Into the Darkness: A Story

Flowers in sunset blurredI lay in the darkness. Eyes closed. Willing myself to sleep.

But rest would not come. In the next room, I heard the baby cough. I held my breath, body tense, wondering if she’d need me.

Glancing at the clock, I groaned. The red numbers read 5:32. I’d fed her, changed her diaper, and put her back in bed an hour ago. But I’d been lying awake since then, bracing myself, trying not to wake my husband, not quite sleeping. It was easier to get back up if I didn’t fall asleep. And sometimes, sometimes, I had to get back up.

Now my daughter would be awake for the day in a few short minutes. Another day where I was so tired that my head would spin.

Tears seeped into the corner of my eyes. I didn’t know how I would do it. How I would bounce her, love her, be calm. Again. All day. I knew why some people shook their babies and that knowing scared me.

Is this what motherhood is supposed to be?

 

Today I saw a Facebook post from another friend struggling with Postpartum Depression. She’s not the only one. But it’s lonely and it’s dark. When I was there, I felt ashamed. Ashamed that I couldn’t keep it together. That I couldn’t do it.

It took me some time, some meds, some perspective changes, and lots of support to realize that it would be okay. That I’d make it. And I did.

But today, I realized that I had forgotten the lesson.

Like a lot of artists, I struggle with the highs and the lows—the beautiful and the ugly—and reconciling it all somehow.Sunset

I realized that I need to go back to some of the habits I learned during that dark time. To purposefully change my perspective I pulled out my gratitude journal. It’s a place where I count my blessings, and I start seeing the beauty in the ugly.

Amazingly enough, when I’m purposeful in my thanksgiving, I can find gratitude for the food-encrusted dishes, half completed crafts, and dirty socks on the table. But the practice also helps me really SEE the color in the grey sky and appreciate the hug from my son.

But sometimes getting my thankfulness on isn’t enough.

I emailed my friend this morning just to remind her she wasn’t alone and it reminded me how important friends had been in my journey. As a writer, I spend a lot of my life in my head talking to fictional characters, and, frankly, I hide in my house. A lot. Not the best combination for making friends.

So consider this an invitation, a hand in friendship to journey together.

To be honest and open as we work to see the beauty in the things in our lives that aren’t always pretty. Let me remind you that you aren’t alone in your journey just as I hope you’ll remind me that I’m not alone in mine.

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