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FUCKING DEPRESSED

My bother’s wife is totally my role model for parenting. She seems to do a great job of maintaining some semblance of self while being primary caregiver, and has always been delightfully honest about the ups and downs of parenting. A few months ago, she dispensed the following words of wisdom: Baby Blues is a bunch of bullshit. You will be FUCKING DEPRESSED.

Now I see what she means. It totally chaps my hide that my options are either Baby Blues, which is deeply infantilizing and dismissive, or Postpartum Depression, which is Extreme and Serious. I mean, I can see why people would want to dismiss the hormonal storms–exacerbated by sleep deprivation–that sweep through the brains of new mothers. Even during the entire day I spent lying listlessly in bed, feeling emotionally disconnected from my child, hating my husband, and weeping, some part of me maintained perspective. I could tell that it was not as bad as it felt. So presumably the LOATHSOME terminology (oooo, she’s got de widdle baby bwoosey woosies) is intended to minimize the seriousness of the experience and remind you that what you’re going through is normal and transient. But I’m a grown fucking woman and do not experience the blues, so why the fuck would I experience the baby blues?

Similarly, PPD describes something clinical, and is clearly not applicable at the moment. Deo volente, it never will be.

There is clearly a need for some new terminology, terminology that acknowledges that the experience is SUPER UNPLEASANT and not at all cutesy. In me, it’s manifested itself as periods, ranging from a few hours to whole days, of deep despair and intense irritation. Mainly the irritation has been directed at Mr. Bunny, but there have been a few times I’ve wanted to claw my face off while trying to feed Bun Bun, and once when she swiped my bleeding nipple with her talons, I had to set her down and take A Moment. (Please don’t call Child Protective Services–I promise I’m not going to shake my baby.) So while I know it’s circumstantial, just like all the depression I experienced while desperately trying to HAVE this baby was circumstantial, I insist on calling it something other than Baby Blues.

I’m going with FUCKING DEPRESSED. And I urge other new mothers to adopt this terminology. When your patronizing partner–the one who spends most of his or her time with a smiling, happy baby, and none of his or her time with bleeding nipples–suggests that your tempestuous weeping is the Baby Blues, retort: No, it isn’t. I’m Fucking Depressed. Or when any one of the many women who has forgotten what it’s like to go through this–your obnoxious mother-in-law, your whoreish fertile friend who had no problems breastfeeding and who had a drug-free four hour labor and didn’t tear at all, asks if you have the Baby Blues, reply, No. I’m FUCKING DEPRESSED.

Let’s leave the Baby Blues to chipper, frisky women who have never experienced a moment of real unhappiness, and therefore have no basis for comparison. We don’t need the Baby Blues. We have FUCKING DEPRESSED.

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love the term – it's so real and honest! It happens with so many women, thanks for talking about it and calling it what it is. I hope things get better for you soon…

    June 2, 2011
  2. Blimey, that sounds FUCKING AWFUL.You poor thing. I think some adoptive parents go through a similar thing, which would suggest some part of it must be non-hormonal?Anyway. Feel better, bunny. Take care of yourself.

    June 2, 2011
  3. This makes complete sense to me. I'll remember to keep it in my back pocket. I'm sorry you're feeling fucking depressed, babe. I really do hope things look up soon.

    June 2, 2011
  4. grr, just lost my comment! i'm soo sorry you're fucking depressed now bunny. i hope you wake up one day soon and it's all gone and a distant memory. the words "baby blues" just don't sound right. i'm sure i'll be posting about being depressed in a few weeks time. for now, if it makes you feel any better, i'm fucking crazy apparently. xoxo, big hugs :o)

    June 2, 2011
  5. Im sorry, bunny. I've loathed the term 'baby blues', too. I did not experience any depression (thank Jesus), but I did experience the extreme paranoia that something would happen to my baby, that I would be powerless to protect her against. I think that FEAR is very common to new mothers, and I find it ridiculous that this fear is considered part of the 'baby blues' syndrome. I mean, hello, we have these brand new, extremely delicate little creatures to care for and it's a HUGE, brand-new responsibility. And people consider that worrying about this is some sort of (cutesy) pathology??? I'd call it NORMAL. Ugh!!!

    June 2, 2011
  6. My FIL says "And I can see how if you lived in a small apartment and were all alone and a new mother you might want to shake your baby" every FUCKING TIME we talk to him. File under "makes me want to shake him".I'm sorry you're FUCKING DEPRESSED (it requires all caps). I remember wanting to kill my spouse when Bug was little, mostly because 'sell baby' is not an option, plus one doesn't really want to, but the adult spouse? Who should take care of his/her own damn self, why are you asking me a question, go away, find the tuna fish yourself… him I wanted to kill.Hoping you're feeling better, or at least less tired, soon.

    June 2, 2011
  7. JB #

    A friend of mine told me, despite the fact that she characterizes her son as the easiest baby in the whole world, there were days when she called her mother to say "I want to leave him in a snow bank." I remember that well because, you, know, YEAH. Some days you kind of do.There's more to it than brain chemistry, I think. There's a whole new "you" now, and a major reshaping of your role in this baby's life, your husband's life, and your own life. Your body is still not your own, your time is not your own, your hunger and sleep needs are always secondary, and the deprivation of those things can drive you insane. (You know how when rats are put on an island and when they fall asleep, they fall into the water and then wake up and this goes on until they FUCKING DIE? Yeah, sleep deprivation is exactly like that.) THEN pile on the goddamned hormones and you have a real shit pie. Mmmmm, I'll take a slice of that.This will not help you much right now, but I'll tell you anyway (in a Dan Savage kind of way) that it does get better. The physical wounds and discomforts start to heal and subside, the mental adjustment starts to sink in, and by this time Bun Bun will be a little older and more responsive and hopefully start to be easier to care for (i.e., sleep in stretches, spread out feedings a bit, etc.). There's no way to tell you exactly how or when you'll come out the other side, but I can reassure you that there IS another side and you can make it to there.And any time someone tells you their one-push-and-out birth story ("no tearing, can you believe it?!"), think fast and deliver them a mighty taco punch in their unmarred cooch. They deserve it for bragging.And FYI, if there is some sort of Groupon for mother-in-law hit jobs, I'm in.

    June 2, 2011
  8. You are so right bunny, I remember (not that long ago) holding my son crying right along with him and thinking— yeah "baby blues" don't really capture what I'm feeling right now. For me the sleep depravation and lack of exercise were the 2 biggest problems. So I got the husband to do one of the evening feeding (bottles=sleep) and I started walking daily and went back to the gym when J was 8wks old. Really helped. Hope you feel better soon.

    June 2, 2011
  9. cgd #

    I am so proud of you for talking about this so openly, most people are so afraid to do that.I hope that things improve for you soon and that you have the kind of help/ supports that you need.sending much love to youP.S. thank you so much for all of your comments on my blog, they always serve to make me laugh and smile.

    June 3, 2011
  10. Oh shit, bunny, I'm sorry you feel so awful. Because I've been there (and my relationshi with my husband still is not all that great, because I mainly want to kill him and that's not the best foundation for a loving relationship) and there were definitely times when I wanted to defenestrate the wee one. Frankly, I think that's why they are so cute — so they don't get lofted out of the window. I think it's hard becaue, while your body is super important ( you feed and care for the baby, and probably do a lot of house stuff to care for you and mr bunny) , you –the actual bunny with her needs and wants and likes and desires– are super UNimportant. In fact, no one usually remembers you exist at all outside of your newe mothering role. All of a sudden, the "you" has become invisibleSo yeah, I've been in a place near to where you are, and it does get better, but it is really hard where you are and I'm sorry and if there is anything I can do to help, just holler.

    June 3, 2011
  11. M #

    Every time you post something it's like you ripped a page out the journal I never kept. I also totally had to take A Moment after a breast feeding episode (and, later, a diapering fiasco). During the FUCKING DEPRESSION, I wished my friends would just SHUT UP about it getting better. Later I found out they were totally right. It got so much better. I truly, truly wish I had more to offer, but it's all I've got: keep up the keeping up.

    June 3, 2011
  12. AL #

    Shit, Bunny, this sounds horrible. I'm so sorry that it's awful right now. i feel like when I read your blog I'm getting a sneak peak into what I'll be experiencing in 3 weeks time. Oh and this time it's scary.Hang in, bunny. xo

    June 3, 2011
  13. Ah, Bunny. It sucks. I dont remember how long it lasted for me but what good would that do you anyhow? Everyone is different and all that shit.Just because you know what it is doesnt make it any easier. I know I stubbed my toe, but it still hurts like a mofo. Knowing why your hormones are out of whack doesnt help either.Forgive me if I repeat myself.I remember changing clothes one night. I hit my hand on my massive boob. It hurt and milk came shooting out. I burst into tears. Is this how my life was going to be now?? Boobs so big I dont even know where they end???Small things feel like big bastards.You are not imagining it and baby blues is stupidness. Depression is in the house.

    June 3, 2011
  14. thanks for sharing-it makes me feel normal. all the best as you get better… might be a ridiculous suggestion-but any option of squeezing in an hour at the gym? some endorphins! 🙂 Really enjoy your blog.

    June 3, 2011
  15. I am 5 months into the FUCKING DEPRESSION. On balance, there are more good days and moments than bad, but every now and then I get a fierce depression sucker punch to the back of the head. Happened with my first child, too. I feel like I am bobbing right in the middle of a lake right now. Like I can see the shore from which I started and the shore to which I will drag my ass onto, but both seem far away and I feel alone. With my first son, I started feeling much better around his year birthday. But even then it lingered in wisps. I think I returned to a newish-old me some time around the 16-month mark. Each month was better than the last, but it was hard for awhile. You do feel better. You do. It's just that it would be really nice if that knowledge came with a due date as well.

    June 3, 2011
  16. You, dear woman, have managed to make your infertile friend who has just miscarried and is FUCKING DEPRESSED, laugh her ass off. That is no small feat these days. Thank you. I am sorry that you are FUCKING DEPRESSED, Bunny. It sounds so heavy at times, and hope that it is transient. But in the mean time, I just hate that you have to go through this at all. My thoughts are with you.

    June 3, 2011
  17. FUCKING DEPRESSED is right on the money. What I remember most is the terrible dreams I had, and EVERY TIME I was woken up out of a deep sleep (multiple times a day) I had this blinding panic that the pillow I was holding was really my baby and I had just accidentally smothered him. In the worst moments I thought, "If I felt like this every day I would literally go mad." Sobering stuff.Here's hoping it eases soon!

    June 4, 2011
  18. Oh Bunny, I'm really glad for your honesty here. I'm so sorry you're FUCKING DEPRESSED but I'm proud of you for getting it out there and not pansying around with the fluffy baby blues title. What a joke that is.I do think, sadly, those who have struggled to conceive are probably more likely to be F.D after birth because we've built this whole thing up so much and wanted it for so long that I imagine (and could be totally wrong cause, you know what the hell would I know about this topic reallly?) that the pressure to be a perfect parent is quite immense. After all, isn't this what we've changed our whole world to become? So I think a lot of parents after IF find they can't let themselves complain or ask for help because they feel they should just be able to cope. I'm so sorry you've had some hard times, i hope the pass soon so you can start realising your true awesomeness. Lots of hugs from afar. xxx

    June 4, 2011
  19. Hon–You might actually have PPD. BTDT. I thought the same thing– sure, I feel like crap but I don't have *that*. But I did. It's worth seeing your doc about. Better to nip it now than suffer longer. And the meds are ok for BF.

    June 4, 2011
  20. It's a thin line between PPD and merely wanting to kill one's spouse regularly. Or crawl out of one's own skin while breastfeeding. Etc.

    June 5, 2011
  21. Thanks for being so honest about how you're feeling! I wish more women were willing to be more open about this and then maybe we could nix that baby blues business once and for all. Because you're absolutely right – when you're in the midst of the post partum hormone letdown and your body is still healing from the birth and you suddenly have the overwhelming task of keeping this crying/eating/sh*tting/nonverbal being alive on what feels like NO SLEEP AT ALL -yeah, you tend to feel fucking depressed :)Like other posters have mentioned, it does get better. Usually right around the time you decide to have another baby, lol. That's life I guess. -L

    June 5, 2011
  22. Yep. That's exactly right. Fucking depressed. Adam is 5.5 weeks now and I, thankfully, feel much much better now. But 2 weeks after he was born, I wanted to cry (and some days did) all day long. Mr. Wannabe wasn't cutting it in my mind, nobody could do anything right and I felt stuck. Loved my boy as much as anyone could love a child, but that's how I felt. It was awful.Hang in there, hopefully you'll start feeling better soon Bunny.

    June 5, 2011
  23. Love this. I'm better now at ten weeks but those first few? Yikes!

    September 8, 2011

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