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Dear Postpartum Bipolar

The ripe belly of a pregnant woman is presented with her wife's hands interlaced atop it, as selected by the courageous author whose letter to postpartum is featured at www.deardiagnosis.com.

What you didn’t tell me about the postpartum period is how my hormones would send me on such a roller coaster that the old lady in line at the pharmacy could make me cry within thirty seconds, as she inched closer and tried to breathe on my newborn during a pandemic.

What you didn’t tell me is how I would lose my sense of self in both good and bad ways, how I would go a bit crazy. How I would dance and hula hoop on the sun-kissed deck at 6am before the baby woke up, how I would cry with joy and swelling emotion as I listened to a favorite song. How I would experience a manic episode starting a week after the baby was born.

You didn’t tell me that I would be awake at 1am with inspiration flowing, jotting down idea after idea, trying not to wake my spouse in bed with the light. That I would be shopping online at 3am, researching coupon codes and handy household items such as a pot lid holder.

You didn’t tell me that during my mania I would realize at my core that I needed to quit my job, that it was making me unhappy and sapping my creative energy. That I would brainstorm dozens of different career possibilities including inventor, blogger, and house organizing consultant.

You didn’t tell me that I would be so uncharacteristically friendly and talkative that even the Sprint customer service representative and the staff at the emergency room would become delightful conversation partners.

You didn’t tell me I would be so irritable that I would push away anyone who tried to tell me how to take care of myself and my body, how I would nearly burn bridges with loved ones. That I would get annoyed at the midwife office when they asked me if I was seeing my psychiatrist regularly.

What you didn’t tell me is that months into my recovery, the emotional wounds of the postpartum period would still sting. That I would cry when the doctor claimed I had psychotic symptoms or when my spouse recalled the ways I was not present for my family during this time. That I would feel like less of a mother for missing some of the key moments during his first month of life.

You didn’t tell me that this would be the most carefree I had ever felt in my life, despite the insomnia and impulsive behavior that came along with it. That I would giggle in the bathtub, that I would move my body without inhibition, and that I would feel – for the first time in my life – absent of worry and anxiety about what was to come next. That I would recall this time period with conflicted feelings yet deep down, I would long for that sun-kissed sweet feeling of freedom as my hips swayed through the morning air.

34, Female
Postpartum Mood Disorder/Postpartum Bipolar

Dear Diagnosis Affirmation Key

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4 thoughts on “Dear Postpartum Bipolar”

  1. Thanks for sharing. Your writing was both informative and creative in such a way that I could feel the emotions you expressed. I applaud your bravery for exposing your frailties. I hope you feel rewarded for doing so.

    1. Where one might suspect ‘frailties’ another sees vulnerability, which (as Dr. Brene Brown points out time and again) is courage! So YES to bravery (and to dancing in the morning light 🙂

  2. Understand when I say I’m a dumb white guy and I cannot really relate, but I must say, I admire your bravery to express your feelings and share the distressing stories you’ve shared. Also, you’ve got an amazing prose!

    1. Re-Labeling Opportunity!? Dumb White Guy => Inexperienced or Uninformed Member to the Global Majority? Admitting that which you don’t know much about is also an act of bravery in our book 🙂

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