I 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.