If you could go back and change anything in your life before your illness, what would you do?
Everything begins somewhere, and if I try to travel back to before my illness, I have to go back to conception. My father was an angry, sadistic bastard. But without him, I would not exist. So it doesn’t work to eliminate him.
So what then.
My first major depression was a result of the traumatic birth of my daughter. I wish I had had my doula with me. She could have calmed me and allowed me to consider my options, rather than just accepting the doctor’s decree that I wasn’t leaving. That I had to have a successful version and be induced, or a c-section. That no matter what the baby was coming out today, and not in a week or so like we expected. If I had had more time to come to terms with having a c-section, maybe it wouldn’t have felt so violent. But would I have changed my mind about the version? That version set the cascade of interventions, for without it, we wouldn’t have gone straight into the OR. Without it, they wouldn’t have given me terbutaline, which caused my a-fib. Perhaps I need to go back just a littler farther. I would like to change my baby’s positioning. I would have liked her to not be breech. To be head down the way she was supposed to, so I could have had a natural birth, like I was planning all along. So I could have felt labor and came out triumphant on the other side. So I could have had her placed right on my chest squalling and I could have held her, skin to skin, right away, and claimed her as mine, instead of going to the ICU overnight, alone in my grief and trauma. So I could have felt like a “normal” mother, delivering the way our bodies are supposed to, healing after and walking right away, instead of laying in a hospital bed bathed in sweat, tears, pain, anger and shame.
But would that have fixed it all? I may have had severe PPD anyway. I may have felt distant from the tiny screaming creature, or resentful of her existence, anyway. I may have tumbled down that hole no matter what. There’s just no way of knowing. So I find this kind of question useless, though I chose to write on it anyway. The past can not be changed. I am still mourning this story, and its what-ifs. I look forward to one day being able to accept it and let it go.