I remember how I felt back then. I’ve detailed them in so many different blog entries. I was so scared of being a bad mother – not knowing what to do, not caring enough for my son, even wondering if I was good enough to be anyone’s mother. I was afraid that I would never bond with him; that I would never love him the way he deserved.
We are fast approaching his 2nd birthday. My, how the world has changed. I love him so much. Everyday, I leave my office on time, which for a former workaholic, career centric person, used to be impossible. Everyday, I can’t wait to hug him and ask how his day was. I ask about what he did, what he ate and what time he napped. I engage with him and see what other fun things he’s learned to do. I act as if I hadn’t seen him in ages. Let’s face it, as working parents, sometimes, even at the 9+ hours, it can feel that way.
Today, I am sick. I caught the little bug that tortured him earlier this week. I caught because he decided he wanted to randomly give Mommy a hug and big kisses.
I am quarantined in a room where my contact with him is limited. We don’t want him to catch any more bugs too soon, so it’s best if I stay away. During my waking hours, I realize something. He’s only a few rooms anyway, but I MISS HIM. I want to see his smiling face. I want to hear him identify his animals by sound, and watch him mime different actions (what does it look like when you wash your hair?)
I am smitten. I love him with such intensity that I never knew existed. I am lightyears away from the situation I was in two years ago. The darkness and self doubt that was Postpartum Depression and Anxiety is long gone. I am no longer that fearful mother.
I am stronger, happier and more confident. I still find struggles in motherhood, but they do not consume me as they once did. The change in my personality, my outlook on life and my entire sense of being is nothing short of amazing. I know it sounds self congratulating. Why not ? Mothers like me deserve that. We went through hell and survived it. We fought and we won.
The changes are apparent even in my own self care. I am able to focus on other parts of my well-being that need attending. I do it now without my previous self deprecating thoughts. I do it with a realistic and hopeful attitude. While not immune to it, I am less affected by setbacks or bumps along the road. I have learned to cope and try my best to move forward.
I still go to therapy, but not as often and only for maintenance. We all need a vent session every now and then. This is a huge thing for me. Prior to PPD and PPA, I was resistant to therapy. Now, I feel like it’s part of what saved me.
I am also proud to say that I am in the first days of completing weaning off anti-depressants. The process is very early, so there’s still some progress and evaluation. However, the idea that I may not need the medication is exciting. What’s even better ? Being accepting of the fact that if I still needed to remain on the meds, I’d be ok with it. The fact is, I’m no longer stuck in the negative stigma of medication. I am confident that I will be happy with either result. The pride I feel is more about getting to this place. This place means that I have recovered and the old days are far behind. Whatever comes next is only for the better, and not because I suffer from the past.
And you know what else ? All those worries were so unfounded. I’ve always loved my son. I’ve always been a good mother. I may not have remembered it all, but the evidence is there. Photos, videos and the love that my son has for me. It’s all there. I was always a good mother. I just needed some extra time to see it.
I write entries like this, because I know there’s so many who suffer / suffered like I once did. The pain is personal, but it’s not uncommon. I detail these personal experiences for those who know what I once felt; I want them to know that they aren’t alone, and that recovery is possible.
I am a stronger, better, happier version of myself. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety tore me apart. What it didn’t do was break me completely.