Being a mom after one of your children has died is indescribable.
I thought the days that directly followed the passing of my eight month old son were difficult. But soon those days drifted into weeks. Those weeks quickly drifted into months. Here I am, over a year later, and it still feels like David’s passing was just yesterday.
I began to wonder if something was wrong with me. There are days I don’t want to get out of bed. There are days that I yell at my kids over silly things they have done. There are days when I feel alone, even when the house is full of people.
Well-meaning people around me thought I should be over it. That I should be beyond the grief that holds me hostage.
In part, I agreed.
Not that I would ever be over it, no one can ever “get over” the death of a child. But the grief that holds me hostage has to be dealt with.
Reluctantly, I went to see a doctor.
I made and cancelled several appointments before I finally kept one. I was of the mindset that I certainly could never succumb to something like depression.
At least that’s what I tried telling myself. In reality, that’s exactly what I was dealing with.
There is a stigma about seeking treatment for mental health issues, and I was embarrassed to admit that I needed help.
I was scared to admit that I yell at my kids. If I admitted to the doctor that I got angry and yelled (screamed) at my kids, would he call CPS on me? If I admitted that there were days I crawled back into bed after the kids left for school, would my friends think I was lazy? If I admitted that I can’t look at the newborn babies at church without breaking down in tears, would the whole congregation think I was crazy?
Those were the types of thoughts that kept me from seeking help. Those thoughts (and actions) kept me from being the mom I used to be, the mom I wanted to be again,
My grief was keeping me from the sunshine in my life.
People depend on me: my family, my friends, my husband, my kids – I couldn’t admit that I am not infallible.
I couldn’t admit that my emotions were getting the better of me.
I couldn’t admit that I needed help.
That was my way of thinking until the day I finally realized I couldn’t keep doing this any longer.
The day I fell asleep and forgot to pick my boys up from school was the day I decided to seek professional help in dealing with my grief, with my depression.
I missed the joy of being a mom. I missed the joy of sewing, reading, cooking, and writing.
I was missing so much more than my sweet little boy – I was missing out on my other kids.
I was missing out on my life.
It’s been four months since my first doctor’s appointment. The first medication did nothing for me, and I spent the Holidays in a raw, emotion-filled haze. Fortunately, after the Holidays, the doctor switched my medication and I am starting to feel human again.
I can’t say I feel the same way I did before David passed away. I think grief will always be a part of me.
I can say that I’m starting to feel like the mom I want to be.
A mom who enjoys the sunshine.
Depression is such a difficult subject to discuss. Have you or someone you know dealt with depression? What types of resources were helpful? Please share what you feel comfortable with.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Amy Hillis from Ohio, USA. When she’s not keeping up with her boys, she can be found at her own website, Transplanted Thoughts, Facebook and on Twitter @transplantedx3 .
Photo credit to Richard Riley. This photo has a creative commons attribute license.