It's not common knowledge but what the heck! This blog is anonymous anyway so here goes: Yes, I'm pregnant with my fourth child. I'm mostly happy about this but to be honest I'm a bit frightened. First of all pregnancy kicks my butt. Secondly, I've suffered from postpartum depression... twice. I must really love my kids (though some days they might argue that). It's so easy to say that bearing children is God's work. And it is. But when you're sobbing at the bottom of your closet, well it would be nice is God would change a diaper. Or perhaps rock the baby to sleep. Or, well, anything.
So when that pregnancy test came back positive, I definitely felt happy and blessed. I also told Jesus that I simply cannot do this on my own. Yes, I believe in redemptive suffering, but that cannot mean putting your mental state and perhaps you children at risk. So far I have been underwhelmed by the mental health care I have received.
This time around I chose to go to a Catholic OB/GYN who has been recommend by several friends. "The office is so peaceful," they said. "They really listen to you. They respect your body." Well, ok then. I agreed that it would be nice to be in an office where pregnancy is considered normal and not the result of failed birth control. (I thought birth control was supposed to work??) But anyway...
So I went to this Catholic doctor's office. And the office was peaceful. There were no pictures of female anatomy anywhere and no information lying around telling you how to avoid your current state in the future. (There is nothing like telling a woman suffering from PPD that the real cause of her condition is the baby. Thanks!)
Anyway, on to speaking with one of the doctors. Instead of a whirlwind visit and tests, we actually had a conversation. She asked my about my concerns for this pregnancy. I mentioned the PPD. What she said next were some of the most beautiful words I have ever heard. "Postpartum depression is not your fault; It is purely physiological. We will monitor your progesterone throughout your pregnancy and can even give you a progesterone shot in the hospital if you need one."
Ladies, if you have ever suffered through depression you will understand the power of these words. It's not my fault. I don't have to go through it again. I am not a problem. My children aren't problems!
Now I'm not saying that only a Catholic doctor's office can come up with this. A good friend of mine, who lives in a different city, had access to midwives who gave her the same treatment. Me? I got a prescription for happy pills and an option of birth control.
It's one thing to say that a physiological problem can be fixed. It's another thing to say that I'm the one who needs to be 'fixed'. (No more babies - no more problems!)
But honestly this isn't meant to be a rant. (Though those of you who have been pregnant before know how hard it is not to rant about things that really aren't that big of a deal. Yes, I'm avoiding commercials and the evening news. I've already mentioned that pregnancy kicks my butt!) This is just meant to say that it's so much easier to go through all of the physical discomforts when I know that I won't have to suffer through the isolation of depression at the end of it.
Ladies, I'll tell you a secret. Before each of my pregnancies I have had a sense that God was asking me to be a steward of one of His little souls. I have honestly felt that I was given a choice. A part of me has always known that God has always looked out for me. But this time around I had to really struggle and pray before saying 'yes' to God. I never did have the faith of Our Lady. God waited. I waited. And finally I said yes. Three months later I was pregnant. Why now and not six months after my youngest was born? I guess God knows what I can handle. And I am now so grateful to know that whatever happens, PPD will not be a part of the journey.
So far I am expecting a healthy pregnancy and a healthy delivery of a healthy baby. Still, every new life comes at a cost. Please pray for me, my family, and for this tiny one.
May God continue to bless you!