Thinking about, what others are thinking, about me.

I’ve been restricting my social media for close to 8 months.  It’s been most helpful to me, especially when my panic attacks were at their very worst, to be selective about what I allow into my mental space.  Unfortunately, that has included a lot of social interaction.

That said, I am still visible through posts on the Babe’s IG or other family members’ posts.  Because of this, I often wonder what things people say when they see me smiling or otherwise appearing “normal” on the pages of others.  Do they assume that I’m “fine” and just being standoffish?  Or worse, do they believe that now that I have a kid, I’m focusing so much on him that I’ve kind of “got the goody and gone”?  Do they think I’ve abandoned my infertility flock, in exchange for the “bliss” of parenthood?  I hope they don’t.  But I know they do.

Infertility was so very much a battle because it is a disease that debilitates you from the inside.  Your heart and mind battle with one another at all hours of the day and keep you bound in this inner turmoil that affects your outer attitude.  But no one can see it.  You’re fighting for your life, and nobody knows how hard.  It’s one of the many invisible ailments that humans often suffer from.  Now that I’m supposedly on the other side, I’ve been placed in yet another one.

Depression isn’t always dark rooms and tears.  (though I’ve had my share of those also). Instead, depression can be smiling in photographs while battling obsessive and intrusive thoughts.  It can be nailing everything at work, while fighting through panic attacks in your car at lunch.  It can be experiencing pure elation at the thought of your infant, while also experiencing sheer terror at every turn.

Depression doesn’t look like people think it does, and so they don’t respond to you the way you hope they will.

So I’ve tried to be as honest and direct as I possibly can with people while I’m on this journey to recovery.  When they ask why I’m not on Facebook, I tell them the truth. When they invite me out, I try to give a real reason for my not going out.  When someone asks me how I’m feeling, I give them more than they bargained for.  And I don’t apologize for it.

But that doesn’t stop me from wondering obsessing about whether or not that’s enough to keep from hurting, offending, or upsetting those I love or like.

Sigh.

Feelings, amirite?

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Momlike Tendencies…

This week is the beginning of my fifth month as a mother.

And I still struggle with saying phrases like, “my son”, or “when I was pregnant” because I so often forget that it actually happened.  For the past nine years, I’ve been consumed with the unfulfilled desire for parenthood, and fighting through the emotional and physical turmoil that accompanied it.

I am one of the 1in8 who battles infertility.

This time last year, after finally getting pregnant after in-vitro fertilization, I found myself deep in the throes of antepartum depression and anxiety.  Never heard of that? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either until it overtook me.  This form of depression, one that occurs during and not after pregnancy, is even lesser discussed than postpartum, which itself is only recently getting the real attention it deserves.

There are many reasons people struggle with APD, but for me, it was the extreme pressure I felt as a public figure in the infertility blogging world.  I had a number of people who’d been on this journey with me and my family for so very long, and I just didn’t want to say or do anything to hurt those who were still in the fight.  I was also extremely terrified that something was bound to go wrong.

Infertility treatment is chock full of buildups and letdowns. New things that are supposed to help, only turning out to hinder, or new doctors who have great words to get you into their offices, but then turn out to treat you like a number.  Positive results followed by devastating blows.  It’s exhausting, and infuriating, and terrifying.

I didn’t want to do or say ANYTHING that would ruin this moment that I’d worked so hard to achieve.  So instead of reaching out, I retreated to a very quiet corner of my world and put my head down.  Not even really announcing that we were pregnant until about the the 21st week.

Anywhoo, as I was in my own little corner in my own little chair (shameless Cinderella reference), I was also taking note of the many things that I did find a way to enjoy about becoming a mother.  I was also slowly learning that coming from the infertility world, my thoughts on many things differed slightly from those who had achieved pregnancy and parenting unassisted.  So I’m a mom in theory, but I’ve accepted that I’m not going to always feel like I fit in with “typical” moms, and that’s okay.

I’m working to carve out my own little branch of this motherhood thing, and I’m inviting you along as I figure it out.

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