“Everything’s just gray right now.”

This is what my husband said to me a couple weeks ago after a frank discussion on some feelings I’d been harboring.  I wasn’t sure how to respond to that, but I knew that it was a very accurate description of our life at that moment.  I laid awake listening to the storm, thinking about the color gray and what it meant for me.

Almost eight weeks ago, I had a pretty perfect home birth that produced a beautiful baby boy (here’s the story).  I had a bit of bleeding afterwards, but that was taken care of quickly by my wonderful midwives.  I was well supported that first week, basically getting out of bed only to go to the bathroom.  In the weeks that followed, I had delicious food, a loving husband, friends and midwives at my beck & call, but it wasn’t enough.

At some point, I realized that I was afraid to leave my house, afraid to be alone with all my children, afraid my baby would cry and I wouldn’t be able to help him stop, afraid my toddler would need something I couldn’t do…the list went on and on.  I tried to do my normal activities (to a lesser degree, respecting the fact I’d just had a baby), but it didn’t work.  I didn’t feel like talking on the phone, I didn’t want to cook or clean, I didn’t want to really do anything.  What I did feel was anxious, overwhelmed and constantly on the verge of tears.

I couldn’t remember feeling this way after the other three children were born and I couldn’t decipher if this was “normal” or something worse.  I could barely articulate what I was feeling, let alone pinpoint the cause and a diagnosis.  I just didn’t get it.  Why would I feel so uneasy?  Why was it so hard to say how I was feeling?  Why couldn’t I ask for help?

It really did seem as though the many colors of my life were gone, leaving in their wake only shades of gray…