Last December I cried at a family Christmas party – really the last place you want to be crying at. It’s family, and it’s Christmas, and it’s a party. The first time in six years the whole clan was together and a really special photoshoot had been planned. We were told to be punctual so we could get a good picture before sundown. Aunties, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces were arriving and catching up. How could you not be merry?
An aunty had asked me how is the new mum doing (Jireh was 5 months old then) — I could hear the carols playing, smell the roast pork in the oven, see the kids zooming around, and feel the merriment of everyone inside and outside — and I just couldn’t bear it anymore.
All my fears, anger, resentment, tiredness exploded and I might have cried more than Jireh did that night. Right there, in the corner of the front porch, at a family Christmas party. She turned me around to talk so we could have some privacy and my road to recovery began.
Oh it’s been one year but I will always remember Christmas 2011 — getting to tell someone that “I can’t cope!!!”, the kind sensitivity of that aunty, my forced smile in the family photo afterward.
I have since recovered from post-natal depression (mine was mild, nowhere near suicidal, thankfully) but some days it feels like I am still walking in its shadow… (although isn’t all of life the shadowlands?) It has cost me something and changed me inside but I don’t know what or how.
Which is why I have decided to write about it.
It’s been a year and I think I am ready to do it. I am turning 30 next year and I want to do it. There could be people out there who could really use my story so I want to tell it.
And most importantly, I am a different person and I don’t know the new me. So this is my self-introduction.
“Hello Serene! Let’s talk about it.”