Something wasn’t right.
We had just returned from our annual weekend away in Melbourne: two glorious child-free nights spent drinking and dining around the city. Yet instead of feeling relaxed and refreshed, I was depressed. I spent the entire night sobbing on the lounge room floor for no apparent reason. Everything felt overwhelmingly dark and hopeless. I figured I was just exhausted, everything is always better after a good night’s sleep in your own bed.
But I didn’t want to get up. I couldn’t face the day. So Benji stayed home, and I made an appointment to see my doctor. I’ve had enough years of depression and anxiety coming and going to know that I wanted to nip this in the bud as soon as possible.
‘Of course you’re exhausted, you have three kids.
History of mental health problems, here’s a prescription for antidepressants.
It’s normal for your cycle to take time to return after breastfeeding ceases.
Come back and see me in a fortnight.’
It was the worst fortnight of my life.
I was so nauseous and so exhausted that I wanted to sleep each and every day away. Antidepressants will mess with you for a while, but this felt different. My brain was a murky, useless mess. My body just wanted to give up. I was ready to go back to the doctor and say ‘to hell with your meds, I’ll stick to ordinary sadness’. But that would have been irresponsible, wouldn’t it?
One rainy October day, we’d decided to give the kids a bit of a treat. Lunch out at a pizza place, a little shopping and home for a movie. This should have been tremendous fun, yet I still felt like a zombie. Besides, I was growing quietly concerned that it had been over a month since I had stopped breastfeeding my one year old, and my period still hadn’t shown up. Somewhere between BBQ pizza and The Postman Pat Movie I decided to take a pregnancy test. Just to eliminate that concern, really; the doctor I had seen was a retired obstetrician, he would have known straight away, right?
The kids and Benjamin are glued to The Postman Pat Movie (why wouldn’t they be, there’s postman robots) so I sneak off to the bathroom. I pee on what must be my millionth stick, and wait a couple of minutes.
I sigh and return back to Benji in the lounge. ‘We’re going to need a bigger car,’ I say. The test was positive.
The heck are we going to do with four kids?!
– This is part one of a three part series. Don’t miss out: keep up with the latest blog posts and conversation over on Facebook –