This blog is meant to be funny so I hope it is received that way. After my pregnancy I suffered from post partum depression and I have since realized it is a conversation that makes many women uncomfortable because they don’t want to admit they had it or BECAUSE I had it there must be something wrong with me. Since my pregnancy I have tried to find the humor in the things that went wrong both during and after my pregnancy. This event happened prior to the birth of my daughter.
When I was pregnant my husband and I decided I would nurse our baby. So I began to figure out how that would all come together and what I would need. One of the items my friends recommended was a breast pump. It sounded good so I ordered the pump through the OB nurse. It took a few weeks for the pump to come and it was getting to be near the end of my pregnancy and I was anxious to get all my things in order. I started calling the nurse and for over three weeks she did not return my calls. Eventually I reached her at home and the conversation went like this, “Hello this is Julie”, “Yeah” (said snottily), “I am calling about my breast pump”, “Oh, (said with some relief) my husband is having an affair and the woman he is seeing is named Julie and I thought you were her” Well….what do you say after hearing a statement like that? I tried my best not to sound confused because I would like to think I would not spill my business to a complete stranger but as a therapist I know sometimes strangers are easier to talk to.
A few weeks later after I gave birth I was struggling with nursing and depression. I called my doctor and he saw me the next day. When I got into the examination room I put on the gown and my breasts were leaking and I was crying and the nurses had my baby (because they all knew why I was there) and I began telling the doctor the trouble I was having nursing and he asked “have you spoken to your nurse at the hospital?” and I replied through tears “I guess her husband is having an affair and she isn’t very helpful lately.” And the doctor said in all seriousness “well I think that is over with now.” When I left the doctor’s office that was one thing I could laugh about—my doctor trying to pretend that he was not mortified that his patient knew the scuttle-butt of the hospital.
Eight months later my depression lifted and I began to feel “normal for me”. I have to laugh at the fact that my depression was taking a back seat to this nurse’s marital problems. Post partum can be serious—I don’t think mine was (as in wanting to take my life or the life of my child) but it was serious enough for me—and over time I have tried to piece that time in my life back together to make some sort of sense of it and luckily with some of the memories come great stories like this one.
Julie North is an in home family counselor in a rural county in South-Central Michigan. She has a private practice and is currently being trained in TF-CBT and complex trauma therapies.