Monday, March 31, 2008

Many Moons

I cannot believe it has been what - two months? *Gulp* I swear I had not forgotten this blog.


I have been verklempt lately. I had been still struggling with the postpartum depression thingie I had going on.


After the first time I posted about it, my husband was upset. He is a very private person and obviously, postpartum depression is not about one individual - it affects an entire family. I respected his wishes that I not talk about it.


Then, I felt like such a fraud because I did end up going on Zoloft a few months ago. And it seemed untruthful to post here and not "confess" that fact. But I wanted to respect X's wishes, too.


I have a daughter. Perhaps, if Anjali had been a boy, I would feel differently and would just continue on as usual. No harm. No foul. Right?



I have a very direct, very personal experience with a "child losing a parent" scenario since my own father lost his own father at the tender age of 18 months. Recently, I realized something. If something were to happen to me, my own daughter may not know the truth. She may see this blog some day and think that everything turned out fine. She may some day, have a child of her own. She may some day, struggle with postpartum depression. I would be horrified to think that she might say "well, my own mother dealt with it stoically, therefore I must as well".

I have never written a "Dear Son/Daughter Letter". I think they are a bit cheesy but am willing to break with tradition this once.

For Anjali.

March 29, 2008

Dear Anjali,

When I found out I was having a daughter, I was over the moon and beyond. I think I was all the way out to Saturn - maybe even Jupiter. Wait, a second. Which is farther out??? Whatever. I was so excited to have a girl. You get the picture. A daughter. I considered myself the luckiest ever in the history of women giving birth to have a boy and a girl. I love butterflies and dinosaurs! I love, love trains! And dolls! And cars! And hair barrettes! (P.S. You love trains, too. I have photos.)

When you were born, I cried. You were my 2nd baby and the experience was less surreal than your brother's birth. With Arun, I was high on excited adrenaline about having a baby and in a bit of a shock about being a mother (something I had dreamed of since I was little girl.) However, with you, I knew exactly, precisely all the joys I was in for with you. Your birth was all about you and nothing whatsoever about me becoming a mother. I was already a mother, I knew what what I was doing at that point and was not scared in the least to be a mother again.

After you were born, while I was still on the delivery table , you immediately came to my breast to nurse and we never looked back. I am so grateful that I have only breastfed you and we have never given you formula. You are a healthy, chubby little girl and I totally relish your pudgy thighs and dimpled knuckles. I am hoping you breastfeed until about 18 months or so, but truly - it is up to you. If you want to give it up as 12 months. So be it. Two years? That is fine, too.

While we were in the hospital, I did not want you to leave the room. I was on edge when you were not with me. With Arun, I was more nervous and sent him to the nursery more often so that I could sleep. With you, I felt more comfortable and did not want you to leave at all - I was very nervous when you were not with me and preferred that you sleep with me in the hospital bed (a queen size, HUGE bed - very safe for co-sleeping.) I slept so peacefully when you were beside me. I could wake up throughout the night and immediately feel your chest to make sure you are breathing (I still do this, nearly nine months later. When will I stop this?)

When we brought you home, you decided that you would not sleep in the bassinet and that you needed to sleep with your daddy or me. And we did not argue. You are still sleeping with me in our bed and we have no intentions of moving you to another bed until you want to move to another bed. You sleep best with daddy or me. In India, this is the common way to sleep, so we do not care and we all sleep together. Because we are a family. We are confident that you will head off to college wanting to sleep on your own.

Anjukutty, I do not expect us to be friends. Ever. I want to be your mother - the one to guide you and share life with you. But not as your friend. You will have many, many friends in your life. I might be a sort of friend, on a lesser scale, but I will always, always be your mother first. This means that I may tell you things that you do not want to hear. On the other hand, friends have to a tendency to tell you only the things you want to hear. You can always come to me for an honest opinion, that you may or may not desire. But it will be honest and only with pure intentions for I only have your best interest at heart.

I have so many interests, thoughts and ideas - I am so excited to share those with you. I do hope that we will enjoy doing things together - playing cards, going to antique malls, playing board games, watching sports, reading books, traveling, knitting. But I will always be your mother first. Not your friend. Please remember this on those days that you are angry with me for telling you what you did not want to hear.

Anju, this is the serious part of this letter. After you were born, I encountered the saddest, darkest period of my life. The dreaded postpartum depression. Fortunately, you and Arun were not a part of that dark part. Actually, you and Arun have been the light of my life and have kept me going. I wake up each morning and try to think of fun things to do for you and Arun - even on the days when I do not want to get out of bed. The two of you keep me going and make me get out of the house. Every single day, you and Arun do something that makes me smile.

I have been taking Zoloft and that has helped. In addition, I am still trying my best to eat healthy, go for walks and keep active while I wait for my body to get back to normal. Reading, writing and knitting have taken on an even greater importance for me as a means for relaxation. Lately, I have felt that I am getting more normal and that my hormones are settling down. I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

AnjukuttyAlthough the past few months have been so hard, I would do them all over again in a heartbeat. No questions asked. You have made our family complete in so many ways I never thought possible and we are grateful that you are so healthy.

I pray that someday I will give you this letter myself.



Chocolate Covered Susan said...

Beautiful! Arun and Anjali are very lucky to have such a fantastic mother!

Monkey McWearingChaps said...


thordora said...

That was lovely, and your daughter is beautiful. She's lucky to have such a wonderful mother.

I've been there with the PPD. If you'd like, come over to my site-under the PPD tag are stories-my stories, and the stories of others.

You are not alone.

Meisha said...

Great post, and beautiful letter. I struggled with severe PPD with my first child, and also took Zoloft to combat it (which was a lifesaver). My hubby didn't understand at the time, but I knew what I needed to do. Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope that you start feeling better soon.

Kim said...

I have been there with you in the dark and suffocating trenches of PPD. My eyes well up just remembering as I read your post - it wasn't long ago. I took Desipramine (old tri-cyclic med) and was finally starting to feel like myself when my son was 14 months old. He is now almost two and I am "Kim" again, and trying for a second child. You are not alone and I'm glad you chose to talk about it. Thank you.

T's Pink Gloves said...

Aw, PPD and little girls. I swear my mother had it also but she refuses to talk about it. I think she still feels shame over it to be honest. I NEVER want to think of my daughter not having the resources she needs to get help should she need it. It took over two years and a change of insurance companies for a new doctor to finally say "My God,you have PPD they told you to do what?" (Got to love managed health care thank God for the new insurance) I never want to think of her going through that.