Something has happened that I didn’t see coming.

And yet it makes perfect sense.

I’ve said before that I have a hard time looking at photos of myself from dark periods of my life.

Turns out I have a hard time looking at clothes from dark periods of my life as well.

Specifically, in this case, baby clothes.

tulip

I am coming to realize just how bad my postpartum depression was with Addie. I don’t remember truly enjoying a single moment of her babyhood until she hit about 7 months.

I kept telling myself that the reason I didn’t like putting Addie’s old clothes on Vivi was because they were the wrong season (Addie being a December baby and Vivi being a May baby, not to mention they both have very different spirits about them.)

But as I went through Vivi’s drawers today I picked up a onesie that I distinctly remember Addie wearing. And I distinctly remember feeling very, very absent when she wore it.

I held it in my hands.

It was just a shirt.

I looked back to Vivi’s drawer and saw other clothes that belonged to Addie during those first seven months. They brought back a feeling I can only describe as a very heavy rock on my heart. I took out the outfits that belonged to Addie and rearranged the drawer so only Vivi’s clothes were showing.

I felt better.

When Addie’s clothes were gone the drawer became the me I am now. New. Recovered. Restored.

Being somewhat sure that I was only imagining things I went into the closet where some little dresses hang that Addie never actually wore. They stayed on their hangers until she was too big for them and they were packed away in hopes that another little girl would someday occupy them.

They didn’t give me the same feelings as the clothes she did wear.

And towards the back of the closet hang Addie’s bigger clothes…9 months on.

They do not stir up the same emotions from me as the tiny clothes do.

I am experiencing a lot of what I believe would be considered guilt over Addie’s babyhood. She was well cared for and very well loved. I have evidence that this was so, I just don’t remember being the one doing it.

I never want her to think I loved her any less than her sister. Because I don’t, the feelings involved are just so very different and working through them has been confusing at times.

Addie is my heart.

Addie.

Vivi is my soul.

miss vivi. 8 weeks.

And I could never live without either.

Comments

  1. You are doubly blessed. Remember to do what you need to do in order to overcome the sad memories. If you don’t want Vivi to wear those clothes, give them away. It will be okay.

    I suffered postpartum depression with my first but not with my second. We can’t feel guilty that the first child had a different experience.

    You seem to be doing well. I hope so. ((hugs))

  2. Casey, thank you for sharing.
    Your writing is touching, beautiful, inspirational… no words.

  3. If I hadn’t just finished my favorite post of the week post and scheduled it, I just wanted to let you know… this would have been it. And there wouldn’t have been a tie. Love you and this post and your heart.. and soul. :)

  4. As someone with depression, OH LORD DO I UNDERSTAND. I’m terrified of having children for the reasons you speak about. Just a beautiful post. xo.

  5. I thought I was going to cry as I read this. It was beautiful. I know what it’s like to come out of a fog and then look back and recall times when you can’t imagine that’s how you felt, but the memory and pain is so real.

    You have two beautiful daughters who are lucky to have a great mother. And when Vivi will wear Addie’s clothes you will make new better memories with both of them.

  6. I totally understand what you are saying, only in another way. I feel as if my older kids got the “good” mom and the younger kids got “leftover” mom. When juli was small she had the best of everything, the love of a mom and dad, all the cool toys and the cutest clothes. Since my husband died Sally gets very little new stuff and a frazzled, stressed out, depressed mom. I don’t love them differently, it’s all just circumstancial, situational, it’s the best I can do…at the time.

    This probably isn’t very encouraging, but your post really hit me. I totally get it.

  7. Casey thank you so much for this.
    Im so glad of your Heart and Soul that you have. They are so beautiful.

  8. Absolutely beautiful, and perfect sense.

    Once upon a time I wrote about a similar situation- there is a box of Noah’s clothes from “that time” that I could never pass down to Carter or Gray. They were perfectly good clothes, but superstitiously I felt like they were off-limits, not that they would cause the other boys to have seizures, too, but well, who knows. And yet, I can not part with them either. Every time I come across the bin I have a shock to my heart for a moment and then I move on.

    We move on. New is good.

    Steph

  9. mommabird2345 says:

    This is beautiful. My reasons and items are different, but I know how this feels. Now is so much better.

  10. Beautiful post. Beautiful girls … Wow. Just wow…

  11. HeidiLee says:

    Wow, the words that you put on paper…just so beautiful…like your ladies.

  12. beautiful post. i love how you just KNOW yourself so well.

    although i didn’t have the experience of postpartum, our little bean was an extremely difficult baby… and i know what you mean with the clothes. i have passed hers on to a friend of mine, and when i see another (happy) baby in MY baby’s clothes…. it does have a feeling.

    thank you for being able (AND WILLING) to put your thoughts into words. you have a great gift. and…. a wonderful family!

  13. You make the most beautiful babies, seriously.

    I’m sorry, was that seems horribly inappropriate to comment on this post but it’s true.

    Your girls are very lucky to have you. That is all.

    Also, I have a “Welcome to the World Vivi” dinner that I need to deliver to you sometime before she is leaving for kindergarten. I should probably get on that.

  14. We do the best we can at the time. No guilt…no woulda, coulda, shoulda. It doesn’t erase it, it doesn’t fix it. It just makes a person feel bad. And your girls are beautiful, and loved, and special each in their own way. (I’m sure it’s so, even though I don’t know either of them. :) .
    To echo what Mim said, if the clothes make you sad, don’t feel obligated to hold onto them. Do what you need to do, not what you feel you ought to do.

  15. Jesica V. says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It helped me. I’ve been there.

  16. Listen, young lady. It’s time to stop looking back over your shoulder. It’s what’s AHEAD of you that’s important. It’s things that haven’t happened yet, that matter. What’s done is done. You did the best you could. You have two lovely daughters and their future (and yours) are in your loving and capable hands. Stop looking back to the shadows – you’re in the light, now – and it’s where you belong – with two little hands in yours.

  17. While it’s important to never forget the past, it’s also important not to dwell there.

  18. I’m just crying my way through the internet this morning. I don’t know if it’s me… or the beautiful heart felt posts I seem to have lining my reader.

    I can’t imagine Addie every believing you love her less than Vivi. Well… I don’t believe she’ll do it anymore than the child of any other mom. My brother and I STILL tease the mom loves him best. But… dad loves me best, so it’s ok. :)

  19. I can’t even remember the clothes Eddie wore without looking at pictures.

    Love to you. and your heart and soul.

  20. this is a beautiful post, and so true. it’s amazing how our brains work, specifically with regard to memories and feelings. i get misty when i hear the intro music for The Office, because i’m taken back to sitting on the couch with my newborn, watching episode after episode on dvd while eating m&ms. i get that pit-of-the-stomach feeling when i smell certain shampoos or deodorants, since it reminds me of high school when i felt awkward and depressed. there are so many interesting triggers, and the physical and emotional reactions to them never cease to surprise or amaze me. congratulations on your gorgeous daughters, and your recovery.

  21. Your love for Addie has never been in question. As a person who has read your blog for over three years now, it is obvious that you dote, treasure and practically worship your firstborn. It seems like your love for her only grew during those years of infertility. <3 I am glad you have another blessing to enjoy now, and you have the eyes and heart to be thankful and truly happy.

  22. Love you…

  23. Awwww, hon. I have suffered Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Granted, it had nothing to do with PPD but my memories can be triggered by the most simple of things.

    I am glad your emotions are different with Viv and that cleaning out that drawer was like ridding yourself of the memories. Sometimes you have to do something such as that to finally finish that chapter of your book and move on to the next one. Which I think you’ve definitely done!

    (((hugs)))

  24. How brave you are for sharing your struggles with the world. Your daughters will be very proud of you for it.

  25. I think this makes perfect sense since they are a tangible reminder of that time and therefore in some ways take you back to it. Both Addie and Vivi are fortunate to have you as their Mum, as you are to have them.

  26. Casey,
    I love reading your blog. Beth, from ingoodcents told me I would like you, and she was right. I’ve been silently reading your blog for months, and just wanted to say thanks.
    I have three kids and people always ask “Was it harder going to 2 or 3?” And I say “1! 1 was the hardest.” What I don’t say is that I think I just held her cried everyday until she was six months old. It was the loneliest time of my life. Thanks for making me feel normal.

  27. Making me cry so early in the morning. I understand deep down to my core. It’s not fair that my girls didnt have the mother that I could have been for the first 3 years of their lives. But that’s ok. I need to push that guilt aside. we both do. We are better now and that’s all that matters.

  28. I have thrown out outfits that remind me of certain times and if and when I’m recovered enough to try for another I pray it’s a girl because I don’t think I’ll be strong enough to pull out boy clothes again.

  29. Love your heart and soul.

    Had to catch up tonight on your blog!

  30. I completely understand this post, and I didn’t even have PPD. But I have three (living) children (and one angel boy), and they have all meant something different to my heart and soul, too.

    Your children are beautiful and loved. As are you.

  31. Your post made me cry today.

  32. I to this day feel guilt when I try to think back to how I mothered my oldest through the first few years of her life. I also have guilt with my youngest who has “less of me” compared to my Haley who was an only child for 8 years of her life. I don’t know how we ever work through it, but when I read your posts about Addie, the love pours off the pages. I think you two have an amazing relationship and I truly believe that’s all she feels in your presence.

  33. First, I want to say how awful I feel that I haven’t been here in eons a d totally missed the birth of the baby I was so excited to meet. Second, and it’s no excuse, I have a six-month old that likes to be at the milk bar a lot. Like, all the time. He’s a bit attached, which I wanted! but I don’t get much time to blog, let alone poop. And third, she’s so beautiful, Casey. Vivi is radiant like the sun, that one. I see in her the hopes and dreams of the most wonderful mama in the world: you. I so. get. this. post. I am a different mother to Ezra. I loved Henry, I was an adequate mother to him, but who am I kidding? No one wants a C in mothering. I have to believe that God saw my heartache and gave Henry the love that I couldn’t. And having a husband that is a father like no other is such a blessing. I just wanted to say I understand, and thank you. For showing your heart and soul, so that others can finally see and accept their own.

  34. and there are a few errors in that comment, but Ezra was peeing on me, so I got all messed up. I have no time to POOP, let alone blog. You know what I meant….

  35. thank you for your post,you wrote good,help me a lot

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