I write this letter to you from a reflective point of view, from the eyes of a mom who has suffered Postpartum Depression (PPD) and is on the road to healing. See, I did not look at my options before you were born, and chose to walk down the lane written ‘depression’. No. I found myself there. I should have seen where the cascade of events was leading me, to a dark hole where I couldn’t pull myself together and haul myself out of it. I should have known that some moms get depressed once their babies are born, but I didn’t. I learnt much later, after I had plunged head first into the gripping darkness that PPD is. But this letter is not about recovery per se. It is a letter of apology.
I am sorry that you had to be the prototype of my take at motherhood, an experience that has been fraught with challenges and chides (mostly from folk who have no idea what PPD is), with tears and torn hearts, with smiles here and there, and a couple of photos to capture your milestones. I am sorry that nothing could have prepared me for the struggle with PPD. I am sorry for my inability to comfort you as you cried your lungs out in the dead of the night on your first week of life; many times I cried with you out of utter frustration.
I am sorry for thinking that, at one point, suicide would offer some reprieve, a break of sorts from all this mental torture. I am sorry for thinking that maybe life would have been better for you if I wasn’t your mom, because now I see beauty for ashes. Now I see the blessing that you brought into my life; you saved me from wasting myself away in debauchery, from sinking in life’s pits in my inebriated state, you saved me from me. I apologize for regretting having you, however you came, because you are already here. You were never a bad child; I just couldn’t cope with the depression, on those days I slapped you, on those days I kicked you for peeing on the floor even when you weren’t potty trained. For those days your tantrums had me lost in fits of anger, and I hurled a shoe at you, for those mornings I walked away to prevent myself from doing something I’d regret.
I am not making excuses for letting some of the most precious moments of our lives slip through my hands, glistened by my tears. No, I am simply apologizing for having taken you through all this, for having subjected you to all the beatings, for the unrelenting anger that PPD caused to morph into a daily experience. For the lost moments, the experiences I will never be able to relive with you my dear son.
But. But now, I am picking up the pieces on the journey to recovery. It is a slow winding road, but a journey I have taken baby steps in. I am learning to unlearn what PPD had made the norm, simply because I cannot undo that which PPD supplanted for the quintessential mom-child bonding experience. I am learning to tell you ‘I am sorry’ when I lose it, when I go overboard in addressing your fits and tantrums. I am not the perfect mom, but I will seek grace in my imperfection. Seek grace to be able to draw the line between love and discipline. To draw the line between when I need to hug you and when I need to walk away and let you calm down first so we can have a platform to reconcile.
Some days I forget to ask for grace, some days I pray for grace and still lose it, then feel guilty about it; realizing I let you down, again. I let myself down, again. The journey to recovery is not as easy as I thought it would be, but it matters that I have taken a few steps. I am sorry my son, I really am.
Photo credits: Patricia Esteve
Featured Image Photo Credits: Glued To My Crafts