To My Son, as the Storm of My Postpartum Depression Is Passing
Dear Little Buddy,
Your arrival into this world was complicated. When you burst forth into the sterile light of the operating room with loud, gusty cries, I cried with relief. Relief that the part of growing and building you was now complete. Yet, I had no idea I was in the midst of battling a demon, who would only strengthen during your first months in this world.
You were pink, plump with tiny lips overcome by your massive rosy cheeks. There was so much love for you in the hospital room. Your father proudly called the family to tell them of your arrival. Your aunt fell head over heels in love with you when she saw your beautiful face. Your grandmother cried, overcome with emotion when she saw you for the first time, resting on my chest. I learned a new tender side of my own father, as your Pap gently held you and spoke in hushed tones.
Even I was taken aback, as those immediate postpartum endorphins and adrenaline surged. Those emotions were fleeting. Perinatal depression robbed me of the special bond so many new mothers blissfully describe.
You had nothing to do with the hopelessness and despair I felt. Depression is an illness. It lies. My reality was distorted. The chemical imbalances that had trapped me in this strange, alternate world prevented me from connecting with you. I struggled with the concept of love.
When the storm finally broke and when treatment started to work, I finally could see through the clouds. I could see this beautiful boy your father and I had created. I could appreciate your chubby thighs and gorgeous smile. I was able to bask in the cute, nerdy little laugh that bubbled up when I blew raspberries on your belly.
You’re an amazing, baby boy. As I shed my baggage from that traumatic, dark time, I can feel our bond starting to form. I can see glimpses of the light. You are that light, little guy. You are the sunshine peeking through the darkness.
Your battle weary mom
This post originally appeared on Postpartum World.