Where Working Moms Rule the World.
I’m the kind of girl who hits the ground running as soon as I open my eyes. For better or worse, I’m permanently set to the “on” position. After I had my Tootsie Roll, I was no different—or so I wanted to think. Something changed in me, though. Every time I’d try to run around like my old self, I felt that I had a truck strapped to my waist, just pulling me down. I would walk around in a haze, completely clouded over.
I fought with these feelings endlessly. I thought for sure it was the pain medication from the c-section or being sleep-deprived or the fact that I went back to work after a week of having baby. I attributed it to a lot of things—none of them being the real reason.
I remember going to a friend’s birthday dinner a month or so after baby was born. I looked like a million bucks—fitting neatly into my old clothes and even rocking my 5 inch heels. I looked amazing, as my husband told me, but I felt completely lost. As I sat at the bar waiting for the rest of the people to arrive, I remember looking around and feeling helpless and just “off”. The voices of happy people, the clanking of spoons and dishes, the rustling of the waiters and the mixing of martinis all flowed together and mashed up in my head. All I heard was a sound much like a large air plane makes going overhead. If someone said anything to me, I would not have known how to respond. I thought for sure that I shouldn’t feel like this. I wasn’t the kind of girl this happens to…. I don’t have time for this to happen to me. I just wouldn’t let it.
But those feelings lingered. I went shopping a day or two after the birthday party. The baby was with the nanny and I thought, great, I will get some much needed retail therapy. I could barely make it through the aisles. I moved the clothes on the racks but I couldn’t see them. I struggled to even think about what I wanted or needed or why I was there. The only way I could describe it was walking around like a Zombie.
There were plenty of tears shed in the silence of a shower. There were lashings out of anger where none were ever needed. There were feelings that a new mother should never feel or think. When my doctor asked me how I was doing, I lied about everything. Do I cry more than usual? Of course. Do I get angrier than usual? Of course. Are you feeling sad? Yes, all the time. I lied on those post-partum surveys and I knew full well that I was lying. I had it and I knew it.
My husband thought I should talk to someone—but I thought, no way in hell. I was already miserably failing at being a mother, I thought. Breastfeeding was a total disaster. Swaddling wasn’t working. Crib sleeping was a distant hope. I was struggling to get back on track at work. So much was going on that I put my own feelings on the back burner. But they would creep up and linger. I’d walk to my car and drive home and not even know how I got there.
Post-partum depression is real. For working mothers, admitting that you have it is nearly impossible.
It hit me like a ton of bricks and nearly knocked me over. I should have gotten help. I didn’t. I thought I just didn’t have the time for it. Someone should really get on a soap box and talk about post-partum depression and the working mother. That’s a far better topic than locking up baby formula in hospitals.