What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s post is by Manal Khalife.
I want you to know that postpartum depression is real. I want you to know that I didn't make myself depressed, it wasn't all in my head and I didn't want to be depressed. I want you to know that just because someone looks healthy on the outside, doesn't mean I don't feel like I'm dying on the inside. I want you to know that telling a mom who's depressed that she "should be happy" she has a healthy baby, is not helpful.
I want you to know that depression hurts. Like physically hurts. I want you to know that when I say I want to die, I really mean it in that moment, and that it's code for "Please help me, I'm drowning and I don't know how to swim."
I want you to know that I loved my babies more than anything, and I wanted to hurt them some days. I want you to know, that some moms are just too sensitive to the cries and screams and it hurts our ears and our hearts. I want you to know that I can't cope in the middle of the night, and I need to catch up on sleep.
I want you to know, that you don't have to ask a mom who's depressed if she needs help. She does. I want you to know that if you do her dishes or throw in a load of laundry or sling the baby while she sleeps, she will recharge and feel more like herself.
I want you to know that moms weren't meant to mother alone. I want you to know that I love being a SAHM, but I hate being alone. I want you to know that just because I chose to be a mom, doesn't mean I deserve to handle it all on my own.
I want you to know that depression clouds my judgment. And makes it difficult to make decisions. I want you to know that depression is embarrassing, because society made it so. I want you to know that I'm not crazy. I'm tired. I'm lonely. I'm cranky. I'm sleepy. I'm overwhelmed.
I want you to know that in the midst of depression, we don't know what we need. I want you to know that we seem so down and negative all the time, because we really, truly don't see an end in sight. We don't see the silver lining. It feels like life will be this way forever.
I want you to know that there ARE cures for postpartum depression. And I want you to know that giving up is not an option. Those babies need us. I want you to know that self-care is the #1 way to deal with postpartum depression, whether it's your health or taking time to do something you enjoy, to getting a babysitter every now and then to catch up with friends or run errands on your own.
I want you to know that antidepressants are ONE way, but not the only way. I want you to know that different cultures around the world honor the postpartum period in ways we could never imagine. I want you to know that we are special and we need society to mother the mothers during this time.
I want you to know that postpartum depression kills. Sometimes, literally. I want you to know what to look out for. I want you to know that reaching out for help is not weak, it's the only way. I want you to know that just like you would drop everything to help a friend, so too would they drop everything for you.
I want you to know that postpartum depression is not a lack of faith. It's not a lack of determination. It's not a lack of strength.
I want you to know that postpartum depression made me miss out on my children's babyhood and toddlerhood. It wiped my memory of their lives. Looking back, it's like that time didn't exist. At least 2 years gone. I will never get them back.
I want you to know that I'm grateful for postpartum depression, despite the pain it caused me, because it led me to where I am today. Having been hit with it 3 times, I know when it's coming, where it's headed and how to stop it, and I am grateful to God that I can spread this wisdom on to others, so that we can be the moms we were meant to be. Instead of the moms postpartum depression forces us to be.