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But I Didn’t Want To Hurt My Baby

But I Didn’t Want To Hurt My Baby

But I didn’t want to hurt my baby.

And I didn’t want to hurt myself.

So, it couldn’t be postpartum depression.

What I really wanted to do was grab the keys to my husband’s sports car and then just drive. Drive with the windows down, and the music blaring, and me singing at the top of my lungs. Drive fast and drive far and try not to look back.

Drive with my eyes glued to the road ahead of me. Drive like my life depended on it.

I just wanted to drive.

But I didn’t want to hurt myself or my baby.

So, it couldn’t be postpartum depression.

At the end of the day, when I undressed and put my pj’s on, hidden in the back of my walk-in closet, I would think to myself, Well, today was only 70% awful (or 80% or 90%). And the tears would roll down my cheeks, as I ran my hand over the monotonous row of perfectly pressed pin-stripe dress shirts.

I was grieving. Grieving the loss of my sense of self.

But I didn’t want to hurt myself or my baby.

So, it couldn’t be postpartum depression.

When I stood in the shower, turning the water up hotter and hotter, as the tears rolled down my cheeks and my face contorted into an ugly cry that I kept hidden behind the foggy shower door. When the crushing wave of emotions became so strong that I pounded my fist again and again and again and again on the shower wall. Slamming out some of the emotional pain.

I felt trapped, and useless, and hopeless.

But I didn’t want to hurt myself or my baby.

So, it couldn’t be postpartum depression.

When I sat with fear pounding illogically in my chest, eyes glued to the video monitor, willing my baby to just fall asleep, every day, and every night. To just fall asleep so I could have a few moments to myself. So I could approach the post-nap afternoon without the literal terror of how an unrested infant would affect the rest of my day. So that I could climb into my own weary bed at night, just a little less agitated and fearful about how terrible my night would be.

I felt unnaturally selfish and overly self-protective.

But I didn’t want to hurt myself or my baby.

So, it couldn’t be postpartum depression.

I kept telling myself that this was all normal. That I was just experiencing what every mother must be feeling, behind her own secretive closed door.

I kept reminding myself that I had no intentions to cause harm to anyone, myself included – and that’s what postpartum depression was, right? That’s what I had always seen on TV and in the media. Those were the post partum depression stories I had heard.

And I wasn’t any of those things.

But I did have postpartum depression. I had the kind of PPD that doesn’t get sensationalized in the media. I had the kind of PPD that most moms are scared to talk about or admit that they have. I had the kind of PPD that the majority of most postpartum depression survivors have.

Because I didn’t want to hurt myself or my baby, I thought I just needed to suck it up. That this was what new motherhood was supposed to be like. That I need to put on a strong face and deal with it, like every other new mother out there.

But I didn’t have the strength for it. I didn’t have the strength to just let all that stress, all that emotion, all that panic, and all that anxiety wash over me.

Instead, I fought the battle. I found a different kind of strength. I picked up the phone and asked for help.

That was probably the strongest thing I’ve ever done.

*This post is dedicated to the Pacific Post Partum Support Society, who answered the phone when I called, and to my husband and family members, who also answered my calls for help. And to all the other mamas out there who have found the strength to ask for help. You are strong and you are amazing.*

Categories: Postpartum

Eran Sudds

Eran Sudds is a photographer, mama, and postpartum depression survivor. She is the creator of the Good Mother Project, and is passionate about making sure other mothers and mothers-to-be know how amazing they are, as both moms and women. Eran can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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