Mental Health, Parenting

Unanswerable Questions: Having Another Baby After Postpartum Depression

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Maybe it’s that G gets excited when he sees babies and toddlers on TV or while we are out. Maybe it’s that my friends are starting to think about and are having their second kid and I don’t want to miss out. Maybe I’m just mentally and physically “ready.”

Or maybe it’s all the above. All I know is that a switch has gone off and I want another baby. And last week I was wanting one bad.

I have been hesitating to tell Hubby what I wanted for a while because the last time I tried having a serious conversation about expanding our family, he seemed to make a case against it. It’s been grating on my feelings ever since.

I wasn’t ready for an adult conversation about this. Either he would agree with me to start trying or, I don’t know. I’d get mad. Throw something. Slam a door. Something not very adult or ladylike to show him I was displeased. Because this is something I want and he needed to agree if I were to get it.

Maybe it was because we talked about how my therapy session had gone the day before. Maybe the timing was right, but we finally had an honest conversation about trying for another baby. I took a gulp last week and told Hubby I had decided 100% that I want another baby, and I wanted to start trying for that baby now.

I could tell Hubby was trying to tread lightly when he said didn’t want to start trying again until I was more (mentally) stable. Until I could emotionally handle being pregnant and mother another baby.

In other words, when I got better.

I’m sure that wasn’t easy for him to say. If those worries weren’t my own I would have been insulted.

Okay, I was still slightly insulted.

But worse than that, I didn’t have an answer. Don’t have an answer.

How do know you are cured of postpartum depression?

How do you know you are emotionally stable to be pregnant after being emotionally unstable for so long?

How do you know postpartum depression won’t come back?

I don’t have the answers to any of these.

Unanswerable Questions: Making the Decision to Have a Baby After Postpartum Depression via #postpartum #depression #mentalhealth

I’ve heard of women being cured of postpartum depression, but it is different for everyone. I’m no longer taking my meds, but I have my bad days. I could feel a lot better in a week or it takes longer. What makes this more difficult is that I have a history of anxiety and depression. I could start feeling better only to feel depressed for another reason.

I just feel ready to have another baby. Let’s face it, pregnancy is an emotional time while your hormones are doing crazy things. There is no getting around that. But my pregnancy with our angel, though short, was filled with anxiety because I had the nagging feeling I wasn’t ever going to take her home and Hubby was freaking out over our housing situation. My pregnancy with G was anxiety-filled because, despite knowing I would take him home, I was scared of losing him and because I wasn’t over my miscarriage. Looking back, I think my OB should have taken Hubby more seriously when he asked her if my level of anxiety was normal, because looking back, I don’t think it was.

Every woman who has had a baby has also taken a chance with some kind of postpartum mental disorder. I’ve heard of women having it with every birth, with varying degrees. I’ve heard of women having it with their first but not their second. I’ve heard of women who are fine with their first but not their second. And I’ve heard of women who never get it at all. How do I know it won’t come back? I really can’t answer that question.

I also know that circumstances can increase chances of getting postpartum mood disorders. I had an emotional pregnancy with G. Then G was in the NICU. I didn’t know what I was doing with a newborn. We were living in a one bedroom condo that was not big enough for two of us, let alone three of us. I had to balance work with being a new mom. I tried getting off the Happy Pill only to “fail” at it, which has made weaning off it this time a lot scarier. We house hunted. We moved.

I didn’t know how to interpret Hubby’s response. Did he want to wait until I felt stable? Or until he thought I was stable? Or the therapist? If the latter two were correct we might never expand our family because what they think and what I think could be different.

So I asked. I asked if he wanted to wait until he thought I could handle it. I asked how long he was planning to wait, or willing to wait. I asked because I am not willing to wait. I want to be pregnant before the end of the year, and I know it might not be an easy thing to do.

He said he wanted to know that I knew I was really ready. That I wouldn’t be an emotional mess if I did have another baby. It turns out he is just as worried as I am about falling back down the PPD rabbit hole as I am.

To answer honestly was not answering him at all. Our circumstances are different this time. I feel a lot less overwhelmed with work out of the picture. But, if I get pregnant and needed help there isn’t anyone who could help on some random Tuesday. Yes, his parents live close, but his mom won’t drive to our house so I’m SOL if something were to happen on a day his dad was working. My friends don’t live close. My family doesn’t live close. Hubby doesn’t work close. I feel pretty much alone over here.

Next time I’d be chasing a toddler around while I grew bigger and more uncomfortable.

Next time I’d be home with a toddler who wanted my attention and a baby who needed it. Hubby added I wouldn’t be getting any sleep. I mentioned that my friends won’t be around to stop in on their lunch break to drop off food for us and distract me for a bit.

Basically, I’ll be doing a lot alone. And that is scary terrifying to me. Because I know myself well enough to know those things would be enough to trigger postpartum depression next time around. Maybe even something prior to giving birth.

But it might not.

So I really couldn’t answer his questions. All I know is that I want another baby. All I could do was acknowledge that his worries are valid and they are my own. That I know what we (he) needs to look out for in case I fall down the rabbit hole again. That at any sign of going back to that place he needed to take me to a doctor, even if that meant dragging me there against my will.

I felt I couldn’t say anything to make him 100% on board with trying. I started feeling like the conversation was doomed from the start and we’d always be a family of three instead of a family of four or five because there would always be that chance I’d never be stable.

I think he was able to acknowledge that his worries are things that can’t be answered. Recovering from a mental illness can’t put on a timetable. Getting postpartum depression if I have another baby is beyond my control. But, if I’ve been off my meds for a few weeks and am feeling okay without them, then we’ll just have to roll with the punches.

In the end, he did agree. And in the end, I felt a lot better about being able to have an honest conversation about it, despite the fact I couldn’t put his mind at total ease.

So. I guess I can start getting my Pee-On-A-Stick-Aholic on again!

3 thoughts on “Unanswerable Questions: Having Another Baby After Postpartum Depression

  1. That is exciting. I hope it works out for you!! I also want to try again, but not until I am physically ready, and that’s not happening yet with Nicky still breastfeeding and hardly eating much solids. I really hope I can wean him soon. Sigh.
    I also don’t have family close which is tough. And I have to ttc soon because I am 40 next year.

  2. Oh, this is all so complex! You express the situation very clearly, but I’m not sure what to say except to wish you luck. It’s such a scary place to be. I know a couple of people who had such traumatic births that they don’t want more children. So I think the fact that you want to try for another is probably a healthy sign. and it sounds like your husband is very supportive, even if he doesn’t want exactly what you want.

    I haven’t read your whole story, but now that you know you’ve had PPD this time, will you be able to recognize it sooner and get help faster if it does recur?

  3. No answers to your unanswerable questions, but enumerating them and exploring them is the best possible thing you and your husband can do as you figure out your future path. As Deborah also points out, perhaps your past experience can help you identify and remedy PPD sooner, now that you’re more aware of it and know what to look for.

    Very excited to see where this decision leads you!

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