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Kezia on when she knew she wasn’t OK and needed help

Content warning: Discussion of postpartum depression, birth trauma, domestic abuse or other tough topics ahead. If you or someone you know is struggling with a postpartum mental health challenge, including postpartum depression or anxiety, call 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (tel:18009435746)—The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline This free, confidential service provides access to trained counselors and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English, Spanish, and more than 60 other languages. They can offer support and information related to before, during, and after pregnancy.

I’m writing this today because when I felt like I was drowning in my own day to day life, all I wanted to read was what postpartum depression felt like for another person. 

Was I OK because I didn’t want to kill myself or my baby? I thought so. Until one night when I knew I was not OK anymore. 

12 weeks of a baby that would sleep a maximum of two hours led me down the darkest path I’ve ever known—somewhere that I didn’t know existed within me to be honest. 

Related: How motherhood myths impacted my struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety

I’ve never understood depression. I’ve never understood the stigma. Or the severity, until the day I did. And now I’ll never forget it, BUT I need to tell this story, and be open and be honest because I just need one person to understand the severe situation I was in. I was so scared for people not to understand that I almost told no-one.  

I didn’t pretend like everything was OK. Everything was OK sometimes and at those times I soaked up the baby snuggles. I took pictures of my toddler’s perfect smile. I had a shower. I did my hair. I felt good and I thanked my husband for supporting me through this hard time. But when I wasn’t OK, I told no-one. I cried alone, and my mind wandered to places that break my heart to recall now. 

I loved my baby boy, but I missed my life before him. I desperately needed a break, but I didn’t want to give up on the bond I longed for. I didn’t want to give up on figuring out why my dear baby couldn’t sleep, why he wouldn’t stop spitting up, and why he had to eat every single hour. I didn’t want to fail at anything. Everyday I told myself, “just get through one more day, one more night.” Maybe he’ll sleep. Maybe I’ll get ten minutes alone with my baby that I missed more than any one can ever believe. Maybe I’ll be able to show my husband a side of me he fell in love with instead of an emotionally drained shell of myself with spit up covered clothes and a short temper. It’s going to get better. It’s going to get better. I’m going to feel better. 

Related: To the mama doing SO much she feels like she’s failing at everything—I see you

A cup of coffee or three and I’d be half way through, I’d make sure Blayk was fed, I’d try and keep the washing machine running and the house vacuumed and the baby from crying constantly. These few things seemed achievable, but I was giving my absolute all. When it got dark at night and I’d rock my baby, I’d be completely terrified for what to was come. 

By three or four am, I’d be praying for morning, so exhausted that I couldn’t wish the dark thoughts away. 

I wish we never had another baby.
I can’t do this anymore.
I don’t want to do this anymore.
I want my old life back.
What’s wrong with me?
Why did we do this?
Why is this my problem? 
Why doesn’t anyone care?
Why doesn’t anyone understand? 
Why am I so alone?
I have no friends.
I have no life.
How did I get here?
Why can everyone do this except me?
Why why why?
This isn’t worth it. 

And then one night, I was home alone, just me and baby Wylder. Levi was on the road and Blayk was having a sleepover with her grandparents.

I convinced myself that it was OK. They didn’t need me. They were better off—my whole family would be better off without me because I was not handling things how I knew I should have been. Wylder was not happy and maybe even unhealthy, Blayk missed her mom and I had no time left to give her. I felt like I’d put way too much pressure on my husband. I just felt done, and I knew they’d all be better off. 

That’s as far as those thoughts went that night, and I thank God every single day for that.

Related: Most parents feel like they’re failing during first year of parenthood

I confided in a friend. She told me I needed to talk to a professional. She didn’t make it a big deal. She didn’t make me feel bad. She was just there. 

I attempted to tell my husband when he got home the next day. I was vague and brief and terrified he’d feel it was his fault. In the end, he had no idea what I was trying to tell him. I hated myself for not being better at letting him in. I hated that I wasn’t a better wife and mother and that I wasn’t doing as good of a job as the other moms. I hated that I could not keep it together enough just to have this conversation. 

Everything continued the same, a constant battle with myself.

Related: Spotting postpartum depression can be difficult. Here’s why you should enlist your partner’s help

I asked for help with the kids. I asked my husband if we could get a house cleaner. I tried to swallow my pride and make things work for our family. Eventually, I told my husband I couldn’t do it. I asked him to take some time off work to help me with the kids and with my life. FAILURE was the only thing I felt. 

But then relief. We made it through, day by day, sometimes minute by minute. He was making memories with our family, and being a dad. He picked up everything where I left off. He reminded me we are a team. He made me feel like me again and our babies got their daddy every single day. He is amazing and I am forever grateful that he is my husband. We figured out how to be a family of four, how to survive, function, and be happy and whole. 

Four months later and summer is ending. We are home, my husband is working, the sun doesn’t shine as long throughout the day, we aren’t fully back to normal, but we’re OK now. 

Related: Stop telling me I won’t have PPD again

Today I appreciate myself, sometimes not fully and not always, but more times than not, I feel GOOD. I feel like myself and I don’t feel like I’m fighting 24/7 for my mind and my life back. I feel confident that my babies need me and my husband loves me, that I love them back, and I love myself beyond that. I love parts of myself I forgot existed.

(This is not written for sympathy. This is not written for feedback at all. It’s written because it’s my story, and I wish someone would have shared there’s with me.) 

I am always here. I may not understand. I may not know what to say, but I would always listen.