Could I be the only one that was blindsided by this thing we innocently call motherhood? Perhaps I was not as much blindsided but so enamored with the little creature that had arrived and completed me, that my ignorance of reality was my only guilt. It was not long before I realized this mothering thing was clearly my first rodeo, yet I did not feel sad. Instead, I was elated with my newborn son though annoyed at my spouse to a point that needed intervention, though I would not have called it depression.
I remember my husband had left with his parents on a cold rainy Saturday and I was furious to find them gone when I came out of the shower to a wailing baby. Why was I furious? They had left me and so, I revolted and when they arrived home totally unaware I packed up my six week old and headed out. Yes, I only went to Rose's as there is no where else to go on a cold day in a small town. It is funny now on so many levels, the Rose's and even better, being mad I was left alone. That is my idea of a wonderful thing these days, just me and a little person who only eats and sleeps. At the time though I needed to escape, if only to walk off my mean spiritedness.
However, I was likely exhausted, hormonal, and while besotted with my baby, I was a virtual wreck. Somehow we managed and survived and were quite happy though stressed, a baby that still did not sleep through the night and late hours finishing my PhD. It was not until the next baby arrived that I was flooded again with those feelings of anger, not directed at my darling newborn, but at my own husband. This time I was frustrated with the older brother toddler too though and remember raising my voice and wondering where the angry words had originated. This was not the me that I knew and yet, I did not feel depressed or what I thought was postpartum depression. I was struggling and yet my silent voice went unheard.
I owe the thank you to a dear friend who has never been known to mince her words. After the birth of her twins, she casually opened up to me on how she had started an anti-depressant after their birth. We had gotten together casually and she took immediate pity on the annoyed me, evidence audible in my words and tone and she mentioned the medicine she had been prescribed for postpartum depression. I asked her if she had been really sad, in my most serious voice. She laughed and said, "Hell no, it's called so I don't kill my husband medicine". Witnessing this type of transparency surrounding a mental health issue that can lead women down a scary road was extraordinary for me. Over the next few weeks, I considered my own plight and was convicted that I, too, may be a good candidate.
Oh, what a difference that appointment and the subsequent medication made in me. I no longer catalogued the many grievances that my poor husband racked up each morning and evening and truthfully, even during the day while working. The lack of a phone call, the length of a shower, abandoning me to have breakfast with his parents...he was close to hanging for these transgressions. I'm so thankful for the easy honesty that rolled off her tongue free of guilt. This experience with transparency planted the seed for my own truth whether with friends later in whom I saw the telltale signs, not of a foreboding depression but certainly signs that life was tougher than it should be. May we take our mothering role seriously not only for the little people that have been entrusted to us but also with the women sharing in our humbling, though grace and joy filled journey.