When I signed in for my daughter’s one-month pediatrician appointment I was also given a Postpartum Depression test. It caught me off guard. My mind was consumed with feeding schedules and whether or not I was going to have to whip a boob out in the waiting room (again). I wasn’t ready to check in with my brain beyond that.

Was I depressed? Sure. But I didn’t want the doctor to know about it. I didn’t want to have “the talk” where the doctor would drop her voice to a whisper and speak to me like I’d done something wrong.

And depression is a spectrum, right? Where does “Baby Blues” end and “Depression” begin? Are we comfortable having “Baby Blues” because it sounds cuter?

HUSBAND: Why are you crying, Wife?

WIFE: Who, me? I just have a touch of the Baby Blues.

HUSBAND: Oh how cute. *Kisses.*

Or

HUSBAND: Why are you crying, Wife?

WIFE: I think I’m depressed because being a mom is really hard.

HUSBAND: CALL THE AUTHORITIES – SHE HATES HER CHILD!!!!

So I cheated. Instead of writing, “Always,” I put, “Sometimes.” Instead of, “All day, everyday,” I answered, “It comes and goes.”

I knew I was going to get depressed when I signed up for this whole motherhood thing. That’s why I tried to delay getting pregnant for as long as I felt was biologically responsible. Depression was not a surprise to me. I feel like depression is inevitable. Hear me out…

If someone told you that they were going to make you stay in the house for three months, while trying to lose 30 pounds, and wake you up a couple times every night to sit for 45 mins while a small person gnaws on your nipples, you’d be like, “Okay, cool. That’s depressing.”

Then if I told you that in addition to looking like an angry zombie, you also only rarely get to do all of the things that previously made you happy. Like going to dinner, seeing movies, going to concerts, taking showers, drinking more than one glass of wine… That’s all over now.

Again, you’d be like, “Yep. Super depressing.”

Even though you’re set up for failure, it is somehow not acceptable to feel depressed because you have A BABY. The miracle of life! A magical hybrid creature of you and your husband who is able to unlock secret love pockets in your brain that explode with her every smile.

And my brain does explode when I look at her. It’s like a hit of heroin. (I’ve never done heroin, but I see movies.) But then the hit is over. And I am back to sitting in “Room.” (Have you seen “Room”? Don’t see “Room.”)

So I tried to “pass” the Postpartum Depression test so the pediatrician wouldn’t think I was a bad mom.

Here were some of the questions and what I wanted to answer but didn’t.  

Do you ever cry for no particular reason?

WHAT I ANSWERED:

Sometimes.

THE TRUTH:

Yes, on the reg and usually for no reason. But to be fair… you should have seen what “Grey’s Anatomy” used to do to me. (That show is STILL on, btw.)

Have you had trouble sleeping?

WHAT I ANSWERED:

Some trouble.  

THE TRUTH:

Hahahahahahahhahahahahha.

Have you lost interest in your hobbies?

WHAT I ANSWERED:

I haven’t had time.

THE TRUTH:

Hey Postpartum Depression Test, fuck you. I would love to do my hobbies. But unfortunately, you can’t go to the beach when your cervix isn’t closed up. And you can’t run when your cervix isn’t closed up. And you can’t take a bath when your cervix isn’t closed up. Also, fuck you cervix. And fuck you pregnancy for having me know where and what my cervix is now.

Do you suffer from feelings of helplessness?

WHAT I ANSWERED:

Sometimes.

THE TRUTH:

Um, have you ever tended to a crying baby? It would be INSANE to NOT feel helpless when you’ve tried all three pacifiers and all two boobs repeatedly… and swaddling… and changing… and re-swaddling… and rocking… and walking… and squats (cause hey, why not get a little exercise in?)… with no success.

Do you doubt your ability to care for the new baby?

WHAT I ANSWERED:

Sometimes.

THE TRUTH:

I also doubt my ability to fly an airplane. BECAUSE I HAVE NO TRAINING AND I’VE NEVER DONE IT BEFORE.

Have you recently suffered from an unusually stressful situation?

WHAT I ANSWERED:

No.

THE TRUTH:

Like pushing a person out of a hole as big as a bagel? Yes.

Have you had trouble remembering things?

WHAT I ANSWERED:

It comes and goes.

THE TRUTH:

I left the house without my shoes, twice.

Have you felt overly worried?

WHAT I ANSWERED:

More worried than usual.

THE TRUTH:

Yes. But I am always overly worried. Anytime my husband leaves on a business trip it takes me about 12 seconds before I start curating the playlist I’ll play at his funeral. Because obviously the plane is going to crash. Obviously.

Have you suffered from anxiety or panic attacks?

WHAT I ANSWERED:

On occasion.

THE TRUTH:

Every time I pass a dog on the street I accept the inevitable dog fight I am going to have to get into when the dog tries to eat my baby. But that’s just good parenting.

Cut to 30 mins later when the pediatrician wants to discuss my results.  

DOCTOR: Well, Tara. You scored high on the Postpartum Test.

COME ON.

DOCTOR: Have you ever suffered from anxiety?

I tried to explain to her that I am a sensitive, creative person who lives in New York City. But she wasn’t amused. She wrote the name and number of a psychiatrist on her prescription pad and sent me on my way.

80% of women suffer from some sort of “Postpartum Blues.”

10-15% of women suffer from “Postpartum Depression.”

Here’s hoping I have the cuter one.

I called the psychiatrist. My appointment is tomorrow.

I’ve never been to therapy before. I don’t want to spend $150 to go to therapy. But I’d also like to stop identifying with the woman locked in her captor’s backyard bunker for years (“Room”) or someone stuck in the SHU (“Orange is the New Black”).

I want to enjoy motherhood. I’ve noticed that if you talk to a new mother for an hour it’s all rainbows and smiles. But – talk to her for three hours and share a glass of wine and you hear the truth. It’s HARD and lonely and daytime TV makes you realize everything that is wrong with America.

Wish me luck.