There are some things that are hard to share. I want to keep this in a dark corner of the closet where no one ever goes [until they move out]. But I feel a sense of urgency to write this. It is something that needs to be said.
I know I didn’t and don’t hear much about this part of mommydom. We have heard lots about Postpartum Depression, and how serious it can be. I know I have dealt with it after each new baby to a greater or lesser degree. You can read a little about my experience here. What has caught me a little (a lot) off guard with this pregnancy is the potency of the depression. I have not been in such a dark place even after having my babies.
This part is hard to actually admit to.
I didn’t want to be here.
I never attempted to take my life and I never once wanted to hurt my children, but I did not want to be here. I wanted to run away and leave everything behind. It was almost a daily struggle. I didn’t say anything to anyone, especially not my husband because I didn’t want anyone else to be as disappointed in me as I already was. I felt like a failure. I kept going with the basics (barely), hiding what was inside, but not very well. My husband saw what was going on, but there is not anything that he could do to make it better. (Kissing helped but the kids kept saying “eeeewww, gross” and then climbed between us…)
I think it started with the exhaustion. In all my pregnancies I have never been as completely fatigued as this one. I was ALWAYS tired. Housework struggled, meal time struggled, (not frozen, premade or from a mix, no thank-you) I didn’t want to go anywhere–life struggled.
There were a few clues that I ignored and blamed on being tired because I was pregnant, and being the mom of 6 active (and sometimes destructive) kids. Then they were all home for the summer, which should have made life easier because my best helpers were now home, but it didn’t.
I stopped calling my sisters and my mom. I used to talk to one or more of them almost daily, and sometimes multiple times a day, but I stopped. Now it was more like one or two times a week if that.
Everything was overwhelming. Laundry, dishes, errands, play time, regular showers (sorry people that smelled me), toy clean up, vacuuming, cooking etc. I had a list of things to do and accomplish, none of them hard or complicated, but just one thing was all I could manage and sometimes not even that. I figured it would get better on its own; after all I was now in the second trimester and not as tired and having more good days. I still smiled, and even laughed at funny things, but the happiness was easily pushed aside and forgotten.
The bad days—or rather the bad/hard times that happened at some point(s) every day—were really bad. I was full of apathy. I found myself doing lots of negative self-talk. (e.g. ‘If you weren’t so lazy…’ ‘If you were more organized…’ ‘This is simple, what’s wrong with you…’ ‘You don’t deserve [good thing]’ ‘You aren’t worth it…’ ‘I don’t want to be here’) I was angry at everything, especially myself.
I was my own worst enemy and I made sure I knew it.
I was ill and needed help. Depression was not a choice I made. Talking to someone would be great, but the problem was deeper than that. My hormone levels were not balanced and without something to get them back where they needed to be, I would not get better. No amount of kindness, sweetness, love, patience or yelling on my husband’s part would fix it. To his credit, He is the one who clued me in with my PPD years ago, and reminds me before each new baby comes to get the help I need. He is the one who, point blank, told me to get help this time too. He knew that it was something that I needed to do and not something He could do for me.
I finally called my doctor and requested some medicine.
It’s working. (And thank heavens because I am much more pleasant to be around…or so they tell me)
I am still tired because I am pregnant and have 6 other children. Chaos is still going strong. I don’t get everything done during the day (hello Laundry mountain!), and that’s ok. There is more light filling my days and it is pushing the darkness away. It isn’t all happiness and rainbow pooping unicorns, but; I can look in the mirror now and tell myself that I am beautiful and I am enough. I don’t want to run away for any other reason than for a short break, and then come right back home to the family I love so much.
Depression is no respecter of persons and if it is ignored can rob you of happiness and life. The kicker is, the longer you wait the harder it is to find the desire to get help. Sometimes it takes therapy and medicine, sometimes medicine is enough though it can take several tries with different medicines to find one that works for you and gets your hormone levels back where they should be. Being happy and finding joy again is worth it. You are worth it.
We are all worth it.