When I was growing up, I knew I didn’t want to have kids. I knew I wasn’t cut out for it. I didn’t enjoy having to take care of someone else, as I learned when I would have to watch my sister. I didn’t like playing make believe for ten hours, as I learned when my cousin was growing up. I didn’t like the responsibility of taking care of a living being. I didn’t even like having a pet dog, which my parents always decided was a good idea, but left me to take care of.
I dated in high school and college, a little. Nothing more than a couple weeks. Nothing serious. No thoughts of babies. I knew I wanted to be married someday though. That I knew for sure, but no kids. I met my husband, and fell instantly in love. I am not exaggerating. I knew the instant I saw him. Within a few weeks, or months, we talked to each other about our hopes for the future. Not involving each other, per say, but just our general hopes. Did I want kids? No. Did he? Yes. How many? Two. Crap, well, now I want to have this mans babies. Crap.
So, along we went. Dating for three years, marriage, infertility. Suddenly, after IVF, a baby! A beautiful baby girl. I was happy, for a while. Until I wasn’t. She required so much from me. I felt drained, I felt like I would never have any part of myself back. I was just a mom now, with a little wife on the side. But me? I was gone.
The depression started when my daughter was about 14 months old. This is when I knew for sure that there would not be anymore babies. My husband agreed. Our daughter was perfect, but more babies wasn’t the right move for us. Although there was one month when I was in, what I suppose would be referred to as a “manic episode” when we decided to go talk to the RE about doing an FET. I was ready. Until a few days later, when i realized I absolutely was not ready. Never would be. What was I thinking? Had I completely lost my mind?
That was April. July 16th I learned I was pregnant. I was devastated. I wanted to be happy, I really did, but I wasn’t. I was scared. I was so unhappy all the time. The depression had been so critical that I had to have my in-laws take care of my daughter on multiple occasions because I just couldn’t do it. I’d sit in my bed and cry about how much I hated my life, how horrible of a mother I was, how I was letting my husband down. Now we were going to have another one? How? Why?
A long time has passed since then. My son is now 11 months old. I love him, more than I can possibly say, but to say that I’m happy would be wrong. I am constantly battling these inner demons that seem to be whispering “you’ll never do anything ever again except take care of kids and clean.” That’s it. That’s my life. I spend my days waiting for nap time. Then i hold my breath until my son is asleep. My daughter will read books for two hours if she doesn’t sleep, so she’s no problem at all. If he doesn’t nap, I lose it. All the sudden the walls close in on me, and I feel like I’m going to drown. I just need that time to decompress. To sit in quiet. To stare at the wall. Not to hear someone yelling or crying. I don’t want to have to pick up more toys, fetch more snack, change more diapers, watch more cartoons.
I know it will get easier. This baby stage is so hard, so constant. He needs me, and I understand that. I’m glad to be there for him, most of the time, but there comes a point in every day where I just can’t muster up the desire to be a mom anymore. When I wish I was anywhere else at that moment. When I wish with all my heart that my husband was home with me, that we could parent together, so that I wouldn’t feel trapped and outnumbered.
It will get easier. It will get easier. It will get easier.
Maybe tomorrow I will do better. Maybe tomorrow I will love harder. Maybe tomorrow I won’t cry. Maybe tomorrow it will get easier.