Being a mom after one of your children has died is indescribable.
I thought the days that directly followed the passing of my eight month old son were difficult. But soon those days drifted into weeks. Those weeks quickly drifted into months. Here I am, over a year later, and it still feels like David’s passing was just yesterday.
I began to wonder if something was wrong with me. There are days I don’t want to get out of bed. There are days that I yell at my kids over silly things they have done. There are days when I feel alone, even when the house is full of people.
Well-meaning people around me thought I should be over it. That I should be beyond the grief that holds me hostage.
In part, I agreed.
Not that I would ever be over it, no one can ever “get over” the death of a child. But the grief that holds me hostage has to be dealt with.
Reluctantly, I went to see a doctor.
I made and cancelled several appointments before I finally kept one. I was of the mindset that I certainly could never succumb to something like depression.
At least that’s what I tried telling myself. In reality, that’s exactly what I was dealing with.
There is a stigma about seeking treatment for mental health issues, and I was embarrassed to admit that I needed help.
I was scared to admit that I yell at my kids. If I admitted to the doctor that I got angry and yelled (screamed) at my kids, would he call CPS on me? If I admitted that there were days I crawled back into bed after the kids left for school, would my friends think I was lazy? If I admitted that I can’t look at the newborn babies at church without breaking down in tears, would the whole congregation think I was crazy?
Those were the types of thoughts that kept me from seeking help. Those thoughts (and actions) kept me from being the mom I used to be, the mom I wanted to be again,
My grief was keeping me from the sunshine in my life.
People depend on me: my family, my friends, my husband, my kids – I couldn’t admit that I am not infallible.
I couldn’t admit that my emotions were getting the better of me.
I couldn’t admit that I needed help.
That was my way of thinking until the day I finally realized I couldn’t keep doing this any longer.
The day I fell asleep and forgot to pick my boys up from school was the day I decided to seek professional help in dealing with my grief, with my depression.
I missed the joy of being a mom. I missed the joy of sewing, reading, cooking, and writing.
I was missing so much more than my sweet little boy – I was missing out on my other kids.
I was missing out on my life.
It’s been four months since my first doctor’s appointment. The first medication did nothing for me, and I spent the Holidays in a raw, emotion-filled haze. Fortunately, after the Holidays, the doctor switched my medication and I am starting to feel human again.
I can’t say I feel the same way I did before David passed away. I think grief will always be a part of me.
I can say that I’m starting to feel like the mom I want to be.
A mom who enjoys the sunshine.
Depression is such a difficult subject to discuss. Have you or someone you know dealt with depression? What types of resources were helpful? Please share what you feel comfortable with.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Amy Hillis from Ohio, USA. When she’s not keeping up with her boys, she can be found at her own website, Transplanted Thoughts, Facebook and on Twitter @transplantedx3 .
Photo credit to Richard Riley. This photo has a creative commons attribute license.
It is so good to hear from you again Amy – my thoughts have been with you this last year. You are so brave, not only for seeking help, but for being open about it. I am so glad you are starting to enjoy the sunshine again!
Yes, I know several people who have or are dealing with depression. There is a huge campaign on the tele around depression – particularly male depression – at the moment. I hope it reaches the people it needs to – so they too can live in the sunshine again. Awesome post. Thankyou.
OH wow. I’m welling up with tears reading this. I don’t suspect 10 years or 20 years are enough to get over such a thing. I imagin it’s more of a process of learning to live with it. I’m glad you’re getting help and starting to see the sunshine again. What an honest and touching post.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I know it’s not easy to talk about it and the fact that you’ve written about it is a sign that healing is taking place and you’re ready to move on. What has happened will always remain a part of you, you don’t have to act like it’s never there. But what’s important is to let the experience make you a stronger woman. And I believe you are doing just that. Thanks again for this article.
Amy – this is one of the most honest posts we have had on WMB. It blows me away. You are so courageous. Hang in there!
I am so fortunate to not have suffered from depression, but I have had people very close to me who have. Therapy is so important…talking to someone outside your situation. But also just talking to people who love you and care about you seems crucial. None of us are alone, and we need to lean on those who are part of our community. Afterall, we would tell them to do the same. XO!
I followed this link – thinking it was taking me to my blog. **sigh** I’m with you girl. My heart goes out to you – in love and grief. xo
Oh Amy…this post, your words…your honesty, the raw feelings, brought me to tears. First of all I am so sorry for your loss.
I had some postpartum depression that went undiagnosed because I was ashamed to open up to my doctor when I came in for a postpartum check up. I lied, I covered it all up and it took the end of my marriage to finally realized there was a name to how I felt back then.
I wish you nothing but the best and I hope by opening yourself up will bring you a lot of virtual supports to get you through this and bring you some sort of peace as you continue your path to healing. Big big hugs!
Amy, welcome back….back to WMB, back to life, and back to the sunshine. You were just going through David’s loss when I joined the team and I spent several day on Transplanted Thoughts, trying to piece it all together. I can only imagine the time it must be taking you to do the same.
I struggle with depression now and then too. My husband thinks it’s season, it’s always worse in February and almost undetectable in July but it’s there every year and it sucks all the same. It’s hard to motivate and get excited about anything. Many tasks and creative ventures get left undone and I forget ho to find joy in the simple pleasures life brings.
I’m really happy to hear that you’ve taken that step toward healing and that you’ve found a medication that is helping. Prayers are good too so I’ll add that to your list.
I’m so glad to hear more of your journey. And standing with you as a mom who has and does still suffer with depression. I’m grateful that you found a medication that helps alleviate some of the worst of the pain, and that you’re willing to write so vulnerably here. *HUG*
I have very similar feelings – I always wonder if I will be able to truly feel joy again. Life is bittersweet after your child has died. I will never be the same person but I am hoping that one day I can feel more of the sweetness of motherhood and life. My thoughts are with you. Take care.