A series of posts uncovering what is really beneath my anorexia and depression.
Reason 12. All things post-partum.
On June 11, 2016, I had my beautiful, long-awaited baby girl. She has been my bright spot in all the darkness. She is the happiest girl, with a good sense of humor and laid back attitude.
When LK was six months old, it was December and:
- Garbage Season in Seattle
- I was still wearing maternity pants
- I was a low milk producer and struggled a lot with breastfeeding
- I was back at work, despite wanting to be a stay-at-home mom
Having the best baby in the world doesn’t mean you’ll be the happiest mama in the world, or even close to it. As someone already very prone to depression and anxiety, the post-partum world is dark and lonely. Without a mama, I didn’t feel that I had anyone I could really call ANYTIME with all the INSANE things I was thinking and feeling.
In our parents group, there was a session on post-partum depression. We watched a video. No one wanted to talk. I thought about saying something, but what if no one else felt like me? What if they thought I was being dramatic and trying to get attention? Maybe I WAS being dramatic. My baby actually slept; they would hate me for complaining. So after the video, we ate our potluck and made small talk.
And those mother f***ing maternity pants. We took a family picture at Christmas 2016 (below) and I hated how I looked. I didn’t see the kind, equal partner or the baby who looked like my dad in this photo. I wished I had put LK in front of me to hide my disgusting post-partum body.
Forget the fact that this body had:
- Gotten pregnant on the second month of trying
- Had a very standard, trouble-free pregnancy
- Delivered LK in 6 hours in a completely natural birth
- Provided her much of her nourishment in the womb and six months afterward
Forget all that. I had fat thighs.
I was working and she was in daycare. She cried and cried when I left her there. I was a terrible mom. She thinks I don’t love her.
When I was home with her, I just wanted to lay in bed. I was a terrible mother. I didn’t want to play with her all the time.
I didn’t feel I could do much to change my situation. I couldn’t make Seattle’s weather better. I couldn’t quit my job.
But I could lose weight and not wear maternity pants anymore.
So I did. Along the way, I somehow changed my goal from returning to pre-pregnancy weight to being the thinnest mom out there. I reached my pre-pregnancy weight and couldn’t stop. Just five more pounds. Oh, that looks good. Five more pounds. Nice, I can buy new pants. Wait, why isn’t it working anymore? I guess I have to eat less now.
Research shows that those who develop eating disorders show actual differences from normal people on brain scans. I haven’t had a brain scan done, but I can well believe it.
I felt like I had no choice. I could not eat most things. It wasn’t an option. It didn’t matter if I have a wonderful partner who loves me. It didn’t matter if I had a baby who loves me. It didn’t matter if my favorite people in the world weigh more than me and that has nothing to do with why I love them.
All that mattered was being thin. Small. Insignificant. The thinner I became, the more insignificant I felt.
In this family pic, I didn’t think I had fat thighs. I thought I was worthless. Can you tell the difference?
Post-partum depression isn’t visible. But it’s damn real.