It found me. I moved 2,600 miles away, built a new life in the sun. Kept her a secret, giving birth to her on a quiet Monday morning in the privacy of our home. I thought I had fooled it, hiding out in the bright bedroom on our second floor, my baby asleep and breathing on my chest. I sent my husband out of the house with confidence, kept my house clean and my hair curled. I did everything right this time.
But it found me. Lurked outside my house and snuck in uninvited on some hot Tuesday afternoon.
Postpartum depression tells you ugly, horrible lies. It tells you that you are not ok, you are not enough, not now or ever. It tells you that life is hopeless, suffocating, and it will never get better. And you believe every word, because these lies are big enough to engulf you. Too big and too horrible for fiction. Too rooted in your own worst fears to ignore. You feel guilt for what you cannot do, and guilt for the way you do the things you’re able to. You see your real, beautiful life through a perverse filter that ruins it.
And so, when the tears started coming again and wouldn’t stop, and I began to believe I’d never be able to cope, my husband sat next to me and dialed the number on the back of my insurance card. I knew I had to solve the problem while I still realized it was temporary, and not the undeniable, insurmountable truth of my whole existence. I knew this time to call for help before I was totally underwater.
Determined to win this time, I clawed my way out. I fought that bullshit like a jungle of lies with my machete. Cutting them back one at a time. I'm on the other side now, taking deep, sweet breaths and looking forward. Back to living in the sun, where I can savor my babies and wish for time to stand still. I’m tired, I’m happy, I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
M. Gray, February 2015.