[Editor’s note: The essay shares a mother’s journey with postpartum depression and may be triggering for some readers. Here are some resources for postpartum mental health.]
I did not like my children when this photo was taken.
I actually resented them for existing.
Kaiden was 17 months old and Chloe 1 month, and I didn’t want to be their mother.
I didn’t want to change their diapers, feed them and most of the time—I wanted to leave them in their cribs and run out the door, never to return.
I know that some of your jaws are hanging open, and some of you are probably disgusted thinking, “How can someone dislike their own children?” I know, it’s effed up, which is why it took me so long to tell anybody about it.
I remained silent and buried my thoughts. I smiled for photos and mustered false admiration when someone would fawn over them.
I cried often, most of the day actually. I questioned my sanity and constantly berated myself for being such a terrible person. I screamed, I hid, I let them cry and pulled my hair out. I didn’t want them anymore. I didn’t want them.
My husband didn’t know. He was gone a lot, working. I couldn’t tell him, he’d regret having children with me. I was alone.
One day I decided I wasn’t going to get them out of their cribs. I was going to leave them there, let them cry and soil themselves. I didn’t care. I couldn’t care. I tried to care. I COULDN’T care.
Instead I called my doctors office. The moment my favorite receptionist answered I broke down in tears. I told her I didn’t want to be a mom anymore and she told me to “come in IMMEDIATELY.” I did. The doctor spoke to me about postpartum depression as if he’d had this conversation thousands of times.
Turns out he had. Turns out I was one of MILLIONS of women experiencing those feelings at that exact moment. I wasn’t crazy. Something was wrong with my brain. Something I couldn’t fix alone.
My doctor and I fixed it together.
My kids are 4 and 6 now, and I love and adore them so much that my heart physically aches when I think of them. I would give my life for them without blinking. Reaching out for help was the greatest gift I have ever given them as a mother.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, I just wanted you to know—you aren’t alone. You aren’t crazy—and it doesn’t have to be this way. Tell someone. Tell someone TODAY. It gets better.
The post originally appeared on Juggling The Jenkins.