Creating a Future after Postpartum Depression Erases the Past

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This is a guest post is written by Kim who blogs at The Truth About Homeschooling. She writes on her days teaching her kids at home, her faith, and on her severe PPD after 3 children. 

In April 2010 I woke up.

I was sitting on the sofa in my living room, still in my pajamas, with my three children on the floor watching TV. Violet and Sarah were talking about wanting to switch bedrooms. We’d been talking about doing this for over a year. I just couldn’t do it, though. It would take at least a month to switch bedrooms for three kids and sort out all the toys.  I looked at them through my usual fog, and then it ….just happened. I was absent. And then I wasn’t.

December 2013

This past January my husband and I started talking about home schooling our kids.  There are so very many reasons we wanted to do this, and ultimately decided to do it.  One of the reasons I was so for it was the feeling that I’d get to make up for the years I lost to postpartum depression. The idea that I’d have my kids back with me, back to doing all the daily things and activities I missed  with them because I was so sick was very appealing. I wanted to read with them, to paint and craft, to cook and bake. I wanted to be silly and have them like me. Not just love me because I was their mom, but I wanted then to like me because I was a good, kind and fun person.

I have a two year gap where there are very few true memories. When I see pictures from this time period (about January 2008 until April 2010), I really don’t remember much.  Sometimes I have what I call ‘shadow memories.’  It’s as if I dreamt it. Colors are muted or black and white, the images in my head are fuzzy and there aren’t any scents associated with it. Can’t you look at a picture of your child and smell that fresh from the bath baby smell? After about eight months of age I don’t have that with John.

So I was worried about regressing with the depression, absolutely. This was going to be a huge change to both our physical world (All three kids back at home with me every day) and our emotional world (All three kids plus me, together. All day. Emotions. Hormones. All day.).

Since ‘waking up’ in April 2010 I have back slid. But everybody does. This healing is a process. It began with my daughter Violet and the PPD after her, and it did not end in April 2010.  I have had to learn that every fall and spring my meds will need to be adjusted and that’s ok. Obviously I have to be aware of obstacles- and homeschooling could be a major obstacle.

Since that April I’ve been trying to soak up every single minute of every single day. I have such intense guilt about the time that I lost. If John is cuddled up next to me and we’re reading a book, I think, “Did I do this with Violet when she was six? I don’t know. I can’t remember.” I play this little game all day long with all three kids.

Now home school is in full swing. We are up to our necks in everything. It’s been a little crazy, and we’ve had some pretty awful days. But we are loving it.  Throughout this adjustment I’ve seen my hopes coming true.  I’m getting to know my children – as people, not just as my kids. And while I can’t hold a six year old Violet on my lap and read her a favorite book, I can still sit with her –and she’ll read to me. I can’t rock Sarah to sleep the way I hope I did, but I can cuddle with her and watch Star Wars for the first time. I might not remember John learning to dress himself but I can watch with pride as he learns to write his own thoughts down.

Postpartum depression robbed me of precious time with my children & husband. But as I continue therapy & keep taking my meds, I’m gaining in the memory department . Today I’m building a life that is more than shadows, more than soft edges. I’m meeting each day with clear eyes & a loving heart. In the end, I win.
I’m awake.
And that’s a beautiful place to be.

Find Kim on her blog The Truth About Homeschooling.

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  1. Powerful post. You perfectly describe what postpartum depression is like. I totally get wanting your kids to like you. Still working on that over here. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Well that brought a few tears… I “woke up” just a couple months ago and my biggest regret is how little I remember from my now-toddler’s infancy. Exactly the things you describe, smells, how it felt to hold him, milestones, etc. Hopefully next time I will remember to write some of those things down so I’ll know I was there for them.

    I’m currently fighting an internal struggle about whether to return to the 8-5 work force or stick it out for awhile longer as a SAHM. This memory deficit is a major factor in that decision. It’s nice to know I’m not alone and I’m glad you found a healthy way to handle it, Kim.

  3. This resonates so much with me right now. I feel like I’m finally in the process of properly waking up. It’s wonderful and such a relief but it also makes me sad for the missed moments.

    As Lindsay says above, it makes the decision to go back to work a really tough one. Part of me wants to and thinks the balance will aid my recovery but another part of me, the part that feels cheated out of the first six months of my son’s life, wants to hold off and enjoy some more time with him now that I CAN enjoy some of it.

    Thank you for your words.

    L x

  4. I can really relate to this, 8 years ago I suffered from pnd after the birth if my daughter, feel like I have missed so much, and still waiting for the day I can say, it’s finally over