You might have noticed I’ve had a break from writing your letters.
It’s not because there hasn’t been much going on.
You FINALLY have some teeth (two at the bottom, they’re very cute), we celebrated St Patrick’s Day, your Dad’s birthday, my first Mother’s Day and Easter.
You even went to the zoo.
When I say ‘went’, I mean you fell asleep through the majority of it.
Don’t worry, we took pictures.
Anyway, the reason it’s been quiet on the old letter front is because you’ve had something of an absent Mother.
I didn’t have a holiday or run off with Colin Firth; I’ve just not been very present.
There’s no point in sugarcoating these things, Oliver.
The truth is: Mummy went mad.
That sounds more dramatic than it is, lets go for ‘mentally interesting’.
For the last four months I’ve been fighting (and losing) a battle with depression.
Things finally came to a head four weeks ago, and since then I’ve been trying to claw my way back home to you.
People describe depression and being under its influence in many different ways.
A dark cloud, a black dog, a dark passenger (that’s more Dexter than depression, to be fair).
For me, it’s like a poison.
It seeps into my consciousness so slowly and in such small amounts, I don’t really notice it’s there until it’s too late.
My usual self-deprecating humour starts to get a little sharper, the criticisms a little too harsh, the ability to get out of bed in the morning a little too hard.
The poison nestles nicely into place and a darkness takes over.
I become nothing more than a vessel for this poison.
Christ, I sound like a bad gothic writer. Emily Brontë can rest easy.
Anyway, despite my rubbish attempts to carry on as normal I had become saturated with my own particular brand of poison.
Sleep was the first to go, next was my ability to concentrate, then my memory and finally my drive to even fight the poison off.
I let it wash over me and to my surprise, things became easier.
There was no need to fight it anymore, this was who I was now.
To my shame, I started to avoid you.
I would hand you over to Daddy as soon as you were given to me and pretend I had to go upstairs to get something, or I had to make dinner, or I had to alphabetize the saucepans – my excuses got weak, fast.
It’s not that I didn’t want to spend the time with you, I couldn’t.
I thought if I held you for any length of time you’d somehow soak up my misery – like a chubby sponge.
I was terrified.
It didn’t take long for your Dad to notice that I had become the incredible disappearing Mummy, but he was at a loss as to why I was acting like this.
Even when he asked outright, ‘What’s wrong?’ I still couldn’t admit what was going on in my head.
What if I finally admitted that I couldn’t look after you and a random social worker walked passed the window and heard?
It’s a stretch, I grant you, but that was probably one of the saner things that went through my head at the time.
It didn’t take long for the crash to happen.
The facade of my normal life became too much of a burden and I came to an obvious decision: you and your Dad would be better off without this miserable stranger sucking the life out of those around her.
As soon as this realisation hit, my noisy head became very quiet.
The poisonous words that were on repeat, day and night for the last four months finally made sense.
There was a very simple solution and I just needed to be brave enough to take it.
I left one Thursday morning for work, with no intention of ever arriving.
**Spoiler Alert, I’m still here**
As I came closer to my chosen final destination, I began to think about you.
How I waited for years to see those two faint lines on a pregnancy test, how I smiled at those who were pregnant around me and I had no baby in my arms, how I saw the first grainy flutter of your heartbeat on a scan.
My noisy head began to awaken as it realised I was starting to put up a fight but the memories kept coming.
I remembered the first flutters of your first movements, how your Dad’s face looked when he felt you kick for the first time, how you loved when I drank orange juice first thing in the morning, how I sang to you in the shower every day and how your Dad read to you every night so you’d recognise his voice.
A fresh wave of poison hit me and once again I was floored.
There weren’t enough memories in the world that could make me change my mind.
I had to die, in order for you to live.
Live a proper, unburdened life – it was simple.
I didn’t want to go, but this was the only way.
I’ve never considered myself a particularly strong person but what happened next was the singularly strongest thing I’ve ever done.
I picked up my phone.
I rang your Father, I confessed my plan and he did what he has done so many times in the past: he saved me.
He told me to keep thinking of you and he was on his way.
As I sat in my car waiting for him to arrive, I thought of your smile, your infectious laugh, that mischievous look when you’re up to no good, the way you snore louder than an adult, how you look so smug after you sneeze, how you refuse any finger food (unless it’s something I’m about to eat).
I thought about every minute detail of you and as I lay in pieces I knew you were so much a part of who I was now, it was impossible for me to leave.
If I couldn’t keep myself safe for me, then I could do it for you.
It’s been a very difficult few weeks since that day.
Some good days, some bad.
People keep telling me to take it slowly; one day at a time and to be honest, that’s all I can do.
The best thing is: I’m in no way alone.
I’m surrounded by the most amazing, supportive family and friends who have helped pick up the shattered parts of me; and every time I get a text message, a phone call or a visit from any one of them they help to put that little piece of me back to where it belongs.
I can’t ask for anything more.