Her Mask

For all those dark little secrets we hide behind...

The Secrets of Motherhood

When I was pregnant and even my whole life, everyone tells you how you’re going to be so happy when your baby comes. How you’ll instantly love them and just be so happy and all these wonderful things. You never hear about the bad or the reality… And let me tell you, the reality can be harsh and painful and terrifying and so, so lonely…

In the back of my mind, I expected postpartum depression. I looked for it. I’d dealt with depression most of my life. So I was prepared for this part to a point. What I wasn’t prepared for was postpartum bipolar, postpartum anxiety, and handling it all alone with no support. I wasn’t prepared to look at my baby and feel like I didn’t love him. I wasn’t prepared to feel so disconnected. I wasn’t prepared to be handling all my feelings alone. I wasn’t prepared for any of it.

I’ve dealt with such a wild mix of emotions that I don’t even know how to explain them. I love my son, but I feel disconnected. I feel like crying all the time. I feel like I’m the only one who really made an effort to take care of him and I felt like I couldn’t get any help no matter who or where I turned. I got frustrated and upset and I was exhausted while everyone else was able to get sleep. I felt like I was screaming for help at the top of my lungs in a room full of people and I was ignored. No matter how I cried or begged, I was dismissed and ignored. But more importantly then anything, I felt like I had no one to turn to.

The one person who said they’d be there for me, to support me, I didn’t trust to talk about my feelings. I could to a point but I was terrified of how they’d react and I had reason to be afraid. I had dealt with horrible gender disappointment and he called lawyers on me, planned to take the baby as soon as he was born, etc instead of being supportive or caring or understanding for even a minute. When I needed someone the most, he wasn’t there. He was doing shit behind my back. So it made me terrified to go to him, to turn to him for help and support.

I told him a little bit about how I felt disconnected and he said he could relate but I still felt ignored. I felt cut off. Because he could relate to his own version of disconnection, he made it seem like he could understand my version of disconnection without listening to everything and he didn’t. By what he was saying, I could tell that he didn’t understand. And it felt like he cut me off and changed the subject when he was done, not when I was…

Like he sat there, well, laid there, and told me how he’d be there for me and all that but something he said, I’m not gonna go into exactly what, but it made me feel like he wouldn’t be open and understanding or supportive. So it made me bottle things up more. I didn’t feel like I could turn to him. And so I dealt with it all alone and those feelings didn’t get better. They tore at me. And the more alone I felt and the more I struggled emotionally alone, the worse I felt.

Even now, it feels like I can’t turn to him and when I do, it’s just thrown in my face about his feelings and put myself in his shoes… Like for just a few minutes, can’t he just be supportive, comforting, and just… be there for me?! I had a baby, his baby, and I’m having problems and it feels like a situation of “too fucking bad”. Like what I’m going through doesn’t matter or mean anything.

I’m tired of being told that he cares but he doesn’t care enough to just be there and just be supportive and be comforting. It feels like he wants everyone to be there for him but he doesn’t want to be there for me… It feels like I always have to comfort him and be supportive of him and his struggles while mine don’t matter. I keep having to tell him that it’s going to be okay and I have to keep reminding him of the good but no one is there reminding me or encouraging me. No one is trying to pick me up. I literally feel like I’m drowning in front of him, reaching for his help and his hand, while all he does his talk about his own problems… Like help me out for two damn minutes! Put your pity party away for just a few minutes and help me.

Like I mean, some emotional support is what I need so badly right now. Some effort on his end to try and help. That would be absolutely huge. A little thoughtfulness. Like on Friday the 15th would have been the 3rd birthday of my first cat. He passed… And he was very important to me. He didn’t say anything about it, did ask me if I was okay, couldn’t even bring home maybe a cupcake or a small slice of cake from the grocery store or even a damn gas station. It was the first year I hadn’t does anything for my cats birthday. Like I don’t know if he thinks not saying anything makes it easier because then he’s not reminding me but how could I ever even forget?! Like say something. Anything. Just be there for me. A person shouldn’t have to ask for support and beg for it. They shouldn’t have to break down to know something is wrong and they need some support.

And then he makes it feel like a problem or like I’m to be blamed for not coming to him right away when he does ask what’s wrong and when I finally do tell him, that’s a problem too. It’s a double sided blade. I feel like I shouldn’t say anything because I just get hit with his feelings instead of support. And then when I don’t answer his “what’s wrong” right away because he never acts like he cares, then that’s an issue too… So what am I supposed to do?

So yeah… Everyone tells you how great things will be. They tell you all about the good stuff. No one ever mentions any of the struggles… No one tells you the reality of how hard it may be…

Literally since the day I couldn’t pump anymore, I’ve felt like the absolute worst mother in the world. I’ve felt disconnected. I’ve felt guilty. I’ve felt useless and overwhelmed. I feel like I was down into caring for a newborn without even a moment of help from the first day we brought him home. I wasn’t given a chance to learn or anything. I never got to catch up on sleep after having him, so I was exhausted. I felt incapable. I was scared; terrified even. I wasn’t ready to do it by myself and it felt like no one cared. And then I felt depressed on top of it all. So then I felt even worse. It was a problem that the house wasn’t getting cleaned like I was just supposed to come home from the hospital and just pick right up where I left off. And then when we needed to pack, I couldn’t and that was a problem too. From the day he was born, everyone made me feel like I couldn’t do anything right.

He told me that I was a great mum, but I never felt like one. And when I tried to explain or talk about things, I felt dismissed. And then after a huge fight and a major break down… He hasn’t once said I’m a good mother or anything. And I’m just breaking apart more and more every day. Every day is a day I think about death and suicide and how everyone, including my son, would all be better off without me…

And the one person whose said I can come to them about anything and everything and says he’s there for me and loves me and wants to be with me… I feel like if I told him anything about what and how much I’ve really been struggling… I feel like he’d think I was a horrible mum too and take my baby away from me… I love my baby. I do. I worry about him constantly and I think about him all the time. I love taking care of my baby. But I can’t deny my other feelings and struggles too… And it’s not fair that having a baby takes two, but it doesn’t take two to carry the baby or help with what the one has to struggle with… Like when you have a baby you’re supposed to work together, but it feels like working together doesn’t apply to helping the mother with any struggles she deals with ever. Like we’re just a-okay right off the bat. And that’s not the case at all. At least it wasn’t the case for me….

Like we’re supposed to be in this together. Lifting each other up. Not bringing each other down and making the other feel worse and worse when they already feel horrible enough…

At the end of the day, I feel like everyone is blaming me for what I’m going through, like I have some choice regarding it and like I can control it or something… If I could make myself all better, I would. But I can’t. I wish I could…

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