They say hindsight is 20/20, and that is definitely as I look back at my descent into postpartum depression. When I had PPD, I had no idea what was happening to me. Looking back, I can see all sorts of red flag behaviors.
For example, when we were in the maternity ward, swaddling made me feel like a terrible mother. Whenever the nurses tended to Pippa, they always returned her in an expert swaddle. Then Nathan and I would change her diaper and we could never swaddle her half as well as the nurses.
I felt so awkward and embarrassed whenever a nurse came for Pippa and witnessed our half-assed attempts at swaddling. Just a few weeks earlier, Nathan and I had watched a video that made swaddling look so simple; but now that we had an actual baby, we were clearly too stupid to master this advanced science.
I berated myself for being so inept. What the hell had I been doing the last nine months? I should have been swaddling and reswaddling anything that resembled a baby: teddy bears; sacks of flour; vanilla milkshakes; my purse; my sister’s miniature dachshund Rowan; the neighborhood cats. I should have swaddled until I could swaddle with my eyes closed during an earthquake. I should have studied with a Swaddling Master, even if that meant traveling to a distant mountain village, where a blind elder would make me tend a flock of sheep and weave a swaddling blanket of my own.
The nurses swaddled Pippa again and again, and I watched them again and again, but I could not understand what they were doing. Fold here, wrap there, tuck here, activate the nuclear button here… this science was too much for my feeble brain and clumsy fingers.
I did not know it at the time, but every time I twisted the swaddling blanket the wrong way, I was slipping a little further down the slippery slope of postpartum depression.