The minute she was born I knew she was special. She had a full shock of dark hair and a wise air about her as if she’d done this many times before. I instantly fell in love with her. I wanted her so badly that I stopped the anti-depressants I was on after the birth of my first child so that I could safely conceive and give birth to this particular person.
I know I chose her as much as she chose me. We needed each other before we even met. We would be one another’s salvation. I needed her because I was so completely debilitated by post partum depression after my first daughter was born that I felt like I missed out on the first two months of being a mother. I knew that if I could do it all over again it would be different, I would be different, motherhood would be different. I thought that if I could just do it the right way this time, on my own terms, with no judgement, I could be the superstar mom that I wasn’t the first time around. I needed her to need me, to need me to be there for her so I could rise to that occasion and find my purpose.
She needed me too although I didn’t know that until later. She needed a mom who could admit that she doesn’t know half of anything and is just making it up as she goes along. She needed a mom who could say that there is no shame in having an anxiety disorder, depression, and ADHD and that she deserves help and understanding and support without any judgement.
And for a week after she was born, I felt like I wasn’t going to fall into the big, black hole of despair again. I wasn’t going to lie awake staring at her and panicking that she’d wake up and need me and I wouldn’t be available for her. I was okay and we were okay. For a week.
And then the oppressive weight of the boulder of depression settled down right on top of me. I was helpless and overwhelmed to the point that I couldn’t see the way out even though I knew there had to be one. I remember sitting on my couch looking out the window and dreaming of pills to make me sleep forever. I called my husband and told him the world would be better without me, he would be better without me, she would be better without me. And thank god he raced home and swooped me up and got me to the doctor so I could start healing. It took time but I healed more quickly than the first time and I was able to push that boulder away and be there for this soul that needed me.
Now she goes through her own battle with depression and I understand all too well when she says to me that she feels like she should have just killed herself when she had the plan and the thought. I understand but I thank every god ever worshiped that she reached for me instead of the knife she held next to her. And I feel all the guilt that maybe this is all my fault and that I “gave” her these battles to fight. But I let that go because at this point it doesn’t matter why only that it is and that we both need each other to get through it.
* * *
Just a girl trying to work her way through middle life without causing harm. I’m a mother, a wife, a pediatric occupational therapist, and a woman trying to get through her 40s without a manual.
Amy can be found at her blog.
If you enjoyed this post, please take a few moments to leave a comments or to share with your friends using the little share buttons below.
Amy, this post made me cry. I can relate to it on so many levels. We moms really do just have to do our best to help our kids. I’m so glad your daughter has you.
xoxo Mary. It has been such an incredibly painful road but I have all the hope in the world that it will lead us to a beautiful place.