In many ways, it’s as if I was forced to deal with lots realities and roles in the shortest amount of time possible. There wasn’t an adjustment period but rather a courage within myself I had to dig and unearth. It doesn’t matter how bad you wanted it (pregnancy, baby, creating your own family, etc.), you’re never prepared for the journey. Despite working with new expecting/expanding families and having a glimpse into their reality, their start, I had knots in my throat and chest from not being able to explain what I was personally experiencing. The anxiety came first. I remember that. I’d worry about the safety of my son and have horrific visions of what would happen at any moment. So I took precautions and thought of every single detail possible to ensure he was okay. And still, things happened. But around 6-8mos postpartum depression was like, “hey girl!” I write anxietydepression together because they flowed into each other and, let’s be real—it’s not like the other ever really left.
They stayed for a while and I can’t quite tell you what it was like but isolating fits the bill right now. I recognize doing this parenting thing just us (baby, daddy and me) and having chronic pain and feeling heavy and not knowing what’s next (professionally) had a lot to do with it. Seeking professional help felt like a long tunnel I did not want to walk alone through. It would’ve been great if someone walked through it with me. But we don’t always get what we want. Especially when folks who are black, immigrant, and/or poor. Or when everyone you thought would be around has their own shit going on and insurance is always an issue and, and, and…
I did not have an easy pregnancy or birth by any means but one thing my mother shared with me during that time was that what I was bearing witness to was a sign of my own health. That I was healthy even though I did not feel like it. So much of what we hear as pregnant people is how unhealthy we are and I think a lot of that carries over to how we are cared for after we give birth, which is very little. We are enamored with the pregnant experience but repulsed by the postpartum body, mind, and spirit. So, how is my today? My postpartum recovery journey is still ongoing. I am feeling mentally refreshed these days and I credit that to time. When my moon cycle returned and regulated, I noticed a shift in my mood and energy levels. Incredibly thankful to bleed again—something I never thought I’d say.
I could also say that the fog cleared. The veiled lifted. Something in me just released. It feels as if it just happened one day but I recognized that things didn’t necessary get easier. I just got better and smarter and more efficient at my new challenging life. The aches in my body dissipated and I enlisted a village to help with caring for my then 20month-old son (hello daycare!). These two were major. They allowed me to move freely and recognize how limited I was both in my body and time. The pressure a new mother experiences to just enjoy “this time” is damaging and I cannot express how much of a disservice this is, especially to millennial parents who want to do things differently but are stuck in between job insecurity, the false validation of social media, parenting with little to no family or friend support, and trying to break “generational curses"/do things differently.
What am I looking forward to? Building my body while thanking it for all its endured. This means more conscious eating and meeting with a fitness expert in the next coming weeks. I love the curves but I don’t love muscle atrophy and feeling like my hearts on my tongue each time I run or go up many stairs. Spending time alone and with friends and my beautiful lovermanbabyfather and son. This is a big one: starting grad school in the fall. I figured so many women do it all the time so I should, too, because I can and because I want to. Lastly, being so gracious with myself that I fill my cup everyday somehow, someway. Resting, dreaming/imagining, and creating are my favorite pastimes. Doing more of them will continue to help me come up for air. We need more of this in the world, but especially after giving birth. After all, if we are not our best selves, how can we mother in the best of ways? I’m ready for it all.