With my first son, I had post-partum depression. But that’s not what this post is about. To be honest, I’m not quite ready to write about that. This is about what happened the second time around.
First of all, I did not want to have another baby. Sure, I liked the idea of my son having a sibling (being one of four, I knew the significance of that experience). My husband wanted another child. But I did not. Why would I ever take the chance of going through that horrible nightmare again? Nothing is worth feeling like that. No, not even a child.
Well, the conversation inevitably came up and I gave my husband the same reply every time “I’m just not ready yet.” I used that excuse for about a year. Then in a weak moment (or maybe subconsciously I thought I was ready, I don’t know) I said “Ok, let’s do it”. So I went off the pill and started timing things. About two days later I freaked out: There is NO way I’m doing this again!
I don’t want to do it.
I can’t do it.
Due to the fact that I try and avoid uncomfortable confrontations at all costs, paired with the knowledge my husband would be justifiably disappointed (and angry), I didn’t have the guts to tell him I changed my mind. This part is hard for me to admit, but I came up with a plan. Because we were “timing things” I would just time things incorrectly. As the days, weeks, and months passed, I was feeling confident I made the right decision (and oddly felt devoid of guilt) when, wouldn’t you know it, I started getting the signs I was pregnant. No way, it couldn’t be. I looked at my calendar; I thought I “planned” it right. I ran out and took a test: POSITIVE.
I tried to talk myself into believing this was a good thing, it was meant to be, etc. but I couldn’t shake my fear. There is an incident that my husband and I now jokingly refer to as the famous “pasta salad incident” where all my true feelings came flooding out. He and I were on our way to a family party. I was bringing a lovely pasta salad. We were walking out to the car when my husband made some comment I didn’t like, and I LOST it. I threw the pasta salad on the ground, and ran away screaming and crying hysterically. When I calmed down I admitted to him: “I don’t want to be pregnant. I don’t want to do this again.” He assured me everything was going to be ok, but I was sure it wouldn’t.
This time around was already worse than the first time: I was sicker, more uncomfortable, bigger, and had every ache and pain associated with pregnancy you can imagine. Not to mention, I felt NO connection with this baby. I was not ready to divide my time between two children. My two year old needed me, all of me.
As my due date grew closer and closer, my anxiety level grew higher and higher. I had such apprehension about the labor itself because I had complications last time and have very little memory of the actual birth (again, a story for another time). I lost so much blood that I passed out, never getting that initial, oh-so-special skin-to-skin moment with my first born.
Then the day came. And that’s when things turned around.
I had a wonderful birth experience. My husband was by my side the whole time, and we were actually smiling and laughing as our second son came into this world (hell yeah I had an epidural). I clutched his slimy little pink body against my chest and stared at him (Oh my goodness, he has hair! And look at those little lips! He’s perfect!). He stared back at me and we had “THAT MOMENT”. I suddenly understood when my Dad (father of four) told me “Love does not divide. It multiplies.” I get it now, Dad. The love for I felt for this precious little person was overwhelming.
As I write this, my little one is 7 months old and I am happy to say I did not have post-partum depression this time. I suppose I’m sharing my story for those that have had PPD and have doubts about having a second child because of the fear of going through it again. Of course there is no guarantee you won’t have PPD again, but please don’t assume you will either. If I learned anything from this experience it is that every pregnancy, birth, and post-partum experience is so unique. Do what’s right for you and your family, but please don’t let the fear of PPD stop you if you want another baby. I can’t imagine if my “plan” worked and I never had this little guy in my life.