I have posted severally about healing through the haze of Postpartum Depression. Often I talk to those who read my blog, and I am a little astounded at their perception; the perception that everything is cake, strawberries and a foot massage. That happens severally, no doubt. But there are hard days. There are days tantrums escalate to the nth degree, and the little mammal turns from adorable to downright angry and horrid.
In these moments, everything flies, everything near him, flies towards me. In retrospect, maybe he learnt it from me, when I was chest deep in the murky waters that depression is. Then, I’d feel frustrated and overwhelmed. All these intrusive thought would engulf my mind. The vice-like grip these thoughts had easily flustered me. Then, all alone and a wailing baby, things did fly. Sometimes Many times, things did fly at him; sometimes they flew across the room, just a little above his head. Admittedly, this is hard to write, because ‘normal moms do not do this’, but PPD is a monster altogether.
I have dealt with that aspect of flying things, but I am just wondering to myself, has my son dealt with it? Today I had a total melt-down, like total, downright ugly. Teary, loud sobs and all mucus (I am that one who is in touch with my emotional side. Once in the doldrums of pregnancy, elephantine belly and all I broke down smirk in the middle of the CBD, same ugly crying – little did I know these were the warning signs of full blown PPD much later).
The reason for the meltdown revolved around my son’s discipline, or lack of it thereof. See, when you’ve had PPD, and have had all these ugly self-harming baby-harming thoughts, once you are on the path to healing, you wonder where the line is between disciplining and reliving the experience. As my son kicked me with his wellington boots over his lost toys (which he lost playing, all by himself, SMH) and started to sink his sharp teeth in my skin, I had these flashbacks. Flashbacks of when I beat him because he peed on the floor, of when I’d had these thoughts of hurling him down the staircase, of all the days I beat his defenceless self.
I started to ask myself, much as I was well on the path to healing, what of my son? He was in every way the victim of my depression, the tots who could not defend himself from mommy’s manic phases. No doubt he was affected, to what extent I may never know because he is the normal toddler, behaving and acting like the typical four year old; but what of the emotional scars?
Today, his tantrums in protest of the lost toy opened these PPD wounds, and had me crying for hours. It was hard, it still is. Nothing quite prepares you for motherhood, or depression for that matter. So today, I am taking a step back to evaluate the journey, this time for my son – how to parent him better post-PPD; how to remain firm, yet loving; how to be a better mom. And in it, I am leaning on Jesus – a constant friend, an ever-present help.