The silent battle

By 13:13

I read the story of the new mom who seemed so happy with her perfect family life. And then one day, she dropped off her 4 and a half month old daughter at daycare, drove to a secluded area and killed herself. Allison Goldstein wrote a goodbye letter apologising for the pain she could no longer bear from what everyone refers to as her silent battle with postpartum depression.

When I read about Allison, it broke my heart. I cannot imagine what she must have gone through to have to end her life for the pain to go away.

Perhaps I am just well read on postpartum depression but I know how common it is and that all you need to do is ask for help - if you are in the right frame of mind to do so. With a sudden influx of abnormal hormones making you question your own feelings, it's also so important to have support. From the time that The Husband noticed the toll that motherhood took on me, he has kept telling me about the resources available if I felt that I couldn't talk to him.

The silent part of Allison's suffering is so descriptive of all the negative parts of motherhood. Nothing could have prepared me for just how drastically life changed with a newborn. The raging storm of hormones is actually what causes PPD and luckily I didn't have that problem. But I did have feelings of being overwhelmed, feeling worthless and wishing I hadn't taken this step into motherhood. The biggest problem was actually talking about it and realising that no one else feels or has felt that way. And when I encountered that, it was so easy to feel withdrawn and rather tell everyone that everything is ok when they asked.

People want that mother who talks about how her child is a blessing from God. The mother that hides the bags under her eyes with her makeup and makes motherhood seem like a breeze. They don't want me - the mother who steps out of the house without having a shower with tell-tale breastmilk stains on her shirt and talks about how she can't get her baby to stop crying.

And so I write about it hoping someone else who feels this way knows that it's normal. Our version of normal anyway. I was exhausted when Squeak was born. I still am. I don't understand the bundle-of-joy type happiness that people say it is. It's a job - a tiring job that I have to do. I'm convinced mothers lie to themselves about how happy they are. It's a coping mechanism. 

And if you are like me, it's ok. There's no joy in motherhood. Caring for a baby around the clock is exhausting. Sleep deprivation makes me a miserable person. The truth is I hate motherhood. People say it will get better and it has but it doesn't make the tough times easy when you're in it.

Then there is the guilt. Oh the guilt of saying out loud that I hate motherhood.

Not every mother fits that perfect mould we expect her to be in. There are mothers out there fighting their own silent battles. Let's make it easier for them. Let's talk about how bad it is. Let's ask her how she is really feeling. Let's talk about professional help if she needs it. Let's not put mothers in a position where her only option is to take her life.                                                              

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