Recent conversation at the midwife clinic I am attending:
Really nice and well meaning midwife: so how are you managing with your depression?
Me: seems like everything is ok. Like, I haven't had any freak outs or wanted to actually kill anyone or anything. And I haven't had to adjust my meds at all. And my husband doesn't seem to be scared to be around me. You know, so it's pretty good.
Midwife: that's really fantastic. You know, some mothers have found that they are able to manage their postpartum depression very well by consuming dehydrated placenta.
Me: you want me to dehydrate my placenta?
Midwife: oh no, we have a mother here who offers that service to all clients.
Me: you want me to eat my placenta?
Midwife: it could be considered an alternative to taking medication.
Me: uh, well I guess I can think about it.
With my due date about 7 weeks away there are a few things that worry me. Is my ass going to stay this size? Is my daughter going to hate me forever for altering our very nice family dynamic? But the thing that is foremost on my mind is whether or not I am going to be able manage NOT losing my mind this time around.
4 years ago I gave birth to a great little girl. And then promptly spent the next 6 months hating myself and everything around me. At first I thought that it was completely normal to cry. All. The. Time. Why? Because everyone told me it was normal to cry all the time. That this was a part of having the "baby blues" and that it was just my hormones going wacko. The thing is, no one asked me why I was crying all of the time. Because if they did they would have hid all of the razor blades. I don't know about everyone else, but having thoughts of either offing yourself with carbon monoxide or packing up everything you own and abandoning your husband and baby isn't really a normal part of being postpartum.
Having these suicidal ideations didn't really push me to find help on my own. I had just come off of spending the last 6 years of my life working in an emergency department. To qualify as crazy and in need of help you really had to be gone. My perspective was marred by images of patients ejaculating into their mashed potatoes and them smearing the mixture on the wall all the while proclaiming "I'm creating life, mother fuckers!".
I kept thinking that if only I could get some sleep, maybe things would be a lot better. The only problem with that was that my baby wasn't sleeping, and even if I was given the chance to sleep I had the worst case of insomnia. Every time someone would mention "you just sleep when the baby sleeps" I would imagine how good it would feel to pull off one of their arms and beat them over the head with it.
Finally, my family doctor managed to drag out of me that I was sick enough to empathize with those mothers who take off and disappear on their families. She put me on a SSRI. It only took me 1 week to start feeling better and 2 weeks to be back to normal. It seems pretty amazing that a small little pill that allows some serotonin to float around in my brain can fix my crazy. And maybe that's why I am so leery about the whole placenta thing. Not only is that pretty gross, but it doesn't make any sense to me to fix something that is being managed really well.
I know there are people out there who think that everyone and their dog is on an anti-depressant and that this is an artificial way of coping with life's stressors. But guess what? Those people can go fuck themselves. Awesome for you that everything in your life is rainbows and unicorn kisses. Maybe ground-up, dehydrated blood may help some people but I'll stick with my small happy pill thank you very much.
Oh, and I checked: the placenta does not have serotonin in it. But it is Latin for cake. Fitting, no?