To My Husband – In the wake of my depression and anxiety

Dear husband,

I know that I just haven’t been the same since the baby came.

I knew that my moods would swing crazier than the monkey’s on the bed book I read about 11 times a day. I knew I might feel sad at times when I folded his onesies that he outgrew. I was ready. I had my essential oils and my motivational Pinterest board.

I had prepared my third trimester. Oh, that turbulent trimester. We were so busy getting ready and choosing a hospital and drafting birth plans. I was the commander and you were the general, waging a war on pre-birth anxiety by picking out a calming playlist on Spotify and indulging in the occasional massage and coffee date night – savoring our last times together as a couple.

The birth happened. It was a hard time and the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. Looking at that little face, I felt so invincible. I felt that I had climbed Mt. Everest and God himself handed me this miracle as a reward. But, I couldn’t remember the pregnancy. I couldn’t feel much else besides exhilerated and exhausted.

The first weeks flew by. We didn’t sleep. We laid on the floor, calming the baby at 3 in the morning feedings and holding eachother, desparately trying to get a moment of rest. You would light the candle I loved and hold me through my anxious moments. I got so anxious when he cried.

The doctor saw me at my four week appointment. I was doing great recovering. Did I feel sad? No, I felt so tired. I felt so tired and numb. But that was just the exhaustion.

I changed doctors because the smell of the lobby made me want to dry heave.

I stayed at home a lot. It was safer that way. Loud noises would jarr me. I couldn’t believe he was almost two months old. Two months old and still spitting up all the time. I worried. I googled. I would worry some more. You would hold me through my panic attacks and help me keep breathing.

I got sad. I was so sad all the time. Sad at being anxious. Sad that motherhood was slipping through my fingers. Sad because how could he even be here after that traumatic pregnancy? How did I learn to feel so numb and how could I feel normal again? My hormones had leveled but my mental state had not. Everything hurt. Nighttime was the worst. Everything stung. You would pace the floor with me and call doctors with me that whole month. You would tuck in the baby, I would be busy panicking. You would talk to me until everything started to make sense again. Thank you for putting me back together.

At month five, the sun is starting to come out. I still cry a lot. I still rely on your warmth, comfort, and patience. But what I can tell you is I feel the jagged edges healing. It is painful because the scabs break off. It is anxiety-provoking because it’s not on my schedule. But I can tell you that you and God got me through it.

Through the horrific postpartum haze, I got to see in a whole new light how wonderful of a man you are – why God brought you to me – and your strength in your softness. You took the time to study me throughout our marriage and our pregnancy. You helped me to savor the new life we made and to climb over the mountains of depression and anxiety and emotional isolation. Thank you for holding my hand and putting what love is into action.

You are my rock, my partner, and my soulmate. I couldn’t love you any more after all of this.

Xx

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