When Antoinette Lattouf was hit with postnatal depression, it felt like the world was closing in. But how could she explain to her Lebanese mother — who’d endured real hardships in life — that hers was falling to pieces?
It was when I envisaged driving into oncoming traffic to put an end to my newborn daughter’s wailing that I realised I needed help.
At the traffic light, I deliberately released my foot off the brake as the red light beckoned me. The car behind me beeped as my car slowly rolled forward. A chorus of horns intensified and I slammed on the brakes.
Weeping. Shaking. Terrified. I phoned my parents and told them to come over immediately as I couldn’t look after my baby or be alone. And then I felt terribly ashamed.
The sound of my newborn daughter breathing made me feel paralysed with fear and claustrophobic beyond words.
And I couldn’t stop the morbid scenarios playing out in my mind; I imagined her falling down a flight of stairs, drowning in the bathtub or her skull being crushed by a tyre.
How would I be able to explain to my parents, who’d endured real hardships in life, that mine (which appeared textbook perfect in comparison) was falling to pieces?
My mother fled civil war-ravaged Lebanon in the 1970s with little education, no English and no money. As a teenager her family was especially poor and during the war she witnessed unthinkable bloodshed and horror.
She lost siblings to illness that could have been easily treated if her family had access to modern healthcare. Life was hard, but she was resilient and determined to make the best of it.