A mama who I admire and respect posted a link about Post Partum Depression today. She commented above it about her own struggle with “raging hormones” and “stream of consciousness” thoughts. My stomach clenched in excitement and fear. Someone saw me. Someone knew whats been happening to me. Something that I have been trying to hide, even from myself.
The scariest thing about Post Partum Depression, for me, is feel so out of control of my thoughts and feelings. One second I am so happy and grateful to be a mom and overwhelmed with joy, less than an hour later I’m miserable and incapable, feeling like I never should have had kids, and all I’m doing is hurting them(I’m not actually abusing them by the way, just hurting them be being upset and not the best mom I can be.) I want to have the whole house clean, both girls happy, everyone fed well, but something is always falling behind, and once it does I feel like a complete mess. I start to doubt myself and I can’t encourage myself enough to keep up with the discouraging train of thought in head.
The other thing, that only happens when I’m really really exhausted, is the intrusive thoughts. The chorus of cruel voices shouting at me, “You’re not a good mom,” “what were you thinking?” “They’d be better off if you were dead.” “Maybe you should get a job, patrick(my husband) is better at this than you anyway.” “They are going to hate you forever.” “You should just kill your self.” “They will all be so much happier if you leave.”
Even just writing these now is terrifying. These are not actions that I plan on following through, these are thoughts that have a life of their own, that I am sometimes afraid I don’t have a choice.
All of this gets so much worse when I don’t get time alone, or don’t go to counseling, or don’t do yoga, so I try to be consistent. However, sometimes someone in the family is sick, the weather is bad, I don’t get enough sleep, we don’t have enough money. Then, I am just edging through each day trying to be enough and hating myself for everywhere I fail by the end of the day.
So for those of you who know someone struggling with post partum depression, give her a hug today. Tell her it’s all going to be ok. Give her a chance to eat something slowlyand calmly. Let her know you love her, and that she is doing a good job, even if you disagree with how she does things. She already has a thousand voices in her head telling her what she’s doing wrong, and what she needs more than anything is for you to tell her that they are lying, and it’s your voice against a thousand, so give her the strongest words you’ve got.