I'm not only grieving the loss of my pre-baby lifestyle, I'm grieving the loss of who I was before as well.
As I scanned Facebook recently, reading happy birth announcements and seeing pictures of ecstatic new parents with their bubbas, I realised I am also grieving for the loss of those precious first few days and weeks after Rory's arrival. These new parents 'can't get enough' of their babies and 'feel complete'. I never felt any of that (well, I don't want Rory to 'complete' me. Even if I didn't have PND, I wouldn't want that; that is idolatry). While reading some of the birth statuses and seeing the newborn photos, I began to cry. When Duncan asked me what was wrong, I told him I wished I could have that time with Rory again. I wish I hadn't been so depressed. I wish I hadn't felt so indifferent towards him, felt he was ruining my life, and just wanted to be free of him. I wish I could have those newborn cuddles again and soak up every moment. I wish I could have just told myself it wouldn't last forever and ridden the bumps.
I see pictures on Facebook of new parents going out and about with their bubbas less than a week after they were born. I was so depressed and paralysed by anxiety that I struggled to have a shower and get dressed let alone go out to a restaurant. We have friends who have a month old baby and already they are back at church regularly and life doesn't seem to have changed that much for them. I don't think their baby is 'easy', but they seem to just go with the flow. In my heart of hearts, I'm envious. I wish that could be me going out and about without becoming stressed or tired. I wish God could have given me more coping abilities. I can tell myself that Facebook doesn't tell the whole story, I even re-read Karen's post, Myths of Parenthood #1: Everyone Else is Coping. But some parents genuinely seem to be doing quite well and not just putting on a mask. When I was in the depths of despair, I didn't even have the strength to pretend everything was ok, it was just so blatantly obvious I wasn't coping.
Yes, I think it's time to re-read The Envy of Eve again, especially the bits about coveting gifts, abilities and circumstances.
Duncan and I 'lost' the first part of our relationship too because a third party was intent on breaking us up. I grieved that for a long time. Although ultimately Duncan and I married and have had six and a half wonderful years together since we first started dating, it took me a long time to heal. I am thankful that I still have that chance to make good memories with Rory now, but I still think it's ok to grieve. This photo was taken on the day he was born. The reason I love it so much is that it reminds me of those wonderful first cuddles before depression struck two days later:
This quote I posted last year sums it up:
It does not mean that there will not be times when I am so overcome with sadness at memories in my life that I must go outside and find a place to be alone and just cry for an hour....but that God is good.
- The Secrets of Heathersleigh Hall by Michael Phillips