When I reached the third trimester of Amelia’s pregnancy, and started preparing for the birth, I began yearning for the peace of the hospital room. I have many friends who prefer home births because they find it more serene than the hustling hospital birth. I understand. But, for me, the hospital is much more relaxing because it means space and time to myself and being served – literally – 24/7.
Once I had Amelia, and settled into the room, I didn’t want to leave. It was peaceful. I had meals brought to me. I spent 24/7 holding my infant. It was heaven.
On the day before I was to go home, I started crying and I couldn’t stop.
I haven’t told very many people about this event because as much as I fight against the stigma of depression/anxiety/everyothermentalillness, I know it still exists. I also don’t want sympathy or cries of “I didn’t know, I would have helped!” because there really isn’t much a person could do to help, or “so glad you’re feeling better!” because I don’t ever get better. The sadness/worry is always hovering above my head waiting until THAT moment to rain down.
As the nurses tried to comfort me, I cried even more. How could I explain to them that I didn’t want to go home? That I wanted to stay in the hospital for months?
My reasons for crying were legion: returning to our tiny apartment that always hovered near 100 degrees during that hot summer; having to surrender laundry duties to Ben because we don’t have a washer and dryer; having 3 flights of stairs (or 52 steps) separate me from the rest of the world; having all my friends live too far away to visit without a car; being alone with my kids for 10-14 hours a day when Ben returned to work; and not being able to take the kids outside to run around because we don’t have a yard (that’s safe) and don’t have parks nearby.
I continued crying throughout the rest of my hospital stay and for the whole day I was home with Ben before he returned to work.
When I think of wanting to stay in a little hospital bed surrounded by machines, instead of home with my dear husband and sweet children, I wonder what was wrong with me.
Except I know.
I know that my fears weren’t unfounded. Heck, Amelia is almost 3 months now and I still wake up with that fear clutching my heart and those suffocating feelings of can I really do this today?
These feelings aren’t because I have three children. It’s because we, the kids and I, are stuck; with no car, no parks, and no friends close by we quickly grow tired of each other.
But, unlike the other periods of suffocating postpartum depression, I have insight and perspective. I also have hope – even if it is fleeting. I know that this time really will end. In 4.5 months we will move from this place with it’s 52 steps and isolating location. We will find somewhere that allows us to stretch, to walk, and to interact with people who will, hopefully, become lifelong friends.
Yes. Light seeps through the darkness.