You’re a new mother. You’ve found the greatest love in your life. You’re sore and tired and unbelievably happy. You’re adjusting, you’re fine, your baby is absolutely beautiful… And nobody is talking about post-partum depression.
Yes, maybe you found some paragraphs about it here and there in that sea of information that kept coming to you like the waves on the beach since the moment you became pregnant. You kind of know what post-partum depression is, but what is it really?
What is post-partum depression? I mean exactly, not vaguely, not in a general knowledge kind of way. What is it? How does it feel? How will you know if you’re in it or not?
I think the first important clarification about post-partum depression should be to note that “post-partum” could mean anything from the first months to the first years of your baby’s life. There is no exact time when it could happen, and the specific reasons for it will be rarely easy to identify. Also, if you happen to experience this kind of depression for some time and it fades away, there is no guarantee that it won’t come back.
In my experience, the first two months of my baby’s life were day after day of stunning bliss and expanding love. I was totally engulfed in the feeling of great awe that my baby’s beauty inspired in me. I’m sure I had some low points, but overall I was so happy I couldn’t believe there could be anything real about post-partum depression or other motherly feelings of inadequacy that I read about.
Time went by quickly and soon the six weeks of the first transition after childbirth were over. A couple more weeks and then that’s when it happened for me. Without warning or preamble my mood started to plummet down into the depth of an unknown sadness. Within days I’d gone from ecstasy to gloom. I was inexplicably sad and prone to burst into tears for no apparent reason. I couldn’t find my own mind, I couldn’t think. One afternoon, I was flipping through the pages of my husband’s old photo album and I stopped at the page where all his girlfriends from back in the day had a place. There were so many pictures, so many girls.