Have you ever held your newborn infant in your arms, rocking her gently to sleep while rivers of tears were falling for no apparent reason? Have you ever felt such irrational anger that nothing and no one could pacify? Have you ever gone to bed at night hoping that you’d never have to wake up again, ever? Have you ever felt numb, useless, exhausted? Have you ever had this irrational fear that one day you might go crazy enough to pick up a knife and stick it into your heart?
I picked that knife up once. It came so close to my heart that I could feel the bite of the cold steel on my skin.
It doesn’t really matter how well you plan your pregnancies or how long the gap is between each pregnancy. It doesn’t matter how well-fed you are while pregnant, or how healthy your baby is or how well-loved or whatever. Post Partum Depression can hit when you least expect it.
I know because I’ve been there. And I am only just beginning to pick up the pieces of the person that I used to be before that dark cloud descended on me. I still get teary-eyed when I remember that dark period of my life. Sometimes I’m not even sure how I got through it or if it’s even over and done with already.
Friends, co-workers, loved ones, even people I barely knew… they all felt the backlash at some point. But the biggest victim of my depression wasn’t me.
It was my kids.
They both felt it, they both had to suffer through it. I will forever carry the guilt in my heart for how I treated them during the dark days, during those days when I could barely get my head over the water, days when I could barely breathe. Days when all I ever really wanted to do was to sleep and never wake up. Or pack up my bags and leave, else I’d harm them in irreparable ways.
Healing. Emotional. Mental. Physical. It was a long, arduous road. It was also a road that I had to travel alone. Nobody knew what I was going through, not even me. No one was there to sit with me and just be there for me even. No one probably wanted to because of the monster that I was. Nobody seemed to care, they didn’t know how or when or where to start.
All I had was that person in the mirror constantly yakking at me, constantly nagging me for the things I’d left undone and for the things that I shouldn’t have done. All I had was that voice in my head. That dark, dark voice telling me things that no sane person would ever want to hear.
I constantly tried to reach out to friends who showed a small hint of what I was going through. I knew what they needed. They needed the one thing I never got: emotional and mental support.
So for those of you with loved ones, especially sisters, aunts, friends who have just given birth, try to be more understanding. They don’t get angry because you did something wrong. They get angry for reasons that they themselves know nothing of. They do not cry dahil nag iinarte lang sila. They cry because they have this huge weight they carry around in their hearts, a weight that will only diminish through time and love and understanding.
Best of all, be there for them. You don’t have to talk to them. You don’t have to badger them into telling you how they feel. How can they when they don’t understand it themselves? Just. Be. There.
If you are a mom and you feel the same things I’ve felt, please know that you are NOT alone. You are not useless. There is hope. There is love. Heal yourself by focusing on what you have. Be grateful for every day. Listen to your favorite songs over and over again.
Most of all, find people to talk to. They don’t have to be your loved ones or close friends. There are many support groups online nowadays. There are people who’ve been through what you’re going through. They will understand. They will care. I care. And I’m sorry if this is all the advice I can offer you. I don’t have the answers figured out yet. I am a work in progress.
Talk to me. We can be works in progress together. 🙂