I hate those words. I hate them because as a mother, I am bombarded with awareness for PPD and blogs and articles written about how to survive it, where to reach out for help, how you should have a support network and all the signs you shouldn’t ignore. But how does one differentiate “motherhood” and the crap that comes with it, and actual postpartum depression? Kids can be a lot of work, whether you’re a SAHM or a working mom, or whatever. And we lose our minds, we lose our shit and we become short and irritable and frustrated, but where’s the line of when too much is too much?
Over the past 5 years, I have worked my ass off trying to learn my triggers and emotions and signs to know when I’m depressed or entering a manic phase. I saw no signs of Postpartum Psychosis when I experienced it in 2012, it just happened. And though my stability has been rocky since 2012, I’ve managed to be somewhat aware of myself, though I’ve had setbacks.
I know I am depressed right now; I am smoking and drinking more than is normal. I am wanting to sleep more than anything else. My body isn’t my own at the moment, I am always at the beck and call of a baby who’s been cluster feeding and all the pats-on-the-back, telling me this is just a phase, she’ll grow out of it, aren’t helping. I lost my cool with my mom today when I was emotionally bankrupt and I tried to talk to her about my depression, but she has this narcissistic attitude that if it isn’t about her, she doesn’t want to hear about it. Plus my grandmother was here and she doesn’t believe in mental illness at all. And all 5 of my kids were like flies around us, so I couldn’t have the kind of conversation that I’d like to have had.
But I was sitting on the couch in the living room, sweating, itching, utterly uncomfortable, with a baby attached to my breast again, after only a 30 minute break and I was irritable and frustrated and my mother says “They’re not always little forever, enjoy her wanting to cuddle you so much.” and I lost it. I said “Don’t do that.” and she looked confused and asked what, and I said “Don’t guilt me. Telling me to enjoy every moment. I’m nursing around the clock, my blood pressure is ridiculously high. I’m hot, I’m sweating, I’m uncomfortable and though I love my daughter and her cuddling, I do not have to appreciate or like this.”
I am tired of the mixed messages I get as a mother:
- Have a support net…but expect judgmental and people telling you what you should do.
- Talk to your partner…so he can belittle your feelings and emotions and trivialize your depression.
- Get out of the house….as long as you have a second vehicle, disposal income and a nanny.
- Sleep when baby sleeps…unless you have 4 other kids bugging you for snacks, the tv, snacks, their tablets, snacks, if they can color, snacks, if they can fight over a board game, snacks, or go outside and play when it’s 110 degrees, oh, and of course, snacks.
- Eat healthy and stay hydrated…unless it’s nearly 125 degrees inside your house because your AC is broke and turning the oven on is like welcoming the Devil himself to dinner. And water? The city’s water is disgusting, so you rely on bottle water, but you can’t ask your husband to refill the 5 gallon bottles, again, because it’s nagging. And I have to eat healthy and stay hydrated, because I am a person’s source of nutrition and hydration…
- Have a mom tribe…but mind you, the women who have more than one child are easily 10+ years older than you and they assume you were a pregnant teenager who married the guy who knocked her up, they all have amazing two-story houses and travel the world with their kids and everything looks like it belongs in a magazine, especially the taught-tummied mommy who looks like her baby was birth via surrogate. OR, there’s the young moms like me; late 20’s/early 30’s and they have maybe one or two kids, but they are crunchy, free-range, pot-smoking, oils-will-cure-everything, spiritual mamas, whom I have nothing in common with.
- Get help…from your doctors: unless it’s an inconvenience to your family. After all, their needs come before your sanity. Get help…from your family: unless they’re all busy with their own lives and jobs. Get help…from your friends: except you ain’t got any. Get help…from a babysitter or a nanny…unless you’re fucking broke and that’s why YOU’RE home, to take care of your kids.
- Get out of the house…unless every argument is about sharing one vehicle, and how you’re hurting for bill money, let alone gas money.
- Have hobbies…especially if you enjoy falling asleep mid-paragraph because you’re so fucking exhausted from having to be ON all the time, you lack inspiration to write or paint or craft because your brain is literally dead because you’re so drained and tired.
- Exercise…after you struggle with ALL the guilt of the above, and separation anxiety and then lets move on from baby, how about the anxiety you feel yourself? You’re stuck in a house full of children all day and you go to a gym with other adults and I swear I’m on the verge of a full blown panic attack. Not to mention feeling insecure and judged, which I KNOW they’re judging my fat ass, because why not, my own mother does. Did I mention how much it fucking sucks being the fattest person in the house? Seriously. Not one of my family members has to worry about salt, dairy, fat, sugar, etc. etc. etc. God-forbid I want a dairy-free, sugar-free meal and all hell breaks loose, because only I need to worry about my diet, not them right?
I break down Sunday night, after having a few arguments with my husband earlier in the day and I sit at the dining room table with him and our teenage daughter and I say, “When I see my psychiatrist on the 21st, I think I’ll have her admit me to ETS.” (which is a mental hospital) because I am depressed and dealing with both self-harm thoughts and suicidal thoughts. And after arguing for nearly an hour, my husband sums it up to me being depressed because my house isn’t clean. I’m fucking suicidal because I can’t keep the house clean. I can’t get the kids to do their chores. As if he didn’t hear ONE of my pleas. I. Am. Fucking. Stuck. I have no friends. No outlet. Can’t afford school. If I had a job, I’d be making minimum wage and it’d all go to Ivy’s care provider.
Sometimes I swear I had these kids myself and he only wants to be around for the easy or fun parts. He ignores their screaming and fighting, unless I sigh loud enough out of annoyance. He doesn’t plan doctors appointments, except he wants a cookie because he finally set one Monday morning for Olivia. He doesn’t plan family outings or trips or activities, I do all that and then he gets annoyed when he has to do stuff with his family on the weekends…but his friend messages him about designing some background sets for his upcoming play, oh he’s all over that. And dates? What dates? We had a rushed lunch with Ivy a few weeks ago, hard to be romantic with a baby there. And besides, all we fucking do are restaurants. That’s it. I’m fucking over eating more food, unless some fucking activity follows it.
I’ve been sleeping on the couch since Sunday. Not really sleeping, but my blood pressure is a helluva lot lower since not having to share a bed with him.
I missed my psychiatrist appointment this morning, I’d settled on not going since my depression is clearly about an unkempt house–so why waste her time. But then Derrick has the audacity to act like he cares and demands to know why I didn’t go and if I’d called my therapist. I’m not speaking to him because I lost all trust in him. He was supposed to be my one person; since I have no trusting family and no friends…but I’m realizing I’m so isolated because of him. He even wanted me to tell my mom she can’t come over anymore. And since he belittled my racing thoughts, my anxiety, my self-harm and suicidal thoughts, how in the hell am I ever supposed to trust him again? Maybe his goal is for me to commit suicide. Maybe he has some agenda I don’t know about. All I know is his attitude about my mental health is wildly different than it was when I experienced PPP in 2012. I had support then. I have nothing now. Just hoping today isn’t the day I snap.
I have no sense of self anymore.
But he expects me to just be over his words. He’s been trying to talk to me, about frivolous shit. I’m not having it. If I survive this shitty situation, it won’t be for him. It’ll be for me and for the kids. He’s lost my trust. And if this is how he has to find out. So be it. I am tired of living this facade that my mom made me believe I need to feel super lucky for achieving. That I have this amazing, hardworking husband and well he is hardworking, he makes me feel lonely, a lot. And he threw it in my face that maybe I outta stop talking him up on social media and it donned on me; I should fucking stop. He doesn’t brag about me. I don’t get birthday and anniversary and Mother’s Day posts, hell he doesn’t even take photos of me with the kids. The pics I have of me with the kids are selfies I’ve taken myself. He doesn’t try. But I am supposed to be eternally grateful because he has a job and pays the bills? As if his sole role within the family negates an actual role, in the family. He was a husband before he became a father, but he forgets that. Happy wife, happy life is such bullshit. He doesn’t buy me flowers unless I mention them. I don’t want a fucking marriage built on guilt. I want a husband who wants me just as much now, than when I was a 16 year old slut who fucked him in the back of his car.
But at least I have a husband, right? He provides for his kids, right? Thusly proving that materialistic bullshit matters far more than how a person feels. So I ought to STFU and deal with it and tuck my mental illness away, sweep it under the carpet because it’s such an inconvenience. Whatever.
But today isn’t that day, I won’t cave today. Even though I’m hurt, I’m frustrated, I’m pissed off…I rescheduled my psyche appointment and I called my therapist. Fuck him and me being an inconvenience to him. I need to survive for me.