depression · Marriage

You Don’t Know- an open letter from your wife with postpartum depression/anxiety.

Dear Husband,

You look at me with that same sparkle in your eye that you always have. Only now, during these days there’s a hint of compassion glowing around it. You don’t know how much I treasure the warmth of your eyes.

You can’t possibly understand how it feels when I’m sitting, rocking in the chair with the weight of her small frame against me. When the fog is closing in and I’m fighting with every shard of strength left in my brokenness to be FULLY present for her. For them. You don’t know that your strength even then weaves its steel into mine.

When I’m sitting next to you in your truck as the fields are blurring by and my heart is beating out of my chest because “my friend”, the one who sits meticulously picking at his clothes while no one even sees him, he was someone’s baby. You don’t know that when I look at him I see small dark, round cheeks and a whirl of fuzzy beautiful black hair. I see what God sees. You don’t know how your hand covering mine then soothes the wild ache in me that longs to save the world.

When the day is long and my tears have lingered, spilling silently over as I move from one task to the other, fighting to be. here. now. When I’ve let something slip in my battle to keep up with it all and you offer me grace there. When dinner isn’t ready because I’m managing the troop with the efficiency of a broken washing machine hose and you simply load us into the car and never even say I failed. You don’t know the way your gentleness builds up solid stone beneath my feet.

When I come to you with rambling words trying to share the way my anxious mind plays silent horror films in my head. The way I fear for her life and panic clenches my throat because the world is dark and I can’t protect these little hearts, and you just listen. Then ask what you can do. You don’t know that is where I find relief, where the panic pauses and the clarity of truth-out-loud saves me.

When I’m up for the sixth time in the night and my head is heavy and the tears are brimming, and as I crawl back into bed your hand slides over and runs along my arm. When I wake in the night to the weight of your arm across my back and you fingers twirling softly in my hair and my heart rests. When you reach for me and the smell of your skin and your breath reminds me who I am. You don’t know how much your love peels back this nightmare and lets me breathe again.

You can’t possibly understand what this feels like. I know that. I don’t even need you to. Until someone lives it there isn’t a way to make it known. Words fail here, even for me.

You don’t know what I’m going through. I’m ok with that.

You know me. And that’s all I need you to know.

Thank you for knowing me.