So as you can tell by earlier posts, I recently had a baby. Of course I am at a higher risk of postpartum depression due to my PTSD. This is something I am well aware of and it is obviously something I try to avoid! When I was pregnant with my second child, my daughter, I read a lot to see what ways I could reduce the likelihood of getting PPD. I read that breastfeeding helped, getting out around people, having a support system, and all that other good stuff could possibly help. I think it may have with her, helped some.
This time around I am again breastfeeding and I am attending church twice a week, (one for the main Sunday service and another day doing a Mom’s group for 2 hours on Wednesdays). I am trying to take care of myself the best I can and I am of course taking good care of my newborn boy. However, I have this sinking feeling that I will not be so lucky this time as to escape it.
I seem to have this thirst for companionship. I don’t want to be alone, it is too sad. I want so much for my significant other to want to be with me and to spend time with me. I feel like he should just know that this is such a delicate time for me and that he should just want to spend the time with me. I hardly see him as it is though. I also find it more hurtful that it seems like so few people care to see my baby or even so much as ask about it. I am sure it’s the hormones, but when we went through everything in the hospital, I guess I just thought more people would call or something to make sure both of us were okay. I had an iron level in the 6’s and honestly felt like a horse in a pasture looking for a place to lay down and die. I am sad that no one seemed to care. Or that no one cared when my baby had to stay an extra day. I am thankful that we are both fine, but it still makes me sad. It makes me sad that we are home and everyone is just sort of going on about their business like nothing happened… Like I didn’t just bring a baby home. I feel like everyone sees him as my responsibility, as though I went to the pet store and brought home a puppy to take care of. I feel like I am asking a huge favor when I get other people to change his diaper. **I must add this, my mother has been great about all of this, pretty much spending every spare minute at my house helping me with him!**
I am running on so little sleep and so many emotions. I am sure that is why I feel this way. I feel like every day I have to make the choice to stay here. Every day I want to get in my car and drive away and not look back. This in turn makes me feel even worse because who would leave their three kids behind? Not me! I just keep thinking in the back of my head how they deserve a better mother than me and that if I just left, then their dad could find a better replacement. Then they could just grow up to hate me, but at least they will have had a normal childhood.
My oldest son asks me all the time if I got this scar or that scar in the war. I don’t know why he is on this kick. I think his dad said something to him, possibly about how I was acting at some point or something, but he probably told my son more than I am comfortable with a 6 year old knowing. It is so easy for this group of people in my life to forget (or simply not care) that I was a different person before. I did things differently. I woke up and went to work every day. I went to shop parties, squadron picnics. We played pranks on the new Airmen (like going in the dark room, opening film, placing a hand on it, flipping the light on quick and processing it.. Showing it to newbie and convince them that we must have x-rayed our hand.. haha! Or NDIing a new sheet metal guys boots and telling him the steel toe was cracked and he needed a new pair). I bowled on our squadron bowling league. I even attempted to play basketball during one of the family fun days! <- My co-worker Shakon and I signed up but oh darn.. we were late… lol! I had my group of friends I hung out with on weekends. I threw pretty cool keg parties (I think they were cool anyway!) and I really enjoyed my life. My transition from active duty to this has been very hard and having almost no connection to my old life is even harder.
I love my three kids and couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without them, and I wouldn’t even want to imagine it… but I can’t help but wonder how I got so lost in all of this. Had I not had the kids, where would I be? I probably wouldn’t be married or even living in the state I am living in. I think I would have gone back home to Colorado. Would I have found my old high school friends? Would I have reconnected with people from my past? I don’t necessarily think that I would have been happier or better off. I think I have an amazing life here with my husband and kids, but I can’t help but wonder. This is certainly NOT the life I would have expected for myself. I saw myself, by 31, in a great and secure job. I thought I would have a group of friends that I would go after work and grab dinner with or something. I never thought I would be sitting around, at home, with three kids. I never thought my life would reach the point where going to get coffee from the Target snack bar was the highlight of my day. God I just get teary eyed realizing how absolutely pathetic that is.
I don’t think I will ever be a suicide risk. I have always been more concerned that I would just leave and not come back. I love life too much to end it. I get sad, and I get down, but I do love life. I just don’t know where I am going with mine. I feel so lost and there’s no map for me… I think about what would happen if I did just up and leave. I can always think of a reason to stay though, which is probably why I am still here. I know it would break my kids hearts and probably give them some issues of abandonment. That’s pretty much all that has kept me from leaving. I couldn’t take them because I know they need their dad.
I am constantly trying to get work. I apply and interview, but not having worked in over 6 years makes it pretty hard to get my foot in the door. I also don’t want to get a “job”… I am looking for what I had in the Air Force. A family type environment. I have been in and out of college and still have no clue what I want to do. Every year that passes makes it that much harder for me. Knowing I have wasted even more time.
I wish I had some sort of talent or some sort of skill. I feel like I don’t have the respect of some family because I am not employed. I feel like it is all too easy to look at me and wonder why I don’t work. I feel like people (not just family) think I married who I married so I wouldn’t have to work. I feel like a leach in my family and I feel like I drain resources. This all takes me back full circle wishing I had been there when we were hit in Iraq. I really should have been checking my inventory like I always did on deployments or TDYs. I was so anal about my equipment (anyone who has been around Bear and I KNOWS I am anal about my responsibilities!!) and although I was the one who packed it, I always, first thing, took out my things, checked that everything was still working, made sure I still had everything. I was somewhat organized like that. Why I walked away when I did I will never know, but it has been one of the things I regret the most. It probably saved my life, but it is still one of my biggest regrets. If I hadn’t walked away, and managed to live, then I feel like people would be able to SEE the damage that was done to me. I feel like if the hurt was visible, then people wouldn’t think some of the things they think.
Sometimes I think I would fit in better with a different crowd. Not the crowd I am in now. Not in one where everyone is so highly educated. My husband holds a doctorates and I dropped out after 10th grade. I feel like I keep striving to fit in to a group I will never belong in. I feel like it is painfully obvious how much I don’t belong here. His other kids both hold degrees. He comes from a family where everyone went to college.. I come from a family that has very few degree holding members (though I think my family is amazing.. even if it is a somewhat different breed!). I belong in the group where I can be me without having to beg. If I want to dye my hair pink, people who truly KNOW me, know how normal that is for me. Until I joined the Air Force I sported black or purple hair and wore an eyebrow ring. I got tattoos and rode on backs of motorcycles. Now I am wearing penny loafers (got them at a consignment store), driving a minivan (btw, my minivan rocks, so that’s not a stab at it.. I have THREE different screens to watch TV in there, sunroof, in car TV, a million buttons for things I haven’t even figured out yet.. lol!), buying Banana Republic and trying to make home cooked meals. This is NOT the Aimee that any of my friends know!! This isn’t even an Aimee I know!
Well my newest family member is calling my name (“whaah”) so I should put an end to this post. Congrats if you made it through it all.