Tell Me About It: New parents, feeling miserable, need help
Are there letter-writers you wonder about to this day? While I'm away, readers nominate some who stayed in mind.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Question: Please help; I'm desperate. My husband and I are parents to an 8-month-old son, and while we were very excited to welcome a baby, we have learned that parenthood is not for us. We knew we would be changing our lifestyle, but we had no idea we'd be miserable doing it.
We can't talk to anyone because it's so shameful admitting this level of failure at something others do naturally. We are honest only with each other, and it is obvious that what we are doing now won't work. We can't imagine what options we have. Please, please help me look at this from a new angle and, hopefully, save my family somehow.
Answer: Out of almost 12 years' worth of letters, this might be one of the most heartbreaking - and bravest. I can't tell you how many people want to hold your baby right now and not let go.
Get screened for postpartum depression, and do it today if your ob-gyn can fit you in. Call your doctor, say it's urgent - do not take no for an answer. Ask for two or three names of psychotherapists who work with young families. When you get in to see someone, tell the truth. This is the safe place to tell it.
It's also the place to get new angles on your situation. Not everyone takes to parenthood "naturally." What's unnatural is our society's unspoken expectation that parents tough it out alone. Don't see it as your personal failing that you need to ask for help.
E-mail Carolyn Hax at firstname.lastname@example.org.