So I know I set aside Tuesdays for praising moms, BUT I’m in the mood to praise a dad, and it’s my blog, so that’s what’s happening this week.
I know I’ve discussed my postpartum anxiety in detail on the blog, but I haven’t been able to fully explain the support my partner and husband gave to me during this time.
Jimmy and I discussed how we would handle postpartum depression when I was pregnant. We decided that it would was important for him to watch closely for signs since I probably wouldn’t admit or accept this diagnosis.
I had my first panic attack the first week of Mae’s life, but I was able to fight off more for a while, and I was sleeping, some. Jimmy and I both thought I had the normal “baby blues,” and we just kept trudging through the fog of the first few weeks. Weeks 4-6, I should have been improving, but I was getting worse, but so was Mae and our feeding issues, so we attributed my anxiety to those situations. At seven weeks postpartum, I wasn’t sleeping or eating. Jimmy would have to fix me food or remind me to eat, which he did constantly. He would take Mae on walks or outside to try to help me sleep, but I would stay awake, my mind racing. Finally, he made me tell my midwife about my lack of sleep and overwhelming worry. At this point, even when I could fall asleep, I would wake up having a panic attack. Jimmy would hold me during these times. He’d reassure me. He couldn’t fix me, but he was there with me, and he never made me feel guilty for my anxiety even though it put a lot more pressure and responsibility on him.
Jimmy took additional time away from work to help support me as I recovered. He knew I desperately needed sleep to recover, so I pumped breastmilk and he got up every night with Mae for six weeks. Yes, he did nights on his own for six weeks, and he never made me feel bad about it. He wanted to do this because he couldn’t stand to see me suffer, and I could feel that. I wasn’t a burden; I was his wife, his family, and he was there to care for me. Mae and I were both solely his to nurture and care for; it is more than I could have handled, and I don’t know how he did it, but I’m so thankful he did.
They say you don’t truly know a person until you observe them handle a crisis. Jimmy and I have been through what we would have considered crises before my postpartum anxiety, but this was a whole new level. And Jimmy shined. It was like he had superhuman strength; he kept trying to lift me up, again and again, and I was so heavy with worry. I can’t explain it very well because I’m in awe of his behavior still.
I had a village supporting me through this time, but I believe that I would have ended up in the hospital if it wasn’t for Jimmy. He saved me (he would say I saved myself, but I couldn’t have done the work without him), and now that I’m getting better, we can keep saving each other through this first year of parenting.