In support of Perinatal Anxiety and Awareness Week, I’m sharing a FREE excerpt of my novel The Wilted Rose. Part Two of The Wilted Rose depicts a young mother’s struggle with Postnatal Depression during the late 1950s/early 1960s, when understanding of mental health issues was poor.
Between November 18-28 I am giving away FIVE copies of The Wilted Rose through Goodreads! Click HERE for more.
The Wilted Rose
Two weeks after Paul’s birth Sarah was released from hospital. Jack was glad to have them finally home, so they could get on with their new life as a family. The kookaburra’s laugh erupted from the bush land next door, abruptly calling to attention sleepy and sluggish souls in the early hours of the morning. The call was cheeky, and Sarah thought that it sounded as if the bird was laughing at the silly humans.
She paced the main bedroom, cooing to Paul as he cried and cried. She patted his back, bouncing him gently in her arms. His howling dragged on, and she tried to feed him, but to no avail.
“I am a trained nurse,” she thought to herself. “I should be able to handle this situation!”
Guilt quickly joined in on her escalating panic. Why couldn’t she satisfy her child’s needs, she wondered, and understand what he was trying to tell her?
Sarah found herself begging her baby to stop. Tears blurred her vision, and she leaned against the side of the crib, sliding down to the floor. Squeezing her eyes closed, she sobbed aloud, cradling her child in her arms.
Sarah stepped up to the bathroom vanity and reached into the overhead cabinet. She took down a small bottle, unscrewed the lid and tipped a pill into her hand, swallowing it with a cup of water. She wanted so very much to balance motherhood and her career. She had waited this long, she could not fail in her plan. The turmoil she had gone through with her mother would have been for nothing. So she struggled on, and Jack cowered beneath her growing irritability.
Jack arrived home from work just after four o’clock. Paul was sleeping in his crib, and Sarah stood before the bedroom mirror in her uniform, adjusting the white cap on her head. It had been almost a year, but the time had finally come. She had secured a part-time job working a few nights a week at a nursing home. She could barely wait to step back into her duties.
“Sarah, the taxi’s here,” Jack whispered, ducking his head around the door.
She kissed him as she stepped out the door.
“Paul’s bottle is in the refrigerator. Just warm the milk before you feed him. Make sure it’s not too hot.”
“Alright,” Jack nodded. “I’ll be fine. Have a good first night back.”
Sarah’s days started when Paul woke before the sun, and she was kept busy attending to Paul’s needs and doing the housework throughout the day.
Occasionally she would rest in the afternoon while Paul was sleeping. She cooked dinner, and when Jack returned she left for work. When she finally crawled into bed herself, she slept for a few hours until Paul woke again, and the cycle started once more. By the time she made it to church on Sunday, she could barely hold her head up.
Sarah had had a plan for how she would get back to work after her pregnancy. There was no other option for her; she had to be a success. She didn’t even want to think about the possibility of not being able to do what she loved. But her body was fighting against her, and she didn’t know how long she could continue to battle against it.
Bouncing a tubby five-month- old Paul on her lap, Sarah found herself once again in Dr. Webster’s office.
“Well, Mrs. Brooker, a baby brother or sister for little Paul!”
Sarah looked down at her son and stroked his hair.
“Here we go again.”
“Is anything the matter, Mrs. Brooker?”
“Well, it’s just that, it hasn’t been that long since Paul’s arrival. I feel like I’ve only just recovered.”
“Yes, and I understand that you have been suffering fatigue and weight loss since you returned to work.”
“Well, I don’t think working will be the best thing for you during this pregnancy. I think it would be a good idea for you to stop now until after the birth.” Dr Webster raised his eyebrows. “If your health deteriorates this time around, you could lose this baby. You really must take it easy.”
Click HERE to find out more about Perinatal Depression & Awareness Week:
12-18th November (Australia)