Violet sighed as she dumped her family's clothes into the washing machine. The load was large because she had a family of five. Her three children were staying at their grandmother, Margaret's house for the night. Violet absentmindedly turned the knobs that changed the settings of the washing machine. She cursed as she stubbed her toe on one of Connor, her two-year-old son's toys. Violet occasionally regretted her decision to become a stay-at-home mother to her three children. She resigned from her job as a dentist a week before Amber, her oldest daughter was born. Violet missed the escape from the monotony of her home. It felt as though her life was passing her by as she did the dishes, folded clothes, and mopped while everyone else was having fun. Her feelings were illogical, she knew because her husband, Jared, was certainly not having fun at his engineering job, but she could not shake those negative, nagging thoughts.
The beep of the washing machine signaling that it had completed washing a load of laundry rudely interrupted her train of thoughts, causing her to snap out of her reverie. She glared at it as if it had somehow wronged her in some way and then sullenly trudged to load the laundry into the dryer. The weather was disgustingly foggy, wet, and cold outside. On days like this Violet yearned for her old childhood home in Florida. "Why did we have to move to Seattle of all places?" she complained aloud.
She'd worked her mind into a negative state by then, and it was determined to stay that way. "I could be a happy, single woman who owns a successful dentistry clinic in sunny, happy Florida!" she said aloud. "I would be doing one-fifth of this load of laundry, and I would not be spending at least a quarter of my day changing dirty diapers and telling one of my children to stop doing something!" By this time, all of the clothes were drying in the ancient, noisy second-hand dryer. She angrily brushed away her tears of frustration and walked to the window. She told herself that she had no reason to be unhappy. She had a wonderful husband who had no choice but to move his family to Seattle, and she had three incredible and beautiful children. That self reasoning did nothing to calm her mind, however, and by the time her cell phone began ringing, she was sitting on the floor and sobbing.
As she held the ringing phone in her hand, she unsuccessfully tried to clear her throat and sound like she had not just been crying her eyes out for the past thirty minutes. She pressed the green answer button, held the phone to her ear, and said, "Hello?" The caller said, "Hey, Violet! This is Faith. How are you?" Faith was an old friend and coworker of Violet's who sort of lost touch with Violet after Violet quit her job at Green's Family Dentistry. "Not well, actually," Violet answered truthfully. "I've been feeling pretty useless and alone recently. I used to see my friends every day, and now I hardly see them at all. Can we meet somewhere and do something together? I need to get out of the house." Faith answered after a moment of silence with a hint of surprise, "Um... sure! Let's go to a coffee shop, girl. Everything is better with a steamy latte in your hand. You in?" Violet agreed, and an hour later, they were sitting at a table in the local coffee shop, The Grind, with lattes in hand.
"So, honey, what's goin' on?" Faith asked sympathetically. "What's got ya down in the dumps?" "I honestly don't know," said Violet. "I'm livin' the dream, Faith! My youngest daughter, Kaelyn, was born a month ago. My four-year-old Amber is in pre-school. My two-year-old Connor is a wild little charmer. I have no reason to be feeling this way. I can hardly even make myself get out of my bed in the morning. I love my kids and my family, so should not be like this!" "Hold on baby," Faith said. "Have you been to your doctor after the baby was born?" "Yeah," said Violet. "I took Kaelyn to the doctor because of a cold just last week." Faith replied, "Nah, sugar. I mean you." She put her latte on the table and pointed her ringed finger at Violet. "Have YOU been to the doctor recently? Have ya told him about all of these feelings you been havin'? Or did ya keep 'em to yourself, hopin' they would just go away?"
Violet was a bit taken aback by Faith's sternness. Faith had never spoken to her like that before. Violet signaled to Faith to wait by holding up her index finger while she sipped on her warm latte. When she was done, she gingerly placed the cup on the table to avoid spilling it. "Man, these lattes are amazing!" she said, not-so-inconspicuously shifting the subject. Faith gave her the evil eye. "Ok, ok, fine!" Violet said. "I haven't been to the doctor since Kaelyn was born, 'cause I don't need to! I don't have a mental illness or anything, I'm just sad. Doesn't everyone get a little sad once in a while?" Faith replied, "Yeah, hon. Once in a while. Most people don't find themselves in a pit of misery 24/7." Violet retorted, "So what, Faith? Am I a nut? Do I need to be committed to the psych ward?"
Faith smiled a bit and said, "Listen, baby, just go to the doctor. The worst thing that they'll do to you is put you on a pill. Promise me that, Violet. Ok?" "Fine, Faith," Violet agreed reluctantly. "You win. I'll laugh when they tell me there's nothing wrong with me. Look, I'll schedule an appointment right now!" She glared at Faith as she punched in the doctor's office number into the dial pad. She gave Faith a look as she said to the other line, "Yes, I'd like to make an appointment with Doctor Beauford. Um, can we do tomorrow? It's urgent." She rolled her eyes as she said the last word.
The next day, Friday, she kissed her kids and husband goodbye. "I'm glad you had Friday off. How is your mother?" said Violet to Jared. She lingered in the doorway. Jared said, "Baby, you're stalling! Get out of my house!" He shooed her out playfully, gave her one last kiss, and closed the door. Violet muttered under her breath the whole walk to her car.
She was reading an old magazine with ugly 90's hairstyles in it when her last name was called. She stood up, gave a fake smile to the nurse, and followed her to the examining room. "Doctor Beauford will be right with you," the nurse said to Violet after hurriedly weighing her and checking her vitals. Of course, doctor Beauford wasn't right with her. In the twenty minutes it took for Doctor Beauford to arrive, Violet entertained herself with another magazine. This one was a medical magazine. She absentmindedly flipped through the pages until an article caught her eye: "Postpartum Depression: It's More Common Than You Think". She skimmed the article, noticing how it described her symptoms almost word for word. She had just finished reading it when the doctor walked in. Doctor Beauford peeked over the magazine. "Postpartum depression? Think you have it?" "Yeah," said Violet ashamedly. "There's no reason to be embarrassed about it! List some of your symptoms," said Doctor Beauford. Violet answered, "Uh... I feel sad and worried a lot. I like to be by myself most of the time. I feel guilty for no reason at all, and I feel useless all of the time. I just feel like the world is spinning a thousand miles an hour and I am holding on for dear life."
Doctor Beauford nodded and said, "We need to medicate you now. You have severe postpartum depression." She scribbled a prescription to Violet's pharmacy of choice and Violet thanked her for her time. On the way to the pharmacy, Violet called Faith. "You were right," she said grudgingly. "Ooh girl, you know I was!" said Faith. Violet tried to hold in a giggle as Faith audibly victory danced, causing her to knock her phone to the floor. "Ok," Violet said after a bit more of the conversation. "I'm at the pharmacy. I'll call you later. Bye."
A week later, Violet was feeling so much better. She felt happier, worried less, her appetite returned to normal, her mood was stabler, and she felt connected to the world again. She no longer cried when doing laundry. Now she smiled as she washed the clothes of those whom she loved.