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Life with a Baby

We come home and I have this wonderful baby girl with me all the time. It was tiring, but amazing, until I realized that I would have to leave her to go back to work. I called my mom crying, “Why did I decided to have a baby if I am going to have someone else raise her?” I didn’t want to go back, I only had 8 short weeks to bond with her, and it didn’t feel like enough time. That last week of my maternity leave was emotional, I was her mother, I knew what is best, I breastfed, what if she didn’t take a bottle, she NEEDS me to be with her. Despite all the mom guilt, I went back to work.

That first year of being a mother was the absolute hardest on my marriage. I blamed my husband for being the reason why I couldn’t stay home with my child. He was, after all the one that bought all this equipment, the draft horses, spent money on the farm, we could use that for me to stay home and raise our child. I felt like he was being selfish, that the farm was more important than me, more important than our baby.

What was actually happening was something that so many women go through; post-partum depression. I couldn’t admit to it, I was a strong willed person with a stubborn streak (thanks to me dad) and I would be better off by myself. As it turns out, secluding yourself and not asking for help is the worst thing to do when you struggle with any sort of depression. I cried everyday going to work, as I was pumping for my baby, and on the drive back home. I pushed people away that only wanted to help me. I couldn’t face the fact that I was “weak”. To add to this, my grandfather passed away while I was pregnant. He told me that his only wish at this point in his life was to see a great-grandchild. I remember holing up in my bedroom, crying uncontrollably yelling to anyone that listened that I tried. I still carry the guilt from time to time, but I also know that he chose her from heaven. I love you Grandpa.

So I struggled silently every day, blaming others for my misfortune. I thought about leaving, just picking up my baby from daycare and driving until I ran out of gas. If no one could find me, then I could just be with my baby.

My husband tried to be supportive in the best way he could. Again, I just pushed him away. This is the best advice that I can tell anyone that has ever suffered from depression; talk, talk to someone, anyone, your thoughts matter and there is help. For a whole year I cried everyday wishing to be a stay at home mom, I thought maybe if I made sure all the laundry was done, the bathrooms were clean, three course suppers were made, then maybe my husband would let me stay home. It wasn’t his decision; society has made it so difficult to have a stay-at-home parent. Our two incomes are the same as one income from the 1950s. The painted picture of a happy wife making bread while the children are playing some board game in the living room as the father comes home from his 9 to 5 job is unrealistic. Too bad I didn’t figure this out until after my depression subsided a bit.