I was reluctant to admit it to the world, but itâs a fact and I shouldnât be ashamed of it: Iâm struggling from postpartum depression — a full 14 months after my daughterâs birth. Itâs morbid and ironic but the thing keeping me from offing myself is the fact that Iâm someoneâs mother.
Itâs hard to explain to anyone who hasnât experienced it, but depression really makes everything negative. You berate yourself for stupid little shit, then you berate yourself for berating yourself. My brain is numb from these dull winter days.
I havenât had a proper diagnosis because we canât afford healthcare, but having had clinical depression in my late teens, I know the feeling well. It moved in on me about two months agoâthe feeling that I didnât have any true friends, that I was nothing but a burden on my loved ones. Itâs the cloud that darkens my favorite activities and stops me after my first brushstroke on a new canvas, stops me after a few keys played on my piano, leads me to desperate âvaguebooking,â or last-ditch effort pleas to the social media universe to rescue me. Itâs the cloud that confines me to a couch while my baby toddles and babbles for my attention and the feeling that brings me to tears while Iâm nursing her, wishing I had the energy to be the mother she needs.
Like I said, no healthcare, so Iâm not medicated. But every Thursday night I get a bit of a release when my husband and I play amateur volleyball. The physical and social aspects of the game have restorative powers. That is, they did, before scheduling got complicated.
We used to bring baby to the games, but lately the half hour drive each way has infallibly sent baby into a fit of enraged crying. And thatâs not including her frequent crying during the game. Now that her separation anxiety is in full gear, if someone other than mama is holding her on the sidelines, she screams bloody murder. Itâs a distraction in an otherwise silent gym, to say the least. As her mother, my heart pounds every time I hear so much as a whimper from that baby, which means when sheâs crying itâs pretty impossible to focus on acing that serve or reacting quickly enough to save that ball from going out of bounds.
And the games are late. Sometimes as late as 10 p.m. Baby wonât go to bed without nursing, so keeping her home with a sitter isnât an option. But keeping her awake wreaks havoc on her sleep schedule. Thereâs no right way to do this. Call me selfish, but I just cannot give up the one thing in my week that Iâm still excited for.