Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Middleton Effect

Changes made to photo made by Laura Keane

A handful of my friends and family are playing a prank on me.  It's quite elaborate as several of them are involved whom I did not believe knew each other at all. 
The prank is this:
They say I favor Kate Middleton.
I find this equally hilarious and horrible.
Hilarious because, hello, me?  Kate Middleton? I don't remember paying you to be my friend.
Horrible because, rude!  Thanks a lot for putting an idea in my head that my ego loves ever so much. After hearing that lie I walk around town thinking,
"Someone in my life thinks I slightly resemble I'm as perfect as Kate Middleton!  I'm the best!"
I'm sure they all call each other after they say these deceiving things and gossip about my inflated self esteem walking the streets.  Jerks.
OR maybe I'm slightly paranoid and need to learn how to take a compliment.

The Duchess and I do have a few things in common, though.
We are both married. We each have an eldest boy.  We each have a youngest girl. 
Our boys were both born in July and our girls in May.  I know. 
We are basically the same person, as you can see below: 

Changes made to photo by Laura Keane

Now, for those of you with a more distinguished eyesight for photography, I'm sure you can see the slight nuances that make these photos appear distinguishable.  For everyone else, you stand with me in saying I shoulda gotten a stiff Katie M cocktail prior to the taking of this photo if I wanted to look like postpartum royalty. 

The Duchess of Cambridge looked the part of, "glowing new mom," with both of her children. 
Me? Well, let's just say I was lucky to get out of the hospital with the geisha walk thanks my additional chub rub, the reconstruction of my anatomy, and the mesh panties. 
Can I get an amen?! 

To top it off, my woes did not seem to end with the physical. 
The day after I had Eldest was The Day of All the Tears.   
I cried when I woke up because I was so tired. 
I cried when the doctor came in with the medical team. 
I cried when they left. 
I cried because I was crying. 
At one point I thought to myself, "Surely, I have no more tears left to cry."  I was wrong.
The Tears Kept Coming!
You guys. It was terrible. 

The nurse practitioner came in and tried to convince me to take medication to help ease the anguish that was setting in. 
During this time, she basically told me I had postpartum depression (which I did), but this was like a slap of cold water to my swollen, tear-stained face. 
Postpartum Depression? 
Isn't that what crazy women, like Brook Shields, have?  Isn't that for people who have absolutely lost their marbles and hate their babies?

Then my mom and mother-in-law proceeded to tell me that they had postpartum depression after they had both of their children.
Excuse me?  What did you just say?
I felt so angry and betrayed in that moment.
Not at my mom or mother-in-law as much as it was at the situation itself.
Why hadn't anyone told me?!  Why was this not on my radar?  Why don't we talk about this?

I have no idea how Kate Middleton's postpartum journey really was for her and her family. 
I doubt the world will ever know that. 

However, what I do know is this:
My journey was rough.  Rougher than I ever imagined it would be.
Most women experience at least a moment of,
"Oh my Dear Lord in Heaven what have I done?!  Why did I have this baby?!"
But we don't talk about it.
Why?  Why don't we talk about it?
We prepare our new moms for everything physically, but we don't prepare our new moms for the potential onslaught of emotions they may experience postpartum.
This doesn't make sense to me.

Women are way too cool to suffer alone!  I believe we each have something to offer one another. I believe to be silent in one's suffering is a crime against the sisterhood we have worked so hard to create. 

So, here it is: I suffered from Postpartum Depression.  It was not mild.  It was severe.  Dearest came home with a wary look in his eye, unsure of what he might find on the other side of the door, on the regular.
I have never been perfect, but for the first time in my life I could not smooth those imperfections over whatsoever. 
I was too tired.
I was too down.
I was depressed.

Here's the good news: I am no longer.  I survived.  Not because I'm amazing or fabulous or really, really good looking.  I survived because there were people around me to hold me up.  They got in the dirt with me and told me their truths.  Their honestly was my oxygen.
And so I offer you an oxygen mask with my truth.
You are not alone.
Breathe in, dear heart.

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