What I Learned From My Postpartum Depression
When my heart was ready to become a mother, my brain had decided it was only ready to become a mother to girls. I’m not talking pink bows, mani/pedis, and twirly dresses; I’m talking about raising a female who would become independent, strong, courageous, kind, wise, and would take all I had learned from growing up in a matriarchal family and run with it. It’s funny though-when the heart and the mind don’t match, because you’ll often learn things in the most unexpected seasons. It was in this time of desire for a girl, that I began to realize my great disdain for men. It had never occurred to me that I had been so deeply scarred by the men in my life, that I didn’t even want to raise a little boy. When there was finally the gift of life inside of me, I remember becoming extremely anxious and even mentioning to my husband that if it was a boy I wasn’t sure I would be able to love him.
A hundred and seventy-five days of waiting. A hundred and seventy-five days of depression and guilt. A hundred and seventy-five days until gender confirmation. Some days I was excited, other days the tears would not stop. I counted the days until in the middle of an ordinary work day, I thought I had lost a child. My body began to tremble and in tears I could no longer hide the shame of “gender preference”. As we made our way to the ER with our hearts beating so loud in the silence, my brain finally decided to catch up with my heart. Everything is a blur except the words “there’s the baby’s heart beat”. Finally, we could breathe and break the cloud of heartache looming over us —
It was a little rough moving forward for a couple weeks. Even though we saw our baby’s heartbeat, our practitioner gave us warning that due to what I was suffering, the baby could easily detach from my uterus and be “naturally aborted”. I spent days in bed, wondering and praying over my baby’s life and yet...I could still feel my heart itching for only a girl. Which, after a few more weeks, we found out it was!
I was delighted! I couldn’t help but think I had dodged a bullet! But sometimes, the hardest lessons come in small packages. Very small six-pound packages that you love with all of your heart and don’t want anything to with at the same time.
Postpartum depression had hit me like a ton bricks.
I held my baby and I couldn’t breathe. She was everything I wanted and all I wanted was to spend my days sleeping. Hours, days, weeks, and months went by like this: A kind of turmoil that leaves you feeling dirty on the inside. Every minute was a battle with my brain for joy. And again, isn’t it funny that you’ll often learn the most important lessons in the most unexpected seasons?
I think this process has made me stronger. It didn’t seem like the was a light at the end of the tunnel in dark, but there is and there always will be. I think this process has made me wiser and patient, it’s made me aware of pain and a seeker of joy. Motherhood has had a way of molding me; of shaping me into the woman that I desperately desire my daughter to be. It has softened my heart and guided me to also raise a son! However, it wasn’t until this process that I knew the exact things I had to offer.