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When Beginnings Feel Like Endings

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Today is the fifth anniversary of Sammy's death. Here is the blog I wrote about his passing five years ago: www.sparkpeople.

​It's relevant in kind of an odd way. Mourning Sammy was a horrible time for me. I remember going to bed nights and just wanting to DIE, but since I was not interested in killing myself, I'd beg God to do it for me. "Please, God, please, just don't make me wake up tomorrow. I used to smoke, I'm overweight, I don't floss often enough, weird things happen. A heart attack is plausible. You can do this. Please." I'd wake up in the morning disappointed. WHY was I waking up? I asked SO nicely. I remember waking up in Rio de Janeiro in a hotel on Copacabana crying and going to bed in Montevideo begging. But, as evidenced by the fact that I am writing this blog, I did not die, and time marched on.

Now, I have a new baby, but this time, you know, a human one. He's super-sweet and really perfect. He's healthy, and he's happy. We're really lucky and blessed.

But I admit it. I am struggling. It's all quite silly, really, and honestly probably just hormones. I love my baby. He's awesome. And I didn't have some sort of amazing life before I had him, but I did have regular gym and meditation habits. Still, I guess it's okay that I am also grieving my old life, dull though it was.

I don't want to say the dreaded PPD words yet. I haven't been diagnosed with anything, and some cursory Googling indicates that I should have symptoms for two weeks before they come into play. Nevertheless, I have had to force myself to reach out to my doctor and for support. I spent several days in a row an absolute mess, and it was scarily reminiscent of those months after Sammy died. Lots of crying, feeling hopeless, and just deep, deep despair, and Mom guilt, which is just icing on the cake. One night, I was in the shower, and it dawned on me that I have RUINED MY LIFE, and it's unfixable. That sent me over an edge, and a familiar prayer was on my lips, except this time, I've been quit for years, I'm no longer overweight, and I floss almost everyday. Those days were absolutely brutal, and I was in a hole I didn't think I could ever climb out of.

On Day 5 of this, my husband came home from work. "I'm going to the gym; are you?" I lifted my head from my pillow where I'd been crying since I'd gotten home an hour earlier and said, "I guess." I mean, it was either that or stay home and feel like an awful mom, crying in my room while my mother-in-law takes care of the baby. I got ready and got into the passenger seat of my husband's car. I hadn't been there in ages. I love my car so much that I always insist on driving. We sat in silence, which was uncomfortable. Normally we don't do that unless we've been fighting, but we hadn't. What could either one of us say?

Like those short runs and trampoline sessions in my previous blog, the elliptical stopped the tears. I went on and on, feeling the despair on my face and everywhere, but especially on my face. Until I didn't.

When we were finished, I felt...pretty good. I felt at least ten times better than I had before we left. I wasn't crying anymore, and the idea of a ruined life or a death prayer seemed really far away. It was exactly what I needed, and I shouldn't have put my health and wellness off as long as I had, or it's likely these feelings might not have arisen at all, or at least have been mild enough to ignore.

Plus, while I was there, I found just what I needed serendipitously. I read Mindful magazine at the gym, and there was an article about dealing with mental health issues, complete with a meditation exercise to try (
), and an article about Alison Canavan, who wrote a book for new moms called "Minding Mum: It's Time to Take Care of You." I came home from the gym and bought it.

Those words might come into play later. I don't know, but I can take steps to avoid them. I'm committing to going to the gym at least every other day, because the difference was truly night and day. I'm not committing yet, but I do want to get my meditation practice back on track, as well, starting with the exercise I read when I needed it most.

And I suppose I will end this blog with a quote from Garth Brooks: "Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great blog! It must be difficult to be a new mom. Your body is different, you have sleep deprivation, and a new baby to keep safe and healthy. So much to do and your identity changes overnight! It's so nice that you have your mother-in-law nearby to help with the baby. She sounds very caring! Exercise really does help with mood, because it boosts serotonin in the brain, which can help you be happy. I'm so glad you got in a good workout, and found that Mindful magazine! I hope your new book helps you. It sounds like a really good one! That app you told me about has some really good music and guided meditations. Maybe you can use that to start meditating again. What's neat about it, is that you can set the amount of time. So if you want to start with short ones, you can do that, and work your way up to longer ones. Take care!

    P.S. I'm sorry about Sammy! But the best thing you can do is remember the good times. Another thing that could be good is to think about how he might be with you in spirit, even now, watching over you and your family. I've been thinking about one of my cats a lot lately, missing her. She was very affectionate, whereas the cat we have now, is not very much and often bites. He's black and white, and she was black, so I think it's natural that I'm thinking of her, because of the resemblance and because she didn't bite me so much! I'll check out that other blog.
    498 days ago
    My dear BEATLETOT, i just found this blog today and had no idea you had been going through such a painful time. I do remember some of the feelings you describe from the weeks after I gave birth for the first time. There was NO WAY, I thought, that I could ever rise to the task of being a mother. Looking back on it, a lot of those feelings came from pure, utter, unremitting FATIGUE and the feeling that I had lost my freedom forever. No matter how much in love I was with Hisaki--I had never seen a cuter human in my ENTIRE LIFE!--the ecstasy of being blessed with that perfect boy could not erase the horrible feeling of not being good enough to have been assigned his care.

    I was not into fitness in those days, babysitting is not a custom in Japan, and my mother-in-law, sweet though she was, would send me over the edge with her constant and incredibly repetitive worrying out loud about the way I was doing things, so I preferred not to have anyone around. I was totally without help, as Toshi had a job that required overtime work until past most grownups' bedtime. I was so overwhelmed. Wish I had realized what you did--the importance of self-care.

    I am so glad that your husband tore you away from your tear-soaked pillow and transported you to the gym and out of the funk. What a happy development (can't say "ending" because, as you say, this is just the beginning and there'll be more problems to solve later). But isn't it wonderful that exercise works even better than medication when it comes to mental health? And unlike pills, it makes you more beautiful!

    Keep on sweating it out at the gym, and enjoy that muscle training high! You are doing a great job! Your boy is deeply loved and amazingly happy, and he knows it!
    558 days ago
    I'm not sure that was an UNanswered prayer..... it was answered, but He just said, "No"! (As C.S. Lewis might say, "He's not a Tame Lion.")

    So glad that the exercise cut through the gloom.. it happens to me all the time! Sometimes I really REALLY just want to sit and do nothing but veg out, but if I can just get started, I get SO much positive feedback that I wonder what was bugging me in the first place!
    563 days ago
    Thanks for sharing - sad, scary, but hopeful. You’re on the right track by taking care of yourself and seeking help. Be kind to yourself and definitely show some compassion.

    574 days ago
    This brought tears to my eyes. "Thank God for unanswered Prayers" indeed. emoticon
    575 days ago
    "Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." Amen!
    575 days ago
    No need to commit to a gym schedule. Just commit to you and your health. Cry any time you want, sit in the car by yourself and yell profanity, say the ugly things out loud until you find them ridiculous. You're going to be okay. Just keep reaching out for help.

    And I missed the birth, so congratulations!
    576 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
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    576 days ago
  • CHERYLA2012
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    577 days ago
    Sounds like your hormones are all over the place, hope your doctor can help. BIG (((HUGS)))
    577 days ago
  • SEAGLASS1215
    Your life is forever changed when you have a child...part of it becomes wonderful and yet you miss the freedom you once had and who you used to be. After my second son was born I fell apart in the grocery store - my first time out alone with no kids - staring at the vast array of cereal choices, it was overwhelming and I cried because I couldn't make a decision. Motherhood is one of the hardest, challenging and thankless jobs in the world - and also one of the most rewarding. It is normal to be overwhelmed - it will get easier. Accept help when it is offered and ask for it when you need it. I napped when the baby napped so I could catch up on sleep; joined a gym that had daycare so I could burn off the baby fat and when I couldn't afford that anymore, I plopped baby in a stroller and out we went for long walks. Sometimes I cried and vented my frustration - after making sure baby was safe in the crib - giving me a few moments to "let it all out" before I had to suck it up and be a hand's on mom again. Some days are hard - almost impossible - and you really think you are losing it - and then they smile at you or hold your finger while you give them a bottle...and your heart melts. You've probably heard this before but enjoy each day as best you can, they grow up so fast! My middle one (the one who "made" me cry over cereal) is getting married in baby is certainly no baby now...and I miss those days. At the time I just wanted the diapers and formula and being on call 24/7 to be over...maybe I can get some of that back if/when the grandchildren happen.

    You got this - you really do. And if you need help, with the baby or with your emotions, don't hesitate to reach out...sometimes you just need a couple hours break, sometimes you might need more intervention in terms of meds or something but it's okay! emoticon
    577 days ago
    Honey, it's good that you are seeking support. Please be honest with your doctor about how you are feeling. I am not a mom and I don't have experience but it may be post partum depression, really. No matter what we call it, it does not sound good /normal to me that you are feeling so desperate. Not because a new mom 'should' feel great, I believe it's normal to have to get used to a new situation. But you deserve the best care. Seek help, find a good therapist, someone to be there for you as you grow into your new role. emoticon emoticon emoticon

    That thought about having ruined your life? That is a big fat lie. We all have thoughts that are lies really and it's good to train yourself to not buy into them. We have thousands of thoughts each day (I hear) and it's good to learn to not take each one of them seriously... Pick out the ones that truly make sense and that are not coming from a dark little corner inside of us that's confused.
    Thinking good thoughts for you.
    577 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/30/2018 2:43:39 AM
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