Emily is now 2 1/2 and Sarah is 7 months. When Emily was 7 months I was still in the twilight zone of PPD. I could see the happy, giggly baby before me, but I couldn't respond to her.
The more Sarah grows the more aware of how different parenting is when you are "normal." Sarah is a joy. Her milestones are awesome. Having her crawl all over me is lovely. She smells good. I like playing with toys with her and I get a kick out of finding new ways to engage her.
Similarly, Emily's stories are a thrill. Yesterday she told me a long story about how her dinosaur would help her open the door and then there would be grandma and baba! I loved all 30 minutes of this story.
Probably the most pronounced difference though is changing diapers. When Emily was little she would smile and giggle while I changed her. I realize now that while I thought I was interacting with her in fact I just stood there. There was no smile, no talking, no giggling on my end. Now with Sarah there is lots of giggling and talking and teasing while I change a diaper. I can physically feel the difference in my face muscles between now and before. It is a strange feeling to feel like both women in that moment. The one who is truly part of the world and the one that was behind a glass wall.
Not only is is strange feeling, it's a scary one. I always wonder if that depression will come back. Did I escape it since I didn't get depressed after Sarah? Or is it just waiting to come out late? When Emily goes to school and its just me and one baby again? Or when they both leave and I'm left with my husband? Or maybe when they both need me the most and suddenly I'll be stuck again. Behind a wall.