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Post natal depression is more common than you think. It happens, and it is not your fault. Get help for post natal depression.
For nine months I carried you. Now, why can’t I even look at you? Then….you were a part of me, filling the whole of me from inside out. I felt safe with you inside…in the comfort of the serene darkness. But as you came out, the darkness was laid bare for all to see.
The darkness that crept out and around me. Only the darkness now will hide my fears.
I fear if I touch you, you will shrivel back to the little egg you came from. I fear if I hold you, my weak and tired arms will give way. I fear if I talk to you, your cry will drown my voice. I fear if I call your name, my own name will disappear forever.
And yet I must feed you….the world must not know. I must feed you till the last ounce of strength is sucked out from me, so that you can be filled with life and I can be thrown aside like the empty shell I feel. I must bathe you and dress you like the expert mum everyone thinks I am. But if I bathe you will it wash away my guilt?
If I dress you will it cover my scars? For I am scarred by the unspeakable thoughts that slash through my head. But I can never hurt you. I can’t hurt you but will I ever be able to love you?
Shhhh, don’t cry. Can you see that loving you is so hard for me? Don’t cry…. because I can’t comfort you. How can I comfort you? When I can’t even calm the chaos in my head? I’m screaming from within but no one can hear me….I’m all alone.
You cannot be with me, or my loneliness with engulf you like a heavy blanket that you can’t shake off. You cannot be with me….you will see right through me. But do you even see me? Why do you smile at others and not at me? Why do your eyes shine brighter when they hold you, but look away when I do?
Nothing breaks my heart more than to see you fading away from me. Can you feel the trickle of love forcing itself out of my broken heart? Only to be replaced by guilt that sinks in deeper and deeper like a bad stain. Will you always remember me as the mum who wouldn’t hold you? As the mum who couldn’t soothe you? What kind of a mum am I?
What kind of a child are you? How can a child of mine be so bright and bonny? Did you spend all that time filling yourself with the joy that is now completely drained from me?
I wish you had stayed inside…it was a lot safer.
Now I can’t protect you from the big bad world.
Now I can’t protect you from myself.
Oh I feel so, so tired. If only I could go to sleep….
Post natal depression is more common than you think and is not something that new mothers can “just snap out of”. It usually occurs almost a month after delivery and can last for upto 12-18 months. Staying depressed can often lead to more dangerous symptoms or can lead to recurrent depression in the future.
Studies are consistently showing that post natal depression also causes attachment difficulties and long term emotional problems in children. Counselling, psychological therapies and in severe cases, a short course of medication can fully treat postnatal depression.
There are so many factors that lead to post natal depression: biological deficiencies, genetic vulnerability, social stressors, and yet mothers often get blamed as if they brought it on themselves. If, as a new mother, you experience symptoms of depression please seek help immediately, for your own sake and more importantly for your child’s sake.
Image of woman sleeping via Shutterstock
I'm a Psychiatrist & Family Psychotherapist specialising in maternal mental health and attachment disorders. Apart
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