Yesterday, as I was entering our couple's therapist's office for a one-on-one session, a woman about my age was leaving. She was setting up the frame part of a Snap and Go stroller outside the door and rushing back inside to get her newborn, asleep in his baby carrier.
The office is located up a few stairs, and the entrance door is heavy and doesn't stay open on its own. I asked her if I could help, and she replied, "no, thank you," her eyes on the floor, her face very pale. I held the door for her anyway, telling her I have one of my own and I know how hard the shuffle can be. Then I told her how precious her baby was.
"He's very new," she said, her voice almost monotone. She clicked the carrier into the stroller and started to walk away, her hair in her face.
I hesitated, then said after her, "I know how tough it can be. I really do. Good luck."
I must have looked like that a little less than two years ago, barely put together, obviously on the verge of cracking up at any given moment. And I remember thinking everyone must think there's something wrong with me for needing help, for being sad, for not ENJOYING EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF MOTHERHOOD!!!
I wish I'd had the nerve to grab her by the shoulders and tell her it'll get better. I wish I could make her understand that she's not the only one going through this and that it's not her fault. I wish I could show her how much it would help her to allow others to do things for her, even things as simple as holding a door open or grabbing an end of her stroller when she's ascending or descending stairs. And I wish I could proselytize to her about the benefits of anti-depressants, and how there are amazing ones that are OK to use while breastfeeding.
But our therapist is a good woman, so hopefully she relayed all this to her anyway. I really hope so.
I think there should be a service in places like New York where many new parents are far away from their extended families. I'd be happy to go over to that woman's house for a few hours a week and watch her adorable newborn, giving her time to rest or read or cry or sit out at a cafe and drink coffee. Or beer. Or shots of tequila.
Anyway, I hope she can see past her gloom to enjoy the Spring that has finally sprung. And I thank God every single day that I emerged from the disease intact and stronger.