Today, I decided to write about something close to heart. Something I rarely share with people, only people close to me know, which is I suffer from Post-Partum Depression.
People who don’t have children or never had to deal with PPD try to understand. But often, maybe too often I’ve heard. “Why are you depressed? You have everything.” – True, I have everything, at 25, something that is so rare for my age. I have a perfect son, an amazing and supportive husband, a man who goes to the end of the world to make me happy, a place over my head and finally gone back to school. So how come I was the one to suffer from PPD?
I figure that’s a question everyone who has PPD asks at one point or another, and that’s okay. When you become a mother, people don’t understand how your world flips upside down and while a baby or in some cases babies are a blessing, it can also be very frustrating and scary. As a first-time mum I felt scared, I didn’t sleep for nearly a year because of fear, while my husband and son were sound asleep. When I finally did sleep, I awoke every 30-45 minutes to check on his breathing and, I feel ashamed to write this but, to check if my husband had packed my shit, only my shit, and was ready to serve me the divorce papers. Well it’s one year later and no papers.
For the first three months of my sons’ life, I couldn’t hold him because I was scared that he’d be disappointed that I was his mother, he couldn’t even hold his head up and that was my concern. I was scared I’d lose my son, I’d lose my husband because I was me and I felt useless every day I woke up. Just getting dressed felt like the world’s worst job and I didn’t even catch on there, but I think my husband and I both knew that there was something wrong but it took me eight months to finally admit it to myself that something was wrong. Because those break downs and feelings of neglect clearly weren’t doing it for me, read that with sarcasm.
My pa died December 23rd and that was the tipping point for me, soon after we had a nurse by to do the mandatory check up on Cas and I was alone with him and her. Still mourning the loss and dealing with me feeling like the worst mother out there she sensed something was off. Which was odd, because I’m a master of building up walls. But this time, I was tired of having them up and told her my struggle and she suggested a therapist.
I swallowed my pride and made an appointment and went. With my son in tow, told her everything from my eating disorder, dysfunctional family, growing up and now. How I felt that I had let my son down and my husband, she listened and didn’t judge. I felt heard and understood. She was even open about her experience with PPD and how suffering from it made her a better woman, because she knew how to lend a hand to women like me and helping us face our problems. Even when it got too tough for us.
My pregnancy contributed to my PPD, I felt every day that my husband’s friends and family saw me as a trap. For people who don’t know that term, it means that I lured my husband in and trapped him with pregnancy. There are days I still feel like that because I’m still suffering, not as much but a little. I’ve dealt with the fact that I am not a waste of air and a sack of shit but I still get an itch that says “Your son and husband deserve someone more caring and loving. Someone your husbands’ friends and family will love and a better fit.” But it’s gotten easier to drown out after accepting that I’m not the only one, because I’m not alone, every day 13%* of women who have given birth find themselves in the shoes I had to walk in for eight months. Not everyone feels safe enough to seek help and I understand why. We live in a society where PPD is taboo and gets swept under the rug because it’s uncomfortable to talk about, between couples and to family members. Post-Partum Depression is an everyday battle between a new mothers’ mental health and herself. PPD is something that sound be talked about a lot more, because when it goes untreated cases like Andrea Yates* happen. We shouldn’t feel ashamed having to deal with PPD, because having a child is fucking hard and the change is bloody overwhelming. I’m not shamed anymore because truth be told, it’s life. And you don’t always win in life. But my son and husband help me every day, becoming the mother and wife I want to be and the one they deserve. They never ask anything of me and likewise.
As a family, we found a way to deal with it and now we’re at the point where I don’t ask my husband for a divorce every day and where I don’t look at my son and apologize for being his mother. Only sometimes but that’s when I dance, no one should witness that honestly.
The fact I sought help made me feel like I could face my demons and take up the battle that was coming. While it hasn’t been an easy battle and it still isn’t because this isn’t going away, which I accept but for the rest of my life I will have to live with it but I know that being open and honest about this will hopefully help others who either are or have been in my situation to look at their respective partners or family members and ask for help occasionally. Maybe just, share their story with pride for coming out on the other side. Yelling from the top of their lunges “I’m still fighting.” Because you should be proud that you are a warrior women. Remember to give yourself a break, you are already a super mother and an amazing woman.
Until next time, take care and remember, you got this mama.