This is something that I have always wondered about, but we never really discussed in detail. The impact that PPD has on family members is so profound - they are dealing with the fallout of our illness, and those suffering are at varying degrees of involvement as they go through their journey. I could not imagine how hard that was for Evan, but since feelings are not a thing that Evan is big on chatting about in general, it just never happened until I asked him to complete this task.
Here is what he wrote:
All I remember feeling is frustration and helplessness (and good amount of anger that I probably didn't properly express).See? I told you he is incredible. If you are moved to donate, please visit https://www.crowdrise.com/lesleyneadel-cotd2015/fundraiser/lesleyneadel.Frustration because none of this made sense to me. That's our baby girl that needed a bottle, a diaper change or just to be held. Why wouldn't you just hold her? I was just so tired and could not understand why you were in bed crying and not helping me. It's our baby. Help me.Helplessness because there was nothing I could do to fix it. This is not the same person I knew a few days, weeks or months before Rebecca was born. The only emotions I saw were sadness and apathy. It was soul crushing to watch and there was nothing I could do to fix it. There was nothing I could do to help her out of that dark place.But that's not why people should donate to the Climb. You should not donate because of what I went through. The reality is that there is no way it could ever compare to what Lesley, and other mothers suffering from a form of postpartum depression, have gone through. You donate because ever since Lesley found Postpartum Progress and started speaking up about postpartum depression, people from every corner of her life have been able to relate in one way or another. From people she has not seen in years to people whose children are now in their thirties and forties. They say there was not a name for it back then, that they just suffered through it or never spoke up and how they wish they had. Postpartum Progress gives these mothers a way to speak up and get the help they need (and the help their spouses and children desperately need them to get).You donate because you can help the next new mom speak up. You can help the next new mom get help. You can help the next new mom find a way out of that dark place.
And now, here is his interview for 5QFriday.
1) What has been your favorite thing about becoming a father?
Realizing that I had an emotionally capacity beyond aggravation (it's a Neadel trait!). I specifically remember the point when I started coming home and Rebecca would run up to me and give me a hug (now she barely acknowledges my arrival/existence unless I turn the TV off). That is when I started wondering why any parent would intentionally work late. I'm not talking about the tasks that have to get done, rather, the stuff that can get done, but you do anyway. Who knows how I'll feel when I am coming home to two teenage girls, but for right now, I walk out of the office and can't wait to see them. The ability to love someone so unconditionally is pretty crazy and is easily my favorite thing about being a dad.
2) What has been your LEAST favorite?
Why won't they just listen!!! I'm serious. They just don't listen. (I'm assuming Lila will be the same way. She eats shoes now even though I tell her to stop, so I guess she is starting early. Speaking of which, Les, stop leaving your shoes in the middle of the floor. I don't know if you notice, bur Lila is EATING THEM.) I understand that Rebecca is constantly testing her boundaries with us, but it drives me NUTS that we ask/tell her to do something and she just straight up ignores it. With that said, my dad usually has to ask me 15 times to do something when I am down at my parents' house...so...
Oh and I guess that I can't just do stuff that I want to do now. Like going to the movies has to become a production that involves babysitters, bribery and lots of money.
3) What has surprised you the most about being a father?
My level of patience. I'm not saying it is high now because it's certainly not, but it is definitely higher than it was before we had kids. As in, I was at a ZERO then, now I'm at a THREE (eh, probably two), but I'm writing this, so I say three. I also found it surprising that I want to impart my wisdom on them and I love it when I get asked the "why" and "how" questions. Granted, I would prefer it to be "why can't the Jets find a decent QB" (answer: doomed franchise) or "why is Keith Hernandez your favorite Met?" (answer: his mustache, of course. Silly question). But I will take the "why are you going bald daddy?" too. The answer to that question is the face you see in the mirror, sweet daughter of mine.
4) What do you want to say to your mom and dad now that you are a parent?
Other than sorry? To be fair, I'd like to think that I was the third worst son. I'd say it goes Eric, Jay, then me. Those two stink. First of all, Eric cheated/still cheats at Stratego (and gin) and Jay used to put me in a trunk in our family room and sit on top of it. Pretty sure he could still put me in a trunk if he wanted. Yes, I am veering off topic here, but that was worth pointing out.
As to mom and Herbie (his name is Irwin and gets aggravated when I call him Herbie, so Herbie it is), how you two put up with the three of us is beyond me. For mom, I sincerely apologize for ever complaining about the dinner you put on the table after coming home from work. The nerve I had. These days, I'm ready for sleep byand you used to come home from work way after that and then make dinner for my ungrateful a**. Evan = ashamed.
Dad, no I didn't give 100% on that test and, yes, if I had I would have gotten a better grade. Jeez. Oh and it wasn't me that pulled that street sign out of the ground and left it our garage. It was your other youngest son.
Getting serious for a hot second here, I think that becoming a parent made me realize that my parents were just trying to help me learn, grow and not make the same mistakes they made. I watch you and I do it with Rebecca (and eventually Lila) and then watch her ignore it with a nice dash of "I don't need your help momm/daddy." I know it's going to only get worse, but hopefully, one day, they will look back at all the things we tried to do and realize that it was all done with the best of intentions.
Finally, did I mention that I was the third worst son? Those other two were the pits.
5) What is the best piece of parenting advice you have ever gotten, or that you have for people?
The advice I can give is pretty limited to new parents. I've told several people that a lot of parents/grandparents are going to tell you what you should or shouldn't do. For example, "don't do 'x' because then the baby won't be able to fall asleep on her own" or "you shouldn't feed them this because 'blah blah blah'." Look, you do what you need to do to get by. If that means rocking your kid to sleep every night till you want to put your head through a wall, you do it because that gets the baby to sleep. Eventually, they will grow out of it and sleep on their own. This is your journey. You are as new to this as the baby is and as those who tell you what you should be doing were when they were in your shoes. There is nothing wrong with asking for advice and getting ideas of how to handle certain situations, but at the end of the day, you do what's best for your family and everything will work itself out.