Talking to my friend the other day, it suddenly dawned on me that I needed to build bridges for old friendships, for the connections I had before I had Postpartum Depression (PPD). In retrospect, many of my friendships suffered a great deal. Lost in my foggy bubble, groping my way through this dark phase, I lost touch with reality, lost touch with many friends. Add to this the fact that I was (still am a single parent, so hey 😉 ) parenting alone, and through the challenges of it all, I guess I never realized the ebbs of my deepest relationships. This post is for the people I hurt when I suffered PPD…
To my family,
Even when you couldn’t understand the teary nights, the seething rage when my infant boy then couldn’t stop crying, the pillow-muffled sobs in the dead of the night, I am grateful you held on to me, and when you couldn’t, you held on to my son. I am grateful you were patient enough with me, through the different stages, through the milestones, many of which you remain hazy for me. I am sorry you never got to understand at the time, why all this was happening. But I am grateful, you loved on my son and I the best way you knew how.
To my best friend,
You were happy the moment we found out I was gonna be a mom. You held my hand through the motions of the 1st trimester. In the uncertainty, yours was a voice of reason, the sound of sobriety in my many irrational thoughts. Many times, you held on to me just so I wouldn’t get sucked in the vortex of self-pity. Thank you for that, for showering me with gifts on my son’s arrival. For reminding me that you cared. And even when I plunged head first into depression, you were there. Trying to reach out to my heart, yet in my hurt your attempts to show up were muffled by my soul’s silent screams.
I am sorry I could not articulate in coherent words what I was going through. How could I offload all these intrusive thoughts of self-harm and suicide on you when you were in your last semester of engineering? How could I indulge you in the self-hate I had, for ‘messing my life by getting a baby out of wedlock’? Would you understand what it meant like to be suicidal after what is supposed to be the most amazing time for any mom? I am sorry you tried as much as you could, yet looking back, it did not seem to mean much. Now, I know better. Thank you, for not giving up on me. You are one of my life’s treasures.
To my friends,
For the messages of encouragement on the hard days, I am truly grateful. Yet in the same breath, I am sorry for putting on a screensaver that everything was okay. For creating the illusion that motherhood was perfectly blissful, for cementing the notion that all moms bond immediately with their babies, yet behind closed doors I was a teary mess struggling with cracked bleeding nipples and sleepless nights. Now, I know better than to create illusions. Instead, I am tearing down those illusions and sharing my struggles, my vulnerability, my passion for a world where PPD can be diagnosed early and even prevented.
Flashbacks to late 2011…
If you experience these symptoms of PPD, or know anyone likely suffering from this, please make sure you see a professional doctor. Medication, therapy and support will go a long way in helping you through this journey. There is hope, tomorrow’s a better day.