That Thing

Candice Nolan / Aug 20, 2017

That Thing

I am still trying to get to grips with my diagnosis. Post-natal depression. It is not who I am. It is an illness that is slowly robbing me of my sense of self. I feel empty alot of the time. Like I have nothing to give. To offer. Like nothing.

My doctor related a story to me the other day. He told the story of Annie who had signed up to become a nun. After selling all her earthly posessions, she went to the nunnery to start her new life. The Mother Superior welcomed her, introduced her to everyone and explained her daily chores. Then she was shown her room: a basic affair with a simple bed and a desk at the window. She noticed a leather strap hanging near the desk. When the Mother Superior had finished her tour, she asked if Annie had any questions. Annie asked about the leather strap. “Oh! That’s for you to beat yourself with at the end of everyday!”

Pause for laughter.

My doctor reckons that I am Annie. That I set unrealistic expectations of myself, only to severely chastise myself for failing to reach them.

He is right.

There is a constant script rolling in my mind. “You’re so stupid” “Why don’t you buy nicer clothes. shoes.” “Gosh, can’t the earth swallow me in” “How I yearn to be the fly on the wall. Wait! I am. ugly. disgusting. unwanted”

It all sounds so inane when I spell it all out like this. Maybe that’s what depression is? ridiculous. moronic. asinine. 

I am here because I couldn’t manage out there. I kept looking for “that feeling” toward my baby. The elusive. The magical. The seemingly unnatainable maternal glow. Its all over facebook. It permeates momma groups. Crunchy moms sprout forth easy quick fix recipes for any ailment, using breastmilk and coconut oil. Be crunchy! Be mommy! Be like me!, they seem to shout.

It’s all a lie. That feeling. I will develop a bond with my baby through caring for and nurturing her. That’s what my sister told me earlier today  Perhaps she’s onto something. I tried that today. I held my baby (MY baby. I think I need that to sink in some more) close. I fed her lunch. I distracted her when she was upset about losing the tube of handcream someone had given her. No pressure. “Being is better than doing”, someone once told me. So I am trying to be. Be Lailah’s mom. Be there. Care. Just be. 


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