It happens so gradually that you don’t even know how your house got to be in such a state: never clean enough, too much stuff in every closet, every drawer, and now, in boxes on the floor. How does it even begin, when I was so organized? I used to have everything in its place and a place for everything.
Then I had a baby. Not just any baby. I had a preemie who was almost a 2 hours drive from home for the first 3 weeks of his life. Trying to heal from having had a c-section when you are in the car for almost 4 hours a day, visiting your baby in a big metropolitan hospital, pumping milk for him around the clock and never getting enough sleep, is more than rough on a body. There are no thoughts of cleaning the house. It’s survival mode. Thank goodness my husband was home for a while.
When the baby finally came home from the hospital, he didn’t nurse well. We worked and worked and worked at it. Finally, he took to it! Just in time for reflux to kick in. That poor kiddo’s esophagus was burning up. He’d take 3 or 4 swallows of milk, lay his head back, and scream in pain. Figuring out why my son was having so much trouble took another several weeks of back and forth to the pediatrician’s office. The little guy couldn’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time. I wouldn’t really call it sleep; more like, he passed out from sheer exhaustion. My sleep was non-existent as well.
By the time we figured out the reflux, he was the most clingy baby in the world. I couldn’t put him down. And then another strange thing we noticed- the sound of the vacuum was more than overwhelming for him. So, I couldn’t vacuum unless my husband was around to take him outside. My hair dryer did the same thing. So, I just let my hair air dry.
There were some other little quirks here and there, that I just figured were normal, because I had a “spirited” boy. After his second birthday and well child check-up, he was officially labelled as speech delayed. The therapist had a heck of a time working with him. She noticed things in him that clued the therapy community (and me) into the fact that his sensory processing system didn’t work quite right. So, occupational therapy was introduced soon thereafter, and we were introduced to Sensory Processing Disorder.
By this time, I couldn’t vacuum or dry my hair if my son was around. Because he was a notoriously poor sleeper, I was more than sleep deprived. When he was awake, he was go, go, go, all the time. And by 3 1/2 years old, he absolutely refused to nap. With the constant demands on me, and because my husband’s work schedule left me a single parent for a week at a time, every other week, and because I had absolutely NO support system other than my husband, I didn’t even realized that I was slipping, sliding, into a subtle and cunning depression.
Taking my son shopping was a nightmare. The lights and sounds and crowds freaked him out. And if he saw an American flag or a balloon, when he was 2, 3, and 4, he had to have one. There was no such thing as delayed gratification in his vocabulary. When he wanted something, he had to have it- now! So, needless to say, every shopping trip with him included a meltdown at every store. Trips were as infrequent as possible, and saved for when my husband was home and would “babysit.”
I remember one time when I was so exhausted that I finally thought I might be depressed. I mentioned it to my doctor when I was there for a check-up. She just poo poo’d it as a new mother’s exhaustion. But my son was 4 or 5 by then. I was not a new mother. It wasn’t until my son was 7 and I was using alternative, holistic treatment (hypnosis) in an attempt at weight loss, that I experienced a short lifting of this depression. It was literally like someone finally took the dirty, brown haze off the world. It was amazing. It was at that moment, that I realized that I definitely had been depressed.
It came and went, as I experienced more hypnosis and other types of energy work. A few months ago, I had a session with a very powerful healer, and since then I have not experienced any depression. In fact, I feel in a lot of ways, the way I did back in my 20’s when I could conquer the world. My house? I’ve been purging and donating to local thrift stores, like crazy. It stays a lot neater and cleaner these days. Now I see how people handle having more than one child.
The road back is a winding one, but I’m on the way back.