I Can’t Explain

I tried to write a post about my PPA yesterday, and I don’t think I articulated myself very well. I got a comment from a new reader that gilted me, and I was upset. But in retrospect, the post was confusing and I don’t think this person meant any harm.

However, I took the post down.

I realize that this is not a safe or productive space to discuss my PPA while I’m going through it. It’s best left to my therapist and (hopefully soon) a support group of other women with PPA/PPD/PPOCD. I realize I do not have the right words to convey what it is to live with PPA. It’s an exercise in futility at this point.

Rest assured, I am fully functional and my daughter hasn’t suffered at all. I am happy and engaged with her while we eat, play, and explore each day. We are social and have playdates a couple times per week. I “suck it up” and do things I’m supposed to do (go places, do things) even when my anxiety screams at me to retreat. The only semi-oddball thing about my parenting is that I haven’t really left BG at all, but that is a parenting style (AP) and while unusual it is not unhealthy (Dr. Sears advocates).

But in reference to the title of this post–I can’t explain PPA. It’s like infertility. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and it’s very lonely. I wish I could articulate it, but I tried and failed. So in summary:

PPA sucks.



46 thoughts on “I Can’t Explain

  1. I’m sorry you don’t feel like this is a safe space :/ Bummer. I wish I could have read that post. I love you and am proud of you for expressing yourself here in anyway you feel comfortable with.

    • My post was jumbled. The first part was about how I love rocking BG and nursing her to sleep, and that I’m already sad knowing these moments are fleeting and she is going to outgrow them. Then I wrote about PPA and anxiety in social situations with BG. The reader said I am trying to infantillize my 8 month old (I guess by rocking her like a baby? Um, she is a baby…) and stunt BG’s growth by trying to pretend she is a tiny baby. And the reader said I need help. And well, I found this offensive and unhelpful. I already full of self doubt and anxiety! Plus if she was a regular reader she’d know I *do* already see a therapist certified in PPD and I’m very honest about my thoughts/feelings. Never have I ever wanted to keep BG from growing up and becoming independent! Hurt my feelings though. XOXO

  2. I didn’t see your post either but if it came from your heart then who is there to question that?! PPA/PPD if a different journey for everyone so if you articulated yours as you see it then I can’t help but think it’s been misconstrued through no fault of your own. You’re doing “it” whatever it may be, and nobody can ever ask for more …

    • I think that questioning our parenting is part and parcel of this crazy intense job we’ve been blessed with. Maybe more for us IVFers cod we feel we need to be uber perfect as these babies are such gifts! At the end of the day whatever works in our bubble is ok I think. Your BG loves you and needs you and wants you so I say she’s the best testament to your style working for her xxx

    • I want to say I really get the vulnerability too. Parenting is the most humbling, self-combusting job I have ever had. I would say that’s probably true without post partum depression, anxiety, stress but I am pretty sure I’m in that camp with you so frankly I can’t speak about what laissez faire parenting might be like. I think it’s a vulnerable role if you care as much about it as you and many of our collective readers and fellow bloggers seem to do. I’ve never agonized more over my mistakes or my anxiety about messing up, endangering, failing my kids. Ugh. Where is that rock I need to go hide under right now???

  3. I’m sad that those comments were said. I hope that they were not being cruel in any intentional way, although I do find that this is too often not the case. How easy it is to say things via the good old web and not have an appropriate context or, even worse, an actually malicious intent. Sucks big.

    I have no doubt that you are more than meeting the needs of your tiny. She’s clearly the light of your life. But I also understand the desperate desire to make these fleeting moments last. S is already far past the cuddling stage, although she will very occasionally. She’s much rather be wrecking havoc. I miss our rocking snuggles very much.

    And truly PPA has to suck. If it’s anything like how crazy emotional I was immediately PP, I couldn’t imagine. I still have bouts of anxiety about venturing from the house. I hope your therapist is incredible and can help.

    Sending big support, lovely!

  4. I also did not see your post yesterday, but i have to say it really upsets me when I hear that readers aren’t supportive and we second guess what we can discuss on our blogs. I will just never understand.
    That said, I just want you to know that i love you no matter what! I think you are an amazing mommy and if you ever need anything just let me know. Lots of love to you!

  5. I’m tardy to the party – is ppa post partum anxiety?

    If so and either way, no need to explain – it’s our job to support 😊. Your heart and body have been through a lot. I’m finding that now that I’m pregnant a lot of the pain of the last four years can be safely expressed whereas before it was safer to distract myself with food or alcohol.

    I also suffered with severe anxiety for many years and for some reason it hasn’t been an issue in over a decade. I would take depression, something else I’ve dealt with, over anxiety any day. Hugs.

  6. I missed yesterday’s post but I’m sorry you felt the need to remove it. I think you are brave for opening up about a challenging journey. I’m all about open debate and discussion but sometimes people are just too critical.

  7. I’m upset but not surprised about the comment…and you know I know all too well that feeling of extreme vulnerability in cyberspace. Admire your bravery in writing about complicated stuff that is hard to discuss, and respect your need for privacy. Big hugs!!

    • Yes, I remember your troll–still pisses me off! This person wasn’t a troll, she just interpreted what I was saying in the worst possible way. She’s not mean spirited. But I guess I’ll just keep it to myself until I’m officially not dealing with PPA anymore and hopefully can better articulate myself. XOXO

  8. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to comment yesterday. I feel I can relate SO well because I had ppa after my first baby and it was terrible!! I worried my whole second pregnancy that I would have it again. Thankfully, I did not. I mentioned it on my blog a couple times but never really felt comfortable sharing about it because I was worried people would see me as an unfit mother. When in fact, I was a pretty great mom.

    I took could not handle being separated from my baby and was soooooo thankful that he breastfed so I could give that excuse for never leaving him. To give an example of the things I worried about….

    I visited a friend and to my horror she lived on the 3rd floor and had a balcony. I was so afraid that her brother (who lived with her) would grab my baby and throw him over the side. To be clear, her brother is very sweet and gentle!! I was so paranoid that I even took baby to the shower with me throughout our stay.

    I just wanted to give you that example so you could see that I too suffered from irrational fears. Although some of the fears were legit so it made it hard to sort out in my mind what i should actually panic about.

    I feel for you, I do. If you need to talk, I’m here. You can email me if you’d rather. ((Hugs))! I hope you feel better soon.

  9. I’m sorry someone’s lack of empathy or understanding of PPA left you feeling uncomfortable sharing your experience. I think – much like infertility – it’s one of those unspoken experiences that needs to have more people sharing. It’s not a secret or something to be ashamed of. It’s real life. I suffered from PPA as well and had crippling fear of taking my son out of the house for several months. I was scared he would get sick, terrified of SIDS (still am) and it’s a daily struggle to push my guard down. I was told (and completely agree) that with infertility and recurrent loss we are conditioned to expect the worst so it’s hard to snap outta that mentality once pregnant / baby arrives. Sending hugs.

    • I remember you writing about it a little and yeah–you nailed it–I’m afraid of everyday “normal” stuff (like BG getting sick) and also totally off-the-wall morbid stuff (like getting into a bad car accident and…). And then there’s OCD because I just neeeeed everything to be perfect for her or I feel like a failure…It’s f*ing exhausting sometimes. Thanks for sharing *hugs* XOXO

  10. I am sorry you’re in this lonely place. I get it. My anxiety has manifested itself a little differently (and somewhat similarly – I think?) but I agree with you that it’s hard to articulate and deeply lonely. Like you I fake it during waking hours for the most part but the facade is shattered at night when I struggle with racing thoughts, broken sleep not as a result of baby A and terrible, heart-stopping nightmares (last night I accidentally drowned baby A – WTF?!?). I wouldn’t know where to start explaining what my anxiety looks feels smells or tastes like. I think I need to get into counselling once I’m back at work and can afford it…

    • Oh what a horrible dream! *hugs* I have flashes of stuff like that when I’m awake. I did have a nightmare the other night where I was racing to save BG from a tornado…I used to ignore tornado warnings but *thanks to PPA* every time we had one this spring I was huddled in the closet with BG praying… TBH therapy has not been helping me much, but I think it’s still good to go, if only to gripe to another adult and not feel guilty because you’re on the clock. XOXO

      • Darn. Have you found anything that *does* help? I asked my doctor about anti-anxiety meds but decided against them because baby A has had enough vicarious prescription drugs in his system already and what they offered me I’ve taken and it made me a zombie. I’ll take my present state over zombie. At least for now. I can’t imagine living where you do and hearing those warnings. I would be immobilized with fear.

      • In the beginning (when anxiety was crippling) motherwort tincture really saved my a**, it’s like herbal valium for postpartum. These days it’s not crippling but it’s still affecting me and my therapist telling me to “be mindful” is not enough to keep my brain from going dark places and being OCD. My nerves are shot and I don’t have the presence of mind to be able to redirect myself. I need something to do that for me, but like you I don’t want to take any my rx’s. XOXO

  11. I have two strong feelings on this post. One – much love and support for all that you are going through and a little defensive because you are a GREAT mom. BG is one lucky little lady. Vent/share – right words or not. This is your space. Comments be damned.

  12. Hugs. PPD and PPA are not fun. Sounds like you have loads of support, but I’ll offer a listening (understanding) ear if needed. I’ve touched on my ppd on my blog but I don’t write about it because well- Like you said, it sounds jumbled and confusing and lonely. XOX

  13. I too was diagnosed with PPA and it sucks. I tried to write about it on my blog as well. I think that I have about 4 different drafts. I just can’t find the right words to explain that constant fight in my head between loving and caring for my child and yet second guessing everything I do and feeling like I am screwing up my baby and yet get extremely defensive if anyone suggests anything about my parenting skills. I had counselling and joined a support group which really helped. I really would love to finish writing that post because I honestly think it’s such an important discussion to have.

    I’m sorry that your post was misinterpreted and I do wish you the best.

    • This sounds very, very familiar. Thank you for sharing! I just accepted that this is not “just going away” and I’m working really hard to curb my negative thoughts and the behaviors that encourage those thoughts. I really wish there was a support grouo near me but there’s not at this time. However, hearing from you and others with PPA/PPD who responded to this post really, truly helps–to know I’m not alone and that other perfectly “normal” women have the same issue. Thank you! XOXO

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