Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I am not a Superhero

(Reader be warned-this is a post of epic length. If you have anything you actually plan to accomplish toady, skip it completely. You can always come back if you acquire insomnia...)

I am borrowing the title from a Ryan Shupe and The Rubberband song that I was listening to last week. It's a song I've heard before, but had never paid much attention to, until I heard it on a day that made it all too appropriate.

You see, I am the one who is always on top of things. I don't have bad days (HA!), the house is usually clean, anytime we leave the house the kids have not a hair out of place and are often times coordiating in what they wear-especially at church, I still fit in the same jeans I wore before I started having children, and I bake like Betty Crocker. Add to that the task of homeschooling, a church calling, and an insane love of making the baby gifts that I give (bows, bracelets, towels, quilts, yada yada...geesh), dresses for my girls for special occasions, and matching pjs for my kids for Christmas, and, well, you see where this is going. I have created a certain image that I feel pressed to uphold. I know, I know, really it's a pride thing and I should just humble myself and get over it, but being one who typically doesn't back down from a challenge, I seem to have created for myself one heck of a challenge and don't plan to back down any time soon. Let's face it, women are strange creatures, and I don't stray far from that stereotype!

So when something obnoxious like postpartum depression rears it's ugly head, it really throws a kink into things. I've been working to fight it, I've been through this before and made it out without any permanant damage, so I know it's possible. It made for sort of a frustrating holiday season-it's hard to be jolly and cheerful and sing obnoxious songs when you'd just like to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up over your head, but you suck it up, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and plunge ahead. By the time I found someone who had an idea of how to treat PPD without medications (Thank you Heidi-the queen of natural remedies! ;D Somone else who undertands my dislike of meds), I was finally starting to come around. After five good days in a row, I really felt like I was in the clear, much to the relief of my extremely patient husband! That was a week before Christmas, and the timing couldn't have been better.

Don't get me wrong, I was still functional, none of that scary psychosis stuff. No days of crying for hours and fighting to hide it (which did happen after baby #4), we still managed to do a decent amount of school, I put on a lovely smile for all the Christmas parties and still made nearly 30 dozen (yes thirty, that is not a typo) of my traditional Christmas cookies that all ended up decorated in my ridiculous OCD style (run Martha-here I come!). But geesh, it gets old to feel just generally crappy for that many days (weeks) with only random days of feeling normal.

Back to the point; it had been a few weeks, and life was coming along nicely. I figured that the PPD stint for this time around had come to an end. The hormones were finally bringing themselves back into check, I lost a few more pounds, and broke out a couple pairs of the smaller jeans. All is well in Happy Valley, right? So I thought. I guess I'm still more vulnerable than I thought. It's always the little things.....

My sister had her baby! No, no-don't misunderstand, this is wonderful news! All went well, I'm FINALLY an aunt, with a beautiful little niece to whom I can send loud, battery-operated toys! haha! Little Hallie arrived without incident, the labor and delivery went about as well as they can (although after needing a second epidural to fix the first one that didn't work, my sister might disagree), baby and mom are both in great shape! A little blondie weighing in at 8lbs 1oz, and 21inches long-the biggest baby our famliy has ever seen-and also one of the most beautiful!

Anyway! (there is a point, and an end to this I promise) We have all been anxiously awaiting the news of Hallie's arrival, as family typically does with any baby. I certainly didn't expect to be the first one called-in my opinion that honor should always go to the grandparents-but I did expect to GET a call. That's right-no one called me. I found out by default. I called my sister's cell phone to ask for ideas for her husband's birthday and he answered her phone. I was surprised that he answered and when he said "she's here", I assumed he meant my sister so I asked if I could talk to her for a minute. He clarified with, "No, SHE! Hallie is here!" Fearing that I had happened to call within a short time after her birth, I of course asked when she arrived. At about 9:45...P.M....as in over 12 hours before I had called. Hmmmmm, silly me, I thought someone would call and tell me! So I offered my congratulations, left word for my sister to call me when she was up to it, and then called my mom. When I called Mom, she said "hi, how are things? Oh, and did you know we had a baby?" NO! Because no one bothered to call me!!! To top if off, there was further, um, miscommunication later in the afternoon about finding out if I was able to visit the new family at the hospital, making the whole situation even yuckier.

I probably owe my mom and apology (Sorry Mom!), as I wasn't very nice about the whole thing-making a number of snide comments about me having been the only one of us kids who has actually HAD a baby before, you think maybe I'd like to know-especially after she told me that they had called her when they arrived at the hospital earlier the previous day. Did people actually think I would have run up to the hospital and stuck my face in the delivery room? Did they think I'd strap up my whole herd-including the one with a runny nose-and just barge in? Wouldn't it stand to reason that of anyone I just *might* be the most understanding of them all?

Well, to come full circle here-I learned last Friday afternoon that I am much more vulnerable than I like to think. The girl who just rolls with the punches isn't invincible. It really hurt my feelings that no one called to tell me that my sister had had her baby. I don't blame her at all-it was after 11pm by the time she was all cleaned up and put back together, and after a very long day, I'm sure she wasn't up to playing the phone tree game. But I did think that at least my parents would have called. At least they hadn't called anyone else either, so it's not like they slighted me or anything, but I still had a hard time getting past that all day. ALL day. I haven't been that emotional in a long time. I did suck it up and get through the day, and get everything done, but realized by that afternoon that maybe I wasn't all back to normal yet-at least as far as emotions are concerned.

All is well that ends well-I did get to go to the hospital to visit, I got a chance to hold little Hallie for a minute, and as anyone with a heart knows, nothing soothes the soul like getting to love on a perfect little being, so fresh to this world. But hey-note to all: People are excited about your new arrival-call and share the news. Decide on a calling tree of something, but share the joy! If the new parents aren't up for visitors, I don't know anyone who would be offended by being told that-certainly not someone who has been there many times over.

But hey, if my sister and her husband are brave enough to do this a second time in the coming years, I think my parents will call and tell people. At least, one can hope so!

And now that I've vented, I can break the spandex and my cape back out! WHEW!


Kelsey said...

Just for the record: I told Mom & Dad to call you guys! And Nick sneakily called both sets of parents while I was in labor! TOAST! And...of course we wanted you to come to the hospital, there was no conspiracy! And I was going to call you in the morning...but you beat me to it. Record set straight.