Baby Blues: I Can’t Be Honest With My Mom About My PPD Because She’s A SAHM Martyr

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I remember her mentioning that while my sister and I were at school and my dad at work, she’d sometimes just cry for no reason. She used cooking, baking, and eating for comfort and became so intense about her cleaning routine that she developed some level of OCD about it. She had all sorts of little hobbies and side projects to keep herself busy, and because we moved frequently, she never really established a regular circle of friends.

It seems to me that this kind of isolated life would be unsettling to even the most stable of individuals. And I do believe that in many ways, she’s worlds more stable than I am. But come on. She wouldn’t be so defensive about her decision to be a SAHM if it truly was so fulfilling.

It makes me angry that she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in English and had ambitions to teach or be a professional actress—yet because of the way she was raised, gave all that up when she got married.

She quit her job to become a housewife several years before having me. What did she do all day? I know her too well to assume she was happy just cleaning and cross-stitching. I know how smart and witty and creative she was. It actually makes me mad to think of her traditional parents and my traditional dad expecting her and pushing her to lead a quiet life when her personality was all energy and splendor.

Would she have done things differently if she hadn’t had roles imposed on her?

I know it’s not my place to rewrite her life or to assume she would have been better off if she’d done things differently. But like many women, I sometimes see my mirror image when I look at my mother. All of these facets of me, my depression, the pressure I put on myself, my drive to have a public life and an income must come from somewhere. I am not an exact replica of my mother, but I can’t help but feel like she has answers and if we could just communicate better I could unlock them. I don’t need her to “fess up” that she had depression, but seriously, why can’t she drop the façade and the martyr face for a second and tell me what it was REALLY like, raising us all alone?

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