Postnatal Depression – A Dad’s Story
For those not wishing to watch 17 minutes of me talking, then feel free to read this:
I didn’t see it coming. Maybe it was the fact that it’s rarely discussed. Or the fact that when it is, it’s about the mothers. But when my daughter was born, after years of waiting, I didn’t feel a thing.
Maybe it was the visiting that kick-started it. Having people come in and take your baby off you, even if it’s out of a place of kindness, probably didn’t help. But I didn’t even notice at the time, with everything going on, I didn’t get chance to process anything.
It took a few weeks for it to really sink in. But I was depressed. I’ve been here before, I know how this feels, but never had I imagined I’d feel this way about my own daughter.
It was incredibly hard to admit. But I hated her. I was jealous of her, I was resentful, then I felt guilty, but overall I felt that my life had been ruined. If someone offered to take her away, I would have gladly accepted.
This lasted a couple of months. But luckily for me, if you can call it luck, I’ve battled on and off with depression for years, and I know that I can find ways to help ease it. So that’s what I did with Isabelle. I found ways to cope. I knew it would take time – I had no choice but to try.
I did all that I could. I changed her, bathed her, played with her, I even let her sleep on me, but still I felt nothing. When I went back to work, I felt myself gradually get better. I had time to think about things and not feel like she was constantly demanding from me. Having that break, as lucky as I was to be able to actually have them, did help.
It’s incredibly hard to love someone that takes so much from you without a thought of anything in return. The only problem is, you’re not supposed to think that way. You’re supposed to love them no matter what. You’re not supposed to tell someone that you don’t even like your baby, let alone love them. But my partner stood by me. She knew I couldn’t help it, and supported me the entire way through. Without her, I would probably still be in a bad place.
Then she started to give back. When we first went away with her, she smiled for the very first time. And I felt a feeling start to grow. It wasn’t big, but it was there. We had found something that worked. Going away with Isabelle and taking myself from all the distractions of being home really helped.
But it’s hard. You have to learn to love them. It’s not always an instant thing, much like any relationship we have, it takes time and work to make things great.
What I have now with Isabelle is amazing. It didn’t come easy, but it did come eventually. And just knowing that there are people out there willing and able to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for it, this depression isn’t you, and it’s ok to admit that you’re not coping. Talking about this made me feel a lot better too. Putting everything out there through something like this helped me process it all.
All I can say is that it will get better. I can’t tell you when, but there will come a time when you feel it, you just have to keep fighting for it.