Bridge on a Snowy Day

She was only a few weeks old. It was a snowy winter. My body was past exhaustion. Sleep was always on my mind. I knew having a second child would be hard. I had experienced the “baby blues” in the few weeks after birth before. But what happened one winter day was so terribly horrifying that I knew it was not categorized as baby blues.

It took all my energy to bundle up the kids that day and get out the door. I thought some fresh air might ease my feelings. Maybe a walk would be enough to give me a little lift is what I thought. We walked down the block- my son trodding along in his boots. I had my daughter wrapped in a blanket pulled close to my chest.

We walked a block from our house to the river. The sound of the water has always been so soothing. I stood on the bridge and gazed at the water below. Then it happened. The most terrifying thought came into my mind. “Drop her”. My mind then played out the entire scene in my mind. I can still see the images that flashed across my mind. After this brief moment I took my kids back to the house shaking in remorse. I was horrified that my mind had those thoughts. I felt betrayed by myself and so guilty. How could I ever think that? What kind of mother was I? Didn’t I love my baby so much? How could something so dark be inside me?

It was a few days after this happened that I got up the courage to ask my husband to call the doctor for me. It was about 6 weeks after giving birth. I went into the doctor and it was confirmed that I had postpartum depression. I was prescribed medication and sent on my way.

I kept my bridge experience to myself- I tried to burry it deep inside myself. A few times it almost surfaced but I couldn’t let it out.

After my 5 day stay at the access center I went home to stay with my parents for a few weeks. While there I reached out to a friend that was a therapist. I truly believe that he was inspired to say specific words to me. As we talked he asked me what kind of things surfaced for me during my dark times. I believe he was prompted to ask if I had ever had thought of harming my children. The way he phased it allowed me the courage to let it out. What came next was so healing.

He let me know that people have these thoughts. And just because they enter my mind does not mean it is something I desire. It is not who I am. It does not make me a bad person or a bad mother. Those words brought me so much peace. Being a good mother for my children is one of the things I care most about. Failing at that would crush me.

That day, that small moment in time does not define me. It is not who I am. It is not what I desire. And now I can let it go. Say goodbye. Accept that the images came and went. I can free myself from them.