Editor’s note: This was shared with us as a personal response to a situation in Israel where a woman killed herself and her 4 children in an apparent severe case of postpartum depression. We have published it in its unedited form. Warning: this may be a painful read for those who have had similar struggles.
There, I”ve said it. post-partum depression. Those taboo words. Not to be spoken. Not to be felt. but it’s there. Everyone speaks of how beautiful motherhood is. How cute their baby is. How wonderful it is (and it is). No one really speaks about how tiring it is. How overwhelming. How challenging. How exhausting. How lonely. How Lonesome. So you go out and put on your happy face because being a new mother is amazing. except when it isn’t.
and here’s my story. I have 5 children. each pregnancy got progressively harder, but I would bounce back within days of giving birth. comes along number 5. I wished I could die. I did not want to carry this child. The pain. the pain was indescribable but I had to push on. right there’s no choice, there were other children to care for. a house. a husband. and so I did knowing that after those 9 months of hell I’d be myself again. and then I went into labor. not just any labor. back labor. there were no words to describe the excruciating pain. but labor is labor and it would pass. and NO I do not want medication or an epidural. and so I labored on. crying. wishing to die. and then he was in my arms. my sweet, tiny helpless baby who did not mean to hurt his mama but whose existence did. and I wanted to love him. but I hurt. so badly. still. slowly, oh so slowly the pain subsided and I was able to go about my daily routine. but I hurt. but still there was a house to take care of. and children to feed. and a husband. and a baby. and so I did. how’s your baby they’d ask. a baby. or he cries so much. (please help me) I can’t get him to stop crying (please take him from me, give me a break). so this is what the other women feel like. this is what it feels like to be post-partum. it’s hard. it’s not just going back to yourself a few hours or days later. it’s hard. I hurt. (please help). but no one hears. smile (please help) he doesn’t stop crying. it’s not normal. I can’t do this. and out to the park we go. push the kids on the swing. take them down the slide. smile. call the teachers. clean the house. make another supper. take the kids to therapy. smile. don’t forget to smile. and I hurt. and he doesn’t stop crying. they want to know why I’m not on top of calling the teachers. or doing the exercises prescribed during our sessions. but I can’t. don’t you see how hard it is for me to get up out of my bed. to get the kids out. to cook. to come to therapy. to go to the park. all with his crying. please stop crying baby. please. (please help me. please. ) oh he doesn’t cry so much. maybe it’s just you. it’s your fault he cries so much. maybe if you’d put him down he’d learn. but he cries so much and this is the only way he stops. I can’t hear him crying anymore. (please help me. please take him.) I don’t see the smiles. can’t hear the laughter. all I hear are his cries. and mine. the tears don’t stop. so this is what after birth is like. this is hard. just snap out of it. get back to yourself. I can’t. I can’t do anything. except get the kids to school. and make supper. and take them to therapy and the park. and smile. don’t forget to smile. (I want to kill myself) (I want to die) (I don’t want to wake up) smile (I want to stay in my bed and cry) and he cries (all I want to do is cry) don’t forget to smile. haha who ever would’ve thought that having a baby is this hard (please help me. please take my kids) he’s so cute (I’m going to kill him) no, I can’t do that right now I’m not back to myself. this is taking much longer than I expected. (PLEASE I’M BEGGING YOU HELP ME hear what I’m not saying) it still hurts (I hurt) yes he’s still crying haha (please make him stop.) (make me stop)(I’m crazed. I’m gonna lose it) take more pictures of the kids. why don’t you take more pictures of the kids (through gritted teeth) smile! (tears)smile, I said smile! why won’t you smile? please my heart hurts. my head hurts. I want to smash someone’s head. I want to feel the blood running through my fingers. don’t hurt the kids. hurt yourself. don’t hurt yourself. how can you do that to your kids. they don’t deserve it. hurt yourself where they can’t see. don’t hurt yourself. if you start you won’t stop. cry. scream. shout. make it stop. please make it stop. I can’t anymore. and don’t forget to smile. this is my fight song. fight damn it fight. you’ve always fought. win this. you don’t have a choice. prove I’m alright song. prove you’re alright. make it alright. take a pill. I don’t want to take a pill. take a bottle. go to sleep. don’t wake up. fight. fight …fight. if not for yourself. fight. fight for them. take a pill. fight. and don’t forget to smile.