Post post-partum depression

January 31st, 2009

This afternoon was Small Boy’s fourth birthday party and for much of the afternoon my husband was in charge of the camera which means that in addition to pictures of the party there are, for a change, pictures of me. One of them struck me so strongly that I went back to look at pictures from Small Boy’s third birthday; and one of them struck me so strongly that I am writing this post that has nothing to do with Small Boy’s fourth birthday party (which was, for the record, the best birthday party ever) and everything to do with post-partum depression.

I suffered from post-partum depression after my second son was born. Suffered. The entire world went parched and dry and barren and empty. It was an endless drought. Endless, until it ended.

It ends. It will end. You might not believe it, if you are in the middle of it, but it will end. You may be parched by the drought of post-partum depression and the seeds of your love may be burried so deeply in such barren earth that you think they will never sprout but they are there. They are there, they are there, they are there. Your landscape may be parched but the wind will shift and the soft rains of spring will come. They will come. They will come, they will come, they will come. So hold on. Reach out. To a friend a husband a lover a mother a doctor a stranger but hold on and reach out and wait. Your weather will change.

I’ve got a picture to show you. I hate to post it, I hate everything about it, I hate that I ever felt like that and I hate that I looked like that and I hate to think about what my sons missed out on and I hate to think about what my sons saw and I hate that that was me. I hate everything about this picture but I’m going to post it here for all the world to see because maybe you’re reading this. Maybe you are experiencing post-partum depression. Maybe your wife is, or your sister or your best friend or your office-mate. Maybe this will help you. Maybe you need to see this picture, and then the next one, to believe what I’m saying. Maybe you’re parched and dry and wondering if the rains will ever come and maybe this will help you, maybe this will be the first raindrop on your tongue. So here is the picture I hate. This is me, one year ago, at my son’s third birthday party.

And this is me this afternoon, at his fourth.

That’s me. Look at that. Look at my face. That’s me, that’s my face, and that’s why I can say this, say this and mean it: your weather will change. Your drought will end. Your spring rains will come and your grass will grow green again. It will. It will, it will, it will.

Your weather will change.


8 Responses to “Post post-partum depression”

  1. Bethany on January 31, 2009 10:17 pm

    Thank you for this post and for your bravery. You are lovely. :)

  2. India on February 1, 2009 12:45 pm

    It is brave and good of you to talk about this. Depression, and other mental health issues need to be spoken about. While I don’t go into a room and announce ‘My name is India and I have been in the nut house twice’ I do talk about it when it seems appropriate. I suffered off and on with depression for about 8 years, with two very severe episodes. The good news is that despite that, my son has thrived. It is possible.
    (As well as being a teacher, I am also a qualified psychiatric nurse, so I’ve seen both sides…).

  3. Betsy on February 2, 2009 8:51 am

    Wow! What a difference! How nice to see you looking so happy and relaxed in the second picture!

    I’m so glad you posted these as a visual reminder that it really is possible to beat post-partum depression. I think that sometimes all people need is some evidence that it will get better and just to hang in there!

    Was it therapeutic for you to see these two pictures side by side and realize how far you’ve come?

  4. Jennifer on February 2, 2009 9:58 am

    Thanks for the encouragement. It was hard to hit the publish button. That first picture is appalling, and I don’t like to be reminded of those days.

    Betsy – when I was going through the pictures of the 4th birthday party and I saw the one I posted here I thought My god I’m so happy. It’s good to see that. I’d say since July things have been good enough, and since September, when Boychen started sleeping 12 hours at night, it’s been great. So much of ppd is sleep deprivation, I’m convinced. At least for me. And I do still take medication. And I’m happy.

  5. peggy on February 11, 2009 3:37 pm

    Brave, so so brave. I have one picture I can hardly look at. I look so terrified. I’m really happy for you, for me, for every single one of us who has survived this. I mentioned you on my blog today as I was reminded that it’s important to speak up about PPD, hoping no one has to be alone. Be well.

  6. Ninotchka on August 10, 2011 7:06 pm

    This is gorgeous. I’m here via Bethany’s blog. Is it OK if I share this? I know so many could benefit from your lovely words.

  7. Jennifer on August 11, 2011 7:53 am

    Welcome Ninotchka. Yes, please share. Hopefully helping somebody get through is why I wrote it.

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