The Little Things

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Last Thursday we went to the Urologist. I was home sick, trying to take the day slow, yet also anxious to be getting something done. My husband worked a half day, but was getting home later than he anticipated.

At 1:00 I sat in my closet meditation space, a little outcropping of our bedroom, just big enough to store my clothes, set up an alter, and roll out a yoga mat. It has two windows that look out to our back yard and fill the tiny room with afternoon sunlight. I have always had a thing for closets that are big enough to sit in. When I was a child my bedroom was hardly bigger than this, four walls, two windows, and a view into the trees. My sister’s closet was also the perfect hiding space, pushing past rows of clothes, and turning a corner to a space above our stairwell provided sanctuary and alone time in a small house with four people.  Now in my own home, my closet is often where I choose to sit. And on that day I sat organizing the new space of this blog, feeling some sense of accomplishment in an otherwise frivolous day.

At 1:15 my phone rang. Hubby was on his way home. He asked me to make him a sandwich. He’d stayed late at school to finish up progress reports and hadn’t had a chance to eat lunch. I told him I might, depending on whether or not I finished my project before he arrived.

At 1:25 he still wasn’t home. I closed the screen of my laptop, stretched my back, and headed downstairs. I took the bread from above our refrigerator. Whole wheat. I opened the fridge and found deli meat, ham, and some spinach. Depositing all of these on the counter I went back for condiments, mayo and hot sauce, like I had seen him do so many mornings as he made himself lunch before school. I thought to myself, what a rare occasion that I make my husband a sandwich. The mundane beauty of the moment caused me to pause for a moment. Sunlight kissed my back through kitchen windows. Our journey of trying to conceive for the past year flashed through my mind. All the hopes, all the conversations, all the trying, all the vitamins, and supplements, and acupuncture. All the disappointment, the negative tests, the tears. The breakdown in this very kitchen that forced him to drive home in the middle of a poker party so that he could pick my crumpled, heaving body up off this kitchen floor where I had smashed a cabinet in a fit of rage. All of it. And now me, standing here calmly making him a sandwich, before we go to an appointment that takes us one step closer down the path of Artificial Reproductive Therapy.

At 1:30 he walked through the front door. He strolled into the kitchen and smiled at me. “Hot sauce?” “Yeah, I know you like it.” “Ooooo, baby!” He came around the island and folded me into his big, long arms. Arms the nurse would later joke about as she gave him the “large adult” blood pressure cuff. Arms that have held me in all of my good, and all of my heart-wrenchingly bad moments over the past 15 years. We talked and joked a bit as he ate the sandwich I made for him. Then we got into the car to leave.

The appointment went pretty much as expected. Low sperm count, let’s do another test. No varicoceles, no surgery. Clomid. Give it three months. Don’t give up. Just keep trying. You’ll probably need IVF.

We left the office with a little more information, a plan, and a tiny sense of renewed hope. As we got in the car I asked him how he was feeling. “Fine. Hungry. What’s the plan for dinner?”


 

We picked up E from school after that. As he was led to the car he smiled the biggest smile at us. His teacher exclaimed, “You get mommy and daddy both today!”. He grinned at us from his car seat.

I am so blessed, and so unbelievably grateful to have both of these boys in my life. Our journey to having a second baby is bittersweet. We have all the joy in the world right here. There’s not a moment that I don’t appreciate it.

Deep Breath, and Let GO… The Truth About Postpartum Depression

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I imagine that’s what the leaves say just before they decide to fall from the trees.

They don’t know what they are getting themselves into. They don’t know how it’s going to feel, what is going to happen, what the outcome will be. They just do it, because they know they have to. That’s what I am doing right now. I am writing this post, because I know I have to.

I read an awesome post today by Renegade Mothering. And a month or so ago I read an awesome post by a fellow yogi mama and friend over at The Householder’s Path. And after months of conversation with my very good friend here at Crinoline Logic…. and a little inspiration from none other than this song… I am finally ready to do this. Deep Breath, let it go.

I have struggled with depression for much of my adult (and young adult) life. It was at bay, and under control without the help of medication for several years, until I entered into the postpartum world. Now it is back, and like a needy child it is tugging at me every day.

I haven’t hidden the fact that for me transitioning into mamahood has been challenging. It’s challenging for all of us. But I have yet to talk openly about the dark side of mamahood. The dark feelings, thoughts, shame, guilt, anxiety, and utter exhaustion of depression. Mostly I haven’t talked about it, because I haven’t wanted to believe it was true.

I was depressed as a teenager. Broken up family, an eating disorder, panic attacks, suicidal aspirations, a hospitalization, the whole bit. I got through that period of time, with support from counselors, my parents, medication, my now husband, and yoga. When I was 21 years old I weaned myself off of anti-depressants and anxiety meds. I committed to my yoga practice and meditation, and never looked back. The tools I learned in yoga allowed me to keep the darkness at bay. I became a yoga teacher because I wanted to share these tools. I have been teaching and sharing yoga for over 5 years now, but I have never openly talked about why.

When Robin Williams recently committed suicide, I couldn’t say anything about it. I literally had no words, written, verbal, or otherwise. All I had was sadness, and a need to look away. I wanted to say how I understood, and yet didn’t understand. I wanted to say how I was angry, how we all need to do more for those with mental illness, how no one should have to suffer these thoughts alone. But I couldn’t. Because it is the nature of depression, to be alone, to suffer silently. Why?

I have been reading many of Brene Brown’s books lately. She is a researcher and writer on the topic of Shame. If you have not yet read anything by her, I suggest you start here. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Only because that’s where I started, and it hooked me enough to read more. basically she talks about how shame keeps us in our neat little boxes, isolates us, and makes us feel alone, when the truth is what we are experiencing (no matter what it is) is human, and others are experiencing it too, and there is no reason to go through it alone. But in order to come together, we have to let go of our fear of what others will think of us. We have to risk being vulnerable.

I never really realized I had postpartum depression. I went to see my doctor when my son was 9 months old and I was still unbelievably exhausted. I had him check my levels of everything. There had to be something I was deficient in. Vitamin D, B, Iron, Estrogen, something… he said everything was within the normal range. He asked my some questions, and before I realized that he was screening me, told me he thought I was depressed.

The word made my heart sink. Depressed? No. No, I’m not depressed, I’m just tired. And I’m not interested in things I would typically like because my life is taken over by a baby right now. And I’m struggling to get out of bed because I only slept 6 hours because this baby doesn’t sleep yet. And I can’t fall asleep at night because I’m worried about the ever growing pile of things that don’t ever get done because of this baby, and….

Fast forward 6 months. I’m still tired. I still find it difficult to motivate myself to do things that I know I will enjoy. I still struggle to get out of bed. I still struggle to fall asleep. I still don’t want to believe that I am depressed.

But it’s time. It’s time for us to talk about this. It’s time for me to stop being afraid of what you will think. It’s time for me be vulnerable, and brave, and authentic. This blog is not a mommy blog about what products I love. This blog is not a mommy blog about humorous daily anecdotes of my child’s life. This blog is not a DIY craft show. (Although someday maybe it will be). This blog is a blog about the challenges of motherhood. This blog is about real life. This blog is about being honest, and sharing stories. This blog is about the workings of the heart, the heart of a mama.

Yes, my heart hold sadness right now. Really, it holds a whole lot of confusion. It doesn’t know what is going to happen, what the outcome will be, how everything is going to feel. My heart since taking the leap into motherhood, has been careening down through crisp air waiting to land on something soft (hopefully), just as the leaves do each fall. And even though many times I am scared, and many times I question why on earth I thought it would be a good idea to take this leap, and many days are simply a struggle, I am still grateful to be here. Because along with this sadness, and along with the darkest feelings, my heart holds love, the purest, clearest, most radiant love. I chose this journey. I wanted deeply to walk this path. I would not take back a day of it. But finally I am ready to vulnerable, to be honest, to be completely me.

I am a mama. I struggle with postpartum depression. I am not alone. And neither are you.

post partum depression