Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baby Blues, I Told Myself

I remember it like it was yesterday today. I can see you. Each of you.

I know that doesn't make sense, because you came on different days, but it's true.

You came to our home, to help us welcome Jena into our family, to bring us dinner, and to see how we were doing.

I have no idea how I seemed to you at the time.

Maybe I seemed fine. Maybe I seemed off.

I felt off. I felt like a stranger in my own house, lost in my own skin.

I remember not knowing what to do, what to say, feeling awkward.

So many details came flooding back today. Details, details, details.

Mary* was the first to visit. You were wearing a black shirt & jeans. Your dark hair pulled back neatly. You brought tomato soup from Panera. Picked up on your way home from work. Yours & your husband's favorite. And "not too spicy" you said. You peeked in on Jena, who was sleeping in her pack-n-play in the living room. You had Victoria with you, in her carrier, born just a few months earlier. Adorable as ever.

Next was Betsy. You were wearing a striped sweater & jeans, Ugg-style boots, adorable hat to match. You brought your girls with you, dressed to match you. You brought us ready-to-cook enchilada's in a clear baking pan. Peeked quickly in on Jena, and left. I sensed that you were trying hard not to intrude.

Isabel was next, with her boyfriend. You guys brought a KFC family dinner, and ate with us. You were wearing a black button down shirt, untucked, and jeans.

You probably sensed that something was off. Our conversation was good, but there was a moment when I drifted off, staring into space. What you may not have realized is I was trying to focus myself, trying to keep from crying. I don't know why.
I finally excused myself to go to the bathroom. Which I did. And cried on the toilet. And couldn't pull myself together. I heard you get up to leave, so I took a deep breath, blew my nose, composed myself just long enough to come out & wave good-bye from the front porch.
Then I went back inside and felt like crap for the rest of the night. For no real reason at all.

And then there was Lori. She stopped by with her kids on her way back home from the zoo. They'd had a good day, but said it was really super crowded. She & I chatted while the kids & her husband seemed bored. They didn't stay long. After all, I probably seemed bored too. Kept zoning out.

Baby blues, I told myself.

At that point, I hadn't yet been told to go to my doctor. I hadn't yet been told I had Post Partum Depression. I hadn't yet realized how very sick I was.

At that point, I felt a little bit of nothing about you coming to visit.

Somewhere along the way, I realized how much I appreciated those visits. I really did do. I still do. Four years later.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that each of you were moms yourself. So maybe you get it.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that those short little visits are an expression of love, a showing of care & concern for another human being.

Somewhere along the way, I had completely forgotten about them.

Today, they came back to me in a flash, in an instant, vivid, detailed, as if each of them had just happened moments earlier. There was no specific trigger, nothing happened, nothing was said to cause me to think of them. They just appeared instantaneously.

Jena's birthday is approaching.

PTSD is rearing it's ugly head.

This flashback, while it seems lovely, reminds me of how dead I was inside, how just awful I felt.

I cried a little today.

I'm sure it won't be the last flashback I have in the next few weeks.

Welcome back, PTSD. Let's try to keep the traumatic flashbacks to a minimum this year, 'kay? I'd really love to go thru just one of my daughter's birthdays without having a complete meltdown. Can we make it her 4th? Please?


* as always, names changed to protect privacy

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