Earlier this week we had friends of ours over for supper and the evening. As I was running around trying to ensure we would have enough to eat, the table was set, and my house was (somewhat) clean I realized how much has changed in only a matter of months.
When my daughter was first born I didn't expect to struggle with depression but I did. It wasn't serious but it still coloured so many months with grey. Most of the time I doubt anyone would have even noticed the difference. I wasn't dressed in sweats daily crying on the couch. I kept my house and appearance as it always was, at least for the most part. Overall I was a glowing new mom very much in love with my little girl. But inside I was suffering. It was nothing I could put my finger on. Nothing in particular that set off the sadness. Somedays were sunny...others were dark with unexpected showers. I often felt overwhelmed and as if I was gasping for breathe under a breaker. I had struggled with suicide in my teens and because of my success in over coming that I managed to maneuver myself away from any scary situations after the birth of my daughter...but the emotions were the same. There was never a time when I wanted to harm her or myself but the all consuming sadness would still spring up and almost suffucate me. Delighted with life one day, drowning in the depths the next. I remember wondering if this was really the new normal.
I wish now that I could write a letter to myself then, a new mother trying to make it. I would tell myself that although it is normal, it will not last forever. By seven months the skies will clear and you'll be surprised to see the sun is still there. It will kiss your skin and you will smile easily again. Right now you feel so distant and distracted around friends and family you wonder if you'll ever develop relationships again. Don't worry. It won't be long before you'll have a cup of coffee and an entire conversation without feeling your brain cloud over. There will be bad days, but this suffocating covering of sadness will lift and the bad days will just be minor showers in skies of beautiful blue. Just like your baby's eyes. And yes, you will love those eyes every minute and bond with that baby no matter how removed you feel right now. You feel as if your love has faded between yourself and your husband...but the flame will be fanned and become an all consuming fire once again. Just give it a month or two more. You will feel comfortable hosting dinner parties, planning events, and being in social settings soon enough. For now, don't worry about the dark days. I promise it will pass. That little hedonistic sucker who seems to sap the life from you with every feeding will soon be stepping out on her own and you will miss these moments of being skin on skin. These months may feel as if they'll last forever...but less than a year from now you'll look back and wonder where all the time has flown. And in the words of Brad Paisley... "Just have a little faith and you'll see....You're still around to write this letter to me."