Lost

posted in: Motherhood 163 comments

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“This is so hard. I don’t know if I can do it.”

“It’s okay, you can. Just breathe.”

“I don’t know, I don’t know. I have hardly slept, I’m so tired, and I I feel so alone, help me.”

That is the gist of most of the online conversations I had with my sister, back in January 2010, my  first week of new motherhood.

I had never been more terrified, more alone, more vulnerable.

I was far away from home, from my family. We had traveled to my husband’s home country to have our baby, so that he could have citizenship there.

I never thought it would challenge me as much as it did.

When my son was four days old, I broke down and sobbed when a kindly midwife asked me how I was.  I told her I had no idea why I was crying. Postpartum blues, she said. Perfectly normal, you’ve been through a lot. It’s not called “labor” for nothing, she joked gently.

When my son was six days old, I was having the first of those “help me” conversations with my sister.

When my son was one week old, my husband held me as I sobbed, and told him, “I want to go home. Please. I can’t wait another 10 days.”

When my son was two weeks old, we flew home.

When my son was 15 days old, my marriage strained. From my inexplicable possessiveness of my firstborn. From my irrational first-time motherhood paranoia. From my husband’s inability (and mine)  to understand why and how I had turned into a first-class bitch.

When my son was 15 days, 12 hours old, my husband and I sat down for a heart-to-heart.

I told him I had no idea why I was falling apart. I just knew I desperately loved my child and him and our marriage. He nodded, I sobbed.

We then promised each other to stick it out together. For our son’s sake. For our sake.

When my son was a month old and wouldn’t stop crying, I had a fleeting thought of doing harm. To myself, to him – I am not sure. I can’t even think about it or type it out now, without the fear of being judged. I know I would never, could never, ever hurt him. But that I thought it scared me.

As weeks and months passed, I got better at the motherhood gig. There were still moments where I felt desperately inept. Like I was thrust into a movie with no script. But I learned to ad lib. To make it up as I go along. To follow my instincts.

I was never diagnosed with postpartum depression or any other mental illness. Now that I have more knowledge of what PPD is, I don’t believe I had it.

I do believe that I was a new mother flailing, with very little support when I needed it most. I didn’t ask for help. I resisted thinking I even needed it.

I needed it.

As I approach being a mother the second time round, I believe I am more prepared.

No, I know I am.

I’m going to be alright.

New mothers, you will be too.

“Strength isn’t about how much you can handle before you break, it’s about how much you can handle after you break.” – Unknown


I am truly okay, friends.


And linking up with the community every blogger needs to know about, Yeah Write!

Alison
Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).
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  • February 15, 2012 angela

    You will be amazing. There are, of course, new strains, but there is also the knowledge that you’ve done it once and can do it again.

    I’m also finding it easier to ask for help this time around. Sometimes 🙂

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      It’s the experience I’ve come to accumulate that I’m counting on to pull me through this time round. And I’m definitely asking for help!

  • February 15, 2012 Ann

    Oh, Alison – I wish I knew you then and we were neighbors so you could TALK and I could hold the baby and give you a break. They say there is nothing harder on a marriage then when a wife becomes a mother.

    Knowing what you know now, I’m betting you’ll be Aces….and I’m pulling for you, girlfriend.

    ~hugs
    Ann recently wrote…Crepes in ParisMy Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      Ann, if you were my neighbor, I KNOW I can count on you for help, support, baby holding and some delicious food. Thank you. Your friendship is invaluable to me!

  • February 15, 2012 Frelle

    thank you for pouring your heard out and talking about what it’s really like to feel those out of control feelings. So proud of you for hitting publish! *HUG*
    Frelle recently wrote…Wordless Wednesday and #iPPPMy Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      This was truly the hardest post I’ve ever hit publish on. It’s been in my head and heart for such a long time. Thank you for reading and your support, Frelle!

  • February 15, 2012 Elaine

    Oh honey, I had a really hard time after my first was born too. I UNDERSTAND, fully. And I promise you it will be better this time around, for many reasons. xoxo
    Elaine recently wrote…Valentine’s Day? Kind of a bust.My Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      I know it’d be better – now, I have this blog and all you ladies to pull me through!

  • February 15, 2012 Debbie

    This post needs to be read by EVERY new mom-to-be. It’s so important to have some sort of support system in place and as you found, to know, you can do it, you can and will be a great mom. I’ve had four and after the first, it’s a cake walk.
    Debbie recently wrote…Finding ForeverMy Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Debbie. I never thought about a support system. I read all the books, prepared all I could, but didn’t think about a support network. Duh. 🙂

  • February 15, 2012 Alexandra

    Scary times.

    Times that seem like yesterday, but also like 100 years ago.

    Times that could be someone else’s memories, but not mine.

    Yet, they were mine.

    And I was like this.

    ANd I clung to every day just by my finger nails.

    A lifetime ago, but so very recently enough that I will never take down my PPd button, it will always be up on my site…in case, in the middle of the night, someone needs to know that someone else understands.

    I do.

    I have NO doubt you will hit the ground like a champ this second time around.

    I can feel it.
    Alexandra recently wrote…Don’t Get Valentine’s Day The Wrong WayMy Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      I know this time, I CAN. Because not only do I have a support system on the ground, I have people like you in the blogosphere I just KNOW will be there for me when/ if I reach out.

      Thank you, Alexandra. For being there for me, always.

  • February 15, 2012 Laura

    I am so glad you wrote this. It is so hard to explain what new mothers go through and when you’re in that moment it is so hard to even understand yourself what you are feeling and why. And that is perfectly normal.

    I am going to share this with my sister who is a brand new Mom. Even though we’re only a five hour drive away, I feel so far away from her. New motherhood is hard for everyone.
    Laura recently wrote…Any Other DayMy Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Laura. I hope your sister reads this and it will help her. New motherhood IS hard. To varying degrees for all of us, but hard nonetheless.

  • February 15, 2012 Jamie

    It’s the part no one wants to talk about because GOD FORBID people think we don’t know what we’re doing. It’s hard. It’s supposed to be. We’re supposed to HELP EACH OTHER!
    Jamie recently wrote…all you need is loveMy Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      Yes, yes we are. My trouble was, I didn’t think of reaching out for help at first. I was just so dazed and bewildered the first month and trying to get through the days minute by minute.

      With hindsight, I know I’ll be okay this time round 🙂

  • February 15, 2012 tracy

    Having support around us is SO important when becoming a mother. I didn’t have family around which made it so difficult. hugs friend. Love this.
    tracy recently wrote…Motherhood is EnoughMy Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Tracy. I’m way more prepared now. I’ve got my support system up and running! xoxo

  • February 15, 2012 Jackie

    Oh Alison, this was so powerful! I could feel your pain, your emotions with each line.
    I had some “baby blues” for a few months after both my deliveries, and you are so right. It IS about asking for help, getting support, and realizing super mom doesn’t exist.
    Jackie recently wrote…That MomMy Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Jackie. I wish I was wiser then. But now I am, and thank goodness for that 🙂

  • February 15, 2012 Anjie

    I can relate to this so very much. I loved this post! So raw, so real! You are an amazing writer!

    Thank you for visiting my blog today!
    Anjie recently wrote…Welcome! It’s My SITS Day!My Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Anjie, for your kind words. I hope you’re enjoying your SITS Day!

  • February 15, 2012 Jaime

    You WILL be. Honest.

    Have you been reading this week’s series on Postpartum Progress, written by moms of second babies (after having had PPD with their first)? It’s inspiring and reassuring.
    Jaime recently wrote…First Night in the Big-Boy BedMy Profile

    • February 15, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Jamie. I know in my heart I’ll be alright this time round. Maybe more than alright.

      And no, I haven’t been reading the series you mention – I will though, so thanks!

  • February 15, 2012 Susi

    Wow. What a powerful post. It amazes me how motherhood can affect us all differently. Some of us seem to just breeze through while others get stuck in this mire of emotions and helplessness. I wish you all the best for the arrival of the 2nd one. It is easier this time around… but also more challenging in other aspects. In the end I do believe it’s all worth it… who can resist those hugs and kisses and “I love you Mommy “, especially when it comes out of the blue!!! 🙂
    Susi recently wrote…Somewhere over the rainbowMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      It is worthwhile in the end, yes. Thank you for reading, Susi.

  • February 15, 2012 Motherhood on the Rocks

    Coming over from PYHO.

    Your story is very touching. It reminds me of mine. Good luck with your new baby. Hindsight is always 20/20 and you have perfect vision now. Hugs
    Motherhood on the Rocks recently wrote…A WOMAN SHATTERED (PART TWO)My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you so much.

  • February 15, 2012 Jenn

    The honesty of this post is powerful. I am proud that, even though you were fearful of being judged, that you wrote your truth. A struggling new mother may come across your words and realize that it will be okay . . . she is not alone in feeling overwhelmed.
    Jenn recently wrote…You Like Me, You Really, Really Like MeMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I hope so. I hope that my words will reach someone and help them. Thank you Jenn.

  • February 15, 2012 Barbara

    I felt exactly the same with my first, especially since I was so far away from home too. It does get easier with the second. You are a wonderful mother.
    Barbara recently wrote…What is Love?My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Barbara. Hearing from someone with a similar experience and getting through it, brings me comfort and assurance.

  • February 15, 2012 Shell

    What an honest post.

    I definitely struggled with my first. He hated sleep and only wanted me. I had no support, had a complete life change, and was so miserable and alone. My marriage almost crumbled completely.

    But, it all got better. And the second and third babies were easier.

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Shell. It’s good to know that I wasn’t the only one experiencing such emotions. I know it’d be better this time round. I now have people like you to count on for support!

  • February 15, 2012 Ado

    I feel like I’ve gotten the opportunity to know you better now – to peek behind the curtain and see the “real” Alison.
    This post really moved me, and I think it gives other moms permission to be real and to talk about (undiagnosed) ppd or fear or the underbelly of marriage and motherhood etc. or whatever. Thank you Alison, this really moved me. Voting for it.
    Ado recently wrote…The Greatest Love of AllMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Ado. Being real on the blog is surprisingly hard, but quite liberating!

  • February 15, 2012 Debra

    I remember those few days after my first child was born – feeling like I was drowning. the fact that my son & I didn’t connect for breastfeeding made the feelings all the worse. It definitely is first-time syndrome – and thinking “what did I get myself into this time!” I’m glad you came out of it and thrived! A very touching post.
    Debra recently wrote…I Want To Hold Your Hand…..My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Debra! First-time motherhood is SO hard, and no one really tells you that, do they?

  • February 15, 2012 Greta

    Isn’t that an amazing thing about blogging….you can learn about things like PPD and actually prepare for them. I did the same this time around.
    Greta recently wrote…Love Is…My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I believe blogging will save my ass this time 🙂

  • February 15, 2012 Julie

    I remember the baby blues, oh the crying.

    For me, the anxiety was the hardest part. I was constantly, overwhelmingly worried that something was going to happen to him. It was rough.

    You got through it then, you’re more prepared now for sure. It’s going to be fine. And if it’s not, then you let us know, and we’ll make sure you get some help.

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Julie. Aside from experience and being more prepared now for the storm of emotions I know I’ll feel (damn you hormones), I now have my virtual network of support, people like you I know I can count on. Thanks hon. xo

  • February 16, 2012 christina

    i really REALLY enjoyed this. nicely done. you really conveyed a lot here and i felt it. i had a rough first couple of weeks (especially) and i didn’t know how to ask for help. thank GOD my husband is amazing and did all he could and together we all pulled through it. i’m not one to dish out advice but when asked, i will ALWAYS tell a soon to be brand new mom to accept any and all help offered and not be afraid to ask for help if needed.
    christina recently wrote…PYHO: giftsMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thanks Christina. Asking for help in general seems to be so hard for people – it’s misconstrued as a weakness when it’s not. And first-time moms need all the help they can get!

  • February 16, 2012 MommaKiss

    I remember one day when my first kid was like 3 weeks old. Mr. Kiss came home from work, I didn’t even look at him – I just knew he came in the door and at that point I went to the guest bedroom and cried. For a good 7 hours. Cried and slept and cried. And didn’t budge for that small child. It had to come out, that new mom stuff, exhaustion, overwhelmed stuff. And I won’t lie & say it was the last time. But we got through it. one moment at a time.
    MommaKiss recently wrote…You’ll DoMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Yes, that, one moment at a time. Inch by inch. Sometimes, we just need to cry, right?

  • February 16, 2012 Kim

    What a beautiful and honest account. I know that probably wasn’t easy to share but I’m glad you did. I think we all have dark thoughts from time to time and nothing puts more of a strain on a person or a marriage than the enormous task of taking care of a new person (add to that doing it in a different country). I’m expecting #2 and am entirely focused on the bad – the nipple soreness and nerve-destroying sleep deprivation and distraction from my beloved first born. I feel none of the tenderness that I did when I was pregnant wiht my first. So, that’s my dark thought. But I know I’m not alone and I know how much I’ll love him when he’s here….

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Oh you absolutely will love him when he’s born!! I haven’t paid much mind to my 2nd pregnancy as I’m worried about the logistics of looking after 2 kids, but I know when the time comes, I’ll cope. As will you. Good luck!

  • February 16, 2012 Robbie

    In my experience going from one to two (or more!) is a waaay easier transition than none to one. You will get through it!

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I know I will, thanks Robbie!

  • February 16, 2012 Mrs. Jen B

    I’m so sorry you went through that, and I’m proud that you had the courage to publish this post. I can only imagine how difficult it was.
    Mrs. Jen B recently wrote…Wellness Wednesday: Candy and ConsciousnessMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Jen!

  • February 16, 2012 Jessica

    Alison, I have been where you were. I think most mothers have. Being a new mom is tough, but with support, you can get through it. We, as moms, learn that with time. And that’s my hope for all new moms- that they realize that things do get easier…with time.
    Jessica recently wrote…SomedayMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Yes, that is why I decided to go ahead and write this, hard as it was for me. I want new moms to know that they CAN get through it, even if it seems impossible at the time.

  • February 16, 2012 Diana

    Oh those first few months are rough. My guy screamed for a month straight due to reflux. I cried along with him a few times myself!
    Diana recently wrote…Breaking Up is Hard to Do – PYHOMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I’m so sorry to hear!!

  • February 16, 2012 Robin

    Sending you so much love for posting this. I didn’t feel that way early on, but I sure did later, as you well know. Those early days really are very hard, and we don’t talk about that hard enough. Hard is okay. Asking for help is okay.

    As for the worries about doing harm, that’s okay too. It happens to so many mothers. SO many. It’s a self-defense mechanism, and not one most will act on. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from blogging, it’s that you probably won’t be judged for admitting to something like that, because so many others have as well. And if someone does pounce, there are so many others here to stand by you.

    xx
    Robin recently wrote…On the Move: Guest Posting at Merry With ChildrenMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Robin. It means so much to me to know you and many others get it and will stand by me (and others like me). xo

  • February 16, 2012 Mirjam

    Oh Alison, I gasped as I read this, you know that I completely understand how you must have felt. I’m so sorry you had to go through that and I admire you for sharing this. Regardless if you had PPD or not, always ask for help, becoming a mother is such a life changing experience, so emotional and so complicated. I believe you will be alright too, and that you’re prepared. But there will come a moment where you will feel exhausted, overwhelmed and trying to find a new rhythm in a family life that has changed. Know that I’m there for you right then and there!xo
    Mirjam recently wrote…Ice bakingMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Mirjam. I know that this time round, aside from experience and being better prepared, I have my virtual community to count on. xo

  • February 16, 2012 Katie

    This could describe me perfectly except I was at home, surrounded by people who could have/would have helped me. I didn’t ask. I thought it would be easier with my second, but it wasn’t. Despite knowing better, I still didn’t do that cardinal thing that you mention: ask for help. Finally my husband told me I was mean, and I said, “I know. I’m being a bitch and I can’t stop.” Then I asked for help. And it’s all better.

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I’m so glad you did ask for help in the end!

  • February 16, 2012 Julia

    I would only need to change this post from January 2010 to January 2011 and it would accurately describe my postpartum experience. I cried reading this. Thank you.
    Julia recently wrote…Me CapturedMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you for reading, Julia. I hope things are better for you now.

  • February 16, 2012 Charlotte

    Oh, wow… Thanks so much for truly pouring your heart out into this post. I’m sorry you struggled with so many emotions and felt so completely alone when you first gave birth, but I’m glad that your marriage survived (they say a true test is always how you overcome the hardships in life) and that you possess so much more knowledge and wisdom this time around. I’m excited for you. I feel we’re all just waiting for this new chapter to begin for you 🙂 XOXO
    Charlotte recently wrote…A Valentine’s Day grinch goes softMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Charlotte. I know this time will be different in a good way – for one, I have this amazing online community support! xo

  • February 16, 2012 RoryBore

    I am so glad and proud to “know” you right now. amazing couragge. do you know somewhere you have literally saved someone else right now? amazing.

    in our house, it was daddy. walked right out of the house when our first born was just around 2 weeks, and crying for almost 10 hours straight every night. he simply said, “I’ve just had the most wicked, terrible awful thought and I need to leave. right now.”
    And I let him go. just like that. without question – because I KNEW too. I got it. and that’s when I also understand that having a child can be like setting off a bomb in your marriage – in addition to the great joy. but when the dust settles, of course he was back and our resolve was strengthened. So that when baby #2 arrived and I fell apart – he KNEW.
    and that’s the way love some times goes: NOT, you fall, I fall – but you fall, I catch.

    And we will all be here to catch you should you fall 🙂
    RoryBore recently wrote…Wordless Wednesday: Sugar OverloadMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you for sharing that Leslie. A new baby is hard for both mom and dad, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that when mom falls apart first. I’m so glad things worked out so well for you guys – and look at you now, family of 5!! 🙂

  • February 16, 2012 Natalie

    Being a first time mom is such a shock to our systems and our hormones are all out of whack. It’s a crazy time, but like you said we get better at it. You’ll do great this 2nd time around b/c you know what to expect…and the only way to learn is to go through it. Too bad the books and doctors can’t prepare you for it all the first go around!
    Natalie recently wrote…Getting to Know YouMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Someone said to me recently they plan to do a ‘parenting course (he’s not a parent yet) and my answer to him was: Dude, the only way you learn to be a parent is when you BECOME one. Good luck. 🙂

  • February 16, 2012 Kimberly

    I have been there. Many times. Know that you will be okay. And if you’re ever feeling like that again, talk. I’m always here to listen.
    Kimberly recently wrote…I’ve Been There TooMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Kimsley, I KNOW with absolute certainty you will be there for me, I KNOW I can count on it. Thank you. xoxo

      (ps: I have your cell # after all!)

  • February 16, 2012 Kim Pugliano

    I had it. Undiagnosed FOR YEARS. I also had underlying undiagnosed OCD and cyclothymia which would eventually become bipolar. Those were some rough years. I’m so glad you had a supportive husband. Kiss him.
    Kim Pugliano recently wrote…Comment on Not Monday Listicles by AudreyMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I do, every day 🙂

  • February 16, 2012 Runnermom-jen

    Oh, Alison. SO sorry you went through all of that. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have no family around to help you.
    It WILL be better the second time around! You will do awesome! And, you’ll have all of us around if you need us 🙂
    xo
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…The BoxMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I know it’d be better – with experience, my wonderful bloggy friends AND we’re having the baby with family around 🙂

  • I would never judge you. I have 3 kids of my own and GOD knows I have moments where locking myself in the bathroom and covering my ears seems like the only rational thing to do. LOL. As funny as it sounds to me as I type it, it can totally be overwhelming. The quote you used at the end of your post was beautiful! And oh soooo right on!

    #PHYO
    The Secret Life Of A Single Mom recently wrote…Moments…My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you, it’s always comforting to know that others get it.

  • February 16, 2012 Life As Wife

    I’m so glad you kept pushing forward!

    I am excited for the future and having a second little one because now I know all those silly worries I had the first time around can’t stop me.
    Life As Wife recently wrote…A Not So Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I think you’ll do good Samantha 🙂

  • February 16, 2012 Kimberly

    Definitely not judging you and understand your fears surrounding sharing your experience. Be proud of your courage to share. It helps others who may be struggling. Glad to know you in the blogosphere and follow your journey.
    Kimberly recently wrote…Wednesday’s Woman: Addiction CrisisMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Kimberly – the support is just overwhelming! And likewise – you’re such a beautiful writer.

  • February 16, 2012 jenn

    Beautiful post. I hope you can feel all the love around you, and will reach out when you need to know you’re not alone!
    jenn recently wrote…ThoughtsMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Oh I sure can, Jenn!

  • February 16, 2012 Kristen

    Letting it all out and being honest, that is what makes you a wonderful mom. You have the knowledge and the strength to help you with your second baby and you have all of us. Reach out for help and all of us will be there…even if in written words.
    Kristen recently wrote…Love Is…My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Kristen. I know this virtual community will be here for me when I need them and that is awesome.

  • February 16, 2012 Not a Perfect Mom

    I think it’s so crazy how people are all over you when you’re preggers and wanting to help out and be up your ass, but as soon as the baby comes, people aren’t concerned as much. Not to say that friends and family aren’t around to help, but really? they all want to see the baby and that special attention pregnant women get should really be given when they’re a postpartum mess…
    get what I’m saying? that was kind of rambly…ha!
    Not a Perfect Mom recently wrote…Wavy Like the OceanMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I DO get what you’re saying Holly!! In my case, it wasn’t so much they didn’t want to help, I guess they didn’t know how or what to do BECAUSE I was such a mess and possessive and god knows what else. Eventually, we all found our rhythm.

  • February 16, 2012 butterfly8girl1

    Great post! I can completely relate to everything you said!! I feel like you took the words out of my mouth. It is crazy how much your life changes over night. Thank you for sharing this. I wish you all the best with your second:) be brave and keep posting. I plan to have another some day soon and I would like to have the inside scoop to how it all goes:)

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I will definitely continue to chart my journey here – part of the reason I blog is so I can always have these memories (good and bad) and I do hope my words will help someone.

  • February 16, 2012 jlweinberg/jen

    Oh, girl, what you wrote really resonated. I felt very much the same way with my first baby (who cried and cried and cried). I love your honesty. (And I wish I could’ve read this when I was going through it…this will definitely help new moms.)

    I had a much easier time with baby number two, and I am betting you will, too. And now you have this network of women who want to help if you are struggling, so just know that we’re all here for you!
    jlweinberg/jen recently wrote…Denial, It’s Not A River In EgyptMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you! It comforts me to know I have ladies like you to count on when I need it.

  • February 16, 2012 Sara

    Thanks for sharing this! I know I had a break down when my daughter was 2 weeks old, not knowing what in the heck was wrong with me, just that everything was perfect but I was going crazy. It’s nice to know I wasn’t alone. It’s hard being a first time mom and as we plan on TTC baby #2, I find those fears coming again!

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I hear transitioning from 1 to 2 is way easier than none to 1. You’ll be good and good luck with TTC!

  • February 16, 2012 Kerstin

    It’s been a while for me, my youngest is 10, but I remember those feelings. I had the same midwife for both kids, she was a big help. Definitely “easier” the second time around! You’ll be fine!
    Kerstin recently wrote…boyfriends, teachers, penguins and a crushMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Kerstin!

  • February 16, 2012 Leslie

    I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to write this. Delivering your baby in an unfamiliar country can be traumatic. One of my husband’s family members had her first child not long after moving to the US. Her husband was working two jobs; she didn’t speak English and her child was born premature. She still tells the story of how incredibly difficult it was to go through that; and even to be willing to get pregnant again after having such a difficult time! It looks like you’ve been able to cope, and your love for your son is truly apparent.
    Leslie recently wrote…Happy Valentine’s Day!My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Writing this was hard, but so cathartic. I’m so sorry your family member had such a hard time, her circumstances were definitely more extreme than mine. And bravo to her for wanting to have a second!

  • February 16, 2012 Jessica

    This mothering thing is hard sometimes, especially the first time around. I’m glad you made it through. Life with a second child has its challenges but you will figure them out.
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I have experienced moms like you to count on for advice 🙂

  • February 16, 2012 Katie

    Beautiful post, Alison. Beautiful in its honesty. So many people are scared to share dark thoughts or moments of weakness out of fear of being judged. But we all have those moments.

    What you described here is one of the things I fear most about motherhood…those days when I don’t know if I can do it, the days when I want to just give up…but you’ve given me hope that you can get through those days and that brighter days will find you.
    Katie recently wrote…Two Smiling Yellow DaffodilsMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Katie, motherhood is hard, that’s the honest truth. But it’s also beautiful, rewarding and oh-so-worthwhile. Don’t let any fears stop you from considering motherhood. You’ll do great!

  • February 16, 2012 KLZ

    I was a very, very colicky baby. My parents have always been honest with me about it without making me feel guilty and for that I am grateful. Because I encounter many new parents who struggle with colicky children and not one of them – not one – has ever NOT thought about throwing their child out a window. It’s natural. But, hopefully, you step outside of the room, break down and carry on even when you think you cannot. Removing yourself, being human, carrying on: those are the things that make a great parent.
    KLZ recently wrote…Hair of the Insanity Clan #iPPPMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Kristin – for making me feel normal! You can count on me ranting to you when I need to when Scrumplet is here. That’s okay, right?

  • February 16, 2012 Galit Breen

    Oh my sweet friend, know that you’re not alone. And that it’s good (so, so very good) that you’re reaching out in this way.

    Get it all out there, girlfriend, I’m right behind you, knowing you will be all sorts of amazing!

    xo
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Galit. It’s friends like you I know I can count on, that I know will pull me through any dark days. If only I was blogging back then!

  • February 16, 2012 Rach (DonutsMama)

    I think a lot of that “crash” is this huge buildup and anticipation and then you have the baby and it’s all “now what?” And hormones are crazy and your mind suddenly has a million things going on. It’s scary and daunting and engulfing.
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      It is exactly as you describe. The “now what?” feeling is overwhelming and frightening. Which is why support is SO important.

  • February 16, 2012 My Inner Chick

    –Mama A,
    I love when I read posts like this one…
    Your honesty & clarity help other women know that they are not alone.
    Never. Never Alone.
    xx
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Kim. I was partly inspired by braver writers than me (like you, with your storytelling of Kay and your grief), to be open and honest about my postpartum experience. I know now that I’m not alone and that is comforting.

  • February 16, 2012 ChiMomWriter

    I was never diagnosed with PPD after Abby, but I should have been. I felt the same as you while waiting for Austin. Aware of what transpired the 1st time around, but feeling more prepared.

    You are not only more prepared as a parent, you know what to look for with PPD. You have support around you and others who can help you see the triggers if they arise. And hopefully, they won’t at all.

    Either way, you will be wonderful. xo
    ChiMomWriter recently wrote…Parenting Walks Of ShameMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Tracy. You’re right, I do know now what to look out for, and hopefully, keep those dark thoughts and experiences at bay. And now, I have a wonderful online community to count on as well!

  • February 16, 2012 January

    Oh Alison. Have I been there a few times and back! New babies are SO hard especially your first and not being in your own home would make the beginning even more challenging. You WILL be fine. And yes, in many, many ways the second is much easier, not to say you won’t have difficult moments again but it’s a different kind of ‘hard’.

    Wonderful post.
    January recently wrote…Of Love, Marriage and Family – A PoemMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you January. This time round, I have this blog and blog friends I KNOW will talk me off the ledge if necessary.

  • February 16, 2012 Louise Ducote

    Alison, fabulous post!
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Louise!

  • February 16, 2012 Kimberly

    I am so so SO sorry that you endured that horrible vicious beast and that you never got the help that you rightfully deserved. I can’t even imagine going through something so terrible like PPD without family or with out help. My heart breaks for you my friend.
    I am so proud of you for posting this.
    Know that, and heaven forbid, that with scrumplette, if you notice anything different, please, please get help. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
    Have you taken the risk assessment???

    Love you honey.
    Kimberly recently wrote…Believe In YouMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you sweetie. I love you too! I know this time round, I’ll be better prepared and I have gorgeous friends like to you count on.

      (no, haven’t taken a risk assessment – I will!)

  • February 16, 2012 deborah l quinn

    there’s a reason that sleep deprivation is considered a torture…and yet in other contexts we call it “new mother.” Lack of sleep and uncertainty combined with the incredible WHOOSH as the entire center of your universe moves from the front of your brain (thinking, reasoning, logic) to the back of your brain & your gut (primitive, irrational, instinctual, POWERFUL). It’s disconcerting in the extreme, like plate tectonics in your soul. And it’s brutal. I remember a very reasonable intelligent friend of mine (who had kids before I did) saying that one afternoon, home alone with her newborn after about month, she thought to herself, well if I just hold her out the window (they lived five stories up), maybe she’ll stop crying. She didn’t do it…but the thought was there…and LOUD. In many profound ways it will be easier this time around…but it’s never exactly EASY. A beautiful post.
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Deborah. I know it’d be easier this time round – because of experience, better support in real life and virtual and I guess, I’m braced for it this time.

  • February 16, 2012 The Bearded Iris

    Really beautiful, and genuine, Alison. I remember those days of feeling so lost after the birth of my first child too. Those damn hormones are a beast. You’ll definitely be more prepared the second time around! And you have all of us now too. We won’t judge you. We will hold you and talk you down from the ledge because that’s how mom bloggers roll. Ask for help if you need it…that’s always the hardest part for me. Much love, Iris.
    The Bearded Iris recently wrote…Have a gas this Valentine’s Day!My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Iris!! I know I’ll count on my bloggy friends this time round. And on you for some much-needed laughs 🙂

  • February 16, 2012 Lance

    beautiful

    I felt, saw, and was warmed by your heart today.
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Lance. That is such a sweet, sweet thing to say.

  • February 16, 2012 John

    Thank you for posting this . . . it’s so very important for new mothers to see that they’re not alone in their feelings.

    From the father’s side, it’s very, very difficult to look at a wife who is falling apart and then try to internalize everything that is going wrong in his life . . . I did just that, without ever saying “these are my issues.” Unfortunately, it means that I’m still straightening myself out, nearly two years later.
    John recently wrote…Where I just close my eyes & typeMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      John, thank you for weighing in. I love that you’re offering a father’s perspective – because so often, it’s forgotten that there are not just first-time mothers, there are just as many first-time fathers who struggle too, who have certain issues too.

      I hope you’re well on your way to straightening out those issues.

  • February 16, 2012 ali

    I feel the exact same about my first time and about this time! It’s a steep old learning curve this motherhood lark! Thanks for being so honest and for sharing. Xx
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Oh it is SO steep!!

  • February 16, 2012 Lola

    Beautiful post, Alison. You bring back such vivid memories! Being a first time mom was absolutely the most challenging time of my life. ESPECIALLY because I was so unaware of the emotional changes that would accompany the physical ones. Awareness is key. That and making sure you have a support system in place. You are going to do great!!
    Lola recently wrote…Chew on ThisMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Lola, I’m definitely better prepared this time – emotionally AND physically.

  • February 17, 2012 Talking Thirty

    Wow, I swear some of these words could have been taken from my own head. In my first few weeks postpartum, I knew that something about me had seriously changed, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and whatever it was had seriously strained my marriage.

    Parts of what you wrote described EXACTLY what I felt (and still feel sometimes): It was my “inexplicable possessiveness of my firstborn” and “my irrational first-time motherhood paranoia.” I perceived everything as a threat to my child’s safety and well-being.

    Thank you so much for sharing and for putting into words what I couldn’t. I hope you are feeling better about things now.
    Talking Thirty recently wrote…A Cornell Legend Comes TrueMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you for reading. I am much, much better and I hope you are too.

  • February 17, 2012 Lenore Diane

    Alison, thank you for your transparency. I battled PPD with my firstborn. Thankfully, two of my very best friends were watching out for me – they remained by my side throughout all of it. When I gave birth a second time, I was more aware, and I knew how to cope. Again, the help from friends made a huge difference.
    Congrats on your pregnancy.
    Lenore Diane recently wrote…Project 366: Day 47My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I’m so glad you had your best friends with you Lenore. And thank you!

  • February 17, 2012 julie gardner

    This time around, you have Monkey.
    (When the baby is crying and you don’t even realize you need validation, he’ll come up and hug you and…)

    Also, you have us.
    (At any time of day or night – especially courtesy of the time difference) there will be someone for you.

    Always.
    XO
    julie gardner recently wrote…Today call me unromanticMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Oh Julie. Having all of you is what I know will get me through. Promise you’ll talk me off the ledge if necessary?

  • February 17, 2012 Christine

    “As weeks and months passed, I got better at the motherhood gig. There were still moments where I felt desperately inept. Like I was thrust into a movie with no script. But I learned to ad lib. To make it up as I go along. To follow my instincts.”

    That’s exactly what my play is about. With a little extra flailing.

    You are in Malaysia. I am in New York. Some things about motherhood are just universal, I suppose.
    Christine recently wrote…Notes from the SidelinesMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Yes, yes they are. I so wish I could watch your play!

  • February 17, 2012 Kelley

    Being alone, or being without your mother, is a very difficult thing for a new mom. It is so overwhelming. I’m so glad you and your husband stuck it out and that it got easier as time wore on. I remember many tearful nights, too. Sometimes you are just not sure how much more of the baby’s crying you can hear. It is definitely a stressful time, but so, so worth it all, of course!
    Kelley recently wrote…The day my 3-year-old made me want to flush myself down the toiletMy Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Yes, absolutely worth it!!

  • February 17, 2012 Mayor Gia

    Ooof. I’m glad you got it (whatever “it” was) under control. I had a family member with severe post partum depression (psychosis) and she struggled with it for a really long time
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      I’m so glad too. I’m so sorry about your family member – I hope she had the help and support she needed.

  • February 17, 2012 Jay- The Dude of the House

    Thanks for being so open, Alison. The first few days, weeks, months are never easy and it sounds like yours were especially challenging. I’m glad you were able to sit down and realize what was going on and nip it in the bud. I’m sure your whole family is better off because of it.
    Jay- The Dude of the House recently wrote…Who Likes Chocolate?My Profile

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Yes, we are. Thank you Jay!

  • February 17, 2012 Sweaty

    Despite those early days, I think you’re doing wonderfully with Monkey boy 😉 and will continue to do so with baby #2, Alison! Thanks for sharing your experience here with all of us. If there’s a strong woman out there, I definitely see you as one of them. Can’t wait for the baby to arrive already 😉

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you dear friend – you always have the right words 🙂 (not long now!)

  • This is a huge post Alison. So filled with the pain of what was not understood now, but the understanding now of what was happening then. To reveal your tortured thoughts is so scary and brave at the same time. PPD is very scary and like you, I thought mine was more PTSD, not so much PPD, little did I know until I met Katherine Stone, that I had OCD PPD…it was terrifying and liberating. Just knowing what you experienced is seemingly giving you a sense of confidence for number two, which you clearly believe and so do all of us that you, you got this:)
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    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Shannon. I’m so glad you got the diagnosis you needed to get the right treatment.

  • February 17, 2012 Elena

    I love that you opened up like this, Alison. You are a great mama and it truly is so very hard in the beginning and we all cope with it differently. I would say I was very similar to you the first time around – knowing what I do now about PPD, I don’t believe I had it either. I would say that I had a major case of the baby blues. I remember the moment we got home from the hospital, I called my mom sobbing that I needed help and I didn’t think I could do this. Glad you and your husband has that heart-to-heart talk.

    • February 17, 2012 Alison

      It does sound like a similar situation! I too, had tearful conversations with my mother (oh-so-long-distance), and she assured me it was okay to feel that way and to hang on. (thank god for our moms!)

  • February 17, 2012 Lady Jennie

    Love the preggie pic of you, you gorgeous mama.

    I went through some of this with my first, compounded by the fact that I had tons of blood loss during her birth (what is it with me and blood loss)? I also thought of throwing her across the room when she was crying one night so I immediately woke up my husband to relay. We were a good team, but what does a single mom or an unsupported mom do? Motherhood is so hard for every mom.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…Oh Pooh!My Profile

    • February 18, 2012 Alison

      I had postpartum hemorrhaging too, bad enough that I had to have a 6-hour iron transfusion. That my birth experience was hard, not according to plan and left me physically weak, probably contributed to my overall well being.

      My husband was trying to be supportive, I think I just didn’t let him. So glad you and your husband make such a good team!

  • February 18, 2012 Leighann

    Thank you so much for writing this Alison! Thank you for stepping outside of your comfort zone and writing what you were thinking when you were thinking thoughts that scared you.
    This is the kind of thing that new mothers need to be told!
    These are the thoughts that might happen and it’s perfectly okay!
    BUT they need to reach out and ask for help.
    Their support systems need to be allerted that this might happen and if it does that they need to be there for the new mother. To help her out, not run from her.
    I can’t tell you how happy I am that you wrote this!
    There aren’t enough words!
    Thank you times one million hundred thousand! xoxoxox

    • February 18, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Leighann for your beautiful comment. You’re absolutely right, new mothers need to know they’re not alone, that what they’re feeling is not abnormal, frightening as it may be, and they can always seek help.

  • February 18, 2012 Amanda

    Wow. You just described my experience as a first-time mom to a T. Only I was in my own city with plenty of support nearby when I had Lilah. But I was still afraid or too proud to ask for help. I completely fell apart the day my husband went back to work and Lilah stopped sleeping. Even though I did not have PPD (although possibly some significant anxiety), those were some of the most desperate moments I have ever experienced.
    I know it will be so much better this time around, but I still have some trepidation. This time around there will be a toddler AND a newborn. I’m praying for a mellower baby this time! 🙂
    Amanda recently wrote…In the Eyes of a ChildMy Profile

    • February 18, 2012 Alison

      It’s normal to feel apprehension. I hope you read some of the guest posts I featured earlier this month about having a second child? If you haven’t, do! It will help you feel so much better (and maybe even a little more prepared).

      Congratulations on your pregnancy!

  • February 18, 2012 Jessica

    You explained the struggle of a new mom so well. You will enjoy this second baby’s homecoming so much more. It will be wild and crazy and sleep-less but you will feel so much more confident and prepared and that makes all the difference.
    Jessica recently wrote…Lost In TranslationMy Profile

    • February 19, 2012 Alison

      I’m really looking forward to the second homecoming – it’d be different so many ways – good ways.

  • February 19, 2012 Tricia

    I know so well the feelings you describe here. I also didn’t have PPD but I definitely struggled. And I definitely needed help I didn’t ask for. Thank you for being so honest.
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    • February 19, 2012 Alison

      Thank you for reading, Tricia!

  • February 21, 2012 Tonya

    I *know* you are too. Beautiful post, Alison.
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