It was the dead of night. I was five months pregnant. I woke up. Frantic. Heart racing. Blood pumping. I was sweating. I grabbed my husband and screamed “there’s a wolf in the house!” He bolted upright in bed. Confused, scratching his head, “What?”
“A wolf. I can hear it running through the house downstairs, it’s coming up for the baby. Go, go stop it.”
I was desperate. He had no choice. I was delirious with fear. He ran downstairs to check. I swear on every fibre of my being that I heard that wolf. Panting, wet heavy breathing coming through my house. In the darkness I could feel it pounding up the stairs, dashing into our room, circling the bed, waiting to pounce. Its glare, its snarl, was harrowing. This was the end.
My husband came back. Every light had been switched on and every room had been checked. “There’s no wolf.” I wasn’t convinced. I was petrified. I was taking in short sharp breathes, holding onto my baby bump in bed. “It wants my baby.” My eyes swelled. I was falling apart. My husband held me all night. I didn’t sleep. I knew that wolf was there. Waiting. Waiting for me.
I live in the density of suburbia. My home is flanked by neighbours and major roads. There is no way a wolf could be in my house. It wasn’t until many months later, that I realised there was a wolf. That was the first time it came. So violently into my mind.
I never spoke of the wolf after that first dreadful night. I never mentioned it to my husband again. I never told anyone. The darkness of that wolf suffocated me. It shattered the core of who I was and tore down the essence of my confidence.
Being home with AJ was a battle. A battle against the wolf. That wolf lurked and lingered. It undermined me and my choices. I watched it circle the house as it watched me feed AJ. “You don’t know what you’re doing”. “You call yourself a mother.” The taunts were piercing. I was shattering a little more each time.
The sleep deprivation was debilitating. The mental exhaustion was unfathomable. The wolf lay in the shadows of the hall as I paced with AJ in the dead of night, trying to calm my little boy back to sleep. Sing him a lullaby. The wolf mocked my every step. It laughed at my lullabies.
The pressure I felt being a new mum was a weight I could barely carry. I didn’t know what I was going through. I just battled and suffered in silence. Me, the baby and the wolf.
Postnatal Depression awareness week is 18 – 24 November. Help spread the message that Postnatal Depression is not all black and white.