Anonymous Mom: I Suffered Homicide Ideation After Pregnancy. Yes, That Means I Wanted To Kill My Baby

shutterstock_101076643I remember sitting in the sterile, barren room in the mental health hall of my local emergency room. My journey there was both astoundingly clear and extremely muddy in my mind. I stared at the clock, feeling blood from my newly installed IUD and breastmilk dripping from me. It had been hours since I had fed my daughter, hours since I’d seen her or held her.

I both loved that and hated that. Loved that I didn’t have to see her, didn’t have to bend to her every demand. Didn’t have to listen to the screaming ringing in my ears as I fed her again, for the third time in an hour. As I checked her diaper again. As I put in her binky again. As I bounced her again.

I hated myself because I loved it.

The clock kept ticking. I bunched my hands in my sweat pants, tried to remember to breathe.

Earlier in the day, I’d been to my six week postpartum appointment. I’d been diagnosed with Postpartum Depression before I’d even made it out of the hospital after having my daughter. One night I started crying, and I couldn’t stop. They gave me an evaluation that ranked me as “high” for depression. It was only ten out of thirty. That didn’t seem so bad.

My partner and I had known I was high risk. At my intake appointment right after we’d discovered I was pregnant (well, less discovered and more like peed on three sticks and made and cancelled an abortion appointment and cried and screamed and fought and finally decided we were going to do this together), they told me I was high risk. I already had Seasonal Affective Disorder, and depression ran very high on both sides of my family. My mother herself suffers from a major depressive disorder. So does my brother. But up until this event, I was pretty much okay. I was well controlled.

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  • Robotic Socks

    O_o whoa, that’s some scary… thing…

    Best wishes for you and your recovery.

  • Katherine Handcock

    This is such a powerful piece. My mother suffered post-partum depression — in the early 1980s, when people didn’t know what it was and she had no idea why she felt so awful — and I was worried that I would have the same experience, but for whatever reason, I didn’t. I like to think that I would have sought help, but I honestly don’t know, which is why I made my husband promise me that he would get it for me if I refused to see what was happening. I’m glad that you had people in your life who understood that your pleas to leave were, just this once, something they should ignore.

    You have my best wishes for your continued recovery and for a very happy future.

  • rrlo

    Your story made me so sad. Best wishes for your ongoing recovery – you will be in my thoughts.

  • Kelly

    I think it’s wonderful that you were brave enough to get help.

    I had PPD after my son was born and I didn’t ask for help. I should have but I was so ashamed of it. I didn’t want to kill him but I used to hope he would die because I thought he would be better off. I felt like a complete failure as a mother. He was 12 years old when I finally told my husband how I had felt for the first six months of his life. After experiencing his reaction, I wish I had just told him at the time. He didn’t judge me at all.

    So many women go through this. Thank you for writing about it. This could really help someone.

  • CMJ

    Thank you for sharing this. I wish you well .

  • JLH1986

    Kudos for sticking with treatment. Love and Light to you and your family.

  • SmrtGrl86

    Writing this took an extraordinary amount of strength. Thank you for sharing your story with the world.

  • jendra_berri

    Admitting your thoughts out loud (the homicidal, suicidal and not loving your daughter) must’ve been so difficult. But it’s what got you the help you needed and I salute you. PPD could happen to anyone who has the right chemical cocktail in their brains, or the right set of bad environmental circumstances. There’s no shame in it.
    I didn’t love my son at first after complications and it freaked me out. I got to a point I didn’t care anymore, shortly before I was hospitalized for an infection. I’ve seen a glimmer of what it’s like to have PPD and it’s scary. It’s serious.
    Stories like yours are so important. Thank you for sharing.

  • Natalie

    This was extremely brave of you to write. I think it will bring courage to people struggling with any type of depression or sucicide. Thank you.

  • Lackadaisical

    How utterly awful for you and your family that you had to go through such dark times. Well done for getting help and working through it. I hope that things continue to improve for you. Thank you for sharing what must have been a harrowing experience. Hopefully your powerful piece will stick in the mind of anyone who faces a similar condition and help them reach out for the help they need rather than hide their pain out of fear, shame and isolation. Having to deal with mental health issues exacerbated by birth and new mum hormones in no way detracts from whether you are a good mum or not and I hope you realise that the brave way you faced it all and began working through it reflects very well on you.

  • Valerie

    You are very brave. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Maria Guido

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Kitsune

    This piece was really powerful and heartbreaking. The metaphor of depression as drowning is one I use a lot as well, it has the same feeling of being lost under a weight that no one else sees the danger of. I was considered high risk too. My husband and I had talks about how would handle it, I had a therapist at the ready, and my midwives were all aware. I was lucky and though I hated every minute of being pregnant, birth and breastfeeding seemed to have made my issues better. I’m glad you were able to get the help you needed and have found healthy ways of coping.

  • B.G.

    I think more women suffer from it that anyone will ever know. I suffered from it for almost a year before getting help, most of what goes on in our heads is so shameful that we don’t want to tell anyone. A lot of that hits home, I’d just lay in bed, with a pillow over my ears, ignoring my baby crying in the morning. I’d finally get up after my husband would yell at me. At night when he wouldn’t sleep I’d think about hitting him or throwing him down, throwing him against the wall or getting in the car and driving away and leaving him alone. I never acted on any of these and would feel so sad and shameful for having these thoughts. I had loving moments with him too and these just made me feel worse. Finally I got help but I regret that my first year with him was such a dark time for me. He’s a happy and healthy 2 year old now and I’m glad I got help when I did. It’s hard to understand it unless you’ve been through it!

    • Ro

      I went through the exact same thing with my son. I had suffered PPD with my daughter, but was able to pull myself through. My son however, was a terrible sleeper. I was lucky to get two strait hours for the first 9 months. He wouldn’t take a soother and I co slept with him suckling on me for the entire night because that was the only way he would stay asleep.

      I had several breakdowns and started to contemplate suicide. My doctor is not a prescription happy doctor and seemed hesitant to prescribe anti depressants because he thought it was “situational”. Finally my husband came in with me and, with me sobbing beside him, essentially demanded my doctor prescribe me something.

      Things got better after that, and fortunately my son started sleeping better. I still feel horrible guilt for the occasional violent thoughts I had. I feel like I barely remember his first year and most of what I do remember is bad.

      I’m starting to get past it though because I know what I was feeling wasn’t my fault and was no reflexion on how I feel about my son. Also, looking back, I’m pretty sure I was clinically insane, lol… It is hard though. Motherhood is never easy and mental illness and an especially difficult baby certainly don’t help.

      Good luck to you and yours!

    • B.G.

      Thank you!
      The odd thing for me was this was my second child too and I had no PPD with my first and no depression at all during my pregnancy. I think the fact that I had two kids to deal with made it worse and goes to show that sometimes there are no predictable factors for it.

  • Guest

    This heartbreaking but I applaud you for getting the help you needed. I applaud your mother and partner to being there and doing what was right for you and your daughter.

  • Maggie May

    I’m so proud of you for telling your doctor how you were feeling. That took a lot of bravery. I’m glad you’re getting the support you need and are feeling better.

  • shorty_RN

    Thank you for sharing this. I have a depressive disorder and an anxiety disorder, and I feel like people need to talk about these issues more. The shame and stigma surrounding these diagnoses can make people reluctant to ask for help. I am so glad you sought help.

  • EX

    This is beautifully written and heart wrenching to read. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that it helps others to reach out.

  • TngldBlue

    Thank you. I truly believe every time someone like you shares their story it empowers others to take that first step to getting better.

  • Missy

    I am high risk for it, as well. Since we even TALKED about getting pregnant, I have had this massive fear. I already have doctors that will be keeping an eye on me, though. So far during pregnancy I have been more stable than even when I was on medication before I got pregnant. Hopefully it doesn’t come crashing.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Your strength will show in your daughter. :3

  • Guest

    Thank you so much for sharing. Stories like this help so much. I never realized how many people I knew (even ones I never would have guessed) had checked in on that floor until I started mentioning that my dad had a stay there. If people open up more there is support available and many are more than willing to talk about it. Keep talking about it. Especially women who are in the same boat as you (just having a baby) I can only imagine how hard it is to come forward and tell the world you hate everything when everyone expects you to be the happiest.

  • Frannie

    I wish you the best of luck tackling this. I know it must be horrible at times.

  • Natasha B

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It took a lot of courage, to share your story. I wish the best for you and your family’s future.

  • Sara610

    I didn’t go through what you did, not exactly, but I did hate being a mother for about the first three months. My daughter was colicky and I had no experience with babies, and I was completely and totally unprepared for the reality of the adjustment to parenting a newborn. It did get better–the colic subsided and at four months, she started sleeping through the night. That was a turning point because I do not do well without enough sleep. I didn’t really start to feel like I was bonding with my daughter until she was four months old, and I wouldn’t say that I really stared enjoying being a mother until she was six months old. But the first few weeks–oh my God, I hated every minute. I remember looking at my childless friends and being SO JEALOUS of them and wishing that I could go back and un-do my decision to have a baby. My daughter is now two and a half, and I love her with all my being, but I’m still somewhat afraid to have another one and repeat the experience of my daughter’s first three months.
    I’m really glad that you got the help you needed, and I admire your strength.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      That’s totally understandable, i mean i’d find it weird if you DIDN’T hate being a mother during that first stretch where your child was sick all the time and you were thrown in the deep end. When you’re going out of your mind ‘What if?’ is the easiest question

  • AliK

    You are so strong and I am so proud of you. That sometimes feels silly to say to someone I don’t know, but I am. I am proud of you being such a strong woman.

  • K.

    This is a wonderful piece. Thank you for publishing it.

  • anon

    THIS is the type of article I like to read on mommyish

  • aCongaLine

    Oh man. so much internet hugs, and love your way. PPD is nasty- and your piece shows just how ugly it can get. I’m so glad that you are on your way to recovery, and I appreciate what it took to put your story out there for the world to read. best wishes for you and your family.

  • meghancnyc

    Thank you for sharing this. That was really brave. You definitely helped at least one person today.

  • Hana Graham

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. <3

  • J

    There are stories on mommyish that make you smile, some make you rage, and some- like this one- simply just take your breath away

    I’m pregnant at the moment- and I think that innately I know I’m capable of these thoughts. Sometimes I look at my dog and I think “wouldn’t it be easier if he passed away. He barks a lot.. And I find him so frustrating” but then I give him a giant hug and I let those thoughts swim back down to my inner darkness.

    I’ve told people my biggest fear in parenting is that I am extremely selfish. If I have a headache I’ll stay in bed all day. What I really mean is that I’m scared that I will keep putting myself first- and when I have a headache and my child cries I will look at her/him the same way I look at my dog when I wish he wasn’t in my life.

    Your story gave me courage that there is help when the dark thoughts start overwhelming me.

    Thank you for your bravery for writing this.

    • whiteroses

      As a fellow PPD sufferer, who suspected that I was going to have the same thoughts- half the battle for me was that I recognized I had the thoughts, and I was able to articulate them to other people. Depression is an insidious thing because it makes you feel alone.

      There is always hope. There is always help. You are not alone. And it’s better to get help than it is to soldier on alone.

  • Ptownsteveschick

    I was terribly afraid of this when my daughter was born. I was passively suicidal a couple years before I got pregnant, but I went and got treatment and was better and well managed, until I had to quit my medications during my pregnancy. A few times the only thing that kept me going was telling myself that I could die after the baby was born. I started taking my medication again the day after she was born, and it helped immensely, but there was still a lot of hard times and I re-entered therapy when she was a year old. I just thank my lucky stars that my hatred only focuses on myself, and never transferred onto her. My evil little lizard brain isn’t nice to me, but at least it keeps her out of it. I am so glad you were able to get help. I hope everything works out for you and your family. Everyday is a new beginning.

  • scooby23

    What a heart-wrenching, but incredibly important post. I say important because so often, women who murder their babies are passed off as “physcos” or “monsters”, but in reality, these women, like you, are in need of serious help. Too often, I think, things like PTSD in new mothers are often passed off as we have become too accustomed to that “love at first sight” and “perfect birth” we see on T.V/movies. I think you are very brave for not only going through this, but sharing your experience in an internet full of judgemental jerks who make quick assumptions. Thank you for posting this article.

  • Shannon

    Thank you for sharing your story. It was beautifully written and you really clearly described the awful mixture of hopelessness, shame and fear. I had a history of depressive episodes in high school and college but never got treatment. I had a rough pregnancy, breastfeeding went horribly at first and I was a major Type A personality. Between the lack of sleep, nursing troubles and hormones, I felt like a failure and started having intrusive thoughts of throwing my son against a wall or out the window. Those made me feel even worse, and I spiraled downward. My son was 3 months old when I finally asked for help. I cried to my super sweet OB and she sent me to the ER. I cried for the entire six hours I was there and begged them to let me go home, under the condition that I wouldn’t be alone with him until I started my meds and saw a therapist. I recovered after about six months, but I’m afraid it will happen again with the next baby. I work with new moms now and am extra sensitive to the ones who are more anxious or emotional than normal. I tell my PPD moms and their partners that it’s not their fault and there are so many people who want to help. Taking the first step is the hardest. I’m so happy for you that you did.

  • Caitlin

    I am writing down your paragraph about drowning, and I am bringing it to my therapist, because you have the words I don’t.

    Thank you for writing this, thank you for getting help, and thank you for being so strong.

  • Shanzie

    Oh my goodness, this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle.

  • Sterf

    You have a very powerful voice; please keep writing.

  • C.J.

    That must have been terrifying. I hope you one day realize how awesome you are. To go seek treatment is not an easy thing to do and you should be proud of yourself. Sharing your story takes a lot of guts. Hopefully it helped you and you may have even helped someone else too. I wish you all the best!

  • Jennifer Freeman

    I am so happy that you had the strength to ask for help when you needed it, and that your boyfriend and mother were there to support you. Best wishes in your recovery and thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Alicia Kiner

    I’m so sorry you went through this, and I’m so glad you GOT through it. You are blessed to have wonderful people in your life, who enabled you to get the help you need. I hope you come to peace with all this, and have a happy future with your daughter.

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    What is up with anonymous mom?
    Twice I’ve tried sending in a submission and it keeps saying delivery failed.

  • Needs Improvement

    Thank you for sharing – this was beautifully written. This is a big reason why I am legitimately scared of having children on my own. I have struggled with dysthymia, diagnosed when I was 18, consistently for the last decade. I haven’t had any good upswings and I know that I don’t really see a future where I am off of any meds. Part of me is terrified to pass on my mental struggles, along with the long history of addiction on both sides of the family, and the other part is terrified that this is what would push me from being apathetically suicidal (meh, no one really cares if I am here, but I would never do something while my mom is still alive) to active. You are very brave for admitting what you were going through, and I wish you all the best.

  • footnotegirl

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for getting help. I wish you all the best in your continued wellness.

  • Margie

    Thank you for writing this. I feel I need to confess something here because I’m not sure I can say anywhere else. I suffered from PPD with both my kids, but I didn’t get treatment until my second son was 14 months old. Now he’s 19 months and it’s still a struggle. I went back to work a couple days a week which helped somewhat, but I’ve been passively suicidal going on 4 years. I’m on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills. I keep thinking about calling the crisis line and seeing about checking into the hospital even though it would completely screw up my home life and child care situation and everyone would hate me, but I don’t know how much longer I can live like this.

    • meghancnyc

      I promise you no one will hate you for reaching out, Margie. Promise. Pinky swear. It’s not fair to you or your family for you to live like this for one more day. Please call the crisis line. The resources they offer may not disrupt your life in the way you fear. I’m 100% sure your kids want a happy, stable mom and you deserve to be happy and stable. Call. Today.

  • Kimberly

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope it helps other mothers to not feel so alone in their feelings. <3 to you and your family and may you stay on a healthy path.

  • Alice Bel

    By saying these awful feelings out loud, you saved your daughter and yourself. By telling the whole painful story here, you probably have saved many more. God bless you and keep you and your family. Keep fighting to stay alive. Be proud of yourself every day for being such a good mother, for having the courage to do this. And major props to your mom and bf, too, for seeing you through treatment and supporting you with love.
    For postpartum help, is immensely useful. And don’t forget dads, too; a new study shows dads can have PPD, and my doc was sharp enough to notice not only did I have it, but my fiance did, too. We struggled together, all 3 of us, but we got help, we healed, and my man, our little girl, and I are a stronger family than ever.

    Moms and dads, suicidal, homicidal, scared and ashamed:

  • Justme

    Note to my beloved Mommyish editors…pieces like this probably need a disclaimer beforehand about possible triggers. Off to take my Xanax and curl up in the corner.