PPD one more time

*This is a long, sappy post so if you’re not into those kind of stuff, then I’m afraid you’ll have to go somewhere else. *

A friend of mine who gave birth 6 months ago finally got in touch with me recently. I was happy as I haven’t heard from her for a long time. We were former neighbors and she’s one of my closest friends in Japan.

I thought she must be really busy with a new baby to give me updates I wanted. Then yesterday, I got a long email and some photos. I read her email, smiled,  saw the photos, smile some more and wept. I did not just cry but I wept.

Somehow, I feel that weeping is more intense than “crying” so I’ll use that word.

No, she wasn’t unhappy with her marriage or her baby, in fact, she’s at the peak of happiness, she says, if there’s one called that. She was glowing in the photos, beaming with pride, in full makeup, slim (I have no idea how someone can manage to be slim after only 6 months!) and simply beautiful. Motherhood bliss. I am so happy for her.

On the other hand, I did NOT look like that 6 months after giving birth, almost 6 years ago. Not even close.

Normally, I don’t get jealous of anyone’s achievement or status but this one got me. How can she say she’s been sleeping well (her baby is a good sleeper right from the start) thus not looking zoombie-like as I did and looking very composed in every angle of every picture? Are all babies good sleepers except mine? Do all moms have that radiant “new mommy glow” except me?

woman-baby-postpartum-200

Right after we took Pristine from the hospital, she was crying non-stop. I have done several things trying to solve the problem. Colic? No. Insufficient milk supply on my part? No. Still, the crying would only stop for a few minutes and start again. The babe just wouldn’t let me sleep a bit. After a week, I can’t describe how I looked like. I would smack anyone who’s trying to take a picture of me because I looked that bad.

I often asked myself, “what did I do to deserve this kind of torture?”

Then 60 days after I gave birth, the company where I previously worked for gave me a choice when I went back to work: get relocated in another country or else lose my job. The relocation would be too much for my new family since I would be the main provider and it would be difficult for my husband to find a job at the country we will be moving into.

I lost my job.

I stayed home but had to find ways getting a job again because we can’t manage on single income. I would scour the net for infomation while breastfeeding, wake up late at night to check the classified ads, write resumes and answer to emails. Three hours of continuous sleep was luxury.

During the day, I would call for possible jobs but in hardcore work-centered mentality typical Japanese society, no company is willing take in a new mom. It was also difficult because I was choosing jobs that would fit my schedule and I so wanted to get away from IT jobs (my degree) because simply, there is no way I can commit to overtime work with a new baby.

When Pristine was 6 months, I asked my mom to come to Japan so I could enrol in a community college to study something else so I could apply for other jobs other than IT related ones. I got admitted in a nearby school and my everyday routine would include waking up early morning to take a bath to wash away the stinky pasterurized milk smell, breastfeed while taking breakfast, drive to school, go back home during lunch break to breastfeed while eating lunch, drive back to school, manage leaks and sore breasts during classes, drive back home at 4 pm, breastfeed, lull baby to sleep to do my assignments and at night, pump my breasts for the next day’s feeding. That was my routine for six months. I get dizzy just by remember all of that!

While it was tough for me, I think it was tougher for Pristine. I feel guilty not being there for her all the time. I feel bad not being to see her walk her first steps or hear her first words or see her laugh and coo during the daytime – things I only hear from my mom through the phone or seen through videos that my mom took.

I hated that I have to work when she was small. I still cringe at these kind of thoughts until now.

My friend on the other hand, don’t need to work (my husband apologized that I have to work too). She gives all her time to her baby. She doesn’t have to drive to work and back or pump her breasts,  store her milk in the freezer or sort them according to dates or endure long times away from her baby. I bet her PC monitor and keyboard doesn’t have milk smears. She looks perfect. I wish I looked like that 6 years ago. I wish I smiled like that.

Most importantly, I wish I only had to concentrate on child rearing rather than bringing some bacon home.

(No you can’ t tell me to find another high-paying husband so I won’t have to work. That is NOT an option.)

Life is better for me now that Pristine is almost six but somehow, what I went through put me in temporary scare to have another child. I always say I would like to have one again but at the back of my head I am scared – for myself and for the new baby.

By the way, the reason of Pristine crying so much was that she was having extreme allergic reaction to milk and eggs – normal foods I ate and passed on through breast milk! I only came to know that when she was 5 months old.

16 thoughts on “PPD one more time

  1. I can understand what you went through because I went through much of the same. I didn’t have to work, so I stayed home, but I was completely overwhelmed with it all. Emma was a good baby and all, but I just cried all the time. Even when she would cry because she was hungry or needed a diaper change, I would lock myself in our bathroom and cry and Peter would have to take care of things. Everyone was worried about me and didn’t know what to do.

    I didn’t feel like Emma’s mom…I felt like a baby-sitter. And I looked like crap because I wasn’t sleeping very well.

    There were many times I would call Peter crying and he’d have to come home from work early.

    About six months after she was born things got better, I started taking college classes again just to get out of the house a couple of times a week, and that helped.

    Jackis last blog post..Welcome to Saltsjobaden, Sweden

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    • Thank you very much for sharing your story!

      I can relate to what you say about not feeling like a mom but instead a babysitter! During the times when I didn’t know what to do with Pristine’s uncontrollable crying, I would cry helplessly. It was so difficult knowing what to do and so scary- I kept asking myself, what if she stops breathing while crying? It turned out that her whole body was itching and she couldn’t scratch it being newborn and all.

      PPD sucks hey, but I am happy that we’re both out of that kind of situation! Life is better and I see that you are happier now and enjoying your precious little girl now!

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  2. I am trying to recollect those early times when Matthew was smaller, breastfeeding him, and those ‘happy’ baby times and i honestly can not recall being so unhappy or discontented about being with him, and personally taking care of him. Yes, I was conflicted about my decision to quit my job and stay home, because ‘day care’ option was readily available for us, but i simply didn’t prefer it. And yes, there were trying times, sleepless nights and stress, but there are trivial for me right now, honestly. Because I have more stress right now, that he is over-2 years old, curious, adventurous, confident, self-reliant, defiant, faster, stronger, and ever less self-soothing and driving me nuts!

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    • Thanks for your output! I just want to clear up one thing: I wasn’t unhappy or discontented being with her.

      I was sad about having to leave her while she’s still small and having no other option. I was also very worried what to do with her during the times she was crying uncontrollably – I didn’t know her whole body was itching and she couldn’t scratch it because of milk and egg allergy!

      As the saying goes, it’ll get better and it’s true for me. After we discovered the allergy and made ways not to trigger it, life has been a lot better, for her and for me,for us all! Pristine is a very easy child. Obedient (even her teachers are amazed) and only cries when she is in pain. No tantrums. I didn’t even pass that terrible two’s stage with her.

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  3. My youngest is 2.5 years, and I’m still not at the level your friend is.

    With both my kids I had to go to school or work part time when they were sick months old, so I know a bit of what you went through. Thankfully, today I am able to stay home with them full time.

    I went through horrible PPD with my first and it was a long time before I was able to bond with her. I regret that.

    Shellys last blog post..Because Kids Don’t Come With Instructions…

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    • Thank you very much for reading that long post and leaving a precious comment.

      I think I was only able to bond with my daughter after we passed that allergy testing when I knew what was going on and what to do.But hey, life goes on and it’ll get better. I hope you’re not so stressed right now!

      I have come to terms to the fact that my family needs me to work and have found ways to bond with my daughter and spend quality time with her, whenever I can.

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  4. I’m so sorry. That sounds so difficult.

    Its so easy to be jealous of others. I’m jealous of just about everyone I know with a baby at least a little because I can’t breastfeed exclusively and even with a little formula Lily’s not gaining well.

    I think everyone is given different challenges with babies. Its unfair and sucks.

    I feel very fortunate to be able to stay home but its hard and I am going to have to start working from home next month or else we wouldn’t be able to make it.

    Jinxys last blog post..Girl Talk Thursday-Make up

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    • Thanks for reading that and leaving a comment. It means so much to know that I am “heard”. 🙂
      Yes, it was difficult at first but it’s sooo much better now. Pristine wasn’t an easy baby on the first six months but she is a blessing. As I have written in one of my responses to the comments in this post, she doesn’t even have tantrums!

      Hope you won’t have difficulties adjusting when you start working next month.

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  5. Big hug for you!! It’s hard for the first baby. I can totally relate to you. Even though, I didn’t have to go through as many difficulties as your situation with losing the job and sleepless night. But I remembered being scared and crying so easily. Miss J had some difficulty latching on during breast feeding so I was so stressed about feeding her. Then a few months later, my husband losing his job. We were doing ok.. But it was tough not being able to stay home with her during her first year. But we all have to make choices under our own circumstance. And for what it’s worth, the second one seems to be easier. Maybe because I have more experience or I’m more relax. Do what in your heart.

    Amy @ The Q Familys last blog post..Fun Free (Cheap) Things to Do with Kids this Summer

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    • Yes, I also feel that the second one will be better as I am more mature, have more experience and know what would/might be the reason in case the new baby cries non-stop…I think I can handle it better now…

      Just to let you know, I am not depressed anymore and have accepted that I have to work outside the home.I just recalled those dark times when I saw my friend’s photo.

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  6. Grace we have more in common then you know, this was me with Roo! Life was HELL those first months as Roo was allergic to milk, eggs and wheat!

    We had to put her on Nutrigim until she was 18 months. It was $30 a can, can you say ouch for a single mom!

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    • Thanks for sharing your story.
      I had plenty of breast milk and thought I was lucky and so blessed in that department but when I knew that Pristine was allergic to milk and eggs,I had to eliminate it (milk, eggs and ALL their bi-products) in my diet so I can continue breastfeeding her. Tough times…

      Your $30 a can milk sounds like a big ouch!!

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  7. makahilak man pud ta ani na post oi…. moms who have ‘perfect’ babies are more of an exception than the rule when it comes to motherhood! I can totally relate because as you know, I have to carry and soothe danielle from 10 in the evening until 4 in the morning everyday for almost three months before she can sleep straight. I only began to experience a good sleep when she was almost 5 months old… Bilib giyod ko nimo grace- I know it’s so difficult raising a child in a country like japan because you lead extremely busy lives- pero looking back, nakaya man… Don’t be afraid of the second baby in the near future- you have a good mom who will help you through! 🙂

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  8. Hi, Grace,
    It sounds like you survived a very difficult time!
    I learned very valuable information from your post, about a baby being allergic to foods the mother is eating. It is too bad a pediatrician was not wise to catch the problem at the time, so you could get some sleep and enjoy Pristine’s baby days.

    Joyce T.s last blog post..Excuses, excuses

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    • While it was too bad for the pediatrician not being able to diagnose the real problem, my mother in-law was partly to blame! She was there the entire month after I gave birth and witnessed the crying – but didn’t say anything. Later on, I learned that she had the SAME experience when my husband was a baby. He was extremely allergic to milk and eggs and all the by-products and had rashes all over (I’ve seen the photos at the in-laws’ house).

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  9. Yeah, I can see how it would be hard for you to want to have another child! Cory was fine for the first 10 days or so and then my mother-in-law brought me bran muffins. I loved them, but I didn’t know it gave babies gas. so for a week he was miserable and screaming and then when we figured out what was wrong it was too late, he had developed the habit. We got very little sleep the first 3 months, but I am lucky I didn’t have to go back to work.
    I think for me it hit later – maybe 18 months, when I had more time to myself and wasn’t so focused on taking care of him 24/7. Then I realized that I was bored and lonely. I got really depressed for awhile and still think that there might be some hormone things messed up.
    I hope that another baby will be coming soon, but I’m also a bit scared that I won’t be able to handle it.

    Kristas last blog post..Summer is Here!

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