My gift with purchase

The term ‘gift with purchase’ is familiar to most. Those of you with experience in advertising, marketing, retail or just seasoned shopaholics are all well aware of what it means. It’s that free product you get after you purchase an item. It’s that lip gloss you get when you buy your perfume or that extended warranty when you buy your new car.

Three & a half years ago, I got a gift with purchase after I had Orli. My purchase was of course my baby girl. My gift with purchase was my Postnatal (postpartum) Mood Disorder (PMD).

Did I see it as a gift back then? Hell fricken no! Do I see it as a gift now? I most definitely do!

Here’s why.

I truly believe I am a better mother because of my PMD. It’s as though I’m more in touch with my kids emotions because my extensive therapy teaching me how to feel. I had spent my life pretty much only feeling things on the surface but not diving to explore the rest of the iceberg. I had made myself numb to most pain & wore a mask for as long as I can remember. Throughout my recovery, I worked on allowing myself to experience emotions and learnt how to process different emotions. How would my children learn to manage their emotions without being shown or taught this fundamental life skill? Thanks to my PMD, I’m hoping I won’t have to find out.

While I was pregnant & after I had Orli I experienced many flashbacks of my childhood which were hard to revisit. I always knew I wanted to do a better job with my children (my parents did the best they could, truly, I’m not blaming them) but I could only do this if I had the tools & emotional wherewithal to do so. Therapy is making me re-explore these memories & be at peace with them, accept them or simply to move on. I’m well aware that there will be things in the future when it comes to our kids & their happiness etc that will trigger my anxieties & memories however, I’ve now got the tools to both recognise & rectify how I feel & how I let the situation affect me… if at all. Had it not been for my PMD & therapy I’m almost sure this would not be possible.

My therapy made me question a lot of things. I had to re-learn things, had to see things differently & had to learn how to make myself emotionally available to Orli – admittedly, tantrums & fatigue certainly tested me, however I did & still do my best to refuel & regroup & try again. Or call on Seon – because asking for help was something I had/have to learn too! Children teach you things about yourself you never thought possible. They teach you patience, they teach you to live in the moment, they teach you that the littlest gesture can mean so much, they teach you the true meaning of advocacy, they teach you strength, they teach you resilience, they teach you to speak up (when they can’t yet & while they’re learning), they show you how to remove the clutter & focus on the little things like a flower or a bird chirping, therefore, they also teach you embrace things we have long ago taken for granted. They are amazing little creatures that bring with them innocence, life lessons you never saw coming & show you the true meaning of unconditional love. If I thought I knew myself before I had kids, I was wrong & dare I say completely delusional! But I’m ok with that. Now I can say that my PMD made me look deeper & guided me to embrace so many of these deeper aspects of motherhood that may well have passed me by.

I had many therapy sessions in the nuthouse, but one of them which I still think about most days was an activity called ‘wait, watch & wonder’. We had to sit & look at our babies & share what we thought our babies were wondering about us. This was a very painful session due to my ambivalence at the time, however, as difficult as this was, it had a huge impact on me. This was a truly empowering exercise as I learnt to connect with Orli on much deeper level. For example, when she was a baby I didn’t want her passed around at social or family occasions, because if it were me, I wouldn’t like to be passed around from person to person. I just felt that people needed to have respect for her personal space & to be conscious that she could not communicate this. (I’m well aware I could be wrong about all of this, but we’ll never know, so just work with me here). Sure she could cry to try & get her message across, but as we all know, that would have been because she was hungry, tired, wet or just being ‘difficult’ in others eyes. I am using this less with Orli as she can now communicate her wishes (oh boy, can she ever), but I am most definitely tuned into Flynn. Had I not been in the nuthouse & had these sessions, I’m certain that I would not have this connection to my kids.

I have said this before & will say many times in my posts & for as long as I live. I truly believe my PMD was one of these best things that ever happened to me. I learnt to explore my own emotions, be in touch with feelings I would not have otherwise done & believe I am more tuned in to how my kids are feeling. It truly was & still continues to be my gift with purchase.

 



Comments

  1. Andrea says:

    This is all so true! Such a great attitude to have! I actually said to my counselor a few weeks ago how now I am ok with what happened & I see it happened for a reason. I never would have thought I could ever say that! I see it as a negative experience that I was able to turn into a positive one.

  2. Yael Saar says:

    While I totally wish I could save you from all the pain, I’m grateful that we met through the PPD community. You rock my world.

    • Citra says:

      Yuz, your story was beautiful. I can rlatee to putting that mask on. I did the same thing. When I confided in my MIL about my PPD and PPA, she told me that she wouldn’t have guessed that I was struggling so much. She thought that I had been handling the transition from one to two so well. Keep telling your story. I cannot wait to read more.Jenny recently posted..

  3. Susan says:

    I feel the same way about passing babies around. They are little people – not toys.

    I love the “what is my baby wondering” exercise. So hard to do in the fog of PPD, but it sounds so valuable.

    • Mehmet says:

      Thanks for weighing in. I love how while all enexripeces have similarities when we talk openly about each of ours it is a testament to women that there is no universal case of PPD, even within women who experience it with multiple birth/postpartum enexripeces. Each is so unique…and therefore unpredictable! Awareness, proactivity and supporting one another are some keys to wellness for sure, but not all storms can be prevented. When they hit, we need to remember to take care of ourselves and reach out for help!

    • Anica says:

      Wow, I never really thhougt about this. My experience was both, in a way. I had a multitude of experiences that culminated into a big mess: 36 hr labor, emergency c/s, failure to thrive baby who wouldn’t breastfeed for 9 days, baby who didn’t sleep for longer than 22 minutes at a time for the first 4 months, etc. But I was pretty functioning and okay until about 6 months when I got pregnant with baby #2. The hormones did me in. So in a way, I was weathering a big storm that all of a sudden turned into a hurricane!

      • Uji says:

        Mine was a perfect storm for sure! That is one thing that eunrcoages me for when I have baby #2. Even though I am for sure more susceptible to PPD again, I am hoping that I won’t endure the same perfect storm I did the first time around. And even if I do, I know what to do this time to calm the storm much earlier than the first time.

  4. “Children teach you things about yourself you never thought possible.”
    What a beautiful comment. They certainly do.
    And ‘Wait| | Watch | Wonder’ – I love this concept. What an amazing and important way to perceive yourself. Thanks for sharing your story Yuz. So glad you’ve been able to find the silver lining x

    • Yhan says:

      Hi Amber – This is for all those good-enough moms! Thank you for this honest alitcre! I want to comment as a mother and a licensed professional counselor. As a counselor, I wish that there was generally more tolerance across the board for differences in parenting styles, and a dissemination of the research about biological attachment. In my practice, I see new moms suffering with feelings of fear and inadequacy and desperate feelings about their babys’ emotional and physical security. There are many reasonable choices to make in parenting that support the natural emergence of a healthy attachment bond. Attachment parenting is not not the only way. It is a lifestyle choice as are other styles of reasonable parenting. It would be nice if moms could embrace each other as good enough mothers. As a mother, I practiced attachment parenting. I remember attending one group where the leader was discussing how we should not encourage our babies to walk, as early walking might hinder the child’s athletic development in some way. This minute attention to detail about every little action to be taken with one’s child was really a put-off to me. I didn’t fit in with this group, and I didn’t fit in with the moms who thought co-sleeping was sort of strange, so I was a middle of the roader as well. But I felt bad about not exactly fitting in. But, eventually I made individual friends with people who accepted me for who I was and who accepted that many people are good enough moms. These people are my true friends to this day.

  5. Murlidhar says:

    I would totally say peferct storm here! The stress of the cross-country move just a month before delivery and and a preemie after a scary delivery that almost ended in a c0section plus illness at 3 weeks and an ER trip… add in thyroid imbalance and breastfeeding woes and a baby who wasn’t gaining weight… Yup – peferct storm! It is amazing how different things were this time around. Illness right at 3 days and the struggle of 2 under 2 but just a few tiny blips on the PMD radar – I’m feeling healthier than I have in years.

  6. Mahamed says:

    I had a mask too, I still kind of do. None of my family knows about my blog; I think I’ll rfereence this article on it. And like you, it’s not about embarrassment, there’s just something nice about knowing the people that read my blog can relate to me. And sometimes I feel like I’m an alien to my family. Maybe someday I’ll be exposed at the end of the masquerade ball.

  7. Emmanuel says:

    You are indeed one of the most conmassiopate people I know, and you can be funny and poignant while you are at it. So yes, while I’m shaking my fist for all the pain you had to endure, I’m also right there with you on the gifts found in the belly of the beast.So much love your way.

  8. Rharha says:

    I can really retale a lot to what you express here…One thing to keep in mind, that I have been working on remembering…that perspective you think the other mom is coming from…it isn’t reality. It might be close…but chances are she is thinking something different, maybe even something like, “maybe I should have stopped at one?” Or, “how simple life would be if I had a smaller family…”The point being, who knows…right?On the other hand, I often wish I could have more children. I wish I was the type of mom who could even consider having other children, but I can’t. Adopting isn’t even something I can consider…so I get the wishing for and longing for things that we can’t have. It’s normal, I think. When we have dreams and expectations and life falls short of those, it’s time to reach for new and different dreams. But first, we have to come to terms with it all and get to that place of peace. I think there may always be some pangs of sadness. I am holding on to hope for things to always get better.I am glad I was directed to your blog! Thanks for sharing!

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