And Suddenly, Here Is The Light

[Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post from a Warrior Mom will inspire those still in the dark of postpartum depression. Light will come, mamas. It will come. -Katherine]

And Suddenly Here Is the Light

I went to the post office yesterday. With both of my kids. Both of my rambunctious, loud boys. At naptime. There was no death wish involved; it just needed to be done.

I’ve been on this long, nightmarish journey to settle my recently-deceased father’s estate, and there was an issue that could only be resolved at the post office, of all places. I usually avoid the post office like I do the dentist, but like I said, it had to be done. I considered dropping my kids off at a relative’s house, but didn’t want to impose, so I took them.

We walked into the post office at 12:20pm; my kids usually start winding down for their naps around 12:30. I stopped at the entrance to gape in horror at the line, which was 20 people long and at a dead standstill. There were only two people working behind the desks, and they were going unnaturally slow. I sighed, stood at the end of the line, and started to sweat as both of my boys started to whine.

To make an endlessly long story a little shorter, we ended up standing in line for 45 minutes. For 30 of those minutes, I carried my 30-pound toddler on my hip while he smeared my $20 lip gloss on his face and slapped my boobs. My other son sat on a bench near the front of the line, singing along—loudly—to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while he was watching on my phone (thank goodness for smart phones). Then we stood in front of a postal service worker for 35 more minutes while she went through the motions to resolve my issue.

I left the post office an hour and 20 minutes after I walked in. My kids were both beyond the point of lucid conversation and were mostly whining incoherently about chicken nuggets and french fries. I had sweat through my shirt, and I still had to make lunch.

But guess what? I didn’t cry. Not even a single tear. Wasn’t even tempted. After I’d made lunch (okay, you got me, I drove-thru at Wendy’s), fed the boys, taken off their jackets and shoes, and fought them into their respective beds, I collapsed on my couch and laughed.

I laughed out loud.

I had braved what is pretty close to my worst nightmare and I felt… intensely alive. So this is what normal moms do, I thought. How effing awesome is that?

I am so close. I can feel a full recovery on the horizon, and days like yesterday give me hope of a new life with my family. A life not blackened by PPD, a life that all mothers deserve. There will be setbacks, of that I’m sure. I’ve already encountered one in the form of anxiety, which I’m hoping will abate soon with a change in medication.

It seems as though these good days have come up so suddenly, and I remember all too clearly the terror of depression, since I was deep in it just a few short weeks ago. I remember having to remind myself that it was temporary, that soon the clouds would lift and I would be whole again.

When I was in the middle of the postpartum depression, it felt complete, permanent. There was no horizon for me—often the only reason I functioned was because I love my children and husband. But personally, within myself, there was no reason. All was dark.

And suddenly, here is the light. It is truly miraculous how swiftly I have changed, and I am left nearly breathless, dazzled by all the surrounds me. I am amazed at my life, at the fact that I have been living in the midst of all this wonder and have been unable to recognize it.

But now I see it clearly, and I cling to it desperately. I understand that things may not always be so good, and I prepare myself for the possibility of my depression’s recurrence. It’s all right, though. I truly believe, honestly and truly, that I would not, could not, be so enraptured with life now if I hadn’t first experienced the blackest misery.

My saying all of this is just to prove that it’s true, what your therapists and husbands and friends are telling you. There is an end to the trials you now face, and the end may come sooner than you think. Whenever I am dealing with a relapse or just having a crappy day, Katherine makes it a point to tell me that it won’t last forever. I never believe her, of course. But still, the words give me a shred of hope to hold on to, and I still keep that shred close to my heart, for the days—or even minutes—when my resolve falters and I need a little reminder that things won’t always be so bad.

Take it from someone who’s been there, who’s still there: There is so much good, right under your nose. And any day now, you’ll be able to see it.

~Alexis Lesa

About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

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Comments

  1. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Just thinking about you sitting there laughing makes me smile. I've been in the exact same spot. How wonderful it is to realize you're gonna be okay at this motherhood thing after all.

  2. Fantastic post! it made me smile!

  3. I am on the exact same page as you right now. Things are looking up and the horizon is beautifully sunny. This time around, I'm prepared for set backs and won't allow them to get me down. Congrats to you!

  4. Effin' awesome indeed! 🙂

  5. Awesome post… thanks

  6. 😀

  7. Pure awesomeness!!! Breaking through the surface is, indeed, a fantastic feeling!

  8. It's funny how we notice when we can handle the things firing and exploding around us and totally advert a possible impending catastrophic meltdown. We notice when we are able to calmy handle what's happening. We notice when the small things don't impact our overall mood. Doesn't it all feel victorious?!
    I am so glad that you are doing better. Go you!

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  10. Kathy Morelli says:

    Hi Alexis – another awesome post. Having been through this myself, I can remember when I felt better, and how great that feeling was. I still have ups & downs and sometimes my emotions frighten me…I am afraid that a long term sad feelings will come back. However, I am fortunate that this has not happened. It has taken me a long time to reframe (think) and then actually feel my more extreme emotional life situations are the way I developed personal strength and acceptance of what life really is…Not what advertisers or my own youthful idealism would like to believe it is….wishing you peace, Kathy

  11. “so enraptured with life”…. I love this post! Thank you for being so inspiring and reminding us how far we’ve come!

  12. "so enraptured with life"…. I love this post! Thank you for being so inspiring and reminding us how far we've come!

  13. It takes a while to accept that setbacks may (probably) will happen and to know that you will make it through them also.
    I'm learning that most of the time it is much shorter in duration because we have learned so many new coping skills by neccessity. Those skills will benefit us all through life no matter what the situation.
    Here's to the light!!

  14. I loved this. Thank you.
    After a year-long battle with PPA, the same feeling has come over me lately, too. I will be in a situation that used to make me completely lose my sh*t, and realize I'm handling it okay.
    The day-to-day takes on a certain magic when your brain STOPS telling you that life is passing you by because you became a mom… and starts letting you see the whole new level of life and love you get to experience as a mom. When I'm in those post office moments, I think of the alternative and realize I'd rather be doing anything WITH my son in my life than anything without him.

  15. Awesome post! I'm still struggling with more dark days than light, but at least now I realize that the light will come.

  16. Very nice, positive and comforting story. 2 months after the birth of my 2nd child (after 15 yrs), I've been diagnosed with PPD. It took me about 18 mts to get to the point where I could say, ok…I see myself again. I never took antidepressants, in the early diagnostic stage I had to use tranquilizers. Still I never struggled with PMS, but after the PPD this is what somewhat remained of it…moodswings, somewhat anxiety and a fear of a major relapse. My jogging and yoga are the ME-time to do my share for managing my health. However last month I couldn't cope with my jogging and yoga routine and since last week I noticed somewhat of the sad, negative feelings, anxiety, and somewhat depression returning…and thought to myself: after all this time (my daughter is now 28 mts)this "beast" came to get me with a big BANG, so I think I kinda give in into the fear and negativity. Your part just helped me realize that my ME-time has been deprived, and so the "feel-good hormones" that I used to produce during my jogging routine has not been produced, I'm almost having my menstrual cycle (so my hormones) are already imbalanced…you reminded me of my 18 mts struggle, that this "beast" can be overwon, and that it is ok to have these days…'cause they are not here to stay—beat them!
    Succes to all of you, blessings, and let the love of your child(ren) embrace & protect you.
    Merry X-mas and a healthy happy 2011 😉

  17. Heather says:

    Wow- that gave me hope. Thank you.
    And I am SO glad to hear that you can see the light…

  18. Alexis,
    I'm an online friend of Becky Harks over at Mommy Wants Vodka. I'm a lifelong depression patient, and I just wanted to say I'm glad you're pulling out of the tailspin. I hope your recovery is rapid.
    Best Wishes.
    Paul

  19. anne frenkel says:

    Awesome! I can understand very well what you are talking about…thanks for posting!