Seeing this unfold, my husband strongly encouraged me to try again. To find a doctor that seemed to understand me better and so I tried. I saw another doctor, and sobbing, I explained what was happening. How I no longer knew who I was, how I couldn’t be happy anymore, never left my house and had completely given up on being anything of who I was before. She was kind and listened sympathetically but again, encouraged medication. I explained my fears and she said she could start me off low, and generally increase and I made a commitment to her and myself that I would try. Again, I filled the prescription and made my best effort to take it. But googling this new medication won over and I couldn’t do it. You may be asking yourself, seriously why didn’t you just take it? And I did too. Trust me. There was so much guilt within me. Guilt at what my life had become, what my husband had to silently endure and the opportunities my Grace was missing. I went back to the doctor, again sobbing, almost begging forgiveness at not being able to take them. She had ideas. One was that he could hide the medication in my food. That didn’t sit well with me. That wasn’t the path to betterness. Our marriage was a trustful one and this seemed to break that trust. Sure I would have been telling him to do it, but it allowed a new kind of sneakiness in. One that I didn’t want. This doctor had granted me permission to take stress leave, so thankfully I hadn’t had to be around my students during this time (I was an EA, which meant I worked with special needs students within the district) but in doing this, I had to complete several tasks as requested by my employer in order to be paid an EI type of wage while I was off.
Upon request of my union, I saw this doctor again. I had completed the course work the district had required of me for the diagnosis of PPD/severe anxiety and had to earn her consent in order to remain off work. I was in no better shape after the diagnosis and “training” and this time was chastised for not being able to take the meds. She would ask “why not” and I would respond “I don’t know why I can’t”. How do you cure someone who’s anxious with a pill when they have a terrible fear of medication? I couldn’t explain it either. I’ll never forget the words she said that day. They still haunt me. Sobbing again (this was a thing now), I got into the car and told my husband what she had said, “you’re the only person I’ve never been able to help”. These words stung me. I knew she wasn’t God but I thought at least that by being a doctor she would have some kind of solution to this. Definitely not a quick one, but some kind of end game plan. To hear the words, “I can’t help you”, destroyed me. Angrily my husband begged me to let him go in there and “talk to her” but I was at least sane enough to know that wouldn’t help anything). As we drove home that day and in the months after, I remember thinking constantly to myself, I was never tested for anything. There were no blood tests, no questionnaires (besides the original standard postpartum test I had already done) and no record of my diet. In doing all of my research since, I have learnt that diet and hormones play a huge role in postpartum recovery. While my case was probably far too advanced for it to “cure” me, I can’t help but think it would have at least eased some of the burden.
Another month passed and I wasn’t able to continue my leave. My coverage had run out and after attending the group class I was required to for anxiety, I thought perhaps I was ready. Not perfect, but able to fake it till I made it type of thing. I returned Grace to daycare and went back to work. Daily I struggled, I barely made it through each class with my students and became kind of a shell of who I was. The breaking point was when my daughter ended up being repeatedly bit at daycare. Already racked with guilt for leaving her, having her get injured (these were bad bites, causing welts) allowed me a reason to make a change. I switched daycares and reduced my hours, as much as I could. Our new daycare was wonderful. But it made no difference in my life. I was worse. I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t drop her off. I basically sat at home wishing I wasn’t there. Wishing that my husband could stay with us all day, or that someone loving would take this beautiful baby and raise her for me. I struggled like this until she was nearly two. It was almost overnight. By this point I had quit my job (the anxiety became too much) and we had downsized to a small apartment rental, something that allowed us to financially afford me being home. I was happier. Grace and I walked, I was able to eat proper meals and we frequently visited parks or malls. I still wasn’t “cured” and there was no way she could have been put in daycare but she definitely had a better life. We all did.