Mommy Wars: Brexit edition

Arm wrestling

Why are women so vicious to each other when it comes to parenting?

Why do some mothers feel invalidated when they find someone who raised her children differently?

Why do some mothers imagine that because they give birth they are now experts on anything having to do with children no matter how tenuous the connection?

Politics is a contact sport, but there’s no match for the viciousness of the Mommy Wars.

These are the Mommy Wars.

I grapple with these questions every day as I write about the ways in which women — generally Western, white women of privileged status — torment each other over childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting small children.

Most mothers grapple with these questions every day on websites and message boards, at playgrounds, and at work. It’s hardly a secret within the professions that women often find that those who are least supportive of their efforts to combine mothering and work are other women.

It’s hardly surprising then that no sooner do we have the historic occurrence of two women vying with each other to become Prime Minister than the ugly specter of the Mommy Wars takes center stage.

Witness the Mommy Wars, Brexit edition:

In the wake of the successful vote for Britain’s exit from the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron resigned to be replaced by the leader of the Conservative Party. Two women were vying for the leadership, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom.

They say that politics is a contact sport, but there’s no match for the viciousness of the Mommy Wars. In a breathtaking display of pure cruelty, Leadsom was quoted in The Times of London as claiming that rival Theresa May’s infertility disqualified her from leading the UK.

As explained by Business Insider:

The Times newspaper ran a piece on Saturday where it quoted Leadsom saying May must be “really sad” about not being able to have children.

“I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake,” she said in the article, which was published as a front-page lead and headlined “Being a mother gives me edge on May — Leadsom.”

That’s why British government officials with children relentlessly opposed sending their sons to the slaughter on the Somme in World War I. And that’s why American government officials with children relentlessly opposed sending their sons to fight and die in the jungles of Vietnam. And that’s why Islamic jihadists never send their sons to blow themselves up as suicide bombers. It’s because, like Andrea Leadsom, they have a stake in their children’s future.

Wait, what? British officials with children sent them to their deaths? American officials with children sent them to their deaths? Islamic jihadists send their children to their deaths.

Obviously, having children does not make someone a better ruler or government official than not having them. So what did Andrea Leadsom think she was accomplishing with her faux “sadness” over May’s infertility and her loathsome insistence that it rendered May less competent?

She was competing with her opponent the way that many women compete with other women — on mothering itself.

When the story was published, Leadsom denied it, claiming it was “the exact opposite of what she said,” insisting:

I want to be crystal clear that everyone has an equal stake in our society, and in the future of our country. That is what I believe and it is what I have always believed.

It is the political equivalent of the gaslighting that so many women experience when they call out those who vilify their mothering choices. It’s shockingly similar to the standard natural childbirth claim of “Just because you had a C-section and didn’t really give birth doesn’t mean I’m judging you” and “Just because you didn’t love your child enough to persevere with exclusive breastfeeding doesn’t mean I think I’m a better mother than you are.”

But Sylvester had taped the interview.

It included this quote on how being a mother makes her more qualified than her opponent:

“So it really keeps you focused on ‘what are you really saying?’. Because what it means is you don’t want a downturn but ‘never mind, let’s look ahead to the ten years’, hence it will all be fine. My children will be starting their lives in that next ten years so I have a real stake in the next year, the next two.”

Fortunately, Leadsom has paid the price for trying to instigate the mother of all Mommy Wars. She has withdrawn from the political race and apologized to Theresa May.

When asked if she had apologised to the home secretary for the comments, Leadsom said she had, but declined to say if it was in person. “I’ve already said to Theresa how very sorry I am for any hurt I have caused and how that article said completely the opposite of what I said and believe,” she said.

And in typical Mommy Wars fashion, she believes that she is the victim, though she brought this on herself:

Leadsom, who told the Telegraph she was pressed into making the comparison, said after the story was made public she had felt “under attack, under enormous pressure … It has been shattering.”

Imagine that! Viciously using May’s infertility to imply she was unqualified to be Prime Minister has been “shattering” for Leadsom.

Let’s be honest here. Leadsom was not shattered by being accurately portrayed as using May’s infertility against her. She’s shattered because she’s been held to account for it.

If only we could similarly hold to account the many other women enthusiastically engaging in the Mommy Wars — those who condemn others for mothering choices that are none of their business and have no bearing on whether women are good mothers or good employees.

  • Anna

    To my shame I engaged in a “mommy war” just lately although I didn’t think I ever would. I was talking to a friend on Facebook, she has a baby boy, everything was fine and then she starts whining about how she is fed up with breastfeeding but her son won’t eat anything else and she wouldn’t leave me alone throughout the whole day. She knows that I formula feed so I can’t give her any advice. She told me all sorts of gross details about her “tits”, how it all freaked her out but she was making oh so much of a sacrifice for her little boy so that he could be healthy. At some point I was so fed up with reading all these messages, besides I couldn’t give her any advice whatsoever, besides I am kind of hypersensitive when someone implies that I AM NOT trying hard enough and having the easy way out with formula. So I just asked her to please cut it out cause I have no time for this crap. That it was her choice to breastfeed despite all the problems it brought on her and her boy and there was no way I could help her. Now I wonder was I being too harsh or was she being the inadequate one?

    • Bugsy

      I don’t think you were being too harsh at all. It’s a case of “know your audience.” I breastfeed, but I would never discuss my breastfeeding sacrifices with moms who formula feed – if anything, I would share anecdotes to make them appreciate their decision to formula feed all the more.

      From my perspective, she was doing thinly-vieled bragging. “Oh, it’s so hard for me.” Way out of line.

  • Sue

    Here is another interesting example – ex-Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, who headed her government for three successive terms (from 1999 to 2008) and was subsequently appointed as Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. SHe has a raft of significant achievements – both academic and political – but had to endure accusations that her husband was gay.

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1743760.htm

    • demodocus

      *shakes head*

    • SarahG

      She’s a great politician, and gets so much mud about everything OTHER than her work – looks, marriage, lack of children. It’s ridiculous.

  • sdsures

    Update: Theresa May will be the new Prime Minister.

    • Daleth

      And Boris the foreign secretary! WTF! Why, because he’s so open to relationships with foreign countries and so well-liked abroad?!?!? I cannot even begin to understand this appointment.

      • Erin

        Negotiating tactic…give us what we want or we’ll unleash the Boris!

        Of course it could backfire horribly and we’ll end up at war with the rest of the world before the end of the year.

        • Lilly de Lure

          It is certainly a very brave decision (in the true Civil Service sense) for a Prime Minister not 24 hours into the job to appoint a Foreign Secretary who has personally insulted not only the current president of the USA but also BOTH of his potential successors. Plus he’s in charge of MI6.

          Theresa May never struck me for her sense of humour before but now she’s proved to the entire world that she has one, can she please put it away?

      • Who?

        He did break it, so getting him in to fix it seems like justice at least.

        Though I heard him described, in this new role, as ‘senior diplomat’ which is a worry.

        • Daleth

          Being the one who broke it doesn’t suggest that you necessarily know how to fix it… especially when you broke it so STUPIDLY.

          • Lilly de Lure

            To be fair I notice that she’s put David Davis (another Leaver but not one who’s managed to insult quite so many foreign leaders as Boris) in charge of the actual Brexit negotiations as opposed to Boris so there’s a brief flash of common sense here. Not worth much, but I’ll take whatever crumbs of sanity I can get right now . . .

  • Linden

    Sexist person gets called out on her sexism, and it turns out the paper had misrepresented her by quoting her verbatim.
    Why is it that sexist and racist behavior is no big deal, and we’re just being “thin-skinned”, “easily offended”, but being called out on your bigotry is “shattering”, devastating and the worst thing ever?

    • Cody

      Wish I could like this comment more than once. Exactly my feelings.

  • RMY

    As someone who is infertile, Leadsom sounds like a very vile person.

    • Christina Maxwell

      I think she is both vile and completely lacking in self awareness. I am very relieved that she is not going to be PM and hope that she has scuppered her political career.

    • sdsures

      The other possibility is that it was an off-the-cuff remark and got out before Leadsom had a chance to think. I dislike that she said it, but May did previously share that she was NOT childless by choice, so Leadsom’s comment was at the very least, off-colour.

      • sugarskull

        So what if May shared it? Her being childless has NOTHING to do with her ability to do her job. The fact that Leadsom decided that was a reason for her opponent to be disqualified shows that she is obviously digging at the bottom of the bucket because there are no legitimate reasons for May not to be elected over her. It’s dirty politics and shows what a vile person she really is.

        • sdsures

          That’s the point. May’s not having kids wasn’t fair game for another politician to snipe at and claim it’s why she can’t do her job. It sucks. Since when has politics ever been clean, BTW?

      • Brix

        That just makes it worse. It’s like pouring salt into the wound.

  • CSN0116

    OBSERVATION: Dr. T has been speaking out a lot lately on her FB page about BFHI and the inappropriateness of closing well baby nurseries. What is shocking me more than anything is the persistent sworm of UK women, in particular, who are more or less, ” Meh, it’s what we’ve had here for decades; we’re alive, deal with it.” :-O

    I don’t see US women (generally) saying that about maternity leave policies. We know our system’s shortcomings and want better.

    What’s with the UK mom belligerence with BFHI?! It’s depressing :/

    • Inmara

      I have noticed as a trend in circles of somehow underprivileged people – if those who are better off start to complain about something, they go with the “Meh, pussies, we have done it for ages and we’re just fine!” (if you think about it, that’s the same “I was spanked as child and turned out fine” mentality).

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      I just don’t get why they’re opposed to women having a choice. If you want to room in with your baby, then you should be able to do so. If you want to send your baby to the nursery for a few hours because you need to sleep, then you should be able to do so. You are not hurt by another an making a different choice to you on this matter.

      Yesterday my father in law was talking about “mother-in-law syndrome” in India – basically in some cases mother-in-laws bully their daughter-in-laws, and then those women bully the next generation, even though they hated it at the time. This reminds me of that – the whole “we suffered through this, so everyone else should” mentality.

      • Irène Delse

        I wonder there is something else at play.
        A few years ago, I read a comment from (IIRC) author Lois McMaster Bujold about completion among men and among women. She said she observed that men tended to brag about their strength and their achievements, but women bragged about how much they suffered. A very interesting (if depressing) observation.

        • LaMont

          Oof, I would totally believe she said that. She literally has the (very slightly parapharsed) line “we suffered, and now so must you” in “Mirror Dance” as a reference to how women are the most immediate enforcers of sexist practice against other women, after all. Damn. I need to read/listen to her interviews so badly (mostly so that I can pare down my list of a zillion questions about the Vorkosigan Saga to the ones she hasn’t publicly answered already. I’m obsessed.)

          • Irène Delse

            “Mountains of Mourning” also comes to mind.

          • LaMont

            Oh god yes. That is the most upsetting generational warfare storyline I’ve ever read.

        • Steph858

          “Men tended to brag about their strength and their achievements, but women bragged about how much they suffered.” The former part isn’t true in Yorkshire …
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1wHxTyo

      • Jules B

        Exactly. Some people just stake too much of their self-worth on their particular choices, though, so only their choice can be the “right” one.

    • indigosky

      I have let some UK and Canadian folks have it. Some have just been jerks to my reply, but others did reply that they didn’t really think about the fact that we get little to no paid maternity leave and paternity is a joke. It’s easy to be OK with rooming in when you get the next year off work paid and you don’t have to worry about losing your job.

      • MLE

        Even if I had ten years’ paid leave, it wouldn’t make a difference to how I felt the hours and days after delivery, when I was dead tired and in a constant state of fear of smothering or dropping my baby. Leave is really secondary to the issue of needing help IMMEDIATELY.

      • Jules B

        Very true. As a Canadian, I may not have had a well baby nursery to send my daughter to in the 24 hours I was in the hospital, but I knew I was coming home to a situation where my S.O. had 10 weeks off for paternity leave. I knew that once I got home, I would be able to rest/recover a bit (hence why I nearly burst into tears when they threatened not to let us go home in the AM because of the baby’s jaundice…I wanted to go home SO desperately!)

      • Azuran

        Just out of curiosity. Is there some kind of paid preventive leave before you have the baby in the USA? Or is it more of the unpaid crap and you have to work up to your birth and then go back right after if you can’t afford to not get paid?

        • Charybdis

          Depends on where you work. There is nothing “national” or even “statewide” that allows that. With my company, you can go on short-term disability if you have pregnancy complications. However, to get the maximum amount of short-term disability coverage (70% of your salary), you HAVE to be enrolled in the long-term disability insurance program, or else you get the magnanimous sum of $75.00/week for the short term disability.

          With maternity leave, you have to use 40 hours vacation or wait a week with no pay until the short-term disability kicks in. You get 6 weeks for vaginal deliveries and 8 weeks for a CS. At your short-term disability rate (50, 60 or 70% of your salary, depending on how long you have been with the company), IF you have enrolled in the long-term disability plan. If you haven’t, then it’s $75.00/week for you.

          Of course, there is always FMLA, but that is unpaid.

          • Megan

            Some more caveats: if you work part time, you do not generally get short term (or long term) disability. And not all employers offer short or long term disability to even their full time employees. To get FMLA, you must work for a company with more than 50 employees and have worked 1250 hours or more in the past year. Many employers also have a 90 day policy where you can actually lose your job if you have to go on leave (i.e. you haven’t “earned” any vacation days yet and you don’t yet qualify for FMLA).

          • Charybdis

            True. I was in rather a hurry when posting the above information. But yes. All these things are caveats to the maternity leave issue as well.

          • An Actual Attorney

            And FMLA leave is total – so if you take time off before, or have taken other time off that year for other family responsibilities (like taking care of other dependents) that’s less time after (all unpaid).

          • FormerPhysicist

            And not even everyone gets FMLA. You have to be full-time (more or less) for 12 months before the event, at a company of more than 50 people.

          • Michele

            Plus not all short-term disability is the same. Mine is 6 weeks no matter the type of delivery. It used to be a 30 day exclusion period (so you got a whole 2 weeks out of it!) but fortunately for me my company’s policy changed to 7 days before I needed to use it.

      • OttawaAlison

        As a dual Canadian-UK citizen, I actually do hate forced rooming in. It was ridiculous with my 10 year old. I had had surgery and a maternal infection but I was suppose to look after my newborn while attached to an IV and catheter. Great idea (rolling my eyes).

        • sdsures

          I am Canadian and becoming a UK citizen tomorrow! 😀 Rooming in scares me to death. I will require a c-section when we have kids.

          • nomofear

            Save $ for a not-NCB doula? I’d seriously consider it, if facing that. They’ll even skip the delivery and just come and help after.

          • Inmara

            In multi-bed ward, doula would be of little help when it’s needed most – during the night. But it’s great to have someone during the day too, if dad/other family members are with older children or unable to come otherwise.

          • Sarah

            Doulas wouldn’t be any use for the postnatal ward.

          • sdsures

            Perhaps. Part of the reason it scares me is because my cerebral palsy will complicate recovery from c-section (my balance is poor, so lifting baby will be done at home using various adaptive equipment – but what about hospital?).

          • sdsures

            Citizenship ceremony went off without a hitch.

            Re saving money for a not-NCB doula – good idea, since we have to set aside moola for baby stuff anyways. This would be just another baby-related expense, but well worth it. The other option is a registered child-minder, but I don’t know if they work immediately postpartum in hospitals, or start when you get home.

      • Sarah

        You get nine months paid, plus any accrued annual leave, so not quite a whole year… but yeah. Very true.

    • Jules B

      I have noticed that too on those types of discussions! Tbh, I think it might have to do with the whole British pride in having a “stiff upper lip.” (Speaking as someone whose parents were born and raised in England, before immigrating to Canada, where I was born). Because, you know, Americans are all just lazy and entitled ;-).

      • Amy M

        Well, I think ALL of us (and this isn’t directed at you JulesB–its directed at those who disdain the Americans’ apparent lack of “stiff-upper-lipness”) ARE entitled to the best health care available. I recognize that cost is the major roadblock, but on a philosophical level, anything less than standard of care is barbaric.

        • guest

          I agree. I don’t care if poor people pay less (or nothing) in taxes. I don’t see why all human beings don’t deserve the best available health care.

          • Roadstergal

            Poor people often pay disproportionately in payroll and sales tax, over in the US… and yes, they deserve health care. Even for someone who is Budget Uber Alles, proper preventive care is cheaper in the long run.

    • Erin

      I think we have this “get out of hospital asap” mentality because whilst the NHS is amazing in some ways, it’s not in others. So if you have a relatively straight forward arrival you don’t stay overnight so it’s not an issue. If you have a longer stay (for example I stayed 3 and a half days) my son was in NICU for a chunk of that so they assume that you can sleep/rest.

      Either way, most of us go fleeing out of the door as quickly as possible.

      Plus criticizing the NHS is akin to smacking kittens into a ceiling fan or putting puppies in a microwave in the eyes of many people. Because it’s “free”, I think we cut it way more slack than if we were handing over bank cards/paying insurance companies.

      • CSN0116

        This helps me understand. I figured it as well.

        On another note: I thought it was vital for moms and newborns to be evaluated for at least 24 hours post delivery? That certain conditions either might experience are not always immediately evident? Or is it safe to just flee if you feel well enough?

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          In Australia some women are discharged 6 hours after uncomplicated vaginal deliveries, but you have community midwives who will come out to your home to check on you both in the days following. I would assume there is a similar system in place in the UK.

          Before I had my son, I assumed that staying in the hospital with help on hand would be a good thing. After having my son, having to room in, and not getting all that much help, I changed my mind. I was devastated when I had to stay and extra day for a blood transfusion. I got so much more rest at home with family to help.

          • Sarah

            Yes, we have community midwives visiting frequently for the first 10-28 days.

          • CSN0116

            How interesting that British women are comfortable letting workers into their homes, repeatedly, to observe them and their babies, yet they are astonished at the thought of similar workers keeping after their children for a few hours at a time while inpatient, physically incapacitated, and hopped up drugs that render you incapable of operating a motor vehicle.

            I say this because you’d be hard pressed to sell that to American women. It’s not uncommon – especially amongst wealthy, white women – to put signs on the front doors of their homes stating that no visitors are permitted. Within this group, individualism, martyrdom, and “nuclear family bonding rituals” are highly regarded once they leave the hospital. They leave to see the pediatrician and *if* they need a lactation consultant, they might permit her to enter. But even close family is often turned away. Advice from Grandma who raised 15? Fuck that. Kellymom. com it is.

          • Erin

            I wouldn’t say we’re comfortable with it, more that refusing it tends to raise flags and get you referrals to social services because you must have something to hide.

            It’s like the cup of tea and toast you get after the birth, a part and parcel of having a baby in the UK.

            I can’t stand my health visitor but it’s easier to let her in for the first couple of weeks and make her a cup of tea and answer her questions with varying degrees of honesty than explain why I don’t think I need her.

          • Sarah

            I was absolutely fine with it, though it helped that one of the midwives was an old family friend. There is a distinction between being comfortable with someone seeing you and your baby together (and I certainly needed the support after both my deliveries) and being comfortable with being apart from your baby for several hours. Not sure it’s especially helpful to conflate the two.

          • Steph858

            I was sold the idea that my Health Visitor would be able to offer me help and advice regarding my baby. In reality, the stuff she could discuss was really just common sense stuff that I already knew (“Make sure you sterilise his bottles. And don’t make his bathwater too hot!”) Anything I didn’t already know/have a good idea of (“Is that lump on his neck anything to worry about? What about that scab on his lip?”) the answer was “Oh, you’ll need to see the GP about that – beyond my training!” I still wonder what the point of her coming was …

        • Erin

          They chuck you out if everything is okay. I had to stay 24 hours because my waters had been broken for 81 hours prior to my son making an appearance, plus I ended up with an emcs after a long labour. Had he arrived in the first 24 hours though, I would (assuming we both looked okay) been booted out.

          There was a Polish lady in the bed next to me, baby was early, husband was offshore and her Mother was coming from Poland but hadn’t arrived yet. She was terrified and desperately wanted to stay until her Mother got here or her husband could get a helicopter home. They had her in tears telling her how ungrateful she was and that they needed her bed. In the end, I roused myself from my jellyfish sobbing heap long enough to tell them that if they needed a bed so damn much they could have mine and I’d throw the baby in for free. They left her alone after that.

          Edit: and yes, we have community midwives who see you every day for the first 10 days and then Health Visitors who see you every week for the first 8 weeks.

      • Christina Maxwell

        The tendency to not be rude about the NHS and considering it to be ‘free’ frustrates me a great deal. How can we ever have a rational discussion. let alone a viable plan to improve it if the majority of the population treats it as a sacred cow?

        • Erin

          It grates with me too. I had a terrible time having my son, a lot of which had to do with the NCB ideology which has infected most of our midwives and yet, my family and friends all turned around and said “well, it’s the NHS…”

          It’s like my mad Great Aunt, always doing terrible things, embarrassing everyone but in front of strangers we have to present a united front. Doesn’t matter that she almost killed a complete stranger…she’s one of us.

          • Christina Maxwell

            Yes, that exactly. The depressing thing is that it’s been that way for over 25 years. It changed a lot between my 2nd and 3rd daughters, 28 and 25 years ago. That was a shock!

        • Sarah

          We can’t, but we also can’t have one knowing that any legitimate criticism will be seized upon by certain sections of the political spectrum as an excuse to destroy something most of us want to preserve. It isn’t the fault of people who would like to offer constructive criticism but feel constrained.

      • AnnaPDE

        How is it “free”? It’s paid for by everyone’s taxes, no reason to deliver abysmal service.

        • Erin

          But that’s the problem. Some people who don’t pay tax want to get as much as possible out of it and some people who do pay tax don’t want to pay more tax for a better service.

          So its in that slippery twilight zone where people put up with behaviours they wouldn’t put up with in situations where you were directly handing over cash (as opposed to it being taken from your wages).

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I suspect that part of the issue with criticizing the NHS is fear that any criticism will be used by conservatives as a reason to try to abolish or further underfund the NHS.

      • Sarah

        They’re very good when the shit hits the fan. Not always so great if it isn’t.

    • Christina Maxwell

      Personally I take every opportunity to rant about the state of maternity ‘care’ in the UK and find the lack of well baby nurseries, multi bed wards and NCB ideology appalling.

    • Roadstergal

      I wonder if some of it is linked to the ‘have a homebirth’ endless promotion, the ‘pregnancy is not a disease’ attitude of the midwives that they’ve sold to women. If you’re not ill, if you would have been just as well off at home, why have a well-baby nursery? My UK friend hated her hospital stay with her first and the lack of help from the midwives, but she didn’t want a nursery, she wanted to be at home (and not to have had a C-section).

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        Even if pregnancy is not a “disease”, many (if not most) women find giving birth to be extremely physically strenuous – there’s a reason it’s called labour! Depending on the length and timing of labour, sleep deprivation is common. Add in that many women are left physically unwell afterwards for various reasons – postoperative, infection, blood loss to name just a few. I’d imagine that many of those people who are arguing for mandatory rooming in had a relatively easier delivery. It seems incredibly arrogant to ignore the experiences of those women who did not have an easy time.

        • MichelleJo

          It should go without saying that a mother after a c-section, major blood loss, sewing of major lacerations, etc should be cared for in exactly the same way as anyone who has suffered the same condition not related to childbirth. And even if a woman has a complication free birth, that’s a complication free BIRTH. She is not up to going to the supermarket an hour later. Birth NATURALLY leaves the mother depleted and in need of extra rest for at least a few days. Then add round the clock baby care and exhaustion doesn’t take long to set in. So yeah, birth is natural, it naturally causes the mother to feel ill for a while.

          • sdsures

            Hear, hear!

      • sdsures

        The recovery after a C-section should always be taken into consideration. Consider that you are temporarily on mega happy pills, or an epidural, you need help peeing, learning to walk again…

        It’s not being ill, but it IS a condition that you cannot immediately handle at home, alone. That’s why people do not have C-sections at home. 😉

        Historically, the mother “at home” would have had many other females around: relatives or servants – to help with the new baby during her recovery.

        Not every new mom has that these days.

        • Daleth

          Thank god my hospital had a nursery. I had an EMCS a week prior to my scheduled CS, due to rapidly progressing preeclampsia. Then I went into hypovolemic shock in recovery. So I was doped up on magnesium for the pre-e, recovering from surgery and shock, with one of my twins in the NICU (poor baby!) and the other just down the hall in the little nursery, and a nurse would bring him at the press of a button. And then take him back at another press of a button.

          What would things have been like for us in the UK, I wonder…

    • Kathleen

      Oh, I agree – I noticed that too. And I was one of those “my baby won’t go to the nursery at all (though we had one, thank goodness). I can’t imagine what could have happened if I had continued being so exhausted – there were times I fell asleep sitting up in bed, holding my newborn. I could have dropped her (and this was with my DH completely able to stay and be at my beck and call AND with fantastic nurses – with my second, we had a toddler at home who needed Daddy to be around).

      • guest

        I was secretly glad my babies went to the NICU. I was worried about them of course, but I enjoyed sleeping through the night for a few nights while recovering.

        • Kathleen

          This was my first baby – I had no clue what to expect. I mean, I expected to be tired, but the level of exhaustion was epic and I was just so completely gobsmacked by it. With my second, I was perfectly fine with him going to the nursery, but he was my good sleeper. I remember waking up in a blind panic the night we stayed at the hospital because he’d slept for something like 4 hours straight! So I wasn’t as tired.

          • Guest

            Yes, after they came home I spent several nights waking up in a panic wondering how long I’d been asleep and if they were okay. They totally were, but I didn’t know what to expect. I got sleep deprived again, but I was ready since I’d had a week to recover from the physical part of labor.

        • Sarah

          Same. I felt relief that mine was in there while I wasn’t fit to care for her. It should not have come to that.

          • guest

            It really shouldn’t.

    • MichelleJo

      As someone who has given birth in the UK, I don’t think that the reaction from UK posters means they are happy with the fact that nurseries there have long disappear. I think it is just a kind of ‘we’ve been putting up with this for years already, and we know we are powerless to change the decision – count yourselves lucky that you’ve had it easier until now.’ And they have it worse in the UK, as the average ward has four women and baby pairs so if their own baby isn’t keeping them up, someone else’s is. I gave birth at midnight, moved to the ward an hour later and spent the rest of the night trying to soothe my baby by rocking her crib as she cried on and off. Only when morning came, and the lights went on, did I realize that she was sleeping peacefully, and the cries were that of another baby on the other side of the curtain. See, I’m not so in tune with by baby that I recognized her voice from the minute she was born. I was out of there before breakfast, so I could go and get some sleep.

      • CSN0116

        Your system sounds HORRIBLE.

        And I would be telling women who are currently not in said system to fight like hell against it.

        • sdsures

          I have a feeling I am going to be the most annoying new mum on the ward if they treat us like this.

      • Sarah

        It is quite disgusting some of the things people come out with as reasons not to allow nurseries though. I get the cost argument, I don’t agree but there’s logic to it. But there are people who think they shouldn’t exist simply because they don’t agree with them, and they think they’re entitled to an opinion on other people’s clinical care. It actually astonishes me that anyone thinking that wouldn’t feel too ashamed to vocalise it. It’s the sort of view people should feel embarrassed about holding, and deny thinking it to others.

        • MichelleJo

          I agree 100% with that, mothers ought to be able to choose. I haven’t seen all the comments on Facebook, and many of them may be attacking nurseries, but nurseries in Britain disappeared around 30 years ago. I imagine a lot of people are just puzzled, like why is such a fuss being made out of something that we don’t even know exists. I have a friend who went through 72 hours of tough labor, and was dumped straight on the ward with her baby. When the baby cried, she was just in so weak and in pain, that she couldn’t lift her out. After buzzing for a nurse, the one that came said that she wasn’t going to do it for her, because how will she manage when she gets home and she won’t have a nurse to call. “it’s really for your own good, pet.” Really. That woman should have been kept in hospital and given whatever help she needed, until she was *able* to pick up her baby! The idea of a nursery, where the baby can be looked after for several hours at a time is simply not on the radar for Britiish women.

          • This was most emphatically not the situation when I was in the UK 40 years ago, and I’m sad to hear it.

          • MichelleJo

            40 years ago, they actually kept all the babies in one big room, away from the mothers! But now we know better, that babies should never be separated from their mothers in those crucial early days. Exactly who know? Not the exhausted mothers. But it must be true because as time goes on we are becoming more enlightened.

          • AnnaPDE

            Just lovely. This is why a friend of my sister fled from hospital less than 24 hours after her C-section: At least at home she had help.
            And this attitude is just waaaay too common among nursing staff. I had a bad car accident once, resulting in a broken knee plus lots of glass shards and dirt in my palms which prevented me from holding stuff firmly. I remember still being too weak and sleepy after the knee surgery to follow a game of football, so I asked the nurse to please get a wheelchair for me to get to the loo. No, he wouldn’t, actually I should just take the crutches (which support your weight on your hands) because “modern practice is to mobilise patients right away”. I didn’t make it to the bathroom on crutches (luckily my mum supported me), but I was able to get up for long enough to chase him from the room by threatening to cut up his palms, break his legs and drug him so he can try just how workable his “modern practice” is. Funnily enough, the doctor on shift brought in a wheelchair without my even asking.

          • MichelleJo

            I love the way you got rid of that nurse! Say the word modern and justify anything. I remember seeing a Japanese lady in the maternity ward, who didn’t have anyone to help her, creeping down the corridor , bent almost double and clutching the walls, on her way to the dining room because she was more than five hours after a natural birth which disqualified her from ‘room service’. ‘Modern thinking is that it’s best for the mother to be mobile as soon as possible after birth’. Possible is *not* some hospital’s arbitrarily set time span. Luckily, I was there as a visitor, so I helped the lady back to bed, and brought her some breakfast. She hadn’t eaten in 14 hours because she was brought from the delivery suite after the dining room closed the evening before.

          • Daleth

            Omg. Thank goodness you were there for her.

          • guest

            Being mobile after birth means you encourage patients to get up and move around to prevent blood clots. It does NOT mean making a woman who is in pain make a painful trek just to get her meals. That’s barbaric.

          • sdsures

            Absolutely correct.

          • nomofear

            Oh my god.

          • sdsures

            I have hydrocephalus, and sometimes a shunt revision for it involves a relatively small incision (1-2 inches) in the abdomen to put in more catheter, or snip some off. It’s a relatively minor surgery. It can be done with either standard or dissolving sutures. I favour the dissolving ones if possible because taking them out is hard for me to tolerate – scissors pointing towards your tummy, anyone?? EEK!

            But it’s still an abdominal incision. They hurt. They CAN rip, just as any incision could. Some people are more prone to ripping than others. I have a friend (also with hydrocephalus) whose scalp incisions almost always burst with not much activity. 🙁

            The protocol IS that the sooner patients can be SAFELY mobile after surgery, the better it is for their recovery. But it’s always done with common sense in mind!! I think that is a good thing.

            But I have never encountered a nurse, doctor or orderly who told me to rush things. I had support walking gingerly to and from the loos – nurses on either side of me, and they kept telling me to take things slowly, easy does it. They were wonderful. <3 I was home in a couple days, but not before it was safe to do so and I could walk with less supportive care, eat normally, etc. I think I was in total 2-4 days?

            Why is postpartum care so hell-bent on different care? That's what is so scary for me. I have never been treated as oddly in neurosurgical wards (UK, Canada) as many people have described here in UK postpartum wards.

          • sdsures

            I would so use the ice-pick on my cane on that nurse! *evil grin* Good for you!

            I have found that some of the nastier nurses I’ve experienced get summarily dressed down by the doctor once I’ve demanded that the doctor be paged. Please note that I don’t think ALL nurses are nasty. There are just some that are missing common sense.

          • Sarah

            I will say that many midwives will care for the baby for a few hours on the postnatal ward while the mother sleeps. But it’s not always possible, and if this is going to happen anyway, it would be better done in a specially designed and dedicated area. Perhaps we could call it a nursery.

          • sdsures

            “it’s really for your own good, pet.”

            How bloody patronizing!

        • guest

          It’s sort of like saying that because some women can stay home with their kids, we should get rid of all daycares. Choice is what we want (not mandatory daycare!), and women make choices based on their individual needs.

          • Daleth

            That’s an absolutely brilliant analogy.

          • guest

            Thanks!

        • sdsures

          I really hate the argument about getting rid of well-baby nurseries “because you’ll be caring for the infant on your own at home”.

          Except that no, we won’t, because me and DH both work from home, we’re going to have a live-in nanny due to our disabilities, as needed, and it’s SO MUCH EASIER to deal with a new (and emotionally, physically etc) stressful element (ie your little sprog <3 ) when you are in your own familiar environment. I never have to worry about slipping my cane on the floors at home because we have carpets and rubber mats (in the kitchen because I slipped all over the place and once nearly broke my nose!!!!), whereas in hospital, the lino is so easy to slip on.

          KWIM?

      • Allie

        Well, if you’d only initiated breastfeeding during the magical golden hour, you would have bonded so well you could have read you baby’s mind and known it was not her : )

    • Roadstergal

      So, this is a very random thought, but given the whole ‘you’re just as safe at home’ mentality that can lead to mental equivalence of home and hospital, is sending the baby to a well-baby nursery considered similar to using a nanny – something uncomfortably and visibly posh/upper-class? I’m USAmerican, just speculating out of my ass.

      And then there’s the lactivist/AP set, for whom sending a baby to the nursery is child abuse…

    • sdsures

      I’m in the UK and I hate the idea of 24/7 rooming in, particularly as manifest regarding C-sections. New motherhood is exhausting enough after a complication-free VB. Add to that abdominal surgery and post-op weakness and pain meds… Grrr!

    • Sue

      The UK NHS has both advantages (universal access, cost containment) and shortcomings (lack of choice, culture).

      There have many high-profile scandals over the years, including the Alder Hey organs scandal, Stafford Hospital/Mid-Staffordshire Trust mortality rates, poor reporting of adverse events, not to mention Maternity Care at Morecome Bay/Furness Hospital.

      The community can come to tolerate poor services and lower their expectations while they continue to appreciate the benefits of a universally-accessible national health system.

      • sdsures

        One need not necessarily follow the other.

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    OT (kinda): I need the hive mind wisdom here to get me back in touch with reality, or at least to offer suggestions on how to get there.
    Background: I had DS via CS three weeks ago. He’s baby #3 for us; baby #2 was an early miscarriage, and DD was born via CS, too. DD’s CS was due to her being transverse/breech and my having polyhydramnios, and DS’s was because, while I wanted a VBAC, I hadn’t gone into labor at 40w2d, he hadn’t dropped/engaged at all, and I was not comfortable with the increase in stillbirth risk after that. As it turned out, he had a short cord which was wrapped tightly around his neck twice, preventing him from dropping any further. I also had significant uterine thinning, making my generally pro-VBA2C OB say that I shouldn’t even try to labor next time.
    I had severe PPD with DD, so I asked to start on antidepressants ASAP. Been on Zoloft for 3 weeks now. I also have a better support system than last time.
    Despite this, I can’t stop thinking that I’ve failed. I feel like I failed because I couldn’t have my baby the “right” way, even though I know intellectually that I’m damn lucky to live when and where I do, or neither babies nor I would likely be here. I feel like I’m not a real mom. I feel like my body is useless, and that the constant yeast infections around my incision that started a day postpartum and are still going now (even after treatment) are just further evidence that I failed, that if I did things the right way I’d be feeling well by now. I feel like I failed myself, DH, and our kids because we always wanted a big family, and now that seems unlikely. My wonderful SIL just announced that she’s pregnant, and I feel like since she’ll likely have her baby the “right” way, MIL will think she’s a better mom than I am. (MIL is generally awesome, but when I announced I was pregnant with DD, she asked if I was trying for a natural birth, and when I said yes, said she’d had natural births with most of her kids, so I can’t stop thinking that she thinks I failed, too.)
    I keep second-guessing myself. Maybe if I waited to go into labor with DD, she’d have turned, and I wouldn’t have had that CS. Maybe if I waited to go into labor with DS, he’d have engaged. Maybe if I hadn’t done the nipple stim that my OB recommended with DD, she wouldn’t have flipped breech. (I felt her turn breech during a contraction induced by that.) Maybe if I had done just one of those things, I wouldn’t have failed.
    The icing on the cake is that a friend of mine had a home waterbirth a few days before DS was born, and (of course) mom and baby were fine, so I feel terribly inferior: I can’t even have my babies the “right” way like she does, or breastfeed them, or…She sent me an entirely innocuous, friendly text a few days ago asking how I was doing; simply getting that text had me sitting on the couch, tears in my eyes, and repeating “you aren’t a failure, you aren’t a bad mom, you aren’t a failure” over and over and over again and trying to make myself believe it.
    I’m sorry this is so long, and I’m sorry to dump on you all. I didn’t know where else to talk about all this where I wouldn’t hear that if I’d trusted my body/had an unassisted childbirth/huffed enough Young Living oils that I’d have been fine. Even if you don’t have suggestions, thank you so much for reading: just typing this out has helped a little.

    • Madtowngirl

      I don’t really have a whole lot to offer, but you sound like you are very much in the emotional roller-coaster that is post-partum hormone hell. I know that you know this, intellectually, but maybe hearing it from someone else will help – there’s no “right” way to have a baby. You did what was best for you in your situation. You’re not a failure. Really, you aren’t.

      Sending good thoughts and virtual hugs. If you are still feeling this way in a week or two, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting on a different anti-depressant.

    • Amazed

      At the end, Nature always screws each one of us in one way or another, KotB. Think about this: my SIL who had her baby perhaps the right way (her stitches didn’t quite think so but whatever), is still nursing her like a champ and so on just a few days ago left her hungry without realizing it – she nursed her and left her with us. A terrible hungry cry episode followed – Amazing Niece’s first one. SIL’s always reliable boobs failed her this time. So what? The little one cried and forgot about that as soon as her tummy was full once again. Your DS will never starve because you will know just how to feed him.

      Your MIL might have been expressing a strong opinion but by what you’ve written about her, she’s “Do whatever works for you” as a whole. My mom is the same. If you ask her, she’s all for vaginal birth but when we were told the baby might be too big, she was the first one who offered that they pay for SIL’s C-section if she chose to get one. She’s all for breastfeeding but not when SIL was crying and that damned milk wouldn’t stop flowing. And certainly not when her granddaughter was howling with hunger. My guess is that your MIL is the same.

      Your DS is fairly new. You’re all still adjusting. From what you write, you actually believe that no one is judging you. Don’t judge yourself.

      I’ve never given birth but as a fellow bookworm that’s what I do when I’m feeling particularly low (years ago, that was about four months into hormonal therapy that left me with so many new things, like actually having hairs in my armpits): I buy myself a book I’ve long wanted to have (or read), Of course I am not going to read it right now but I know it’s home and it’s waiting for me. Perhaps is you make yourself a present you know you’ll cherish soon?

    • Guest

      I’m so sorry you’re facing this, especially in the face of people who are all up in the kool aid. I feel for you deeply, and have had thoughts like yours due to a previous pregnancy being ectopic, meaning both that I lost that baby and that all subsequent pregnancies (and thank God there can be subsequent pregnancies, or at least one since I’m currently pregnant) must be delivered preterm, via c-section, to avoid uterine rupture.

      I’ve been so sad about my body, thinking it’s a failure and mostly feeling badly about my babies being stuck with a “broken” mom with a body that’s dangerous to them. My body just can’t manage to do what people do every day without issue or second thought is a common thing that passes through my mind.

      I’ve managed to find three things that help a lot:
      1. List things to myself about my body that DO work, and work very well. I have very sturdy, healthy joints. I have strong, long hair. I have nice healthy gums. I have nice skin. I have strong legs. I have excellent cholesterol. On and on, I challenge myself to think about things about me that are healthy and work great. You can even work on thinking about positive mental attributes (this is something I should do and don’t yet)

      2. Try to cut out sources of information that are not “for me”, meaning I’m not their audience. I don’t read natural birth information, I don’t talk to people about it, I don’t engage in conversations about it. I seek out people and media that either speak to my experiences as valid ones, or that are different subjects. I found this was helpful with body image issues as well, as an aside.

      My favorite brush-offs for people who are demanding you listen to them about something you know are both from my Uncle, a retired police chief who spent a lot of his career listening to insane grievances from people who had no idea what they were talking about (meaning they’re telling you how you should do things without living your life or being you):
      –“that’s something to think about.” He won’t think about it, because he has better uses for his time but it is a thing, and one could think about it.

      –“you might have something there.” Monkies might also fly out of his butt.

      3. Forgive myself for future problems, even if they aren’t yet problems (and never become them). I’ve already forgiven myself for any future failures to breastfeed (this site helps a lot). I’ve already forgiven myself for tantrums my child has in the grocery store, and bumping their head into the door jam when carrying them, and a few other common parenting “mistakes” that are really just parenting “realities”. It kind of sets me up for success, in terms of already trying to be kind to myself over things people like to judge each other over.

      I was able to forgive myself for only being able to deliver via c-section, as I haven’t yet delivered or even gotten pregnant, and put a lot of mental effort into being ruthlessly forgiving about it and embracing it as a positive reality before it happened. I’m still working on it in terms of having somewhat risky pregnancies (uterine rupture is VERY MUCH on my mind), and am also working on coming to terms with maybe not being able to have any more than one child, in case that happens.

      I wish you nothing but good thoughts and good things in your life, OP. You are doing a great job, better than you think, and you deserve kudos.

    • Megan

      I’m so sorry you’re feeling like this. It’s hard isn’t it? Our inner voice tells us things we’d never think or say to someone else. It’s irrational and yet so uncontrollable. I’m glad you’re on Zoloft. Know that while you can start to feel a difference by 2 weeks, it takes 6-8 weeks for full effect. So if it seems like it’s helping a little more every day, hang in there. Usually though if you aren’t feeling it’s done much by 4 weeks you should bring it up with your doc. Also, have you thought about seeing a counselor/therapist? I just started Buspar and will start therapy soon too. My issues aren’t directly related to my delivery but I definitely have some postpartum anxiety and need some coping strategies in addition to my meds. I hope things get better for you. And in case it helps to hear a stranger on the internet say it, you are definitely not a failure!!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Thanks so much.
        I’ve considered therapy, but I don’t have childcare, and suspect that the stress of hauling a newborn and very active toddler to a therapy appointment would negate any benefits there might be…

    • J.B.

      Two things: what is your longest uninterrupted stretch out sleep, and what kind of dose are you on? If there’s any room for adjustment those are huge. Otherwise I hope things settle down with the hormones.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        I’m on 50 mg/day of Zoloft (no idea if that’s standard, or if it can be adjusted) and I seriously lucked out in that DS sleeps at least a 4-hour block most nights, usually more like 5.
        I can tell that the Zoloft helps a little, in that while I’ve had suicidal thoughts, they are *only* in the context of “I felt like killing myself in X, Y, and Z ways when I was depressed last time, but I don’t see the appeal now; I’m unhappy, but not THAT unhappy.” So there’s that.

        • J.B.

          I would definitely set up an appointment to talk with your OB. I recently went on zoloft and I believe that 50 mg is more of a starter dose. Also have your husband to tell MIL to knock it off, that her statements are hurtful. Probably not thinking as opposed to being deliberately critical but really?!?!

        • RMY

          Can your partner go to appointments with you to support/advocate for you? My wife finds getting proper treatment overwhelming when she’s depressed, and it look like 8 different meds to find one that would work for her.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Probably not, but you all have encouraged me enough to at least talk to my OB at my next appointment. DH’s work is very time-consuming, and, unfortunately, “I need to go to my wife’s appointment” wouldn’t be generally accepted. Ugh! At least it has marvelous benefits…

        • demodocus

          I think 50 is the minimum. I started there and was pretty good until several days postpartum. now I’m up to 100.

        • Michele

          50 mg is a low dose, like others have said. Definitely talk to your doctor about the possibility of increasing it if needed. You may just need a little more time on this dose but if it’s not helping enough they may need to increase it for you. I was on 100 mg and my doctor sounded like that was a low-to-average dosage.
          Any chance of just getting childcare for your toddler and taking the baby with you to therapy appointments? I know it’s easier for me to ask someone to watch just one of my kids rather than both of them, and newborns are easier to contain at appointments than toddlers. Recruit DH to help you find a therapist with evening or weekend appointments or whatever would allow his work schedule to care for the children?
          Also, incision yeast infections suck. I don’t have any ideas there since mine cleared up with over the counter stuff, just sympathy.

    • Erin

      I have little practical advice to give but I recognize those feelings.

      What helped me a bit was trying to list all the things I didn’t fail at, that I put my son first in signing those consent forms when the little voices in my head were screaming “no”. That I not only got pregnant but successfully carried a baby to a stage where they could be rescued to take his first breath. Also reminding myself over and over again that my own mother had an easy natural birth with me and yet, she’s hardly a candidate for Mother of the year helped. The Mothers we become are not defined by how our babies get here but by the choices we make.

      With the second guessing, I tried to think of the negatives rather than the positives. What could have gone wrong rather than what could have gone right. One of the various Psychologists I’ve run away from told me not to think of the “should haves” and I think that’s good advice albeit hard in the aftermath.

      Get sleep if/when you can and do stuff (I found colouring in books really helpful because I can’t go outside the lines and thus need to focus) to distract.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I know you’ve had so much more to work through than I have, and appreciate your kind words very much. 🙂

    • mostlyclueless

      I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I felt a lot of that stuff after I had my c-section with my first; I’m due with my second soon and keep trying to talk myself down from the feeling that I HAVE to have a successful VBAC.

      I love this (skepticalOB) community for the most part but I think one thing a lot of people fail to get right is validating that feeling of failure because it seems like that has to inherently validate all the NCB woo woo that contributed to it. So I just want to comment to tell you that it’s ok to feel sad or bad or broken, your feelings are neither right nor wrong, and they don’t need to be justified or explained to anyone. Also, there is some rhetoric here that the way you give birth doesn’t matter — and it does matter to some people. It mattered to you, and it mattered to me, and that’s ok.

      It’s ok to feel sad about not getting the kind of birth you wanted. Childbirth is a big, powerful experience for a lot of us and it feels so unfair that we have so little control over it (no wonder people try to convince you that you can control it with the right mindset or essential oils).

      It’s ok to grieve that experience, and to go through the steps of grieving — the anger, denial, bargaining, but ultimate acceptance. This was your journey, this was how you brought your beloved baby into the world, this was an experience that you and he shared and it is your story now.

      You did the difficult thing of giving up the birth you wanted so your son would be safe. You made that sacrifice for him. You put your body at risk for him and you kept him safe. You did what only a mother can do for a child.

      <3 I hope you feel better soon, know that there is a stranger out there in internet land wishing you comfort and peace with your experience.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Thank you! DS getting here safely was far and away my first priority, but I think that a very little bit of all this was brought up by his birth. DD’s was a really lovely experience. DS’s–well, it wasn’t *bad* per se, but it wasn’t nearly as great as DD’s. With DD, the focus was on “yay, here’s baby!” and I got to have skin-to-skin snuggles in the OR as soon as they cleaned her up and checked her out.
        With DS, I felt a bit queasy before the surgery, so they gave me some antinausea meds that made me a little out of it: I could interact with people and knew what was going on, but I felt a bit numb, mentally and emotionally. Then, just as he was born, my OB made the comment about my uterus being so thin that I should never go into labor, and he hesitated a little on the question of a third kid, so my emotions were kind of focused on that. And then the peds nurse was new, and didn’t know that my OB encourages skin-to-skin if mom wants it and baby’s okay, and I was too numb/worried/sad about the information about future pregnancies to ask for it, so I didn’t get to hold DS until I was in recovery.
        Mind you, it still wasn’t a negative experience per se, and I actually bonded much faster with DS than I did with DD and love him not a jot less, but it would have been nice to have as wonderful an experience with his birth as I did with DD’s, y’know?

    • Mel

      I’m sorry you are having a rough time right now, Keeper of the Books.

      You gave birth perfectly twice. You (and your body) did exactly what it needed to to get DD and DS to term and healthy. Based on the fact that DD tried to swim away from the OB, I’m betting that she would have figured out some way to turn breech regardless of what you did before labor and delivery. 🙂 Some kids are simply more opinionated than others – and they make the most interesting adults. Your body was really protecting DS by keeping him in there before the CS – if you had gone into labor, he might have been one compromised little dude due to that tight cord. You really have a pretty awesome body, you know…..

      Yeast infections suck. Big time. They also suck energy and comfort away from you. Since they didn’t clear up with a given treatment, would you be able to call your OB/GYN and ask for a different treatment?

      In terms of the size of your family, take a deep breath and wait a bit. Perhaps you will have a few more or many more biological children. Perhaps you will become an adoptive parent. Perhaps you are a future foster parent. All of these possibilities are in the future right now. Remember, our shared Catholic religion has relatively few saints who had their own kids – but a lot who raised and educated children born of others.

      I know quite a few married Catholics who wanted a big family but were unable to have a large biological family – all of them found a way to raise, nurture and love many, many children.

      I hope you live close to someone who can give you a break so you can get some more sleep. Sleep is so important after giving birth – and after surgery.

      *big hug*

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        This was possibly the most helpful reply of the many, many great ones I’ve gotten…thank you! My faith itself has helped me some with all this, but some of the more…vocal…big family types in it are also the noisiest on the subject of “Good Catholic Moms have NCBs/breastfeed/et all”, and that’s the kind of thing that messes with my head, even though it’s just not a universal truth or even one taught by the Church. Reading just one ridiculous comment from someone about how it’s a “tragedy” for a Catholic woman to start off having babies via a CS, and how if we just don’t get tests that show that something can be wrong then it won’t be wrong and we won’t have to have that CS was the first step into this round with PPD for me. Idiotic, eh? Why do I let them have space in my head?!
        The depression has really only hit in the last 10 days or so; until then, I was able to see that the fact that I never went into labor was a really, really good thing, considering both DS’s situation and that of my uterus. (My OB also said that it was a good thing I never went into labor with DS because of how thin it had gotten, and I am more than happy to never experience a uterine rupture.) I need to hang onto that.
        DH and I have briefly discussed the possibility of adoption in a few years, and while I’m not quite sure yet what I feel about it, it’s on the table. I think that I had this rather concrete idea in my head about what my life was going to look like, standard Catholic mom of a big family, and that’s been turned on its head a little. But as you say, there are a lot of ways to love and nurture kids, and there are a lot of kids out there, both born and not born yet, who need a family. And none of it, thank goodness, needs to be decided today.
        You’re sounding like my DH;) –when we talked last night, he pointed out that I haven’t had a chance to talk to my OB yet, and that perhaps things will be clearer at my 6 week appointment; it’s even possible that we’ll be told “take it one kid at a time and see how you do,” and that one kid at a time will translate to the 6 or so we hoped for. Or not. DH grew up in a wonderful, big family, and they’re all very close; I want that for my kids. But either way, DS is here, and healthy, and for that we’re both incredibly grateful. When I started listing off the what-ifs last night, DH interrupted me with “Or, I could be a widower twice over with no kids. Personally, I prefer the way things are now.” Yeah. Perspective.
        On the yeast thing: I feel really discouraged because this will be the third attempt at treating it, plus the depression makes phone calls, especially ones requiring in-depth conversations/advocacy, difficult. However, I hereby promise to call them today and say that they need to try something else, in no small part because the symptoms are not at all helping with my mental state.
        Thanks for the wonderful comment!

        • Megan

          As an adopted person, let me just say (and perhaps it doesn’t need saying, I don’t know) that loving families are a wonderful gift to a child given up for adoption.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            It’s certainly a possibility, and I admit that while we haven’t decided yet (and won’t for a while) if adoption’s right for our family, I’m delighted that DH’s company offers *really* generous adoption assistance.
            I wasn’t adopted. I did, however, have a rather abusive childhood, to the point that I have no contact with my parents and haven’t for years. As a result, I know how big the emotional hole can be in one’s heart for loving parents, and wonder if that would help me be a good adoptive mom. Who knows what the future holds, though!

          • sdsures

            Another mummy whose body may not be perfect, but I think she’s doing a hell of a great parenting job. <3 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ouch/2013/03/im_a_crawling_mummy_how_one_di.html

        • Sarah

          Just remember, Jesus never said one fucking thing about birth plans. Had a lot of thoughts on Pharisees, though. That can be usefully applied to zealots of all stripes. Look after yourself.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            So help me, I just may print out and frame that first sentence! I also wish I could upvote more than once.

          • Sarah

            Go ahead. Put one in every room of the house.

          • sdsures

            “Just remember, Jesus never said one fucking thing about birth plans.”

            LOL!!!! I’m picturing that made up in a cross stitch, like this: http://subversivecrossstitch.com/blog/

      • Charybdis

        Yes. Because for all the woo-filled “Your body knows how to give birth” crap and all of it’s variations we hear, noone seems to give any thought to the corollary: “Your body knows when it needs help to give birth”. I mean, if our bodies are *so* smart, then we should listen to them when they are telling us things we don’t really want to hear. Your DS hadn’t dropped because of his shortened cord and trying to force a vaginal birth might have ended up in a less than optimal outcome.

        I get that this CS didn’t work out as well as your first one. Not saying it was bad, it was just different than your previous experience was and that colored your views on how this one *should* go/have gone. It is perfectly okay to be disappointed that it wasn’t as pleasant and fulfilling as your first one, as each birth is different. On a previous post I shared a bit of anecdata about my Dad’s knee replacements. The Reader’s Digest version is that the first one went EXTREMELY well: smooth surgery, fast healing, quick rehab, etc. The second one, roughly a year to a year and a half later was not as smooth. He had some osteoporosis, had some fluid accumulation and required a wound vac for a few days, the recovery was harder as was the rehab. Same patient, same surgeon, same hospital, same rehab, same PT people but a different, harder recovery period. Nothing can be exactly duplicated, even when all the variables are the same.

        I would ask if your Zoloft dosage can be increased, as I think the 50 mg is the “starter” dose level. Is it a time-release form or do you have to take it multiple times a day? I found that, for me, the time release version of my antidepressant works better than having to take it twice a day. Does Zoloft have a time-release version? If so, it might be something to keep in mind.

        Hang in there. The hormonal haze will clear and feel free to vent away. We’ll always listen, commiserate and do our best to cheer you up/offer advice.

        *hugs*

    • Jules B

      For a long time, I felt like my body failed my daughter because I was unable to exclusively breastfeed. I still get twinges of feeling “inadequate” whenever I hear or read about women who were able to breastfeed easily, had tons of milk etc (most of my issues were supply issues). Even though intellectually, I know that my daughter did just fine with combo feeding, and is now a very healthy, thriving four year old. For me, what changed my feelings on it was allowing myself to honour and even “mourn” the ideal I had hoped for in my mind. When I was pregnant, I saw myself in my mind’s eye blissfully nursing my newborn etc etc, and when that did not happen, it really shook me. I had invested a lot into that lovely, idealistic vision of the early days with my baby, ya know? And yes, I knew even before I had my daughter that that dream was likely idealized – but I had still hoped for it. So I had to let go of the dream, so to speak – stop looking back and wishing it had come to pass. But before I was able to let go, I had to say to myself “I wasn’t silly for wanting that. It was OK to want it, and to still wish it had happened.” Be gentle with those dreams/hopes, basically, because they mattered to you. Hugs!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Thank you. That was really, really helpful to read this morning.

    • Amazed

      “I know that not everyone has that same experience, but I must say that
      if I didn’t want a bigger family, based on my prior experience I’d skip
      the VBAC entirely and go straight to a RCS, thankyouverymuch.”

      I didn’t write that, dear internet friend. You did, 7 months ago. Perhaps you could type out some citations like that and paste them on the fridge and so on? Just to remind yourself what you truly feel when you’re rested and on the right dose of meds.

      • Megan

        It’s amazing how differently we can feel/think when postpartum. I had convinced myself that this time around I wouldn’t feel bad about stopping breastfeeding if it didn’t work and yet I still had quite a few tears over it even knowing logically I was doing the right thing. I also felt briefly wistful I couldn’t vbac even though I loved my RCS. PP hormones are powerful!!!

        • Inmara

          Right?! Now that baby is 11 months I feel weird even thinking about breastfeeding – we’re doing great with bottles and I have zero interest to nurse again. Yet when I was deep in lactation hormones it was hard to give up the pumping and let milk run out, even if elimination diet made me miserable (and baby was nursing once a day for a little bit).

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oh, so true. When I stopped nursing DD, even though nursing her was a miserable experience, I was utterly miserable–had to power through it in the knowledge that I’d feel SO much better, mentally and physically, once the milk was gone.

        • Sarah

          I cried for about an hour when one of mine was a few days old, because my husband had taken her for the night so I could get some rest, and I felt terribly guilty because my wound was hurting and I felt sure his wound must be hurting too. It took me a while to realise he didn’t have a section wound. The postpartum mind is a strange thing!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Thanks, I needed that!
        I will say that while at the time I wrote that I did feel that way, I found myself hoping more for a VBAC at the end of my pregnancy–probably as much for the experience as for the shorter recovery time. I know I made the right choice in having the CS, even though I didn’t know about the cord: as I said, stillbirth rates go up after 40 weeks, and I was nowhere near going into labor. I’ll also mention that this CS wasn’t as positive an experience as DD’s was, though of course the important stuff went well–baby came and was safe!
        I’m very good at focusing on the important stuff immediately (i.e., get baby here safely) and being able to ignore the emotional side of it at that time, but the emotional stuff does hit later on, once the situation isn’t as urgent and I can take the time to process it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m finding myself really grieving the baby I miscarried now more than I did when the miscarriage happened 11 months ago: then, I needed to focus on taking care of myself and DD, and now, I’ve had another baby, I know what I’ve missed by miscarrying, and…yeah. Fun stuff. I’ll be very, very glad when I’ve gotten my 8 hours of sleep every day for a week again! Thanks for your kind comments. 🙂

        • Megan

          I still think about my miscarried babies every time their due dates roll around. It’s really hard and I just wanted you to know you aren’t the only one to think about it and have pregnancy/delivery trigger more thoughts about it.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’m sorry you’re a member of this club, too. 🙁 I kept busy with nesting stuff all around the due date (this past April), but with both my birthday and the miscarriage date approaching plus DS’s arrival, it’s definitely on my mind. (We announced the pregnancy on my birthday, then I started miscarrying two days later.)

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      I don’t have much to add over what other people have said, but I do want to say that it sounds like your beautiful new baby is alive and healthy because of the smart decisions you made and the sacrifices you took, and I think you can be proud of that. You love your children so much that you chose to suffer pain yourself to save them from any risk of harm – I think that shows what a wonderful mother you are.
      If over the coming weeks you need a supportive ear, or just a place to vent, then I think I can speak for the whole community in saying that we are all here for you.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      That’s the depression talking, not reality as you know.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve seen four children cross the stage to college degrees and two walk down the aisle. In nearly 30 years of motherhood I’ve faced countless challenges and savored many moments of happiness with my children. I’ve been called lots of different names in anger, was subjected to endless eye rolls, and been accused of many different failures of parenting (generally by one child insisting that another child deserved to be punished, grounded, banished, etc.)

      In all those years, I have never had a child comment about his or her birth, ask whether or not I had an epidural or a vaginal birth, nor have I been questioned about breastfeeding whether exclusively or for how long.

      Children don’t care about that. It’s something some mothers use as a cudgel to beat other mothers, not anything that is even remotely of concern to the children themselves.

      The don’t care how they were born, only that they belong to you. They don’t care how they were fed as infants, only that their needs were met to the very best of your ability. They crave love and acceptance. They aren’t interested in your body, only in your mind and your heart.

      • Margo

        Amen to everything you just said.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        So true!

        I have a friend who had a baby 8 weeks ago. It hasn’t been an easy road for her from a physical point of view. A few years back she had a bad miscarriage with a major bleed. Her pregnancy this time was complicated by gestational diabetes. She had a c section after her waters broke at 37 weeks (baby was born small but healthy). She’s since developed a breast abscess and has had to supplement with formula as her supply was low. Her body has not always worked in the “ideal” way. But when you see her with her son, she glows with love for him. It’s an absolutely beautiful thing to witness. That little boy is incredibly lucky to have the parents he has, and it has nothing to do with what his mother’s body could or couldn’t do.

      • Kathleen

        Does anyone ask those questions other than another expecting mother – after you have become the experienced mom? I mean, now that I’m done with that stage, I NEVER have people ask me unless it’s a newly pregnant (never been pregnant) woman. And then it’s just trying to gather information….

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        This helped me so much. Thank you. (As has your blog over the last couple of years, I must add.)
        Newly-pregnant SIL got married a few months ago, and your post reminded me of her wedding, and how happy everyone there was, and how, in all the festivities and joy, absolutely no one gave a crap about how the bride and groom got on this planet: they cared only about how much everyone loves them and vice versa, and how wonderful that day was. I remembered seeing my MIL, who I admire very much, dancing into the wee hours and, I suspect, not thinking at all about how SIL’s birth was natural, but more about the delightful woman she’d helped to raise. And I remember thinking how happy I’d be if I could reach that point, i.e., seeing my kids be happy and successful and marrying someone who’s perfect for them. I wasn’t depressed back then, and I need to remember how it felt, and how much better those priorities are.
        Thanks.

        • Roadstergal

          I’m turning 40 this year, and I have moved to and from various places across the country many times, and have, in the process, lost just about everything I’ve ever owned. There are two things I haven’t lost in all those years – one is the anniversary ring my mother gave me a year before she died, and the other is a cross-stitch she made when I was born – with my name, the date of my birth, and little cherubim flying by my crib with trumpets. It makes me think of my mom, and how much I miss her, and what a wonderful mom she was – and I never knew, growing up, how I was born or was fed. It just didn’t matter a lick, which is why it wasn’t on this cross-stitch.

          Are you a craft-y person? Is there something you could engage in that you would think of holding as a gift for your new baby down the line, thinking about how, when they look at this in the future, they’ll think of all of the things you were, are, and will be to them as a mother, that have zero to do with vaginas or breasts?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            What a lovely comment; thank you!
            As it happens, I made DS a quilt before he was born. A friend, who quilts professionally, is quilting it for me as a baby gift; I’m really excited to see it, as it’s by far the most ambitious thing I ever did.
            I also just started making DS a baptism gown. I made one for DD, and just didn’t feel like making one for DS until yesterday. Who knows if I’ll have it finished in time (12 days to go…), but it’s been fun to spend a spare few minutes being creative, and he’ll have this as a keepsake for his kids (assuming he has them) in the future.

          • momofone

            How special! I started a blanket for my son when I was pregnant, but haven’t finished it. (He’ll be 10 next spring. It may end up being a college graduation gift!)

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I didn’t finish DD’s until she was about a year old, so I hear ya. He’ll love it no matter when you give it to him!

          • sdsures

            How about knitting?

          • demodocus

            I just started sewing again myself. (WHich all and sundry consider a good sign.) Now to convince my son to leave all the sewing machine parts where he found them. argh.

          • Megan

            I really need to get back into my hobbies again, including quilting and embroidery. My husband noted to me the other day that I mostly talk about the kids with him and it’s boring. I noted to him that if he’d take the kids every so often and let me have a life outside of parenting and work, perhaps that would change. He actually agreed that he needed to do that (he has yet to watch both kids alone and younger daughter is 4 months old!). I’m already planning my first post-kids quilt…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I found myself doing the same thing with DH (talking about kids and not much else). He’s a news/political junkie, so I’ve started pulling up Google News and making a mental note of a few stories before he gets home, and then making a few comments about some of the big stories. Left to my own devices, I wouldn’t do this much (personally, reading anything about the current presidential election makes me want nothing more than an endless succession of stiff drinks for the next 4 years), but it’s important to him, and it does broaden the conversation topics available to us…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            DD has become obsessed both with pins and with the spool of thread on the machine…*groans dismally*

    • Maria

      I am so sorry you are feeling this way. I remember the haze of emotions post-birth and the feelings of inadequacy as I worked to adjust to the new reality of taking care of my first child. I hope it passes soon and you find your equilibrium, however that looks. Your children love you for you and for the love you show them. Take care of yourself!

    • demodocus

      Vent away, because depression sucks. Stupid hormones. My ob just told me 4 weeks is the height of the crazy hormones.
      (I’ve been worse lately too, so much so that Demo called Doc a couple weeks ago, and we agreed that I need to be taking a higher dosage of my zoloft. Its starting to help a bit more again.)

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        If 4 weeks is the peak of hormonal insanity, that kind of gives me hope…Friday will be 4 weeks, and I can reassess a little next week. DH and I had a talk last night, and he pretty much said the same thing–“up the antidepressants, this isn’t like you.” I’m thinking I’m going to keep a brief mood journal for the next week and see how things go, and if it’s more negative than otherwise, see about increasing the dose.

        • Megan

          Once my cycles returned at around 2-3 months PP is when the proverbial shit hit the fan for me, so it’s definitely different for everyone. My husband definitely noticed a difference and I’m glad he told me. I started my meds last week (and he didn’t know I had) and noted to me yesterday that I seem so much better. It’s nice to get honest feedback from someone else. It’s so hard to assess things when you’re in the hormonal haze. I’m glad you are getting help. Please vent here whenever you need to.

          • Kelly

            The last two times, mine started about three months and ended about nine months. Now that I know there is a pattern it will help more next time but I hate the feelings that come with it. I also had to up my meds and it helped. It doesn’t take it away from me but it takes he edge off.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I seem to remember that, aside from the last week or so of PPD, the first full cycle was the worst. I’m not much of a crier, and especially not in public, but I remember sitting in church with tears pouring down my face at that point, not out of any spiritual experience, but because I was so completely miserable and hopeless. Bleh. As I’m not nursing this time, I expect it will happen sooner, so I need to remember to keep an eye out for that.

        • demodocus

          I think the decrease must be pretty slow, but its a hopeful thought.
          eta: pretty damned slow.

    • Margo

      Keep talking,keep writing, it helps, it really does. You are not dumping you are sharing your experience and feelings, Thankyou for doing that. What you have shared will resonate…..other women will benefit from what you shared, that’s what I believe

    • AnnaPDE

      Oh wow, so sorry you’re feeling this way! If a random internet stranger’s opinion helps: You gave birth just the right way. And you’re a great mom. Seriously, you’re putting up with surgery and complications just so your kids could arrive safely!
      (And my oldest friend would say: You gave birth the “normal” way. She was 12 when she first found out that not all kids get a custom made exit… and thought I was pulling her leg when I told her where kids come out otherwise.)

    • Irène Delse

      As someone with depression, I’ll tell you that: being aware that depression is the problem definitely helps. Don’t hesitate to talk about it, write your thoughts, etc. Making lists of the good things in your life, the things you did right, etc., can also be helpful. It helps see that when thinking about a child’s birth, the result overwhelms the process: any child who is alive and healthy was born “the right way”. The people who compare your experience to theirs, on the other hand, are not helping, because their body is not yours! Not the same genes, history, not the same baby, either. If you feel up to it, let them know firmly that whatever they did, they can’t substitute their birth to yours, not even in imagination.

    • Amy M

      I know you mentioned Zoloft, but is there someone you can speak to, also? It’s great that you are aware on one level that you are a perfectly fine mother, and that it doesn’t matter how your babies arrived, but if you FEEL otherwise, then maybe the Zoloft isn’t giving you enough “coverage” yet?

      For real, it doesn’t matter how the babies ended up in your family. I have a couple of good friends who adopted….they weren’t even pregnant with their children, and have no idea how their kids were born. And of course, those children were formula fed. In one case, the family also has biological children, and all the children are being raised the same way, and they are all equally loved.

      Keep taking care of your depression–you don’t need to just live with it, it can be treated. If you feel you are not getting adequate treatment, demand better. Good luck. 🙂

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        DH and I had a good talk last night, one that I think we’ll be continuing over the coming weeks. Insofar as a professional, I don’t have childcare, which makes that hard. Someone below suggested perhaps a counselor would be willing to meet via Skype, and maybe at untraditional times (ie, when DH could watch the kids). I may try to look into that, though TBH, I have a hard time trying to figure out how to do something new when I’m where I am right now. On the other hand, I’ve found myself getting increasingly impatient/shorter-tempered with DD, which isn’t acceptable, so perhaps I should pursue that more aggressively.

        • Guest

          Do you think you’d get something out of a meditation/mindfulness app, as a stopgap/bandaid in the meantime? Calm.com and Stop Think Breathe are both nice ones, and may help you in the short term. Might sound silly, and might be impossible, but Yoga with Adriene (on youtube) has been a big sanity saver for me; I cried for the first 30 days I did it, at the end of each session, because I was so overwhelmed by how much more able I was to feel my feelings without being driven deeper into depression.

          Again, these aren’t meant to replace anything, just tools that are free and something you might be able to do without childcare to help you out in the meantime.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I will look at them, thanks!

        • momofone

          I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. In my experience, private-practice counselors tend to be set up to accommodate non-regular-business-hours appointments, while those who work in agencies or other kinds of practices tend to be more bound by traditional business hours. I am glad for someone to bring their baby if needed, especially if it’s the only way they can see someone. For a variety of reasons this doesn’t work for every practice, but it might be worth asking about. Older kids are harder, but if your husband can watch your daughter it sounds like you’d be covered. I hope you’re able to find someone.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That’s really useful information, thanks! I’ve never seen a counselor before, and just assumed they followed standard business hours, like most doctors’ offices. It didn’t occur to me that I might be able to find an appointment at, say, 6 PM on a weekday.

        • Megan

          I was getting that way with my older daughter too and that was unacceptable to me. That’s what finally convinced me to go on meds. Also, I was being pretty short with my husband. Now that I’m on meds, I’m mad at myself that I resisted going on them. Perhaps you need a dose adjustment on your Zoloft? I have plenty of patients that need 100mg or more. I really hope things improve for you. I would encourage you to reach out to family or friends if you have them close by to see if anyone can help with your kids so you can get counseling if you feel it’d be helpful. Once you have more than one child, it becomes even more important to accept or ask for help when it’s needed and I bet there are family or friends who would be happy to help you if they knew you needed it. It’s so easy to neglect taking care of ourselves when we have kids to take care of, but self care is so important. I’m a much better mom now that I’m medicated appropriately. *hugs*

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Thanks so much for the feedback! I think that upping the Zoloft dose will probably happen, but unless I have a really bad day between now and then, I’ll wait ’til my 6 week appointment to discuss it with my OB. He’s currently out of town, and there seem to be communication issues with either/both the partners covering for him…sigh. I also need to remember to ask for help–I really suck at it, in part due to my background, but it’s a skill I need to work on. (My parents were/are hugely entitled, to the tune of expecting other people to give them money/cars/appliances/etc on demand, so I reflexively tend too strongly in the opposite direction.)

        • Amy M

          That’s a great idea, if you can find a Skype willing person. And its good that you and your DH talk and communicate openly. Having his support is huge. I’m sorry you are having a hard time right now, I hope things improve asap.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            The talking thing is something we’re not terribly good at, but we’re working on it. It took a glass of wine to get me to be able to spill last night, but at least it all got out.

        • Kelly

          I wish we lived in the same area as I would totally babysit for you. I am lucky to have a large support system through my church so I could go to therapy. I also only needed 5 or 6 sessions and it helped. I also felt very short tempered with my older child and that is what made me start on meds. That and I punched a wall because the baby woke up earlier than expected. I feel for you. It is so hard to think straight and figure out what is just your PPD talking and what is your real emotions.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            With DD, I remember holding her on one hip and punching a door over and over with the other hand ’til my knuckles were bruised because DH worked late one night. Fun times! Yay for meds!

        • An Actual Attorney

          One more idea, which may have already been mentioned, but make sure that you get at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep a day, somewhere. I too struggle with ppd and my shrink basically laying down the law and telling me that I had to prioritize that made a lot of difference. I was feeling guilty for asking my wife to do night feedings, since she was working. And feeling like I should bf. But working out a schedule, giving formula, and sleeping in my son’s room for a few hours each night, while wife took a shift with dd in our room may have saved my brain.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Sleep is SO important. DS is a very good baby in that regard–I think there have been perhaps three nights in the three weeks since he was born that I didn’t get a 4-hour block of sleep at night. Without that, I’m sure I’d be much worse off mentally than I am.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Really glad to hear that. Having a baby is hard. Depression is hard. Both together suck eggs.

        • An Actual Attorney

          Another thought, in addition to what everyone else has said, is that if your finances and circumstances allow it, be really generous with yourself about “shortcuts,” like take-out, grocery delivery, laundry service and asking friends for help. Lighten the load where you can.

        • guest

          My advice as the partner in this situation is to heavily rely on your husband. He understands that it is hard for you to take care of yourself and make decisions and if you let him, he can do a lot of the legwork getting you extra help. As the partner, he can probably see you’re struggling and wants to help, but doesn’t want to treat you like you’re not capable of taking care of yourself. Try to look at this as having the flu – you would lie in bed and let your husband take care of things, same as you would do for him if he were sick. These hard times are what can be so great about having a partner – there is someone to prop you up until you feel better.

    • MI Dawn

      Sending lots of hugs. Sounds like at least baby blues, if not PPD. Keep in touch with your doctor, please.

      I get you feel you failed. And this won’t help right now. But remember that you have the best end result: 2 lovely, healthy, happy, loving children who have a mommy and daddy who adore them.

    • Kelly

      Remind yourself that this is part of your PPD and it will eventually lift. This is not you, it is your mind playing tricks on you. You can’t think clearly. I know for me, my thinking was very fuzzy. Around the time my daughter turned 9 months, I woke up one day and it lifted. Talk to your husband or a friend. Tell him to just listen and that you just need to vent even though you know you are being irrational. Can you go to a therapist? Just having someone tell me that what I was going through was really hard helped because she was not invested in making me feel better with cheap platitudes. She also changed the way I thought about things. You did not fail. Your emotions are taking over and it will take time for you to think clearly. This sucks so much. It sucks to know that what your brain is beating you up. It will get better. You will not feel like this forever. You are a good mother who cares about her child. One day all of this will feel far away.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        With DD, I remember it lifting very obviously at the 10 month mark, and my being completely fine after that. Of course, I spent most waking moments the week prior seriously considering suicide and planning it out; I guess the PPD wanted to get in a last good couple of licks before it died away? Worst week of my life, and DD’s first Christmas. Thank goodness she can’t remember that. I refuse to let it get that bad ever again, and while a therapist is really intimidating (finding one, childcare, etc), if that’s what it takes, better a therapist than spending another week like that.

        • Kelly

          The only reason I finally went to a therapist was because my OB asked if I wanted the therapist to call me in order to make an appointment. I ended up missing her call but because I had somewhat committed, I called her back. Of course, I had to cancel my first appointment because one of the kids got sick but it was well worth it.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Your OB sounds like a gem!

          • Kelly

            She is great. They have a therapist who is in the same office but not part of the practice. It made it easier to go and she works with a lot of women post partum.

    • Fleur

      Hey there – I’m not sure we’ve ever spoken on here before but, as a fellow sufferer from depression, I couldn’t read this and not say “hi”. My experience of depression is that it manifests as an irrational, overwhelming, disproportionate, crushing sense of guilt. The fact that you didn’t have the “right” birth is an easy way for PPD to try to attack you, but – even if you’d had the “perfect” birth – I suspect that your brain would just have found another way to make you feel like a failure right now (I once spent days contemplating suicide because I found some food in my cupboard that had gone right past its “Use By” date, and I felt that that made me unworthy to live). The important thing is that you have the Zoloft and the support network, so you’re doing everything right and you’ll get through this bad time.

      Oh, and I sincerely believe that having a parent who has been through mental health issues is a more valuable gift than the most perfect, natural, whalesong and rainbows birth in the universe. Statistically, if your kids don’t suffer from depression at some point in their lives, somebody close to them will, so having a parent who can offer understanding and support (rather than “oh pull yourself together”) is absolutely invaluable.

    • sdsures

      *cuddles* You’re a great mom, and you love your kids. That’s all they need.

  • sugarskull

    Leadsom, here’s a big middle finger to you. I am infertile and I’m probably more invested in my country than you are in yours. I have adopted two children from foster care (both were 10, and are black and male so the most impossible of kids to place and adopt) and tutor others. I volunteer at the local animal shelter, sea lion rescue and do beach clean ups. I spend two nights a week at a soup kitchen and helping the homeless apply for jobs. Just because I can’t reproduce spawn means squat. I am plenty invested in the future of my country and community, because I’m not selfish enough to only care when my DNA will be affected.

  • AirPlant

    Wait. I am having trouble keeping up. I thought working women were an abomination, bereft of maternal love and our children were doomed to a life filled only with the knowledge of their own inferiority to the mighty dollar.

    • demodocus

      *pound
      ;p

      • AirPlant

        I couldn’t type “Mighty Pound” without giggling.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      According to Phyllis Schlafly only the working women who aren’t wealthy enough to hire nannies are terrible. Women like her are A-OK.

  • Amazed

    I really don’t see that as a mommy war. Leadsom wasn’t trying to one-up May for the reasons true mommy warriors do that. She couldn’t care less about May’s personal choices. She just used the old prejudices of good ole family values to smash her politically. Really, what ultimate failure could possibly care about the future of that country?

    I happen to be skeptical of people who wave their parenthood as a big selling point. Usually, they are people whose kids – and they, personally – have all advantages in life anyway and “problems” in their head won’t be which bill not to pay this month but that their choice of exotic place to go to partying this weekend is limited to two locations, instead of three. Motherhood and fatherhood isn’t the same for them as it is for you mere smallfolk. I would have said “us” but as a childless woman, the greatest failure imaginable, I think I don’t have the right to consider myself belonging to humankind. Removing the bachelor tax – yes, that means exactly what you think it does – was clearly the greatest mistake of our government some decades ago.

    ETA: And even if the poor dear was the victim, what does that say about her suitability for the prime office? If she can’t deal with a journalist, how does she expect to deal with the European leaders? What about Putin?

    • Deborah

      Yes, that was my take home message – if she finds this “shattering” how on earth would she have been able to cope with the pressure of running a country, one in the middle of historic change and instability: the constant threat of terrorism: the biggest refugee crisis since world war two and another looming global financial meltdown?
      Regardless of whether she was taken out of context or misunderstood or not, that is par for the course in the life of a politician and one must grow a very thick skin to survive.

      • Christina Maxwell

        It’s curious, during the referendum campaign she appeared to have the skin of a particularly obtuse rhinoceros but when it suits her she is ‘shattered’ by being accurately quoted.

        • Deborah

          I know! I’m not particularly politically inclined and can’t say I am very well informed at all about all the reasons to either leave or remain in the EU but I am completely baffled that all the people who campaigned FOR YEARS to leave have disappeared! Where are they all? How bizarre that the ministers and politicians who voted to stay have now been left (dumped) with the enormous challenge of leading the country through one of the biggest changes in its history. How will they be able to do this effectively if they don’t believe it to be in the best interests of their country? It is just so bizarre.

          • Amazed

            Yes. This.

        • Amazed

          It’s even worse than that. In her 53 years of life she hasn’t learned to say no? If a journalist can push her around without her saying, “I don’t think that is relevant”, how can she hope to achieve something on the international stage? It defies belief that she’s such a pushover before a journalist, yet expects that she can deal with Brexit and all meetings on top level that are guaranteed to be a part of the PM’s monthly schedule.

          I don’t know this much about May but I really don’t think she can do worse.

  • Madtowngirl

    It’s a good thing I’m not a politician. If someone tried to say that my struggle with infertility made me “less qualified” to run a country, there would be an all-out brawl.

  • Mel

    I thought successful politicians had some little voice in their head – or emanating from one of their advisors – that gave feedback about saying things that make you sound like a self-absorbed twit.

    This political cycle in the US – and now Britain – is making me rethink that premise.

    • Sarah

      She’s not someone who has actually been particularly successful so far. I mean yeah, she got elected as an MP and had moved into a less high profile Cabinet position, but she’s not a particularly big hitter. I’m not sure she’d actually got far enough yet for people to be interested enough in her being a self-absorbed twit. Part of the problem, really. No experience. I despise May, but she wouldn’t have done anything that stupid.

  • Amy M

    I’ve seen a bit of the opposite in my job: favoring women who don’t and won’t have kids. There are women here who have said they prefer working with women who don’t/won’t have kids, because the ones with kids are always sick or home with a sick child, and spreading their diseases around the office. At least one of the women who has said things like this has children.

    • Amazed

      I said fuck off to a potential employer when, in the beginning of my career, I was wondering if I shouldn’t give office job a try. The asshole wanted her potential employee to be ready to stay working “a few hours more” at a notice of, well, a few hours, because she had a kid and she needed to be absent often. And no, she didn’t offer any additional stimuli. It wasn’t in the job description when I answered to her announcement either. Having a kid didn’t make her more invested in her profession, for sure. It might have made her more industrious at how to waste people’s time. I have no doubt that she finally found someone desperate enough to accept her meager payment and her conditions.

      On the other hand, as a young childfree woman, I’ve been refused a few jobs because “you’d want children soon, most likely!” Lovely, eh? The perfect candidate was a woman with children who were not so little already.

      • Roadstergal

        “The perfect candidate was a woman with children who were not so little already.”

        But not too old, because who’s hiring middle-aged women these days? :p

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          So complicated, huh. Far easier just to hire a man, right….

          /s

    • Mel

      I’ve gotten stuck on both ends before.
      -When I was interviewing for teaching jobs, the fact that I was a young, married woman often signaled that I’d be having children soon and that that would lead to all sorts of problems. The problem was that I wasn’t planning on having children right then.
      -A few years later with Advisor One in graduate school, he said “Serious graduate students either aren’t married or get divorced during graduate school. I mean, I got divorced during graduate school.” This convo was about 3 days before Christmas….and he had previously met my husband. I remember thinking, “He’s not going to handle it well if/when I get pregnant before I get my degree.” In hindsight, I should have run away then, but decided to try and make things work for another three months.

      • Kelly

        We had a friend tell my husband that he should quit school because he would fail once he got married because that was what he did. It turned out that my husband did the best he had ever done in school because he had a family that was riding on him doing well to get a job.

    • Madtowngirl

      This is actually part of the reason I quit my job to be a stay at home parent. The people there – particularly other women – were downright vile when mothers had to miss work because of a sick child. Furthermore, we were expected to work overtime on a moment’s notice – that’s not compatible with having a child in daycare.

    • Fleur

      On a slightly different note, I’ve noticed that sexist abuse of women with children has become a lot more acceptable in the last few years, especially online. Maybe misogyny in general is just on the rise, but there are very few places online where I’d feel safe admitting to being a mother – usually you can expect at least a couple of people calling you a selfish breeder, a thick cow who can’t talk about anything but poop, a drain on society, a brood mare, etc etc. I recall that the Guardian newspaper had a series on maternity rights a while back, and the majority of the comments seemed to be to the effect that pregnant women didn’t deserve any rights at all, not even the right to keep their jobs, because they shouldn’t be “breeding” in the first place. A lot of it is probably just trolling, but I find I increasingly come across those kind of attitudes in real life (usually dressed up as environmentalist concerns about how my one child is going to bring about the end of the planet, or concern-trolling about how I must have been brainwashed by the patriarchy to even consider having a child).

      • Who?

        I just ask them who they think will be wiping their butt when they are old.

        Shuts them up, usually.