This post deals with postnatal depression and might be triggering for some readers.
It was June 2019. My son had just turned six months old, and I was settling into a new routine with a brand new baby. He was perfect in every way but I was broken. It all started with Facebook messenger conversations with a friend who had me convinced I was a narcissistic sociopath with a highly treatment-resistant disorder.
When he was born, I had almost bled to death. I missed the whole birth. That wasn’t what I had planned, but a 40 degree temperature and a displaced head meant that I had to deliver him by caesarean section, under a general anaesthetic.
Watch: MM Confessions. The things we aren't told about giving birth. Post continues below.
At the six-month mark, I stopped sleeping. I was having horrific night terrors where I imagined the both of us in a sealed body bag. Everything was a reminder of a birth gone wrong. I saw my doctor, who referred me to a psychologist. But it didn't feel like anything was changing, and I stopped seeing her after three sessions. I was despondent.
When I stopped sleeping, I would leave the house at 5am, run, and come back to breastfeed. I was running 30 kilometres a week, studying for my master’s degree, and spending all my days at home. It should have been the best time of my life.
After all, I had persevered with workplace bullying to save enough money to be a stay at home mum, with the support of my wife.
The messenger conversations with my friend became increasingly dark. She had recently ended a seven-year engagement with a man who had cheated on her. To get him back, she scrabbled through his rubbish, defamed him on Facebook, hid drugs in his house, and poked holes in his condoms.
“You don’t want to do anything that could end in a baby.” I advised her, but she didn’t listen. She wanted revenge.
Around the same time, I became convinced that she wanted to get me back for calling her behaviour out.
I searched my house furiously, convinced that she had planted cocaine in my house. I also became convinced that she was going to dob me into my employer for previous misadventures involving marijuana.
“I think I need to be hospitalised,” I told my wife.
“What if they take our son?” she worried.
I became convinced that I would lose him, that I was an unfit mother.
We ended up staying with my parents because I felt unsafe. One morning, I was so convinced that I was going to be locked up and institutionalised that I left the bed and went downstairs. I didn’t even kiss him goodbye.
I walked the streets, and experienced suicidal thoughts.