My Postpartum Depression Eventually Brought Back the Light

I got a little bit precious, a little bit too serious. And then an unexpected pregnancy sent me into a dark place.

I’ve always loved to laugh, especially at the expense of others. I guess this doesn’t put me at the head of the list for the Nobel Peace Prize, but at least I’m honest about it. I was always a bigger fan of America’s Funniest Home Videos than I was of Gray’s Anatomy.

Sometime during adulthood, though, I got a little bit precious, a little bit too serious. By the time my daughter was born, almost five years ago, I was taking life with the kind of deep-rooted sincerity that mostly just burns you out, eventually. I planned on being the ideal mother, exposing my child to as few toxins as possible, feeding her only organic food, cloth diapering, responding to her every wish and basically focusing my life entirely on her. Life was good, and she was a wonderful child, but something was missing.

Then, I got pregnant again. It was unintentional, it was a shock, and it threw our entire family for a loop. It sent me into a dark place, filled with fear and despair. I spent months coping with perinatal depression and anxiety, trying desperately not to feel this horrible ambivalence toward my pregnancy.

Thankfully, when my son was born, my love for him exploded. This was despite the postpartum depression that I continued to experience through his first year of life. It was such an important lesson, learning that I could love my family, despite the darkness I was walking around in.

The other thing that I learned, though, which was just as important, was that sometimes it takes the darkness to bring back the light. I’ve never talked about this, but it seems as though my experience with postpartum depression somehow brought back my sense of humour.

It started out as a tendency. I sometimes found that I had to step back and laugh at the absurdity of my life.  We found ourselves renting a tiny, 2 bedroom bungalow in a ritzy neighbourhood, filling it with a husband, wife, newborn, toddler and teenager, all of us trying to live what we imagined to be a “normal” life. Ummm, no. If I hadn’t laughed at my situation, I would’ve cried. And I guess I had done enough crying.

So I started laughing. A lot. In fact, I laughed so much about it all that I decided to share some of my stories by starting this blog. It became a place where I could laugh at my life, but also where I could share stories with other mothers who were going through challenging times themselves. It also became a place where I could reach out and help other mothers feel less alone, and hopefully get them to laugh in the process.

Postpartum depression, in its own unique way, helped me get my groove back. It helped me get my sense of humour back. And I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

Previously published at The Joy of Cooking (for Little Assholes)




RELATED: We Need to Stop Making New Moms Suffer Postpartum Depression in Silence

Glynis Ratcliffe used to be an opera singer, but after her daughter begged her to stop singing and be quiet for the millionth time, she decided to use her inside voice and write instead. Now, she’s a freelance writer with bylines at The Washington Post, Chatelaine, Lifehacker, and CBC, as well as being a copywriter and ghostwriter for clients in various industries.