Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'd kill for a goodmama or How cloth diapers saved my life

Sometime around Ava's fourth month of life I experienced  postpartum depression. I did not want to hurt her. I was not hindered from bonding with her. Quite the contrary I was (am) very bonded and in love with her.
I wanted to hurt myself. I felt insane. I felt ugly and worthless. I was over stressed and totally sleep deprived.

I was having suicidal thoughts I was also having delusional paranoid thoughts. I would have entire days where I could not stop the intrusive thoughts that something was wrong with Ava and no one was telling me. I would look at my perfect beautiful baby and become convinced she had cerebral palsy or worse. I knew these thoughts were just thoughts, that did not stop them from being troubling.

I was also in constant physical pain. I was recovering from a c section. I had several layers of stitches. I developed de quervain's tenosynovitis in both wrists. Picking up the baby was agony. Doing dishes was agony. Changing diapers was agony. Agony was agony.

I was crying all the time. That is when I wasn't screaming at my poor husband. I wanted to be joyous. I was so happy about my life, my baby, my husband. The chemical imbalance was sucking away my joy. I was so tired of being in pain. I was so tired of being crazy.

I told my husband I was having the bad thoughts. I emailed my doctor. I told people I was crazy. My doctor prescribed celexa. I have never been one to think head meds were for me. I'm not sure why I held that opinion I have had anxiety for years my whole life. This time I did not let pride get in the way, I took the medicine. I was not going to let anything ruin motherhood.

My husband confessed to me that he had also been feeling the strain. After Ava was born he had started a new job that came with an ass load of stress. He became the only breadwinner. He was also dealing with my craziness. I don't know how he did it without killing me. I was horrible. I was a barking shrew, a crippled yelping elephant seal. I sucked. My husband also took steps to help himself.

To add to our insomnia and stress we were not receiving the kind of support we had imagined we would from our family. They were more than happy to buy the baby toys and clothes. They just didn't want to watch the baby or clean our house or anything that would have f-ing helped our exhausted state. They did seem to want to come and impose visit in the beginning while I was doubled over from being sawed in half and the newborn babe was getting used to her new earthly surroundings. I always thought people were supposed to bring casseroles and do your dishes instead they would show up hungry and nursing colds.

I must add here that I love these people dearly. They are family. They just weren't doing shit the way I wanted. When you are a control freak with postpartum depression and anxiety disorder you really need people to do shit the way you want.

We reached out.

Actually we freaked out.

On Halloween it came to a head. We were waiting for word back from our doctors and trying to figure out how to get help. We were trying to make the crazies stop. My husband made a desperate call to his mother. He requested that she come by just a couple hours a week to help. I just needed a shower or a run a couple of times a week. I was certain this would help the crazies. Exercise and hot showers have always helped the crazies. To this day that request has not "exactly" been fulfilled. Ava's never been watched by anyone but her daddy in her now seven months of life, except for a couple of comedic [ad nauseam] attempts I'll write about later.

I called for therapy. The way my insurance carrier handled this was absurd (see bureaucratic bullshit). I was given a list of contracted therapists and told to call them. When I had an appointment with one I was to call back and then coverage would be determined. I called six therapists. I reached voice mail on each call. I left messages on each one detailing that I had postpartum depression and needed an appointment asap. I never heard back.

A few weeks later I lost my insurance. My maternity leave was over. Our hope had been to put me on my husbands insurance however it turned out that would cost 700.00 dollars a month. I am currently uninsured.

I will take steps to try to find free counseling. I'm also looking for a support group to join. I am trying to get better. I am working within my means to get better. I am getting better

The good news is the celexa helped a lot. The suicidal thoughts stopped. Paranoid thoughts are rare. I'm awaiting delivery of a jogging stroller so I can just run with the baby. I manage to get a shower almost everyday. I brought Ava into our bed and that improved sleep a great deal. I still get anxiety attacks but as I stated earlier that's been with me a long time.

Around the time all this came crashing down I was also becoming disillusioned with disposable diapers. I started researching cloth. I was AMAZED at how awesome cloth had become! I dove in head first.
I was addicted before I even had it on my baby's bottom. I have to give a major shout out to Autumn Beck her blog was an f'ing amazing resource. She steered me in the right direction. I have washed diapers correctly and purchased diapers that were perfect for my baby thanks to her.

Thank you Autumn.

I spent my anxiety ridden nights perusing diaper sites and diaper chats and diaper forums. The diapers were so cute. In some cases the diapers were works of handmade art. The diapers held in the poo-splosions that had been plaguing me. Many other mommies were so honest and real. Going cloth felt more like me. I started to feel like I was part of a group. I was no longer isolated. Diapers were making me HAPPY.
Somehow even without help or a break from the baby or therapy I was coming out of the worst part of the mental illness. Cloth diapers were speaking to my creative soul. If you haven't seen the evolution of cloth you may think I'm bat shit but cloth diapers are seriously amazing (see goodmama).

It wasn't tangible physical contact with other moms but, it was contact. It was a feeling of belonging.
It made changing poop fun. It made life good. If it hadn't been for my amazing husband, my wonderful baby and cloth diapers I'm not sure what would have happened.

Thank you #clothdiapers, you provided a much needed distraction ,while saving the planet and my baby's butt.

*Author's note: after this article was written my mother in-law decided to sponsor my health care- I am currently shopping for a plan.  scratch that


  1. Very humbling, very inspiring. What a journey you have been on. I know I'm stepping out of my cloth diaper role but I do have a suggestion. I don't think secular therapy will help you at all. I would find a church that offers biblical counseling. I am not aware if all are this way but most cost nothing. I have yet to hear of someone in secular counseling that actually gets better...sure they *seem* better but they are either drugged up or have been forced to "accept" who they are. You are an amazing mom. I REALLY mean that. The fact that your husband didn't kill you means he's AMAZING lol!

    Back to my cloth diaper role...thank you for honoring me in this story but I just write about poop catchers ;)

  2. oh but you do it so well! thanks for the support Autumn

  3. Kiki, I seriously remember suffering so deeply from PPD and showing my midwife a cloth diaper as she was writing a Rx for an antidepressant that would save my life, "These cloth diapers are the only thing that are making me happy right now." They were what kept me excited about motherhood or any part of life at the time. I'm glad to hear you are surviving and feeling better. I really have been there too. HUGS!!!

  4. wow...gods bless cloth diapers! thank for stopping by my humble blog xoxoxoxoxoxoxox