[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]
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.