Postpartum Depression: Why I Won't Have Another Baby
Submitted by csmommy
I was an only child, and while I had a good life (and was definitely spoiled), I was lonely. I grew up in a neighborhood where there were no other kids my age, I didn't go to preschool, and I went to such a small church that even the kids there were a few years younger than me. I spent my time with adults from the beginning. This had its advantages: I was always ahead in school. I had undivided attention at home and it paid off. Also, my vocabulary was through the roof before I was 3. But none of these things brought the companionship I longed for. I vowed from a very early age that I would never intentionally do that to my child.
Fast-forward 20 years or so. I met my husband. And his brother. And his sister. And his other brother. You get the idea. We would sit around for hours some nights while all the siblings sat around telling stories of their childhood. Things that they could share that no one else would ever understand. I'd sit and just listen. I'd soak up as much as I could. But I could never relate. That made me sad. It was time to revisit my childhood vow: No child of mine would be an only.
And then I got pregnant ... Which was great, don't get me wrong. I had an easy pregnancy, a loving husband, wonderful in-laws (lots of 'em)—things seemed perfect.
Up until the day of my son's birth. Nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen. My son was born via C-section and reunited with me two hours later. I waited for a spark. Yes, he was healthy and adorable. But there was no rush of emotion like I expected. I figured I was just tired. It would pass. I didn't know that it was just the beginning of what would be a horrible case of postpartum depression.
For the next two months, the only emotion I really felt was despair. I knew deep down that I loved my son, but I just couldn't reach that place. I knew it was there, so I fought hard and overcame it.
My child is now the center of my universe. But those first 8 weeks were the absolute worst, and I regret losing that time to bond with him so much. Even if we lived forever, there still won't be enough time for me to show him how much I love him. I'm so thankful that depression has left me, but I am not unscathed.
I am still plagued by anxiety. I am still on medication and in therapy. And one of the most painful things of all is that I am left with no desire to do this again. I fear starting over. Not just fear of possible PPD, but of having another newborn. Worrying about milestones and growth charts. Almost two years later with my son now, I'm still worrying about growth charts. So I can't bear to start over with another child. I fear the fear. I truly feel that if I have another child, I will have two kids with only half of a mother. That seems ludicrous to me. I'd rather focus all my love and attention on the one I have than risk his happiness just so I can say I have two children. Would I be doing it for him or trying to fill my own void?
So this leaves my child an only child. The thing I said I'd never do. The thing that makes other mothers look at me and say, "Oh, you have to have another one! You can't have just one!" (Is he a potato chip or something? I digress.) I'm treated like just wanting one child gives me two heads, and I find this extremely unfair.
So tread lightly on women you come across who feel ill-equipped to have more children. You don't know the pain and guilt that may be underneath.