On postpartum depression

It takes a village to raise a child.

I see this phrase a lot on birthing and parenting blogs, testament to the fact that everyone with children needs help from time to time. We turn to family, friends, experts – Jonty and I didn’t wash Isaac for three days after he was born, until someone showed us how. Our tribe and its collective wisdom is there when we need to learn new things.

But my tribe is scattered. Singapore, Scotland, Spain, Sss-London. Always at the end of a phone line, but not necessarily on hand for a cup of tea and a hug.

This isn’t to say I’m alone and destitute in Singapore; Isaac has a rockin’ little hamlet contributing to his up-bringing. But we lack the knowledge of bigger numbers (and different generations) and the past seven months have been lonely and tough at times.

Hiring a nanny was supposed to make it better. Someone who knows lots about babies, someone to give me a break when Jonty’s work means 12 hours alone with the little fella. I had a list of indulgent things I was going to do once the nanny came: yoga, massages, pedicures. But it didn’t work that way.

I used the breaks from caring for Isaac to sit alone in my room and feel sad. I’d guessed I was struggling emotionally for quite a while, but I hadn’t really had the time or space to recognise it. But there’s no denying it now, my brain chemistry is baffled by its current predicament and that means it’s time to go to a doctor and get help.

When mothers struggled in the 70s the solution was to view their children through a valium haze – the wrong end of a telescope keeping life at arms’ length. Today the drugs are kinder, less intrusive, so here I am, prescription in hand.

It takes a village to raise a child. But sometimes you need Prozac too.

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