Been away from my writing for a while. I’ve been dealing with…stuff. Icky, rotten, feeling unlike myself stuff for the past month. I got through bug’s surgery fine…but other stuff has been bubbling for a while. For some semblance of privacy, I’m not going to go into too much of the whys. But I will tell you… I sat there one night, looking at the monitor watching bug sleep and couldn’t stop crying.
It was just all too much. I had lost myself somewhere. I had lost myself to the worry. After I became a mom, the thing that made me Eloise took a vacation. Worry took over my life and my sleep. Worrying about her hearing loss; that she’s not saying consonants; do we get two hearing aids; what to feed her with her super duper small throat; do we do enough therapy at home; what happens when I’m not with her all day; I’m such a bad wife…..I was so mean this morning, why do we fight when we love each other, I forgot to feed the dog; I forgot to do laundry; did her eye look red this morning; will she be bullied in school; if we move what about all these great doctors and therapies she has? Oh the worry. And even on the days… where the glasses are all half full… I still felt sadness lurking.
I have a really hard time telling other people there is something wrong with me or my family. Don’t let anyone see the cracks type of mentality. After reading almost all of Momastery one morning, I called one of my best friends. I let it out….“I’m not me. I’m unhappy and I’m not sure exactly why…and I’m now worried about that on top of my existing worry list.” In her most calm big sisterly voice, she took a deep breath and told me I was going to be just fine. “Landon is happy and healthy…that was step one; step two is to fix you…., third is to fix anything else that still needs fixing." How profound, I thought. One step at a time. (PS- Momastery opened my eyes and my heart. If you don’t know it, please see what I’m talking about. It’s the Holy Grail of openness and reminding women that we’re warriors and to love each other).
I used to give this great advice to others… "you cannot love anyone else properly if you don’t truly love yourself." What I forgot though is that even after you find the love of your life, you still have to love yourself just as much. I realized that with our wild and crazy rare syndrome tornado of a life since her birth, I hadn’t actually stopped long enough to realize I hadn’t felt like myself. I didn’t really love myself. I’d been mildly depressed since she was born. I had this odd feeling before I had her that I needed to watch out for postpartum depression. But I didn’t feel it right away- it was masked by something so huge and intense and my emotions felt specific to what we were dealing with. Once we got the hang of it though, and were on our happy path… I would have these moments of sadness. It was an out of body feeling. I knew that I wasn’t me and what I felt wasn’t right. I had gone through this world-altering experience so of course I wouldn’t be the same … that’s what I said as I sat and cried for no specific reason. One day though, I realized it shouldn’t actually be that way. My sadness wasn’t actually tied to anything syndrome/hearing related. PPD can happen months later. I didn’t know that but here it was staring me in the face.
So… I went to see a couple docs. I got something and it makes me feel balanced again. I feel like Eloise again. I am happy and positive again. No more with the negatives. I’m not numb either like I thought I’d feel. I just feel more like me again. And part of my own self-prescribed therapy is to share it with you. To help that one mom who is too nervous to call a doctor or to tell her girlfriends or husband. I wanted to share that it’s okay to. To decide to love yourself again and put yourself first occasionally. Everyone else will just suffer if you don’t.
The 2nd best medicine I ever prescribed myself was a serious night out with the girls. Not just a dinner that was nice but it’s still early kind of night. It was a 3:30 dancing with your best friends, laugh so hard you cry kind of night. I woke up feeling like I was dying but also feeling more alive than ever. I had fun. I had forgotten what that was like honestly….fun I’d been the pregnant one for 10 months, then instantly a special needs mom. I hadn’t been a wife either- definitely just been a mom and a coworker. It is too easy to lose ourselves, to lose our identities as individuals and also as wives. We become mom and that’s it- it’s everything. The balance is impossible but we have to fight for it. Have to keep each part of us alive.
And now? I’m doing really well. I still have work to do. Things to discover about myself, things to work on and things I will now ask for. I found my voice again and the courage to share with other women and with y’all. The courage to admit that I don’t have it all together.
We women are so funny that way. So seemingly intent on making our lives look perfect or close to perfect when they’re not. It’s okay to say they’re not. All we can really do is just show up, be our authentic selves. Oh…. and go dancing more often….
With Mother’s Day looming, let’s celebrate the amazing women that are mothers and all they do. For fighting for balance, sanity and for finding time to put makeup on. For friends who understand you without you having to explain yourself. We women….we’re pretty incredible.