Why Postpartum Depression Made Me Feel ‘Not Good Enough’
In my house right now there is constant, non-stop hugging, kissing, nose-wiping and just plain needing that should remind me I am valued. But somehow, at the end of the day, I just feel unlovable, unneeded, unwanted and just not “good enough.”
It started about five months into my first pregnancy. Days of sadness, anger and hopelessness started to sprinkle into my life. I felt alone and unable to communicate why. These feelings were not new, but their depth was scary.
I was having a baby. My bills were paid. My husband was at home. My job was challenging and rewarding. What was I missing? Why did I feel like I was failing?
They would just be better off without me.
Maybe getting pregnant was a mistake. I am not deserving of this kind of life.
I cannot not handle it, obviously. I am already falling apart and the baby isn’t even here yet.
There is no way my husband will to stick around if I can’t pull it together. Everyone can see I am failing.
The sleep deprivation and chaos a new baby brings only made things worse. I was so afraid to do anything on my own. Luckily for me, my husband stayed home with the baby until he was a year old. I could go to work and take, what was for me, the “easy” way out. I could leave the house and hide at the office.
At night, while everyone else was snoring, I would lie in bed and think about “the big sleep.” Hot tears would come as I imagined how it would feel to just turn everything off and make it all stop. These thoughts of solace in the silence would follow me into my dreams.
I don’t think I am unique in that as a new mother; I was just learning the truth about this job. There is no way to catch up and no way to win. I will never feel like I give enough. I will never feel like I can be enough. I will never feel like I have done anything right.
But things did get better. About eight months after the baby was born, the days started getting a little brighter. I felt more confident in my ability to be a mom. I was starting to find my footing and balance things a little better. He could communicate with me, and it wasn’t always a guessing game I kept losing.
By the time he was 18 months old, I was nearly back to normal. Not that every day was a cakewalk, but I did quit dreaming about dying.
When I was pregnant with our second child, the sadness came sooner. I had miscarried just months before and, while my body had healed, my mind and heart had not. Then, at about 20 weeks in, we found out baby number two was sick and I would have to rest. All of the hormones, isolation, no exercise and unlimited access to Google everything in my head did not help.
The cloud also took a little longer to dissipate this time, too. Turns out, my daughter was very sick and we had to live in the hospital for months with little sleep and a lot of stress. I missed my toddler at home. I got really good at turning myself off and turning on my “everything-is-fine” look when I walked through the doors of the hospital.
Eventually my daughter started getting better, and I did too. We got to go home and we developed a routine. I no longer dreamed about the quiet that could come.
I am six months pregnant with baby number three now. There is too much to do, and not enough time to spend with my kids. If I can’t do it now, how will I ever get it all done when baby three gets here? In my dreams, I am in a free-fall.
My oldest and I got into an argument this morning over a toy. He wanted to take it with us, but couldn’t find it. I didn’t have time to look for it because we were running late. I told my husband that I felt bad about it and he told me my fuse has been short for the past few weeks. I feel awful that he and my son see it that way.
It is hard work, what moms do. It is hard to feel this way and not be able to communicate clearly. It is hard to feel like no one understands and even if we make it obvious, no one would stop to notice.
I am writing this down now, while I am in this moment, because it is important and one day I will forget how all of this feels. I will still be exhausted, but the hormones will be gone and I will forget what I am feeling. Dreams about death will seem so foreign and I won’t remember why it all got to this point.
I’ve been around this block enough times to know that it will get better. My idea of not “good enough” is actually plenty. Soon I will start to see that my “enough” is actually exactly what everyone needs.
Follow this journey on Typically Not Typical.