Most the time when I write, it’s about parenting, life, or our life with a son who has cystic fibrosis. Not this one. This one is all about me.
I think most parents can agree that once you start having kids, the happiest days of your life begin. Kids bring so much joy. We don’t often talk about the sadness that can come along with parenting.
I’ve had four c-sections. They were all routine and I healed quickly and well. Three daughters and my last baby, a baby boy. When I had my son, things were different. Maybe my hormones were crazy, I’m not sure. But the hospital stay was weird. Nurses weren’t that helpful, I was late with pain pills, the feeling was just off.
That’s just the beginning. When my son was six days old, we got the call that his newborn screen came back abnormal. At three weeks old, he was finally diagnosed with a life threatening disease. I remember the doctors explaining that moms with a child who have a chronic illness are more likely to suffer postpartum depression. They gave me names of counsellors who would help me for free. I didn’t take the help, I didn’t need it. This was hard, but my family would be okay. I would be okay.
I spent the next several weeks feeling unlike myself. Locking myself in a dark room, a dark house. Feeling like things would never be normal for me again. I looked in the mirror and didn’t like the sad girl I saw staring back at me.
I was in a nightmare and couldn’t escape. I was suffering from postpartum depression and extreme anxiety. I don’t think I’ll ever be the person I was before all of this. I’m grieving the carefree mom and wife I once was.
To my husband: I’m sorry that I don’t want to wake you up with my 2am anxiety attacks, so I’ve spent the past year on the couch every night. Save me a spot in our bed, I promise I’ll be back.
To my kids: I’m sorry that you have seen your mama cry more than you should. When you ask me why I’m crying and I tell you I’m just “happy,” I know that you know I’m not being truthful. I’m so sorry. I love you so much.
To my family and friends: I’m sorry that texts, phone calls and emails go unanswered. I’m sorry I’m not the dependable person I once was. I promise that it’s not you- it’s me.
To the woman battling postpartum depression and anxiety: take the help when it is offered. I promise you may not think you need it, but you do. You deserve to be the best version of yourself. Love yourself and take the help.
And lastly, to myself: take your own advice. Go get the help. Who cares if it has been 16 months? Go get the help. This doesn’t make you weak. This doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mama or a wife. You’ve just changed. Get the help and be the woman you know you should be. You deserve to be happy.
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” -Anne Lamott