Let me explain depression that nobody sees.
March 26 was supposed to mark my 11th week of pregnancy; instead it marked the day I lost my baby. Three days prior, my husband and I walked into a doctor’s office excitedly anticipating seeing our baby only to leave in tears after being told they couldn’t find a heartbeat. I fully understand that there is a reason the body won’t continue a pregnancy when there is something wrong, but there is no amount of rational thought that can think away the immense amount of hurt and guilt that came with finding out that I had lost my child.
Just as I didn’t want to let go, my body didn’t either and would not recognize the loss so I was encouraged to induce this miscarriage. I got home and took 3 little pills every 4 hours, and that’s all it took to erase my baby. I say “all it took” like it was nothing, but in reality it was an unbearable physical pain that I’ve never before experienced coupled with the most intense emotional hurt I’ve ever known. I swear I could feel my heart breaking more with every contraction, I shed more tears than I knew my body could produce, and I lost part of myself with that baby.
I was so ashamed and so alone despite my husband holding onto me, despite my family telling me they had experienced this too, that they were here for me, despite the love and support from people I didn’t even know online. I was swallowed by a darkness so indescribably dark.
That first week, I saw no hope, no future, no light at the end of any tunnel; I was in a cave and you may as well have sealed it at that point because I didn’t even want out of it. I laid in my bed for a week. I only got up willingly to walk my dog and to use the bathroom and shower only because I was bleeding out the remnants of my pregnancy for a week.
I can count on less than one hand how many people checked in on me regularly, and that includes my husband. When I say “regularly” I don’t mean just that week, I mean the weeks to follow, when I was still so depressed that I thought my entire life was pointless, that life in general was pointless, when I questioned my own existence after losing what I thought was going to be the whole purpose of my existence. It’s hard to explain feeling like you’ve literally been swallowed by a blackness that you can’t see out of, and it stands on your chest and impacts your breathing and while you struggle to breathe, you’re also using all your energy to look totally normal to everyone else that isn’t being suffocated by this ghost. It’s exhausting mentally and physically. You close your eyes and even sleep isn’t peaceful so you wake up tired but again, use whatever energy you’ve mustered up in the night to act like everything is totally fine.
I went back to work and smiled. I cracked jokes. I put on my mask but really, all I wanted to do was be in my bed with the shades drawn and not see anyone. I resented everyone else for being so happy. I posted on Instagram. I posted on Facebook. More fake smiles. I felt like dying. I couldn’t stop crying. Everyday I would wake up and cry. I’d leave work and cry before I got home. I’d cry again in the shower. I entirely neglected my photography business because editing happy people was not on my list of priorities, if I even really had any priorities at the time.
But I hid it. Nobody knew how devastatingly broken I still was. I still am to some degree. I don’t know when this will heal. In fact, I think this is a scar that will forever be on my heart and my mind, but I am healing. A little everyday.
The point of this whole thing isn’t to unveil that we lost the baby; it’s because of depression. Anthony Bourdain was someone I admired, he got to do something I wanted to do as a child – travel the world and tell the stories – and there he was, so broken that he let the darkness creep in too far. I shed tears over his loss for many reasons but also because how am I or anyone else supposed to survive the dark days when even he can’t? He seemed like he had it all and everyone was so perplexed. Just like I put on all those smiles and Instagram posts … the point is to check in on people, especially when you know things aren’t right, even if you think things don’t seem right. A simple “How are you doing?” or “Hey, just checking in” or even a “Brunch, Sunday, no excuse!”
There are so many people walking around feeling broken and lonely despite being surrounded. Reach out a hand; we all need that.
Allison is a local photographer, wife and dog mom. As a native of Metairie now living on The Northshore, Allison turned a passion into business nearly 10 years ago with Allison Badely Photography. Since then, she’s been drafted into service as a full-time stepmom to a teenager, an educator and management team member in the child care industry. She is constantly on the quest for delicious food and a good glass of wine and can often be found working in the corner of a good coffee shop or tea house.