While it is true 70 – 80 percent of women experience what is called “baby blues” only 15 percent of that experience a more severe longer-lasting form of depression called Postpartum or Perinatal Depression; a sadness often symptomized as fear, anxiety and a sense of hopeless. It is this gnawing sense of hopelessness that incurs suicidal and homicidal ideations. I, to my chagrin at the time, was among that 15 percent.
You see, I was of the mindset that such illness was either faked or for the weak of heart. How could I, a strong independent black woman, and Postpartum depression possibly be associated in any way? Yet, as I grew to realize, it was indeed real and we did indeed make acquaintance.
In 2003, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl —not to be overly boastful but she really was beautiful; my 9’2 light-skinned chubby bundle of joy with a head full of hair looked like the kind of baby you’d find on the pages of a “Cute Kids Magazine”. In fact, in January 2009, at the age of six, she wasn’t just on the pages of a magazine; she was gracing the cover of the “The Parent Paper” with a three-page spread on the inside entitled, “Career Counselling For Kids”. Today, she is a Sophmore in high school with a GPA of 3.87 and a leader among her peers. I now have much to be proud of as a mom. However, I wasn’t always proud. There was a time I smiled to hide the void inside me and the tears I cried every moment I thought no one was looking.
I remember the day I felt all the fight in me go out and I decided to end it all for good. I was putting into action my strategy for permanent peace for both my daughter and me by filling the bathtub with water when the phone began ringing incessantly. I remember being completely aggravated at the phone and then, when I finally picked it up, my response not being the nicest. However, the caller –my sister –was completely unaware. She was too busy crying and informing me of her friend’s desire to attempt suicide. My sister was completely dumbfounded at how a God-fearing woman would be battling with such notions AND I was completely dumbfounded she chose that specific moment to call me and make me aware; after all, I’m the youngest of her seven sisters. She could have called any of us! Yet, she called me.
That call made me realize I was not alone. I wasn’t the only individual in God’s vast universe who felt unworthy of the air expelling from my lungs or like I was completely failing at life. There was someone else feeling the void that was threatening to consume me. That call gave me hope and the inclination to turn off the pipe. As a suicide prevention advocate, it’s that hope I strive to share with others.
Regardless of how dismal your situation may appear, you are NOT ALONE!