This is how I know I’m getting and feeling better:
One of my sources of anxieties since Kensi has come along is having the confidence to know what she wants and whether what I’m doing is right or wrong. These anxieties include whether she’s eating enough, why she refuses to eat off me at times + just howls, whether I have enough milk supply, trying to get her to sleep on her own, just trying to get her to sleep at all… etc etc etc. The list is LONG in terms of my anxieties and concerns for her.
One of the resources I reached out to is the Healthy Children Health Babies program from Toronto Public Health that someone told me about. Essentially if you are accepted into a program, you have a Toronto Public Health nurse come visit you every week in addition to another experienced parent who has been through the program and they support you with all your concerns in terms of how to raise the baby into toddlerhood.
Doesn’t this program sound grand? It sounded EXACTLY like what would help ease my anxieties and tackle my post partum depression + anxiety.
Well the first time I called them 4 weeks post partum, the nurse on the phone essentially asked me how much money I make and whether I have a history of mental health issues or addiction and then effectively said I didn’t qualify for the program. WHAT THE! Just because I’m not a crack addict doesn’t make me any more knowledgeable about knowing how to care for a newborn baby.
Anyways fast forward 4 weeks later when a coworker said she got an appointment into the program to be assessed. I thought THAT’S STRANGE because when I called they said I didn’t qualify. I called the number back, clearly talked to someone else – explained to them about the depression and anxiety I’ve been experiencing, all the different resources I’m trying to tackle my issues, and she said this program sounded like it would REALLY benefit helping me address some of the anxieties I have about caring for the baby. SPLENDID! I mean I’m glad I called back but who the hell did I talk to in the first place?
So last Friday a Toronto Public Health nurse came to my house. That’s when shit hit the fan. She essentially SHOULDED all over me and elevated my stress and anxiety even MORE. These include telling me:
- Oh do you alway support your baby’s head like that? You know she should really be holding her head up independently on her own by now (she was 9 weeks old at that point and she has a hella huge head, there is NO way she’s going to be supporting her head on her own 24/7)
- Take that dock-a-tot away from her crib – that’s just a waste of money. She should be sleeping in her crib with nothing else!
- Oh you shouldn’t swaddle her! If you go on the Toronto Public Health website you can see there’s loads of research against swaddling.
- She’s lobbing on and off your breast? That’s FINE. Maybe she’s a snacker and that just means you’ll have to feed her more frequently which sucks for you but it is what it is, no big deal!
- Do you rock her to sleep like that? How long do you have to do that for? More than 30 mins? That’s too long, you should just put her down and see what happens.
- Your doctor gave you anti-depressant/anxiety medication? I would REALLY suggest you take it (this is after I started crying because of all the previous things she said to me)
Lets just say everything she told me essentially made me question and doubt everything that I had been doing before. I started crying and she was like, “Oh no! You only heard the bad stuff but you didn’t hear all the positive things I said. This is indicative of a depressive mind because you’re just focusing on the negative when I told you LOTS of positive things.” She left soon after (spent maybe an hour at my home) and left me feeling really rattled.
My mom and the friends I had over that morning could see I was shaken up by the experience.
But this is when things get interesting – because after talking through and explaining to my friend who was there with me what happened, I started getting enraged. That nurse (slash STRANGER) just came into my home, shoulded all over me, and told me what I should and shouldn’t do – having had NO history or knowledge of Kensi or me and what we’ve been experiencing for the past 9 weeks. She essentially took her antiquated nurse lense and tried to force fit it on me. And so by that afternoon I thought – SCREW HER.
And THAT’s when I had an epiphany: IM GETTING BETTER AND IM FEELING MORE LIKE MYSELF.
The Katy 4 weeks ago would have UNRAVELLED by that experience, and cried not just for hours but also days. She would have fixated on all the things the nurse said and been riddled with self doubt and concern for weeks after – thinking oh god, everything I’ve been doing is WRONG!
But not this time. 10 weeks out (holy crap K dawg is 10 weeks old today) and I’m feeling like a different person than I was 4 weeks ago. Sure I cried – because this monster who is supposed to be some expert authority figure on babies just made me feel like shit, but then I stopped crying and carried on with my life and thought screw her!
And now I’m really proud of myself – for recognizing how much I’ve improved in a month, and also trusting my gut and myself for recognizing when someone is making me feel uncomfortable about how I am as a parent.
So that’s my lesson for this week – and a warning to any new (or experienced even) parents out there. Just because you go see some alleged “expert” – if whatever they say doesn’t jive with how you feel in your heart, then kindly usher them out of your life and say THANKS BUT NO THANKS STRANGER! PEACE!
Sidebar: I told this story to Kensi this morning and this is her face below – she said “OOH NOO SHE DIIIDDDN’T” in response to what I said the nurse did to us.