To the dad (and husband) who supported me during my depression:
There were days you would come home from work and find me in the same shirt for the second day in a row (it was even the shirt I wore to bed) and not ask a single question about it. You wouldn’t even ask what’s for dinner. Your first words were always, “How was your day, and what do you need me to do?” I was always honest and told you I just needed a break, and without any hesitation, you would take our first-born and play with her. You had grease beneath your nails, and your work boots tracked dust across the porch, yet you always showered (in less than 10 minutes) and jumped right in to take care of our daughter.
There were days you would work a 12-hour shift and manage to handle bedtime and the midnight feeding and not say a single complaint about it. You woke up the next morning, kissed me goodbye, and let me know how much she ate and what kind of diaper you changed just so that I would know (because postpartum depression and anxiety can make you count every ounce and diaper four times over before moving on to the next task).
There were days I questioned whether I was a good enough mother, and you would hug me and reassure me that I was perfect in every way. You would buy me flowers and make me dinner with a Snickers bar as dessert. You would tell me I was beautiful and ask me if I had taken my pill that day and what I wanted to watch on Netflix. You made me feel normal when I felt like I had no control over anything anymore.
There were days when you rushed to meet us at baby gym time and allowed me a minute to recover from a day of playdates or simply breathing. You would crawl on the floor and sing songs while I watched on, exhausted from the day. You asked to be included, and you kept your promises to be there (for both of us) through my depression.
There were days when I hurled ugly words at you because the hormones had driven me to the edge, and I was ready to run away. There were days when I cried and shook my fists, and you held me and told me it would all be okay. There were days that I thought you would leave because I was crazy, but you stayed by me and proved what it meant to be an amazing husband and devoted daddy.
There were days when I didn’t say, but I’m saying it now – thank you. Thank you for helping me through those months and years of depression. Thank you for indulging my need to be in control when anxiety made me feel like my options were the best options. Thank you for helping me become the mother that I am today.