[Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post comes from Stephanie Koch Pavol. She talks about her fears of having another baby after postpartum depression and how others’ pregnancy announcements make her feel. It’s a real post with real heart. -Jenna]
As I’m scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed it hits me again like a ton of bricks: Another friend is having her second baby. She’s cheerfully announcing that her daughter will be a big sister this summer with an adorable picture. Her daughter holds an ultrasound picture, and her husband is beaming with pride.
Facebook friend, I want you to know that I am so, so happy for you. I really am. It’s wonderful that you’re having your second bundle of joy. I know I will someday too.
But what I might not tell you is that there’s a green-eyed envy monster rearing its ugly head right now.
You see, here’s the thing: I so very much want to have another baby too. But it’s so much more complicated for mamas who’ve dealt with a perinatal mood disorder like mine. An illness that robbed me of a happy pregnancy and postpartum period and rocked me to my core.
There are many more things to consider for a mama like me, such as:
- Will I be confronted with that terrible beast of anxiety and depression again, even despite all of my best planning and coordination with my healthcare providers?
- If so, am I willing to go through that again?
- I feel good so good now. When will I be willing to chance that again?
- Can I go to a lower, safer amount of medication? (Or for some mamas, go off altogether.) How will I do this?
- If my anxiety and depression come back, how will that affect turning-into-a-toddler son? I don’t want him to see me in my worst moments, like I had before. Can I be strong enough for him?
I hate to feel envious, I really do. I know all feelings are valid, but envy just feels so fruitless to me. So I feel even worse for feeling this way.
But I just so much just want to have the options you do: To not have to plan around the potential dreaded anxiety and depression. To happily get pregnant without having to think through all these shitty repercussions. To gleefully announce my pregnancy on Facebook without this scary black cloud hovering over me.
I’ll be willing to confront all of these questions someday, but for right now, I’m trying to just keep that green-eyed monster at bay. I tell the monster that I need to take care of my mental and physical well-being first. I tell the monster I’m so grateful and happy for the amazing family I have right now. I tell the monster that I am stronger than him. That his challenge has only made be better.
So Facebook friend, please know that I’m so, so happy for you. I just can’t help feeling a little sad for me.
~Stephanie Koch Pavol