Therapy, Travels, and PPD

Being a stay at home mom, albeit for only 4 months, has taken a toll on me.  E and I talked about planning our life around being O’s attentive parents for the first 5 years of his life.  I would stay at home and be a full-time mom (while teaching part-time at night) until O is 2.5 years old; E would be giving up his tenure and do the same from year 2.5 to year 5.  We discussed this plan way before we got married.  People often doubt our dedication to the plan; they sometimes would scoff and say things like, “you will change your mind” or “do not let career opportunities go wasted.”  For us, though, since we only have one kid (for no reasons except we want him to have the best quality of life and for our marriage to be minimally affected by parenthood,) we want to do it “right.”  Ever since we got pregnant, we hyped ourselves up for the impending parenthood journey.  I got excited.  I welcomed the challenge.

Yet, somehow, it hits me like a tornado.  I have watched my sister, friends, and acquaintances “lose” their professional selves due to their time spent at home.  I was weary of this prospect and told myself that I would not be one of those stay at home mom. 5 days after O came home, we went out to dinner.  I left the house and did things as if I don’t have an incision scar in my lower belly; I swung my legs in the air and diligently breathed for yoga poses.  I kept up with my work email even though I was not working this semester.  Somewhere along the line of constant breastfeeding, diaper changing, laundry doing, and dishes washing that I started to treat my house like my Universe.  Things with E sometimes got tense.  I felt triggered by tiny little disappointments.

After awhile, I started to question myself: perhaps, I am experiencing Postpartum Depression? 

It didn’t happen too often, but when it did, I got explosively angry at E.

Doing what any assertive person would do, I emailed my doctor and asked for a referral for PPD treatment.  I have never sought out therapy, counseling, or anything of that sort.  I marveled in my understanding of Self and life experiences to solve most life problems.  This one, though, I can’t seem to shake.  So, I marched myself into a psychiatrist office.

The doctor took out a clipboard and began to jot down my answers to his very dry questions.  Why was I there?  Why do I think I have PPD?  How many tattoos do I have?  What do I do for a living?  What is an example of when I got angry?

After 30 minutes of inquisition, he, more or less, told me that I do not have Postpartum Depression.  That I did not need a psychiatrist.  If I wish, I can talk to a therapist.  He doesn’t think I need one, though.

Phew!  I knew this deep down inside.  Regardless, I sought out for help because I am very aware of of mental health issues and how they can lead to self destruction.

So, I am not depressed.  Not too affected by the birth of my son.  However, that anger, it is rooted in something.  I am not afraid to get to the bottom of it.  A friend shared that it is normal for new moms to feel angry with their partners, as the burden of parenting lies heavily on the mother, particularly if the mother breastfeed.

The other night, I was talking to my book club ladies and the topic of meditation came up.  I have never really meditated because my mind, it doesn’t work like that.  I do think that my years of solo traveling are years of meditative practices.  I packed my meager belongings and saw the world.  Alone.  Most of the time.

My sense of self is changing.  I am no longer just a nomad who roams.  I am a mother who embraces nomadic tendencies.  I am not doing any international traveling any time soon; I am traveling far and wide spiritually though.  I am trying to transfer the knowledge and experience I had as a solo traveler to my solo journey of spiritual clarity to better equip myself for this new adventure as a wife and mother.

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motor biking in the mountains in Central Viet Nam, 2013

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