When I peed on that stick that determines the rest of your life with an extra pink line, I already knew the answer. On TV, that moment is accompanied by crying tears of joy and not being able to hold in the excitement while telling your partner. Looking at the lines on the stick, I didn’t anticipate the confusing waves of emotion that washed over me. But why would I feel anything else? My partner wasn’t really my partner. Our relationship had been kept a secret for almost a year and we weren’t “dating.”
Pregnancy is supposed to be this beautiful, exciting time. My pregnancy was the exact opposite—ugly and scary. I couldn’t connect to it. I couldn’t really understand what my body was doing and I wasn’t happy about it either. But I kept my thoughts to myself and did the best I could to embrace the process.
During my first moments as a mother, I didn’t cry. I was in shock. I didn’t think I could possibly connect with my new reality. I had concerns about postpartum depression, especially given my extensive list of mental health issues prior to getting pregnant, but I didn’t voice them.
When we took my son home, it didn’t take long for my insides to shed quickly to my outsides. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to shower, I didn’t want to clean, I just didn’t want to participate in life at all. I got frustrated that I couldn’t sit like a normal human being, couldn’t sleep straight through for ten hours (or even three), and I had to deal with the pain of cracked, blistered, and swollen nipples from attempting to breastfeed and pump.
It got worse by the day. I became violent towards myself and others—but thankfully, I did no physical harm. With the support of my boyfriend and my mother, I left my home and stayed on my mother’s couch for two weeks. I felt like I didn’t love my son. I thought about running away to return to drugs to numb the pain. I didn’t want to be a mom—it was a burden. I didn’t want to put in the effort to get better mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I was too weak to think about dying, but I didn’t want to live either.
Some would say that I’m lucky to have suffered only for a month. I’ve heard moms say that they suffered for three to six months and longer. But just because I suffered for a month does not mean I am lucky. Being almost two years sober and living in that much pain every single second of every day was terrifying. When I was so exhausted from the emotional pain that I couldn’t take any more, I made a decision to get better. I reached out to the 12-step program that got me sober and went to three different partial hospitalization programs. I was diagnosed with major depression. My last partial program prescribed me an anti-depression and anxiety medication that surprisingly but gratefully worked quickly.
Today, I take care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I try to go to the gym as often as I possibly can. I take my medication and I’ve started therapy. I still practice 12-step principles. I reach out when I need to instead of isolating myself. I pray daily.
Today, I enjoy every moment of being a mother. When I look at my son I am in pure awe and filled with so much love. It’s still hard to connect with the fact that I am a mother now—but in a positive way—I’m just blown away by it! I love waking up in the middle of the night to take care of him. I love watching him sleep. I love watching him discover his voice and facial expressions. I love my son and today I do want to be a mom with all my heart and soul.
This brave post was submitted by Dasia.