7 years ago, I knew this girl.
She was 32 years old, had a 10-year-old and a 1-year-old, and a newborn baby. This girl was lucky. She had moved with her fairly new husband to their first home over the other side of Sydney. It was a big home, full of nice things and a great family. She got to stay at home with the babies, she could go out shopping and her friends came to see her when they could. She went to visit them too, but it was a long way so it wasn’t daily or even weekly.
This girl joined a playgroup and met a few mums, and met a few more through her older sons new school. On the outside this mum looked like she had a great life. 3 beautiful kids, a hard-working husband, their first home. It looked perfect.
From the outside.
Inside, this girl was crumbling. Her husband worked hard – a lot. His work was an hour each way, and he left early and came home late. This girl was left with 2 babies at home on her own – and they didn’t sleep. They were good kids. but they were needy babies and with one who didn’t eat, this girl became more and more unhappy and cried all the time. She kept it hidden from everyone – mums are supposed to cope, and she thought admitting she wasn’t was a sign of failure. So she plodded on.
Until one night, this girl reached the end of her ability to cope. She had no one at home, and the babies wouldn’t go to bed and had been crying for hours. She went and sat in the garage on her own. She looked up at the roof and at the beams, and thought if she hung herself from them, how long would it be before someone found her? It was a fleeting thought, but it was real.
This girl called her husband, and told him everything. He took her to the doctor, and she was admitted to hospital. She stayed there for 2 nights and slept, and was medicated. Her family and friends rallied around her. She got stronger and came through postnatal depression because of them. She moved back closer to her family and friends and was happier. She went on to have two more children.
I often think about that girl and how far she has come, but I’ll never forget where she was.
That girl was me.