Two Thoughts at the Beginning of a Year with PPD
1. Two days after my son was born, the nurse parked my wheelchair by the curb and wished us luck. Life, apparently, had been moving at its normal pace outside my hospital room. There were cars in the parking lot, people on their way to work, deliveries being made.
I'd been delivered from a place of waiting for, expecting, to a place of here he is, here we go. And we went.
I sat in the back seat next to him. He looked impossibly small. Strapping him into his carseat my thoughts moved in a direction I couldn't control.
It would be better for me to just hold him, strap him to my body instead of a plastic shell. I can protect him better than a car seat.
I was able to suppress the thought but was unnerved and anxious for the whole ride home. It would be the first of one million such thoughts that rose up inside me in a swell of hormones and exhaustion. I lived with them for months.
2. Later the same day, our house was loud with family and love. My husband sat at the computer, loading photographs of our boy. Grandmothers filled the kitchen, preparing meatballs and sauce, salad and bread.
I wrapped him and unwrapped him. Passed him around. Examined his toes, smelled the top of his head. I checked my email. There was a new message from my husband, sent to many relatives and friends, with news of our son's arrival. I scanned the message and noticed he'd attached a picture.
There was our son, immediately after his birth. The picture was an image of him being weighed, the numbers red on a digital scale. I saw a seven and a ten. He was crying, curled. There was a smear of yellow-brown along his side.
I heard my voice call for my husband, heard the shaking, felt my heart pound. Look, I hissed. Look what you sent.
And then the thought. What kind of mother allows a picture of her child's poop to be put ON THE INTERNET? He will hate us when he finds out what we did.
Of course I can see now how ridiculous this thought was, how irrational. But at the moment it came to me I rose from my chair. I ran through my house, past relatives and friends, to my bedroom. I slammed the door, threw myself on the bed and sobbed.
This day is preserved in a family video. On it I look proud. I look calm. It's amazing to think about the world that was born in my head that day, a world of panic and fear and irrational thinking that would take hold of me for the year following his birth.
And it's amazing to think that I'm the same person today who lived in that world.
I have passed through those waters and come out on the other side.