This week we are running a five day series in honor of Child Abuse Awareness month. Today is the first part of the story shared by a woman named Tami Revering. She is going to tell you her story of severe postpartum depression and how it led her to abuse a child; an infant. She will share from her perspective how she tragically shook a crying infant and nearly killed him. It is a hard story for many to read and understand, and even harder not to judge Tami harshly for her terrible actions. But for me, it is the story of a woman who could have been me or any other of my mom friends. You see Tami was just like many of us. A young mother, college educated, staying home with her children, and afraid to ask for help. What Tami did in the depths of anxiety-riddled depression is something that I believe many of us are capable of doing without help and treatment. Continue reading the Introduction to this story here.
I am not a writer. I am a mother and I am a wife. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am a stay at home mom to my three beautiful boys and my precious daughter. Something inside of me has been stirring for awhile now. Something nagging that I need to tell my story to as many people as possible. I don’t know if this is the path to get there, but it is the part of my journey I am on right now. My story has many beginnings. The beginning of motherhood, the beginning of the end, the new beginning, so many beginnings. My hope, if nothing else, is that someone, somewhere can relate to my story and learn from my story.
My husband and I had been married for a little over two years when my “mom clock” kicked into high gear. We both always wanted children; he actually wanted more children than I. I think he wanted to create a hockey team; I wanted the perfect family with 2.5 kids. 😉 On July 7, 2007 (7-7-7!) we found out we were pregnant and we were ecstatic. We could hardly contain our excitement. For nine months we planned, prepared, and did everything we were supposed to do to be ready for our little bundle of joy to join us in our world. After a long and difficult labor, including three hours of pushing, we were told that they were going to have to do a c-section. My hospital records say “elective c-section”. Oddly, I don’t remember it feeling anything at all like I had a choice. I was made to feel that if I didn’t do this, my baby would die. I remember saying “I can’t have a c-section, I didn’t read about that!” As if any amount of reading could prepare me for what I was about to go through. Thirty minutes into the surgery, Emmitt was born a whopping 9 lb. 12 ozs.
The picture is of our first meeting; it saddens me to look at this picture still, not because I didn’t love him, but because I did love him instantly, so much in fact, that I ignored my own feelings of failure. I felt like I had failed to give birth the way God intended, and that I was flawed. I thought however that if I just showered this baby with love, I would get over it. Because isn’t that what I was supposed to do? Get over it? Wasn’t I just supposed to be overcome with joy that I had a healthy baby? I had a lot of conflicting emotions going on, and I chose to tell myself that my feelings didn’t matter anymore; all that mattered was that my baby was born healthy.In the weeks afterward I kept telling myself to be happy because I had a healthy, happy baby boy. Deep inside though something was nagging. I was sad, but not that sad. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to give birth in what I thought was the “right” way, but again I just kept pushing those feelings down and I reminded myself to be happy because I had a healthy happy baby. And that was supposed to be all that mattered.
Apparently I mistook the nagging I felt inside for my “mom clock” because Bill and I decided to have a go at another member in our family. Rather than deal with some possible Postpartum Depression, we decided to have another baby…with a 3 month old at home. SO… when Emmitt was just a wee little one at 14 months old, he became a big brother to Elliot, who was just slightly smaller, weighing in at 9 lbs. 3 ozs. Elliot was born naturally — that is, I had a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean), but I was plenty drugged with an epidural and pitocin. Sigh. Elliot’s birth was also complicated in that he suffered severe shoulder dystocia. His shoulders were stuck for 4 minutes. I was told after 5 minutes the outcome could have been much different. He was born blue and he needed oxygen.
Overall, after observation, he was a healthy baby boy. It was an extremely traumatizing birth for not only him, but for me as well. Once again, I was faced with a decision to focus on him or me, and I chose him. It seemed selfish to even consider bringing up my feelings. And even if I did, how do you tell someone that you didn’t think you loved your baby? If you told someone that you just experienced the most traumatic experience of your life but the outcome was a healthy baby, what would they say? What would they think? Wasn’t the birth of your child supposed to erase the trauma and difficulties of labor?
So, once again, I pushed my feelings of inadequacy, sadness, and failure aside, because what could I possibly be sad about? I had a healthy baby! Isn’t that all that matters? My story is long, but I feel it is important to share. It is a story of depression gone terribly wrong, and what can happen if it is ignored.
Part II of Tami’s 5-part story will be published tomorrow, on April 26th, 2016.
Update: To continue to read Tami’s story, please see the links below.