It seemed so unfair. I was finally making progress with my recovery from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. I was finally starting to enjoy motherhood. Yet, I had to leave that all behind and go back to being in the corporate world.
It’s hard to believe, but a year ago today, I went back to work from nearly 6 months of maternity leave. Within a span of a year, I went from pregnant lady, new mommy, temporary SAHM, to working mommy. It was a whole slew of emotional waves in a small amount of time.
The day before I returned, I remember holding my son tightly, feeling as if our bond was being forced apart. I had only started forming and reinforcing it. It felt as if I had to abandon any progress and leave it all behind. What for? Was it really worth it? Why was I doing this?
Last week, while organizing my desk, I found a folded piece of paper, tucked away in a corner of a drawer. I remember the instructions given to me the day before it was written. I wasn’t doing well with the transition back to work. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety started to take hold again, and I found it hard to function. I was told to write down my feelings, so that I could process them later in therapy.
“I am afraid of relapsing and having to go back on disability. Strangely, I also want this to happen because it also means I can leave work and go back to being a stay at home mom for a little longer.”
“I feel anxious leaving the office. I am afraid of having a breakdown again. I am afraid of the stress. I am sad that I won’t see my son for an entire day. I am sad that he will be asleep by the time I come home. I feel like I’m missing out on too much.”
Clearly, a year ago, I was broken. I was fearful, anxious and not able to cope with my new life. I remember having to retreat repeatedly to the private mother’s room to process my feelings. I can recall the hesitation that made me stay in that room a little longer than I needed. I remember the need to escape. I was nothing close to what I used to be. I remember thinking it was impossible for me to be my old self. I lost my way completely.
When I stared again at the scrawling on the paper, I felt a mix of sorrow and pride. It’s not easy to forget the heaviness that my heart once felt, and the constant flow of tears falling on my cheeks. The utter pang of loneliness and despair is not something easily removed from memory.
Yet, I also felt a sense of achievement.
One year ago, it felt like things were falling apart. One year later from my return, I am more than what I used to be. I am no longer that person. I am recovered. I am stronger. I am not afraid. I am proud of who I am as a mother and what I’ve done in my life. I am happy to have overcome this struggle. I love my family more than I ever thought possible. I am more complete than I ever was back then.
365 days later, and I am a new, more confident me. The road wasn’t easy, but I am, most definitely, here. Though I can never forget what I felt, I will always remember how far I’ve come.