“I never thought it would come to this. I never thought I would go through a rough patch or lose myself like this. When my beloved grandmother died when I was 22 weeks pregnant, I thought about the consequences. I was afraid I would continue to feel really sad. I even used the term postnatal depression way before my delivery.
Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? Or is it just bad luck? Or both? I don’t know and I probably never will.
But the fact is, I have postpartum depression. Saying this out loud remains difficult and now that I read these words, black on white on my screen, I immediately get another lump in my throat.
My Livia, my cute, lovely baby girl. She is the light in our lives and the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me. She fills me with love and a mind-blowing feeling of happiness and joy when she looks at me. When she smiles at me, the sky breaks open and I can hear the angels sing.
Everything else was black. Pitch-black. There were hours of crying, an enormous list of uncertainties, the fear of accidentally hurting my baby. The list was endless. I denied it, tucked it away, and laughed it away. The people who know me well also know how well I can pretend nothing is wrong. I’m the best actress I’ve ever known. The more jokes I make, the more you have to watch me carefully. I hide everything with my smile.
And then suddenly, the curtain fell. The comedian was done playing her performance.
I couldn’t do it anymore.
Admitting something is wrong was the first step. I had to say, ‘I don’t feel happy at all. And I’m most certainly not on cloud nine.’ But that’s how it is supposed to be, right? You should be happy and grateful when you’ve become a mother. You can’t complain or say that it’s so incredibly hard to be a mother. But that’s the truth! Motherhood is freaking intense, people! Let’s not forget about the hormones that made me into a raging b*tch, the lack of sleep, and the massive responsibility you feel as a parent.
Sometimes I closed the bedroom door and said, ‘I’m not here.’ I would put my phone on silent mode, wear earplugs, and just sleep. I didn’t want to feel what I actually felt. Because that was pretty black, I can tell you. It was the darkest page of my book called life.
The grief over losing my grandmother added a huge amount of sadness to all of the above and eventually, I drowned. I pedaled as hard as I could, but I slowly drowned. People don’t prepare you for this. Believe it or not, despite the books that thus far have been written about it, there is a huge taboo on this subject. Once I had said it out in the open, so many women appear to be bothered by it! There are even talk groups for newborn moms with depression.
I am grateful and extremely blessed with such a sweet and easy baby. I feel filled with love when I look at her. Hopefully, I will start to feel happy again as well. There have been days when I couldn’t handle it anymore and I honestly wanted to quit life. I can’t look beyond the next hour or the hour after that. Thank goodness for my sweet, dearest husband and our wonderful friends who kept me going. These amazing people do everything to help me out and get me back on my feet again.
You come towards crossroads in your life where it becomes clear who are your true friends are and which ones you should say goodbye to. The people who shouted the loudest before I gave birth: ‘I’m here to help you, I’ll come over and look after the baby, do some shopping, etc.’ I haven’t seen or talked to them since my baby was born. But my inner circle, the people who don’t need to say this all the time, they were just there for me. They gave me unconditional love, support, and friendship. They just did that without any fuss. They arrive with casseroles, came to babysit when I had to go to therapy, do grocery shopping for me, and listen to me on the phone for hours while the only thing I could do was cry.
I am not an easy person right now and sometimes not so friendly either. I don’t want to hide behind my depression, but it is what it is.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tilda Timmers, 38, of The Netherlands. Follow her journey on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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