Those of you who have been following along over at near:far have probably inferred that I've been facing some struggles over the last few weeks. While the purpose of this blog, and near:far, too (though more limited in scope), has always been to keep things positive and to help me maintain my focus on the beautiful things in my daily life, I also strongly believe that it's unhealthy for me to suffer privately, and that it doesn't help women in general for us as a society to be silent about the realities of baby blues and postpartum depression. So, the truth for me -- right now -- is that I have a mix of some good "normal" days, and some frightening "bad" days. Like all mothers, I sometimes feel irritable and insecure. And sometimes, on some days, those feelings seem to be magnified. And on those days, I feel very vulnerable, as though I'm teetering on the brink of depression. I haven't reached a scary low place the way I did when James was a baby, and I'm still hoping that through good self-care, support, and awareness, that depth of depression can be averted. But the truth is, I don't know. Even by doing everything "right", there is no guarantee.
So, I'm trying to remind myself:
*to go outside more (sunlight can really help with depression)
*to notice the tulips blooming right outside my door
*to ask for help when I need it
*to do things that I enjoy, that nurture me physically, and that nourish my soul
*to step back into my volunteer work with mothers in my community, work that has always been so gratifying
*to appreciate Fiona's beautiful chubbiness
*to find balance between seeking connection and giving space with Elisabeth and James when it's been a hard day and we're all struggling
*to do my best to remember to be fully present in the moment I'm in, and to be aware of and appreciative of the way my children are right now -- because time with them is so fleeting
*to be gentle with myself
*most of all, to take it one day at a time
I don't want this to become a depression blog. It's always been a place for me to go that's happy and uplifting. But I have always been frank in the past about my experiences with PPD, and I want to continue with that candor. I know that in some small way, my honesty has helped some of you who are reading right now. I have been touched so many times by an "out of the blue" email from another mother, saying that my words and the personal work I've done have been helpful and inspiring to her in her own journey. It is one of the things that makes keeping this blog so satisfying to me.
So I'll be sharing my progress here from time to time, while continuing to use this as a space to document small joys and accomplishments. Thank you all so much for your amazing and inspiring encouragement and generosity to me and my family, for continuing to add your own voices to this site in the form of your comments, and for your many loving emails. I appreciate you, and this community, so very much.