This post kind of sucks (kind of like Postpartum Depression Sucks), but it needs to be written.
For probably the first 6 months of Gregory's life I couldn't say "I love you" to him. It wasn't that I didn't want to. It was the Postpartum Depression. I physically couldn't say the words. It didn't feel right to say those words because honest to God, I thought I'd be lying if I did and what type of mother lies to her child...especially about loving them? I thought it was better I just not mention it.
However, I also strongly felt like I somehow needed those words to come out, even if it wasn't a "Good night Gregory! Momma loves you!". I found another way instead. I sang it. I would drive with him in the backseat, just the two of us, most likely on my way to therapy and with background music of course - I didn't want to cause permanent damage during my attempt to be a good mom, and sang away.
A few posts back I wrote about how music impacts me. Through my entire pregnancy (even before it was official that I was carrying a boy) I listened to "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" by the Dixie Chicks. I've actually listened to this song for years knowing somewhere deep down that I would have sons. Or at least at the time I thought I'd be having more than one :) . So not only did I connect the song with a better time, but I also loved the song for what it said.
I also had "You are Loved" by Josh Groban in my play list and obviously, from the title, it conveys what I knew I needed to say but couldn't. However, this song spoke as much to me as a mom struggling as it did to Gregory. For me it was a reminder, that I needed to keep going, that the faith that I'd somehow stumbled upon through this experience, was behind me. But it also was what I was hoping to be able to SAY to Gregory one day. Don't give up because you are loved.
Both of these songs, and many more were in my "baby" play list on my Ipod and I'd plug that sucker in and sing away for the 30-45 minutes it took us to get where we were going. Most of the time he'd fall asleep about 5 minutes in. My singing is just that good.
The point of all of this is, for the moms who I KNOW are reading this and I KNOW are struggling every day to try to love a baby and give that baby what they need, you can find other ways besides saying it, if that's too hard right now. Write it in a card, sing it, start talking and mention it somewhere in a run-on sentence, draw a heart on their back during tummy time - find your own way to "say it".
I can tell you that it does get better and it does get easier. Gregory turned 9 months old yesterday and I can successfully say "I love you" and mean it.
I still sing, but because I love the music, not because I need to lean on it anymore. Kerissa 1. PPD 0 (or like 500 but in this instance 0)!