When Motherhood Became a Cause for Depression
Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. This is just my story about depression and what I do to handle it.
I never thought depression will knock at my door. Ever since, I’ve always been the happy-go-lucky person who doesn’t take life seriously. I always have a cheerful, positive disposition and you will rarely see me crying or sad (unless I watch a tear-jerking movie).
When I found out I was pregnant, that’s the moment I started feeling bad and sad for myself. “It must be the hormones,” I said. As the months go by, I started to lose the cheerful side of me.
“It’s post-partum,” every time I cry for no reason at all. I was able to get over it, but there’s always been a part of me that feels so empty.
When I gave birth to my second baby, I had to give up something I wanted so bad: law school. Being a mother entails sacrifices, no matter how hard or painful it is – and in my case, it’s also about setting aside that dream since I was six. I quit law school and became a stay-at-home mom. Little did I know that it’s the start of my worsening depression.
I read somewhere that stay-at-home moms are more prone to depression. It must be true. Somehow, I have to drag myself up with whatever energy is left (even if I just woke up) because I know there are (little) people counting and depending on me.
Everyday for as long as I can remember, I wake up, do the chores, bath and feed the kids, bring them to school, wait for them as they finish their extra-curricular activities, prepare meals, read them a bedtime story, and put them to sleep. During downtime, I finish work and squeeze blogging if time permits. Whatever time is left for the day, I dedicate for myself. I purposely sleep late at night and rarely wake them early so I can have the house all to myself and enjoy peace (while I finish some chores). I feel good every time I accomplish something with the kids or see the house clean, but deep inside, there will always be this sense of longing – longing for something I can’t even put my fingers at.
Yes, I am at my worst. I stopped dressing up, I rarely get a me-time, and I am slowly losing myself. I cry at little things when no one is looking, I answer a few seconds after every time my kids call me, and I often find myself staring blankly outside the window. I’m like a timed bomb, waiting to explode. I used to fantasize about being alone, with no responsibilities to worry about, and just do whatever I want (then I hear my kids cry or fight to help me go back to reality).
Here’s the worst part: I HAVEN’T TALKED TO ANYONE ABOUT THIS.
For some reason, I haven’t shared about what I’m going through for the past years. A good friend of mine told me one time, “It’s a good thing you were able to come with us. You need this break.” I think that’s what we, moms need. A BREAK. We all need a break and put ourselves first. I need to prioritize myself first, so I can be more effective, more efficient, more stable, and less cranky.
There is still a stigma surrounding depression here in the Philippines, so I don’t know who and where to reach out. To be honest, I am scared to open up about it too, out of fear of being judged.
Nonetheless, I resorted to journaling and calligraphy to help me cope with depression. I find peace in writing, so I write every time I feel like bursting. I savor every second of peace and quiet at home to make me appreciate that there is more to be thankful for than be sad or mad about. I started making friends – mommy friends – who share the same stories and makes me feel that I am not alone. Slowly, I reconnect with myself to enable me to function fully. After all, what’s the use of being a perfect mother when I feel empty inside?
Depression is still there, but I’m slowly working against it. Until then, I will do my best to kick it out of my system. I need support to help me get through this. Moms like me who feel alone, lonely, and depressed, we all need support to get through this.