Late last year, Alan asked me if I was depressed. “I don’t feel depressed,” I replied, “I just hate my life and want to die.” He then asked me if I thought I should see a psychologist, and I told him that I didn’t, because what would be the point? A psychologist couldn’t change anything (babysit my kids, clean the bathroom, breastfeed Hazel when she wakes at night, find the perfect job for Alan so that he could be paid enough for us to survive while only working part-time, etc.), and if it was just about talking, why would I pay to talk to a psychologist when I could tell my blog for free?
Well, it turns out there are things I’m too scared to tell my blog because then they’d be real and that would suck and you’d be disappointed in me. I want you to think I’m killing this whole motherhood thing, so I won’t write about how I feel like motherhood is instead killing me. I won’t say “I hate this” out loud, or admit that when I search for words to describe how I’m going I come up with things like trapped and angry and incapable and weary and bored and resentful and hopeless and sad and frustrated and I wish everyone would disappear so that I could go to Hawaii on my own and just do whatever I wanted, without being needed by anyone for anything, for a really long time. Like, forever. These days, “How are you?” makes me cringe.
I won’t tell you that I’ve been diagnosed with postnatal depression and that this label makes sense and has brought comfort and hope, but it also makes me feel like I’ve failed at the one thing I wanted to be really, really good at. And every now and then having a name for it seems far too extreme, because maybe all mums feel like this sometimes, and really it’s nothing that a month or so of good sleep and a live-in grandparent and a job I loved and a toddler who always spoke to me like I was a person and a time machine and a washing line just outside the back door couldn’t fix.
In this (excellent) On Being interview, Nadia Bolz-Weber says she always tries to preach from her scars and not her wounds, which struck me when I heard it as particularly wise advice. Of course I’ll continue to write from my wounds while they’re gapey and raw and painful (try stop me), but I’ll publish later, maybe much later, when there has been healing and space. I’ll keep my posts on mothering unposted and my spokes on mothering unspoken here until my head clears and I can see light again and my insides feel better. In the meantime, I’m off to see a psychologist, just to talk.