Two and a half years ago, my parents were visiting and my husband and I went out for drinks. It was a few months after babyloss, and I was floundering.
Maybe a bar isn't the best place to have this conversation, but I tried, "I think there's something wrong, I think this has impacted me far more than I thought, [big gulp of air] IthinkIamdepressed."
I've never had clinical depression, I've never taken medication, I'm a pick yourself up dust yourself off kind of person (and I know how obnoxious that sounds to someone who has or has experienced clinical depression, you can't just will yourself out of it). But the darkness was not lifting, and was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. This was a huge thing - a vulnerability - for me to admit.
"Yeah, it's hit me hard too, it really was something, huh," was my husband's response, as his eyes flicked around the bar, at the TV, at other people, at just being out and about.
So I dropped it, and it took a few more months but the darkness did finally fade, and I could focus on the future and planning with just a few periods of sadness, if there was some sort of reminder, but oops! My husband had already moved on, found a colleague who was fun and understanding and I guess most importantly, not me, no history, nothing complicated.
You read the mommy magazines and mommy blogs and it's a common complaint - your needs are subsumed by everyone else's. You're the one who does the million and one things to keep things running smoothly and create a life for your family. My husband is an incredibly invovled dad. He does a ton for the kids. But there are times I just want someone to think about me. Where am I in all of this?
There's been a variety of creeping cruds in our house the past few weeks, and I've managed to miss all of it. So I've done the runs to pick up medicine, taken the burden of much of the middle of the night wakings, the doctor visits, the jello, the lot of it.
And now this week is our oldest child's birthday, and there was planning for a birthday party. We did a joint party yesterday with a neighbor whose daughter has the same birthday, and her husband was completely absent. My neighbor exudes loneliness, and we never see her husband, and so I asked and he works long hours on a late shift - til 10 pm most nights. So, a stay at home mom, she does all the heavy lifting of parenting. And I think how spoiled I am, how much he does, how I have good childcare, how I have time for myself.
But still. Days I'm tired, he's so exhausted he can't keep his eyes open. Days I have a work issue, his colleagues are idiots who are going to screw up their entire important project. And so it goes. It is never just about me. I think, in general, this is a common complaint in the male/female dynamic.
And now the crud has finally crept my way, so my head is heavy and I'm trying hard to tie a bunch of threads together in this post and it's not quite working. And there are cupcakes to make and presents to wrap and a last minute present to pick up and just all the extras to think about to make a 4 year old feel special. And I am tired. I think the biggest lesson of the past two years for me was that ultimately, I can only count on myself. And when I am physically tired, that makes me feel sad, but at the same time, keeps me going. So it's off to finish up birthday prep, after a nap. I need it.
4 days ago