And so, it began. The joy started with a doctors appointment, which had been twice canceled and three times rescheduled, finally catching up with me. And it wasn't your ordinary "just a check up" either. Instead, at 12:45pm, which in doctor land = 1:37pm, I faced the dreaded psychiatrist.
In case I haven't mentioned it previously, I struggled a bit with some postpartum depression after Grace's big debut. It came on all at once and felt completely surreal. None of the childbirth classes or pre-baby preparation could have prepared me for what PPD actually was. What is supposed to be the happiest time in your life, suddenly becomes a dark and desolate test of will.
Those first few weeks were absolute hell, and not for any of the reasons I had expected. Grace was an absolutely beautiful baby. She was calm and content, waking only to sip her milk and softly whimper. She was happy and well adjusted. None of the traditional baby blunders presented themselves. Grace ate like a champ and even slept the night! So what was my problem? The nurses had warned me of the "baby blues" before leaving the hospital, saying that this period would be difficult but fleeting. After two weeks of nearly constant weeping, I'd had my fill, and called the doctor. After a week of prescribed anti-depressants - I felt as though a tremendous weight had been lifted. Had the baby blues worn off or had the meds cured me? I can't be sure. Either way, I was finally able to start settling into my new maternal digs and began to enjoy my beautiful baby girl without the around the clock blues.
For those of you who have experienced this, I needn't say more. And for those who haven't, consider yourself lucky. For as common as postpartum depression is, there are a lot of people who simply cannot relate. It isn't the easiest thing to talk about and it isn't always met with understanding and compassion. Men don't really 'get it', but seem to stay neutral. Women who haven't had the displeasure of experiencing it aren't always terribly kind either; acting as though they don't have the time to entertain such trivial issues when they're so consumed with being Mommy Dearest.
Despite the negativity of some others, I had support. Lots and lots of support. Today was a postpartum check up that I had scheduled months ago. The idea is that these yearly 15 minute evaluations keep your mental health at bay, while inconveniencing you as little as possible. Sounds easy enough, right?
Today I met a resident, who'd only come to America last month from India,. She spoke little English and obviously didn't know my history. She preformed a full "tell-me-everything-ever-in-the-whole-frickin-world-about-you-and-why-you're-crazy" exam, culminating in a brain function questionnaire. This was where the "15 minute" appointment really peaked. Questions such as "what do a tomato and an apple have in common?" where peppered with basic U.S. history questions, including "who was our 20th president?" (IS THIS CHICK FOR REAL?!)
After about a half an hour of this incessant questioning, I'd just about had it. Was this chick reciting her recently taken citizenship exam? I was feeling fine! This was just a check up! Fifteen minutes had quickly turned into two hours, and I was starting to feel a little nutty. The evaluation ended with a simple "what does this saying mean to you" Q&A.
"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"
Think about that people. My response included some hysterical nervous laughter and something about "getting what you give". From the look on her face, I must have epically failed. Today's mental health exam left me mentally exhausted, and happy to be returning home, possibly crazier than when I'd left!