This Too — Self Love 002
I sat in my doctor's office last week,
"Are you experiencing postpartum depression?"
That question accompanied by admitting how hard the last two weeks were for me left me in that room with tears flowing, and my husband trying to comfort me the best he could. My midwife came and sat only a few feet from me, asking some basic questions, to which she looked me right in the eye and said, "You are amazing, you are a wonderful mom, you are doing so much better than you think, keep telling yourself that because it's true."
She encouraged me to find things that I loved to do that I could include Ellis in, whether new hobbies, or old activities that gave me purpose and left me feeling good. I've found that reading out loud, playing uplifting music constantly and dancing around the house with Ellis in my arms, eating good nutritious meals regularly, opening the windows, having one room that is free of clutter, going for daily walks, have all played crucial roles in helping me cope with this new chapter.
I also recognize that my postpartum life, much like everything else we experience, is unique. I don't have postpartum depression in ways that other new mothers may have it, and it only lasted a couple of weeks. It was difficult in those bursts of tears or feeling so alone even when I was surrounded by the people I loved the most. I know that other women suffer and battle this hardship for much longer, and at greater intensities, and I in no way want to promote postpartum depression as something that isn't serious or isn't worth seeking out help for. My help was just admitting that I was struggling, and hearing my midwife tell me that I was wonderful and that I was experiencing things that all new mothers do somehow was my relief, aided with constant prayer and help from family members and dear friends.
I love being mama bear to Ellis, but I would be lying if I said that this has been new emotional territory for me to chart. It started with feeling helpless from the very beginning due to a surgery that was unavoidable because of the shape of my birth canal and left me unable to walk, get up, or even go to the bathroom by myself. Thankfully, I had a husband, a mother, a father, a brother, and friends helping in every way they could through making meals, reading to Ellis, changing his diaper, rocking him, or just sending encouraging texts so I could heal as much as possible.
Well, my husband is back to his regular work schedule, and my family is back in New York, needless to say, last week was a huge adjustment with tears accompanying the changes, and at the same time, unexplainable joy.
I could just wish this away, fast forwarding to the next time I see my family, or when Brian has a few hours home from work, or I can embrace it with full force, finding that the real joy is in sleeping next to my sweet Ellis, and seeing him wake up with that tiny grin on his face or getting to new chapter in Stuart Little, watching his eyes light up through the changing of voices and characters.
I used to hate time, and I wanted it to slow down and quit moving as fast as was at certain points and then I would find myself in other situations wishing that it would hurry up, hoping that it would never come. Obviously, time isn't something to argue with, I see that now. I don't understand why certain parts are harder than others, or why we have to go through some of the things we do, but I know that it's shaping us, and despite wishing or wanting the hard parts to pass quickly, I find peace in knowing that the hard and the happy all happen at the same time rate.
As I hold Ellis in my arms, as I get to breastfeed him, or playfully nibble his tiny toes I remind myself that this too will pass. Every minute we have here on this earth is a gift, and maybe it doesn't always seem that way, especially when we are going through really hard things, but if we look, there are always beautiful things interwoven, there are always blessings to be recognized. Don't wish away this time, because before you know it, this precious chapter in your life will be over, you'll never get it back, you'll never get a do over.
Just remember, you are amazing, you are wonderful, and you are doing so much better than you think.