It Happened Anyway …
I tried to do it quietly … have a panic attack, that is. I was standing in the kitchen while my husband was trying to console our overly tired 4-month-old. I couldn’t let him see me fall apart again, it had happened too many times already. *nobody deserves a wife like me* As I crumbled to my knees hysterically crying, nearly unable to breath, there he was, he had found me, *failure* and I cried in his arms for what felt like eternity.
Then it happened again, only this time I was lying on the living room floor next to our adorable son, and there was my husband to take him and give him a bath because I just couldn’t find the strength to get up from the fetal position off our living room floor, soaking our carpet with my tears.
I don’t even know how it happened. I thought I was on top of things. I had my people lined up so I didn’t “get” postpartum depression. They were and still are the best team a girl could ask for. They were there through the first several weeks, and I thought I was doing ok. Maternity leave was not easy, it was not fun or filled with rainbows and sunshine. Maternity leave was scary, exhausting, isolating, and emotional. And then it was over, and I was relieved. *you’re a horrible mom*
A lot changed for me during maternity leave, most significantly I started an incredible new job. Two chapters of my life starting all at once. It was a lot to process. But, I wasn’t processing any of it because I was in such a dense fog. I didn’t realize, but I couldn’t process anything. Everything seemed to get harder and I found myself crying more and feeling overwhelmed all the time. I had to pull into parking lots or the side of the road often because the tears were so heavy, and my chest was so tight.
One day, in an honest conversation with my best girlfriend about depression (who is also a brand-new mom), she kindly told me, how she could somewhat relate to my sadness at another time in her life but that now, since becoming a mom she “feels like she has the best day, everyday.” My mouth dropped. WHAT!? I mean the only time I smiled lately was when my son smiled. I was nowhere close to having the best days of my life. That seemed completely out of my reach. I was hopeless. I couldn’t see things getting any better. *you aren’t cut out to be a mom*
People often said things like, “I bet you can’t remember a time without him!” And I would think silently to myself, “heck yes I can, in fact I sit and cry daydreaming about my one-bedroom apartment in graduate school.” *you’re worthless*
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve adored my son from the very first moment I laid my eyes on him. And there were surely happy moments. But there were also really dark ones too, and those moments spiraled to a darkness I didn’t know could exist in my world. At five months postpartum, I realized I couldn’t keep trying to do it alone. *you’re weak* I reached out and started talking (mostly because my cries were getting louder and longer and more often) and I couldn’t hide it anymore. *you should be tougher than this* * pull yourself together*
I started with my A-team (my family and a couple mom friends), then went to my next course of action; I went back to a therapist. Not my regular therapist, I found one who specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety. Then, I called my doctor. *you should be stronger than this* I sat in her office, nearly lifeless. I reluctantly agreed to start taking medication to help me get out of the darkness. To be honest, things got worse for the next couple weeks while my body adjusted. But, almost 8 weeks later, I can honestly say the culmination of things I chose to do was the best thing I could for myself and my family. Not every day is easy, and the darkness still creeps in some days. But the good days outweigh the bad now, and for that I am grateful.
Postpartum depression is scary.
You are not alone.
By: Becca Vidrine, LCSW, Acadiana Mom