I sit and stare. I stare at the little thing they tell me came out of me. This little thing that keeps wailing and will not be quiet. It refuses the offer of comfort from all who offer it; it keeps wailing, wailing so loudly.
And then a nurse comes, stout and short with a hard face and mean eyes; her words are mean too. “Take her, she wants to suckle!” She snaps, dropping the baby in my laps and stalking off.
I will not touch her. I do not want her at my breasts. I do not want to pet her. “Why does she keep wailing? Why won’t someone ask her to be quiet?”
They come to take her after a while, when they realize I will not hold her. I am not foolish; I see the look in their eyes, they judge me. I hear the whispers “she has gone mental. She is not fit to be called a mother.” I also hear the snickers when they think I can’t hear.
I see my mother in-law’s face. I know she cannot wait to go back to the village and tell of her crazy daughter in-law, who refuses to hold her own child. I see her eyes heavy with fury. I hear her loud hisses, and I see her feigned concern.
My husband is no better. I hear his excuses to his mother and friends who visit. I see sometimes the anger and sympathy in his eyes as he holds my hands, trying to make me talk. I see love trying to cover his hurt. I see that he is trying to be brave!
I see my friend’s face. I see her shock when they tell her I have not touched her God-child. I see her tears as she holds my hands and tries to make me remember how I had planned for this child. I see her efforts as she tries to make the child stop crying.
I see all these things even though they think I don’t. I hear too, though they think I have suddenly gone deaf. I still have blood flowing through me, even though they think otherwise. I have emotions also…I do!
I will carry my baby, I know I will. She will suckle at my breasts. A time will come when I will pet her to bed, when I will sing to her. Soon, I’ll light up with a smile whenever I play with her fingers and see her own smile. I’ll do all these things and more. All I need is time to love, time to heal.
Who will tell them to give me time? Who will tell them to let me be and let me be! Who will tell them that I need time to reconcile my mind and body to her birth? Who will tell them to give me time to heal? Who will tell them that perhaps I am not like other women, that I heal slowly. Who will speak for me? Who will tell my husband not to stop loving me? Who will pray with me till I can chant prayers for myself?
Who will love me till I can love her?
This post is dedicated to all the women out there suffering from post partum depression, here is to let you know you will be fine. God’s got you!
Photo Credit: Bruno Monteny | Dreamstime.com