two months

One day, I hope to be able to take the time to do each of these topics justice. But since I started this a month ago, and it remains unfinished, for now, I’ll try to sum up before Sir Poopsalot wakes up and, well, poops. I’ll try to provide updates throughout but, well, babies. They wake.

Baby Boy, Two Months Old Charlie is the most pleasant baby. He’s still a baby, so he’s a crazy ton of work, but lordy, did we hit the kiddo jackpot on this one. Once he starts sleeping through the night I’ll probably be even crazier about him (update: he sleeps through the night. It is magic. Better than magic. He also smiles and coos and is on the verge of out and out laughter), but even that’s hard to imagine. Also, he’s gorgeous. And has a very lovely, fuzzy head. I also hit the husband jackpot. The Dork Lord is a very, very good and very natural father. Listening to him give Charlie the play-by-play during a Mavericks game in his sing-song daddy voice gives me such amusement – and also this deep sense of happiness and peace.

Daddy on Duty

Postpartum depression was the darkest, scariest thing that has ever happened to me. I stopped sleeping, couldn’t eat, and sobbed endlessly over what I was convinced was abject failure at motherhood. I believed, most ardently, that my son deserved a better mother and that I had made a very grave mistake trying to be a mother. It hit with such force and suddenness, too – quite literally overnight. For a while, Prozac made it better, until Prozac made it lot, lot worse. Then it got really scary. Because then, in the span of one afternoon, I began to feel like I was dying. I was afraid I was dying, actually. And simultaneously, I was afraid I’d have to live. I never wanted to kill myself, but I didn’t want to be alive. I only believe that distinction is important because when answering the question, “Are you afraid you might harm yourself or the baby?” my immediate and honest answer was always “Of course not.” I’m glad I never got to the place where I had to stop to consider my answer more carefully. Update: I’ve now been to the hospital twice for a severe allergic reaction to Zoloft so now we’re giving Lexapro a shot. Here goes nothin’.

Trying and failing at breastfeeding was a miserable, miserable experience. Despite the help of an expensive lactation consultant and trying every which way known to man, Charlie would not latch. He could not – his palate was simply to high and his mouth too small and as the weight slipped off him, I continued to try and fail and blame myself. It wasn’t until I was in the throes of depression and my mother came to stay to care for Charlie that he really began to thrive – on a bottle. Update: at our two-month check up yesterday, Charlie had gone from 9th percentile in weight to 39th. I think we’re doing something right. Also, he’s in the 95th percentile for length, so his daddy is fostering some pretty high hopes that our son will be a baller. He’d better have inherited his father’s coordination, is all I have to say about that.

Bath time I love being a mother. When I was deep in postpartum depression, I was overwhelmed by feelings of remorse – that I’d made a terrible mistake having a baby. Not that Charlie was the mistake; his absolute innocence and perfection made me feel like a monster, unworthy of this new job. Getting help was the best thing I could have done for all of us. The Dork Lord said at the time that medication wouldn’t make me a good mother. It would let me see I already was. He wasn’t wrong.

25 comments to two months

  • Melanie


    I am so sorry you have had to go through this. I understand dark days, but I have not had this particular experience. They suck. I am glad there seems to be progress. We all knew you would be a wonderful mother, and I am glad you are starting to realize that you are.

    Charlie is adorable! And, your husband is awesome. Just make it through one day at a time. No one can ask you to do anything more. *hugs*

  • Oh, no! So sorry you had so much stress earlier on, but glad to read the updates. That’s great that your mother was able to pitch in. And Charlie’s just a little darling…but you know that. Want a piece of meaningless anecdata? FYI, new mothers run on meaningless anecdata, so you need to get up to speed on that. My 100% bottle fed daughter is getting TWO master’s degrees next week! Had I known this, I wouldn’t have beaten myself up 25 years ago.

    “He wasn’t wrong.” Well, duh.

  • DJ

    I don’t know you “in real life”…but I live in DFW…and if you ever want to go have a stiff drink and commiserate about nursing failure…you should shoot me an email. I hope this doesn’t sound pompus…but it’s the only thing I’ve ever failed at…or more, it was a perceived failure. Really, by giving my daughter a bottle full of POISON (formula, I kid) I was helping her thrive. People say some dumb dumb dumb things about breast feeding. One family member asked me if I wish I had “tried harder”. Here’s what you need to know…you are a great mom. You love Charlie before anyone else knew him…and that’s a lot. I’m looking at my daughter’s first birthday next week sort of mystified that we made it.

  • Fidelma

    So pleased things are on the up. Those first months are hard enough without pp depression thrown into the mix. Breastfeeding failure doesn’t help matters either, so well done for getting to this stage, The tears I cried over that in particular. Now he’s just shy of a year old and wonderful, even with that failure in our past. It’s all about the blueberries these days anyway.

    Charlie looks adorable. And enjoy having him sleep through the night. Major bonus!

    Looking forward to more updates!

  • Nilou

    Postpartum depression sounds awful. As does not being able to nurse. I was bottle-fed and I’d like to think I turned out okay :) Sending you love.

  • Kate

    What an absolute doll! That smile could melt a million hearts! So glad to hear you are feeling better. Antidepressants are a godsend. Very smart move by you and your doctor.

  • Jessica

    I’m sorry you’ve gone through that. PPD is an ugly ugly monster. I had it with each of my children. The first one was before PPD was really talked about so I didn’t know I could get help. Sadly that was just 14 years ago.

    I also wasn’t able to nurse no matter how I tried, and oh I tried. I feel so much for you having gone through similar issues. It’s a rough ride.

    I hope the next two months sees you better. Once your hormones settle down, and not nursing helps, you’ll start to feel better. It’s a long road but it does end.

    I’m glad you have the Dork Lord to support you and the tiny poop machine through all this.

    He’s so adorable!

    We’re all wishing you well.

  • Anna

    Thank you for sharing this, Fish. I am so glad that the meds are helping and that you get the support you need. PPD does not define you as a mother – your love for Charlie does. I wish we would talk more openly about the transation into parenthood, it seems to be so taboo to say anything about how scary the responsibility can feel. (And yes, I know PPD is mainly about brain chemicals and hormones.)
    The photos are absolutely adorable! Take care, Fish and thank you again for -as always – writing so bravely.

  • Sarah

    Fish, I have no words of wisdom or advice as I haven’t experienced any of these things first hand, but I feel the need to at least offer some virtual hugs from here in NJ. Thank you, as always, for your beautiful honesty. Of course, we all knew you would be and will continue to be an excellent mother. That little guy is a very lucky baby. I wish you all the best. *hugs*

  • Dawn

    Fish, I’ve missed you so. Made my way back here after not stopping by for eons…not sure why. Last time I was here you had a gaggle of kittens and adorable home projects I think. Glad to see life has progressed as I imagined it would. I’ve commented silently and aloud, more than once, that the Universe has a sense of humor considering it witnessed what I do to plants. it still saw fit to give me a most wonderful baby boy. His father left a week later. We’re it not for adrenaline, my neighbor, instinct, love of friends and family and email…not sure either of us would have thrived. Hes about to turn 14 and I only dropped him twice but have made a gazillion mistakes. we’re still here :) I didn’t battle PP…but I have battled depression at other times in life…putting up a good fight with a bout now. I am convinced it is exactly the bright white of a massively creative soul that makes the darkness lie there and able to surface when our hormones and minds decide to wreak havoc. If only maintaining an even keel allowed us to be as creative and introspective and passionate. I’ve never been there. Charlie, the Dork Lord and you are such gifts. Thank you for sharing with us. I know the release of creating and sharing helps. We love you dearly.

  • Lesley

    I am so sorry that you had to go through PPD, and am beyond glad that you are a) getting the help you need and b) talking about it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings so openly. I also tried and failed at breastfeeding – flat nipples, who knew. And the two have been linked too, by the way, PPD and not being able to breastfeeding.

    And I also had PPD after my first 3 years ago and am now halfway through my pregnancy with my second – so clearly it does get better :) . I urge you to check out, an organization that is all about raising awareness for maternal mental health issues. They have been an amazing resource for me and are currently in the middle of organizing fundraisers around the country called Climb Out of the Darkness. Also, on Mothers Day every year they do a rally where PPD survivors (deemed Warrior moms) wrote letter to new moms currently suffering. I think reading those may really be cathartic for you. They were for me even a few years later. Oh, and I wrote one this year :) Please reach out if you want to talk or get involved with the site or the Climbs at all – I’ve been reading your blog for years (and never took you out of my reader even through long breaks between posts!!) and am a huge fan.

  • kitkat

    I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your honesty about your pregnancy and everything after. I feel like post partum depression and every mental health issue are so highly stigmatized, making it even harder for people to get help. Thank you for your courage to share your experience with other people. I’m glad that things have brightened for you and I’m sure you are an EXCELLENT mother!

  • Lindsey

    Oh my gosh, I feel ya on the failure to breast feed, but my son had the opposite problem. After consulting 3 different lactation consultants, we could not get his latch to soften. When I started to resent having to feed him, I knew it was time to switch to the pump. Then when he was 7 1/2 months old, my milk gave out entirely. He’s now 100% bottle fed. Even when I was pumping, his weight was slowly dropping on the percentile chart. Now that he’s on formula, he’s climbing again. Yes, breast is best, but just because it didn’t work for you guys, doesn’t make you a bad mom. Knowing when to do what you have to so your little man can thrive, that makes you a GREAT mom.

  • Amber

    Thank you so, so much for writing and sharing this. It’s important for women to know they are not alone and not “bad moms” when dealing with depression. All my best to you and you’re family.

  • melissa

    I could have written this post. Postpartum depression fueled by breastfeeding failure. I am still pumping a little bit, but my 6 month old is 50% or more formula fed. Zoloft helped me. I was luckier on the meds front than you. If you want to read about my experience for some interwebs commiseration, I’ll shoot you a link to where I wrote it up. I don’t want to post it here, since it’s not really a public blog.

  • LJ

    You are awesome. Really.

  • Susan

    I could have wrote that post 4 years ago. I tried and failed miserably at breastfeeding and tried everything but there is only so much you can do when your already small baby continues to lose weight instead of gain it. I am happy to say that my adorable little baby who ended up being formula fed most of her first year of her life is now a healthy, happy and beautiful 4 year old. (accident prone but that can’t be from formula right?). I am also happy to say this mama is a lot happier thanks to help from medication. Congrats on your beautiful little family. Try and enjoy every second of it!

  • .Candy

    If you don’t like Lexapro (I didn’t), try Cymbalta. It’s been my miracle drug.

  • Sharon

    “The Dork Lord said at the time that medication wouldn’t make me a good mother. It would let me see I already was.” I just love that…. All the best to you and your new family!

  • Lori

    I failed at breastfeeding too and was about to see an expensive lactation consultant when, on his 12th day of life (after pumping every 2 hours and giving him what little I had), I had a stroke. I recovered completely from the stroke and was told “well we think breastfeeding is safe while you’re on blood thinners” and I thought “how much research has really been done on that combination?”. My son did latch pretty well but I had no supply to give him. Very disappointing. He thrived on formula and I never ever felt like it was poison. I might have felt that way had I breastfed while on blood thinners, or at least been very fearful. I am so sorry you had post-partum and hope you continue to feel better every day. He is gorgeous and wondrous – and lucky to have you and your husband as parents!

  • Jen

    Thank you so much for sharing with us – you are such a good writer that you feel like a friend. I celebrate your triumphs and sympathize your struggles. Love to your beautiful family.

  • cyndy

    I was lucky enough to not have PPD, but I get the breastfeeding thing…my daughter never latched either. I didn’t sweat it, I pumped what I could for the first two months and mixed it with formula. My kid is so darn smart and has been rarely sick…formula is fine! ;-)

    So happy for your and glad you are on your way to feeling better! You are gonna be an awesome mom!! ;-)

  • So sorry you’re dealing with PPD, what a bummer. and Yay for bottle feeding! (If you were nursing I’d say yay for nursing. Both methods keep babies alive!)
    Also, your little one is so perfect and adorable. Not helping the baby hungriness here. Congratulations again!

  • Cori

    I’m so sorry you’ve had a bumpy ride! He’s a beautiful little boy, and you are doing great.

  • Nicole

    I, too, am sorry you struggled, but am so glad that things are going better now. My son is two and on alternate days I feel I’m an abject failure as his mother. But, I look at him and am so grateful for his presence and his laugh, that all I can do is keep struggling through.

    Because you are clearly such a thoughtful and considerate person, I know you are doing all you can to be the best mother to Charlie.