When I was pregnant with Aubrey and had a condition known as SPD. In short it’s basically when the relaxin hormone is released too early in your body and causes the ligaments in your pelvis to loosen and things become unstable. With Aubrey I got this around the 20 week mark.
For half of my pregnancy with her I was in pain every single day. It hurt to sit down, get up, walk, turn over in bed (sweet mother of pearl this was brutal), basically anytime movement was involved it hurt. So you get the point, things hurt. I was told not to worry there was only something like 3% of women who didn’t recover from this condition. They say basically giving birth is a cure. As soon as your not pregnant things go back to normal.
Lucky me I fall into that 3%. I never did recover. I attempted workouts to strengthen myself, which usually ended in me being in worse condition. I finally (two months before getting pregnant again) found a physio therapist who specialized in this condition. She was a great help, it gave some relief, but never healed.
In between me quitting nursing and getting pregnant with Elise I had a 3 month break. 3 months was going to get me healed and perfect and ready to take on 9 months of
pregnancy again. Sigh…so naïve.
Looking back I do think in the few months before getting pregnant again I was starting to have some signs of PPD. Which I didn’t realize because Aubrey was like 8 months old so surely I couldn’t get it then. And I think the pain that I felt everyday from my pelvis and back was not exactly a helpful contribution to feeling skippy everyday!
I do remember at one point before I was pregnant again having a conversation with my mom and Ben about how I was feeling. We had determined that it was unlikely it was PPD. You know with our medical degrees and all we clearly knew! I think at that point I knew, I knew it was mild but I knew the name. I remember distinctly my mom saying “I really don’t think its PPD”. Now I don’t know if I never gave enough information on how I was feeling (very likely) or if she just didn’t want me to have it. Knowing my mom I would say I clearly had not shared enough information for her to properly help.
The first few months of my pregnancy with Elise were pretty good. I was doing my exercises, eating well, and most importantly choosing to stay positive. I was sure I could positive my way through another pregnancy. Well then 15 weeks hit. Insert lovely SPD and positive had some competition!
38 weeks Pregnant
I was able to fight my way through pretty good until about month 7. Then I was crumbling. But because I have always had a strong urge to keep my private life private I battled myself. I tried so hard to fight on my own. If people asked how it was I would respond “oh good” or “a little sore but really good”. When secretly I am thinking “If only you knew”.
Now I think as a quick background you need to know that I come from a family of really strong people. Strong physically and mentally. In my head I could not be the weak one. Correction I wouldn’t be the weak one, leave it to someone else to be the weakling cause it wasn’t gonna be me!
Every now and then I would have the urge to talk to someone, and aunt a cousin, a sister but then I would imagine the conversation. And (again in my head) it always went with them being kind on the outside but on the inside thinking of me as weak and a whiner and that clearly things could not actually be that bad.
Normally I have Ben and my mom who I lean on very heavily when these kinds of things are happening. But they were busy. The company (that they both work for) was becoming increasingly busy, they were travelling a lot, Ben had a side company that was thriving (almost too much). And I knew they were both pretty frequently overwhelmed. I didn’t want to add to that. I figured this time, this time I would go it alone. I come from a strong pedigree surely I can suck it up and get through.
Well fast forward to the last month of my pregnancy and I was a mess. Poor Ben I don’t know how he made it through. I could hav a major breakdown at the slightest of things. I tried talking to Ben a bit, but I think he just wasn’t getting it. I avoided my mom. I knew she would know. There were even a few times that I know she was giving me the opportunity to open up and I quickly surpassed the opening and got us on to other topics.
When it was getting closer to the end with Elise I started having minor panic over things that to me seemed unnatural. I felt so guilty at the idea of bringing in a new person to Aubrey’s life, turning her world upside down. Logically I was so excited for her to have a sibling, especially a little sister. But how in the world was I going to be able to have the same kind of time with her that I was before? I was going to have to have Ben or someone else helping with the things I had so much anxiety over before.
Insert new anxiety. What if Aubrey stopped being connected to me and loving someone else more? Really I know this is illogical but it was a problem.
When Elise was born I didn’t have as much of the anxiety over her safety as I did Aubrey. Now to most people you would think “ahhh that other stuff was just first time mom stuff. This is your second you are a seasoned pro” Which likely that is right. To me I thought “does this mean I don’t love her as much?”
Photo By: Roxanne Miller Photography
The first two weeks at home with Elise were easy and hard. They were easy to transition to the physical work of two kids. Both Aubrey and Elise are super easy going. Elise is an amazing sleeper, so it was easy. Emotionally, the hardest thing I have had to do. I tried to line up everything so I could still do it all. I could nurse Elise, get a meal ready, tub Aubrey, Nurse Elise again, rock Aubrey to bed, nurse Elise and still stay sane. Because obviously a woman recovering from birth can do it all. side note Ben was amazing and tried to help where I would let him.
I remember one night sititng in my rocking chair with Aubrey fast asleep in my arms and crying. Crying uncontrollably. Thinking “what had I done”. Surely she felt neglected and that I didn’t love her the same, and then I would think can I love on her in the same way?
So a new battle began to rage. I was connecting super quickly with Elise, bonding and falling fast in love with her. But then the guilt and sorrow for Aubrey settled in. It is extremely hard. I was an emotional mess. I know Ben was worried and a little lost at sea wondering what the heck to do with me.
I tried talking to my cousin Justine a bit, she assured me she had some similar feelings when she had her second. I talked to my mom a bit and she too assured me this was normal. But I let the sorrow take me away. I started to fall. Sure there was planty of hours or days where the sun broke through and all the happiness of having a new little person to love and care for would break through. But I couldn’t seem to fight my way out of this one.
Again I knew. I so knew I was heading down a path that was going to require help. This fight was not gonna happen on my own. But how do you admit to the people you love the most that you are broken? You are not a perfect specimen? How do you say I am at the happiest point in my life and I can’t stop crying or feeling overwhelmed by ridiculous emotions? How can I do this when the many women in my family before me have gone through having children and they were fine?