I haven’t wanted to say anything about this partly because I’m worried I might jinx myself, partly because I don’t trust my emotions, and partly because Toby returned to work this week and I know things are going to be different now. I’m optimistic today but a little wary of every step I take on solid ground.
The truth is I have felt pretty damn good for several days now. I haven’t cried. I haven’t felt that grand old feeling of dread or emptiness. I haven’t felt frightened. I’ve felt OK. I’ve even had moments of pure joy. I went from mourning all the things that have changed, to thinking about all the awesome things I want to do with my family.
I have to be honest. The weeks directly following Emory’s birth held some of the saddest and scariest moments I’ve ever experienced. I realize those weeks were supposed to hold some of the best moments as well, and they did. I am completely joyous about becoming a mother. And Emory is an absolute miracle. But I still worried about my well being. There were times I wondered where I might be headed mentally. (Would things get worse? How could I possibly live this way and at the same time be responsible for a new life?) My anxiety reached dangerous levels. I worried myself sick. And I have never felt more alone in a room full of people. I never wished away the sunlight before. Dusk dragged on for too long and dawn came far too soon. And I preferred the cloudy days to all those with sunshine. I watched daylight slip by me from inside wanting nothing to do with any of it. And at some point during all of this, something occurred to me; I was experiencing actual depression. This was a different kind of depression from what I had experienced before. This was intolerable. This was scary.
I am not sure what to say as I look back on the last couple of weeks. I do know that I now have a lot more admiration for those dealing with depression every day. (I have a new found dislike toward the Tom Cruise Foundation as well.) I can’t imagine feeling the way I felt for any extended period of time especially without reason. Because a saving grace for me was knowing that the depression I experienced was chemical and temporary, I knew there was an end in sight. I went from being pregnant and pumped full of hormones to having that hormonal lifeline severed in minutes. Some women do pretty well with that cutoff. I am not one of those women.
Now that I feel a bit better, I really want to thank all of those who wrote to me both via email and on here. Your stories had me in tears. Sometimes you made me laugh. Sometimes you made me feel so sad. Especially reading through stories of those who faced “The Baby Blues” alone. The number of women out there who are too afraid to speak up – specifically to their spouses – is far too great. If I could turn back time and make things better for everyone, I most certainly would even if it meant having to live through the last three weeks all over again. No one should have to face that sort of sorrow alone. No one.
I’m hoping that today is the first day of an upward arc. I want to feel this way indefinitely. I think I deserve to feel this way. I want to focus on the amazing career that is motherhood. I want to focus on my son.
Here’s to today, tomorrow and next week. Here’s to more light, better weather, and letting go. Here’s to the women.