As I’ve talked with other women about postpartum or prenatal depression, one thing that they frequently mention is that they feel sad that they are so depressed during what should be a happy time.
But…is it really supposed to be a happy time?
You spend 9 – 10 months growing a human. It’s exhausting, your hormones are out of control and you’ve got to deal with a bunch of idiots who feel the need to watch your every move. The whole time, you’re building up to what is at best described as “the worst pain you’ll ever feel in your life”. You think about your birth plan, naively convinced that you’ll have any type of control over the process. You’re keenly aware that after pushing a human out of a ludicrous area, you’ll then have to recover on no sleep while you figure out how to keep a tiny infant alive.
The first several weeks you have tons of time, yet everything is so intense. Your life is completely changed. Doing everything takes twice as long. Spontaneity becomes a thing of the past.
Of course, some people adjust to these new changes quickly, but others need to take the time to mourn the loss of their former selves. Some are buoyed by the fact that they’ve got a ‘bundle of joy’ which mitigates the hard work and stress of a newborn.
But like all major life changes, change is hard.
You go from having freedom, time to yourself, drive and energy for your job, spontaneity to being wholly responsible for raising a responsible member of society that needs constant attention around the clock…at least for the foreseeable future. This tiny baby can’t tell you what’s wrong by any other means but indiscriminate tears.
With children, sometimes it’s happy. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s hard and it sucks. With postpartum depression, maybe it’s always hard and it always sucks.
Cut yourself a break. It’s not supposed to be anything. Give yourself the freedom to mourn the loss of your old life.