Perhaps the most interesting part of my blogging will be to learn where each new post is being written. This snippet comes to you straight from a dark corner of my bedroom where I’ve been hiding for roughly four minutes. I just spent the last two episodes of The Big Bang Theory wrestling an over-tired 6-month-old who is finally silent in his swing. I will not come out of this corner until I am sure he has surrendered to his exhaustion.
A dark corner seems so appropriate for tonight’s very raw topic of baby blues and postpartum depression: a monster so common, fearsome, and uncomfortable. A monster I jostled with quietly and angrily.
I remember the night that monster exploded inside of me. Oliver, our first born, couldn’t have been more than twelve weeks old. Our little family of three had had plans to go out, but a white lie of exhaustion and a migraine left me home alone and Brandon on a solo-parent trip to Papa and Nana’s. I remember sitting in the empty, dark kitchen, so tired. Tired of feeling like a half-ass mom, a half-ass wife, a half-ass person. I remember grabbing every bottle of wine I could find and dragging myself outside to the front porch. I remember the rain. The bleak, comfortless storm seemed all too perfect for the darkness I felt in my heart.
I remember staring at the dirt, choking down crappy vino through sobs of defeat and screams of helplessness. The next thing I remember is being woken up to Brandon shouting my name. While our sweet baby boy slept peacefully in his newly painted nursery, his mother lay on the bathroom floor, overwhelmed with humiliation and self-disgust. Brandon had called my own mother and I remember being so angry with him for involving her. In and out of my drunken stupor, I listened to their conversation, catching myself wondering, “How did I end up here?”
The next few weeks were full of hard conversations, over-protective family, and lighter days. I spoke with a therapist, found an untried honesty with my husband, and learned how to ask for help when I so desperately needed it. Once the initial burn of the blues had passed, I was forced to find a new normal. Every day for weeks, Brandon worked to convince me that I was a purposeful mother and wife, that what I was ruining myself for was important and noticed.
Though the light at the end of the tunnel was in closer view, there were still days I found myself struggling on the floor of Oliver’s bedroom.
The battle of the blues didn’t beat on me forever, but she sent casual sucker punches my way to let me know she could resurface if I let her.
The monster of PPD and baby blues doesn’t always announce itself boldly, but can drip into your soul a little at a time. It is ruthless, it is unnerving, but it is not as resilient as you are, Mama. This overwhelming feeling of worthlessness and anxiety is not something we should be afraid to battle or talk about. Know your limits, know when you need a break, know that you are never alone.