Thursday, August 27, 2009


I work, dear reader. I'm a worker.

I do mother-work (clean, bathe, wash, fix, kiss, tidy, yell, cook, protect).
I also do music-work (piano lessons, performances).
Then I do Edit/Writing/Scheduling work (Mormon Women) and Online Marketing work (Avenia Bridal).
I also have Church work (accompanying the choir and editing the neighborhood newsletter).

I also work at keeping my chin up when I'm smacked in the head with another bout of Post Partum Depression. "Oh, no!" says I. "I don't have PPD this time. Nope. I'm fine. Everything is going well!"

I bristle at the continuous inquiries about my mental and emotional state. "Why doesn't anyone believe me? I'm fine! Don't I look happy? My baby sleeps well, eats well, and cries very little. My body has recovered at record speed, I have energy, and I'm happily focusing on my children. I've started chore charts, the laundry usually gets done, and the house is not covered in mold. I support my husband in his work, his school, and his callings. See? I'm happy. HAPPY. I'M HAPPY, DANG IT!"

And yet, I'm not.

I'm not.

I want to be. I remember how it felt. I even do things that resemble happiness. But the cloud/pit/suffocating mud of Depression has drenched everything in it's filth. Fingerprints are everywhere, reminding me that I am sad. Not happy. Un-joyful.

Reason I'm unhappy:

Loneliness, high-stress, self-image problems, putting too much importance upon the validation of others, loneliness, not meeting self-imposed-goals of mothering and wifering, longing for something I shouldn't long for (i.e. Freedom to Do Free Things), loneliness.

Vitamins, exercise, water, friends, support, service, hormonal birth control, maybe medication.

Where to start:
Vitamins, exercise, water, friends, support, service, hormonal birth control.

Oh, and work. Working at exercising, eating right, taking vitamins. Working at accepting help from friends, not ignoring phone calls, being honest. Work at serving others.

Because that's what I do. I work.

I work hard.



I truly appreciate your honesty in your writing. You are wonderful. Hang in there and keep doing the things you know help you to feel happy.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Your honesty is always refreshing. Just crank our long-distance bonding song (from 10/21/08 in my archives)...and then maybe the song that you suggested that made me feel better (from 7/20/09), and know you're not alone. <3

FoxyJ said...

It is work; sometimes the work keeps it away and sometimes it makes it worse. Hard to tell. I've been sitting around my house avoiding work this week, and getting progressively more depressed, so maybe I should try working harder. Thanks for the reminder.

PS--I'll email you and we can arrange a playdate next week. I'm home all day with just one kid and we wouldn't mind a visit.

Alison Wonderland said...

Sometimes working is all you can do. Hang in there, I love you.

Kathy T said...

Hey, just wanted to let you know that it will get always does! One day can seem unsurmountable and the next day the sun comes out and all the clouds disappear. Suddenly an old friend will call or a child does something so precious that you just melt and thank God for all your blessings and healthy family! Kathy T

Annette Lyon said...

Well said. But ya know, sometimes, I'm just sick and tired of the work. :)

bythelbs said...


Marianne said...

Hang in there Cheryl! I'm sorry to hear that things are rough! I hope it clears up soon! I know what you're going through and I'll keep you in my prayers.
I can remember lots of days when the tears were streaming and the clouds of depression brooding, and I just tried hard to remember that as long as the children were fed and felt safe and loved then in the long run this dark patch hopefully wouldn't effect their childhood memories.
God be with you!

flip flop mama said...

Hang in there! Sometimes just being aware of what you struggle with is a blessing. You'll get through it!

Anne Marie said...

I love your blog and your honesty. I seriously think 3 or 4 weeks postpartum is the pits. That's when there have been enough nighttime wakings to really take their toll, the initial rush and excitement have worn off, people figure you're fine and stop treating you like you've just had a baby, the meals have stopped, the visits have're on your own most of the time. I promise (you know already) that it gets better. I think postpartum exhaustion hit me the hardest after I had my twins (yeah, I'm some kind of nut because apparently, I couldn't think of anything but breastfeeding them both exclusively). But, the nice thing with twins was I didn't expect anything of myself except to be a eat, nurse, change diapers, serve hot dogs, let my older kids watch as much TV as they wanted, and sit on the couch. AFter you have one baby, you expect so much more of yourself. You think you can just do everything like normal when really, you just need to slow way down for a few months and give yourself and the baby a chance to recover and get in the swing of things. So, I hope you can figure out a way to find that balance again. Lower your expectations (that's what having twins taught me). And, hey, honestly the whole body-image thing after having a baby is hard to deal with. Sometimes, I think it would be refreshing to show up to some Relief Society enrichment in our bikinis (especially those of us who have had more than 2 kids). Maybe it would help us all feel a little better about the stretch marks, cellulite, flabby tummies that seem to afflict so many of us. Best wishes. I'm afraid your blog has the uncanny effect of getting me rambling. It's okay to take time to recover...whatever it is you need to do....sleep, go for a walk, have hot dogs every night for dinner (tofu or organic beef ones if you like). In other cultures and other times, women were supported and taken care of for many weeks after having babies. That is the way it really should be...a month or two to just sit there and nurse or whatever.

Cristy said...

It will end! Keep moving forward! I'm finally over mine and it's bliss (OK, I'm a Mom, it's not always bliss, but you know what I mean!)

PS- your girls are BEAUTIFUL!!! They look just like their Mother!

m&m said...

I love you.

blogging and bliss~ said...

Work is really helpful. I hope you feel better soon and that you are able to find some things that will take you to the upside...
What a cutie! Sorry I haven't commented in awhile been busy.

Julie said...

I've been in my own world. I'm sorry I haven't commented until now.

Lonely sucks.

The first 2 or 3 months are so hard. Then it's okay for a while, but man, those crappy times hit again and again, don't they.

I love you for your honesty and your faith. And for lots of other reasons.

Cardalls said...

So sorry Cheryl...all I can say is I am sorry. I know those feelings all too well. I'll be praying for you!

nweames said...

I could have written I completely relate to the loneliness trigger and the doing things resembling happiness. Why are all of us that struggle with this doing the same things and yet we don't talk about it!! Thank you for bringing it out. My Dad told me after my 2nd child that I needed to leave my house every day and that has been a BIG help in getting me out of myself along with exercise & medication.

My mom always says "Maybe this time you won't get it, and yet, I always do. This time I have just accepted it and decided to just take it as it comes, just like I would any other illness. If I'm having a bad day I am not going to pretend otherwise to those around me and embrace this illness with the idea that maybe in doing so others will see that you can live with it and it isn't the end of the world. Also I try to remember I have an illness and if I had pneumonia I would do everything I could to get better and not pretend that I was well and I should treat PPD the same way. knowing in 2 years life will be better -- and this time for good!