I have one week left in my postpartum program with Children’s Hospital, and my last bit of homework was to complete several surveys on my feelings (including the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) of course). I always like completing surveys, I always have (I may have even enjoyed standardized testing a little when I was a kid). I’ve filled out the EPDS every week of my program, and it’s been good to say ‘never’ to questions like “Have you thought about hurting yourself?” A relief, a release.
The closing packet has a few extra surveys, and I’m happily able to mark the answers that show that I’m better. Yes, I can now strongly disagree that I wish I were dead, or that I feel empty inside. I feel alive again, happy again, in a way I haven’t since before Ben was born.
I’ve also had what will probably be my last EMDR session. I wanted some extra guidance because I knew we’d gone over the major traumas, but there was still a lingering feeling of anguish in thoughts of the hospital in general. My therapist’s direction with EMDR is to envision a starting point that is indicative of the trauma and then let my mind go where it will. We carefully talked it through, and when we started the exercise, I looked at myself sitting in a wheelchair, in the NICU for the first time. I was just coming off the magnesium sulfate and was still on oxygen. I was barely present.
I looked at myself sitting there, gingerly touching the tiny foot of my preemie baby, and next to me appeared Ben, about four years old. He took my hand, and my baby, healthy and growing, said, “It’s all right, Mama.” He went on, like a guiding angel, showing me how he’d been with me through everything, and telling me it was all right. Standing next to me as I wept in pain from the hematoma. At my shoulder in the operating room. Walking away with his daddy and himself after his own birth. And at the beginning of it all, laying in the hospital bed with me, hand over my belly, while I was bed-bound and delirious with magnesium and all the other drugs.
And when we were done, I felt clean. I felt renewed and alive. I continue to feel that way every day; I marvel at the luck of my recovery. And the hard work, the money spent, the care taken. The hard days and nights to get back to myself, for my family.
Now when I look at the questions of the EPDS, I can say that I’m as happy as I ever was, that I enjoy things as much as I always have. I’ve found joy again, and now all that’s left is to check off the right boxes.