Becoming a New Mom With ‘Old Depression’

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I’m watching my toddler as she plays with her toys, and I feel nothing. I’m not sad or happy. I’m just there. She hands me the book du jour, “Tickle Time,” and signals for me to read it. I freeze, filled with dread. The hardest thing about reading “Tickle Time” isn’t the silly voice I have to adopt, or the ginned up enthusiasm or even the pièce de résistance: the tickling. It’s the fact that I want to do all these things, but my mind makes me feel like I can’t. Thankfully, by now I’m well-versed at performative happiness. My brain uses an emergency generator that powers the backup mom memory, which allows me to appear human and somewhat entertaining to my child. I am a Westworld mom, only lazier and less homicidal.

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