I Had a Postpartum Mental Breakdown—and Was Convinced I Was Dead
When I became a mom at 19, my depression spiraled out of control until I reached a delirious state. I was very much alive, but certain I'd been dead for years.
Illustrations by Nicole Xu | Edited by Farah Mohammed
I’m a mother of three. I have a job, a husband, family and friends. By all accounts, my life is not that different than any other suburban mom in her mid-30s. However, I was dead once. Not in the physical sense, but in a state of floating, detached delirium. I’m a mental illness survivor, and I suffered a breakdown in the years after my first son’s birth that left me convinced I had died.
I was 19 years old and had just given birth to my first child. After a long and agonizing labor, I was at the point of exhaustion when they placed him, all pink and squiggly, on my chest. I remember gasping in awe. I’d been under the impression that newborns looked unsightly at birth, but this child was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. His little face was perfect, from his pursed lips to the curve of his cheek. He was the first newborn I had ever seen up close, and he literally took my breath away. I stared at him and desperately hoped that…