy.

    I am so thankful to have such a healthy son. I give thanks every time I see a sick child in the doctor’s office. It is amazing what mothers go through. And how you don’t understand until you are a mother. And how once you are a mother, you feel what another mother is feeling by the look on her face. And how a smile in the middle of a hard time can make the world of difference. And how we don’t know what’s going on for someone else, and can be so different, and not experiencing the same thing at all, but at the same time know, and feel, and empathize, and try to understand.

    (see, this is why I comment in my head.)

  3. January 25, 2011 5:40 pm

    This moving blog entry has me in tears. I want to hug you! “It could always be worse” we tell ourselves, whether suffering from PPD, infertility, or anything else that most people don’t understand. Any kind of suffering is awful, and we are all grateful for the things we do have, but don’t trivialize what you are experiencing. We are amazing, beautiful, and strong for surviving what we’ve survived. xoxo

  4. January 24, 2011 9:32 pm

    Oh, honey. I thought of you too. I thought of you daily for months and months after your loss, and it just made my heart break. A small piece of me thinks about it every time I see a post or a tweet from you but mostly I think about how incredibly strong you are. Part of this feeling, I think, is fear that if something like that were to happen to me I wouldn’t be so strong. But I guess we all have things to feel blue about, and that’s okay, whatever they are.


  5. January 24, 2011 9:24 pm

    We all live our own realities, and sure, there’s always a “worse than me” out there, but that is not your life. And sadly, your “luck” has included PPD which is not in fact a result of where you rank on the lucky scale. It just… it just is. PPD is a hard card to be dealt – it’s so difficult to logically realise we’re so incredibly lucky but feel so overwhelmingly blue.

    I’ve had my share of sadness, but I still realise how fortunate I am. And I still feel blue.



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