Not Just the Baby Blues

It is hard enough for any mother to have a child and not lose her mind to a point, yet some of us completely crack. For the ones that crack it is hard to accept everything about being a mother, from the pregnancy itself, the birth, and finally the all-consuming responsibility of raising the child. Support is key and that doesn’t start with the birth it starts with the conception. I give praise to the women who decide they want a child and they do it all themselves, no fathers involved. I think that if that had been my plan, or story, things would have turned out very differently for me.
When I found out I was pregnant I was 25 and not ready to be a mother. This isn’t to say that I didn’t want children, I wanted kids, but I wanted to be married and have already finished college. These things were not in the cards for me though and my depression began almost as soon as the clear blue easy digital pee stick, boldly stated pregnant, without the first word, the word which I had always relied on being there. So I texted my roommate and ask for another box of advanced technology. (That’s how the pregnancy test was advertised and all of my female friends at that point loved the idea of peeing on advanced technology.)
Three tests later I was being congratulated and I couldn’t figure out why. Yes I wanted kids, but why is it a good thing right now? I was about to move to Boston and go back to school and make something of my life. These were things I suddenly felt I could not do alone and pregnant. So I resigned myself to having the child thinking everything would be just fine. Other women have babies without husbands and they are okay, right?
My roommate moved out, long story there, and I was alone in my house and sick. For the first five months of my pregnancy I couldn’t do anything without getting sick. I had a friend stay with me for a short time, but then she had to go and I was again, alone, depressed, and sick. If I hadn’t reconciled with my old roommate when I did, I’m not sure how I would have made it through that time period. She started getting me out of the house, and because of her I met a wonderful man.
I was six months pregnant when my friends made me dress up and go out for New Year’s Eve. That’s how I met Mike. He dragged my pathetic self out of my self-loathing and depression and made me start really living again. Although my belly was growing, and I still hadn’t accepted being pregnant, Mike became my perfect distraction, and to him I am eternally grateful for that.
My son decided that he was done with the whole being prenatal thing when I was 30 weeks into my pregnancy. He came out, natural as I wanted, and extremely healthy for being so small. When they showed him to me, with one of my oldest friends and my sister at my side, I said nothing, and I felt nothing. I could not touch him, or hold him, and I refused to let myself feel for him because if there was a problem, I felt that if I got attached, that would be the end of me.
This was my first taste of post-partum depression. Once called the baby blues, and still unrecognized by many old school doctors as a real thing. This state of numbness, was my first taste of the trouble I was going to have for the next four years. Even now, my son is five, I’m not sure if I have really come out the other side of all of this. My first step was feeling again, and being able to look at my child and feel, and miss him in his absence. There is a lot of rebuilding to do. In my depression, and my search for feeling I tore my entire world apart. I lost all sense of who I was, who I am. However, today I believe I am ready, ready to tell that story.

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One thought on “Not Just the Baby Blues”

  1. Post-partum depression is a real thing, and it nearly took me out back in 1980. I stayed alive for the innocent child and for the other people who loved and needed me, but it was a long time before I really felt alive again. There’s more help available now than there was back then and I hope you find what you need. You’re writing; that’s definitely a step in the right direction.

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