Mommy Shoes: Parenting While Recovering From PPD

[Editor’s Note: Please welcome Mirjam Rose to Postpartum Progress today, as she shares her experience of parenting while recovering from PPD. Mirjam is an elementary school teacher and blogger who lives in the Netherlands with her husband and three children. She has battled and survived 3 postpartum depressions. You can find Mirjam at her blog Apples and Roses, where she blogs about her ongoing battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. Mirjam is a contributor for World Moms Blog and can also be found on Twitter. ~Susan]

Mommy Shoes: Parenting While Recovering from PPD

It has been nearly two years since I asked for help.

Motherhood and life felt like too much of a burden for me. After years of thinking that the problem was me, it finally dawned on me that there might be something wrong. I started therapy and found out that I had suffered from postpartum depression. Not once but three times. I also found out that the feelings I struggled with in my early teens, were not just regular teen struggles. I found out that it was also depression that I had struggled with.

These past two years have been the most intense years of my life. I have experienced tremendous growth. I have opened new doors and have closed old doors behind me.

People talk about therapy lightly. They think therapy is nothing more than paying someone to listen and to give you advice. Therapy is no such thing. Therapy is facing yourself. Therapy is opening doors and looking into the dark corners of your soul. It is work. Hard work that sometimes leaves you exhausted. Being as courageous as walking into a lion’s den unarmed. Vulnerable. It is raw naked honesty and perseverance. Going down a steep, rocky and sometimes dark road, without knowing when you will reach the end of it. It’s knowing that you can decide to leave that road at any moment, yet not giving in to that thought. Because you want to get well.

For the past two years I have been going down this road. To say it has been a roller coaster ride, is to take a devastating hurricane and to call it a warm summer’s breeze. The hardest part? Being a mother at the same time.

There is no time off. No time to lick my wounds or to take a break. When I come out of therapy, I need to step quickly into my mommy shoes. Some days I come out of therapy feeling empowered. I stand tall and firm and switch roles like a pro. Other days I feel delivered, freed from a burden that has been carried for way too long. Those are the days that my mommy shoes feel like dancing shoes. Then there are days that I am exhausted from the hard work and I feel empty with little left to give. On those days, my Mommy shoes are put on reluctantly.

Some days the carefully constructed bandages around my heart are ripped from their place and old wounds are exposed. My heart breaks and scatters into a thousand pieces. An hour passes as I work through the pain. When the clock strikes reality, I hastily gather the pieces and put them back into place as best I can. I wear my mommy shoes, and though it is I that longs to be nurtured, it is I that gives the loving smile; it is I that spreads my arms in welcome; I that carries and I that offers warmth and shelter.

On such days my feet struggle to find solid ground underneath my shoes. When my child reaches for me, my grasp is firm. And as I hold her little warm hand softly in mine, the ground underneath my feet gradually feels stable again.

 

This post was first featured on World Moms Blog, March 2014.  Shared with permission.

Photo credit: Mirjam Rose

About Susan Petcher

Susan is a two-time survivor of antenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety. She is on staff at Postpartum Progress, where she is the Program Manager for Education & Training, and directs both the volunteer training program and the yearly Warrior Mom® Conference. At home, she has her hands in a bit of everything, from parenting to teaching private music lessons. In her spare time, she pimps her crocheted wares for yarn money at http://etsy.com/shop/learnedhappiness, and tweets @learndhappiness.

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  1. Mariah Warren says:

    What a beautiful post, Mirjam! You described the experience of therapy so astutely- it certainly isn’t a walk in the park like some people would like to believe, something self-indulgent and for the wealthy. It’s a difficult journey when done well, one that takes time and strength, and so necessary for healing. Thank you!

    • Thank you! You are right, Therapy has absolutely nothing to do with self-indulgence. I have no idea where that idea comes from. Therapy is such hard work.

  2. Beautiful post, Mirjam.

    I totally relate to what you’re describing with therapy. I have been fitting therapy in between classes so I usually get done with class, hurry to make it to therapy on time, then hurry back to class. And it can be SO difficult to go straight from the raw emotions and vulnerability of therapy into class and dealing with people. And then afterwards I go pick my kids up. There isn’t usually time to process until that evening. It’s difficult but necessary.

    Thank you for sharing, my friend. <3

    • Thank you!
      That must be so hard. Some days I found it really hard to be around other people right after therapy. There were days that I walked out with puffy eyes from crying and wanted to crawl up in my bed. The hardest thing is to pause those feelings and not being able to process. So you doing this, is amazing to me. xo