Here is a quick list of things about my postpartum depression (second baby edition). Some of this may make you uncomfortable.
It does not mean I am a bad person, parent, mother, or employee. But it makes me feel like I am.
I should not be ashamed of it, but I am.
I love my children with everything I have. I enjoy my profession and I feel a calling to help others. But sometimes I am so tired of being needed. When all I want to do is cry all day, I still have to get up and take care of them. I have to go to work because I don’t want to let my colleagues and patrons down. I have to grade because my students want their final grades. I have to do laundry and cook so we have clean clothes and food to eat. I have to pay my bills. People rely on me.
Just because I am depressed does not mean I am incompetent, but sometimes I feel like I am. For a while I was very focused on making change and improving my life, but now I don’t care.
These feelings come and go. I am still capable of being happy. I can joke and laugh. I experience joy when I am around my sons.
I don’t need sympathy. I need empathy. I feel guilty because others in my life are dealing with difficult situations, and I have not been able to conjure up much empathy. When I say I’m sorry over and over, I feel even more guilt because I can’t give the support others deserve. Or I absorb their emotions and feel even worse.
Social media wrecks me. I am anxious about the election. I hate Trump but am afraid to say anything about it because his followers might try to kill me or my children. But I still go on Facebook because I have the hope I might see something positive posted from someone I care about. It’s the only thing that keeps me going sometimes.
I hate seeing women breastfeeding because I failed so hard at it, even worse the second time. Despite the fact that I have been exclusively pumping for five months, making enough milk to donate to babies in need, I still get upset when I think about it. Jamie Oliver and his crap about breastfeeding being so easy makes me sick.
Meghann Foye’s article about “me-ternity leave” makes me sick too. Does she seriously think having a baby is a time of rest and renewal? Would she like to feel like I do for a while and see how she likes it?
This may seem like a cry for help. You may see me as weak or selfish or not the right person for you at this time. I don’t care. Some people have said I am brave. I don’t care. I just want someone to listen for a change.