It is time for another short story mamas, have you got a cuppa ready? The prompt for this week was to write about a used car. I have to confess, I had no clue what I was going to write about when I saw the prompt, how can I write a story around a used car? I have been batting ideas about in my mind all week and finally decided yesterday I was going to loosely use the ‘used car’ prompt and write about an important issue that is very close to my heart – maternal mental health. This isn’t an easy read, if you are in a negative state of mind I will suggest not reading it until you are feeling better. If you missed previous short stories here on the blog you can find them all by clicking here. For now, here is The Used Car, I have written it in a sort of rhyme, not to make light of the serious subject matter but that’s just what naturally happened as I started typing.
Short stories for mums – The Used Car
“But she was always smiling.”
‘She was always so happy.”
“Did she have children?”
“Yes, she had three.”
“Twins girls and new baby boy.”
“Oh, it so awfully sad.”
“I wonder why she did it?”
“Perhaps she was speeding because she was mad?”
“Looking after three kids must have been difficult.”
“I only have one and most days that is too hard.”
“My six year old tells me she hates me most days.”
“My two year trashes my house if I let down my guard.”
“I wonder what really happened to her?”
“I hear she went to Murphy’s garage and stole a car.
She sped down the main road out of town,
She was pushing one hundred but didn’t make it that far.”
“The stolen used car was found this morning,
It was wrecked after crashing head on into a tree.”
“Do you think it was an accident?”
“I hear the police found a note so it seems unlikely.”
“A note? What did it say?”
“Apparently it just said ‘I’m Sorry’.”
“None of this make any sense, she was always smiling,
She was always so happy.”
Up above in the clouds, high up in the sky,
Louisa looks down at the women and starts to shout.
“It was all an act, the smile was a disguise,
I was in turmoil every day, this way my only way out!
I wasn’t a good mum,
My kids deserved better than me.
I smiled and got on with things,
But I was depressed and miserable, I was far from happy.”
Louisa wanted to fly down to the gossiping women and tell them the truth,
But the time for talking about things had passed.
She looked through her tears and the clouds below her
and for the first time wished she hadn’t driven so fast.
She thought she would feel free once it was over,
Death seemed the only way out but she was wrong.
She realised now no one knew how she felt,
She should have told someone but she waited too long.
They may have judged her and been confused,
Some may have just smiled sadly, not knowing what to say.
Others may have understood her pain though,
Someone could have told her the pain would go away.
Louisa sat in the sky and tears fell from her face,
Deep down she knew she had made a terrible mistake.
Two thin arms appeared and entwined around her body,
“Come with me Lou, there’s no point causing yourself more heartbreak.”
Louisa looked up to see the face of her Grandma,
Her hair was as white and her eyes as crinkled around the edges as they always were.
“It’s time to come with me Lou,” her Grandma said.
Louisa slowly stood up on her cloud and nervously followed her.
“Grandma, will my family hate me?” Louisa whispered.
“I can’t answer that, maybe for a while but they will always love you.”
Louisa fought away more tears as she dealt with this brutal truth.
“I was so sad and felt so worthless. I didn’t know what else to do.”
Grandma squeezed Louisa’s hand, “I wish I’d been there to help you.”
Louisa knew things would have still ended this same way,
She wouldn’t have asked Grandma for help, she believed her lying depressed brain,
No amount of words from others could have made her mind go away.
“Lou, let’s not dwell on what we cannot change.
Stop looking down and ignore everyone’s gossip and talking.
Come with me and let’s go see your Grandpa,
We will look after you now,” Grandma said and they kept on walking.
The clouds parted and the sun broke through in blinding rays,
Louisa stopped and took one last look below.
She could see her husband in their home, sobbing into her note,
He was screaming, “Lou, why did you have to go?”
It was all too much, Louisa couldn’t watch.
“Let’s go now, please Grandma,” she said.
She thought stealing that car was the only way out,
She couldn’t bear to look at her family now, it was her fault she was dead.
Grandma and Louisa walked into the light,
The clouds swallowed them up and they were gone.
Louisa could never look down again and see the ones she had left on earth.
She no longer had to regret and think about what she had done.
Her children she left behind loved her so much,
To them she was perfect and more than enough.
Her brain told her she didn’t deserve them.
She was convinced they hated her when things got really tough.
“I wish I could have helped her, I wish I knew.
She was so good at forcing a smile and pretending.
If I’d known she was faking it all I would have helped her,
I would have done everything I could to avoid this heartbreaking ending.”
Louisa did not know any of this,
Louisa thought she had to be strong and pretend she was ok.
Depression is a liar, anxiety too.
Lousia believed their lies instead of forcing the thoughts away.
It wasn’t her fault, what happened to her.
So many mums have had a liar in their head too.
So many mums have felt afraid and thought terrifying things.
So many mums have been drowning in sadness and not known what to do.
Post natal depression is an evil thief,
It steals happiness and stops you feeling any joy.
Louisa thought being unhappy as a mum meant she was broken,
She believed it meant she wasn’t worthy of her daughters and her new baby boy.
Don’t believe the lies and the bad thoughts,
They are not how you really feel, they are dark whispers in your mind.
Speak to someone and search for the positives,
Grab onto to any wisp of happiness you can find.
Don’t stay silent like Louisa and suffer alone,
If you let those feelings out your depressed brain won’t like it.
Stop letting the bad thoughts hold all the power,
Deny them that control until they are forced to quit.
There’s help for you, you just need to ask.
Keep asking and fighting and remember you will soon be happy.
Don’t listen to the bad thoughts, don’t let them win.
Louisa believed every lie, that’s why she drove into that tree.
Hold you baby and be grateful for the small things,
If you look hard enough you can find joy in every day.
Don’t let the depression win, don’t believe it’s lies.
Please keep going, things will get better but you can only be free from this if you stay.
If you are feeling suicidal or need urgent help please ring 999 or speak to The Samaritans 116123
You can find many honest posts about postnatal depression in the mental health section of my blog.