In an open post which she shared on her Facebook page, writer, Ese Walter-Ark, revealed her battle with postpartum depression. Ese narrated how she abandoned her 9 months 3 weeks old baby with her mother in Abuja and ran down to Lagos, in November 2015, when she became so depresed after childbirth. She says the depression was so heavy that a certain day, she thought of smashing her baby on the wall. Read below
They called me a bad mother ?
After Boobman was born I struggled to find my Happy. At the same time, I had to act happy because who isn’t happy after birthing a child?
I carried on everyday reminding myself that as a mother my happiness came second. I needed to be there for my child. I needed to love him, care for him, take care of him etc.
As he grew, I felt myself sink deeper into the hole that sat in my core. And I couldn’t express this. I remember the day the health visitor came to check on us. She asked, “have you had any unpleasant thoughts concerning your baby?”
“No, I have been so happy since he arrived.” I lied.
She asked a few more questions, checked his height, head size, weight, and was done.
As she left, I wondered if I should call her back and tell her about that night he wouldn’t sleep and I needed sleep, and as I breastfed him, I imagined what would happen if I threw him against the wall. Perhaps I’d be free from this little bondage that seemed to be running my life. But I didn’t. I feared they would think me crazy. Some who knew me already thought me crazy. Sigh. I let her go. I returned to getting by one day at a time.
The day he turned 6 months, I decided I was going to run away. Because he was breastfeeding and I didn’t have any money I stuck around. At 9 months and three weeks, I had saved a little money so I weaned him one Friday, cold turkey style. Nobody knew I was weaning him. By the next day, he had forgotten breast. I was left with swollen painful breasts but I felt it was worth it because finally nothing was tying him to me.
On the 1st of November 2015, a week before he turned 10 months, I took him to my mum’s along with a new nanny I had gotten a week earlier. I told my mum I had a spa date and would be back for him in 2 hours.
As I left the house, I headed to the airport, bought a one way ticket to Lagos and left Abuja, Boobman, and motherhood behind. I sent text messages to my family that I was gone and not coming back.
They tried to reach me by email. I was told that I abandoned my child and I was a bad mother. It was true. They were right. I had already concluded to myself that I was a bad mother long before anyone else told me so. I wasn’t going to mother, I wanted to feel alive. I wanted to feel I mattered too. I wanted to feel, period.
I didn’t want to hurt my baby. I wasn’t sure how long I would have lasted before I snapped. Leaving was the only option. I wasn’t going to come back.
A few months later we were reunited. I was told to apologize to him for leaving him. What they didn’t know was for the months I planned my leaving, he was aware. I told him every time I breastfed him that I was sorry I had to go away without him. I told him the times I was sad. I told him the times I felt lost and empty. And the night before that November 1st, I shed a tear as I told him I was leaving the next day.
I still remember my final thought before I left. I said to myself, “if I die now, this child will survive and even thrive.” At that, my mind made itself up.
I know we like to think a mother should sacrifice herself for her babies but sometimes mother wants to run away and leave everything behind. This usually starts and ends as a thought or wishful thinking for most new mothers. For me, it was the only way to live. So I took the leap.