Friday, 7 June 2013
I won't lie, having Holly was the proudest moment of my life. The most amazing moment of my life. There are other achievements in my life I'm proud of like gaining a degree, but bringing another human into the world is by far the most special. Yet as I am being honest I have to also say that afterwards I was a mess. A whirling tornado of hormones, I didn't know what I was doing or who I was anymore. I expected having a baby to be hard, and I was happy to cope with the sleepless nights and exhaustion. What I wasn't prepared for was the emotional & psychological effect. The worry. The guilt. The fear. The pain. I was consumed. Overwhelmed. I felt like I was drowning. Drowning in not a sea, but a thick, dense fog. Everything was cloudy. Everything in my life was dull, in shades of grey. I would smile, but it would be a neutral smile, with undertones of grey. If I am totally honest, maybe the blue had gone from my eyes, leaving only the cold, hard slate grey in it's place. I loved my child, I could not have loved her more fiercely, but life beyond her paled by comparison. In the cold days of winter all I wanted to do was hide away. Take my precious family and hibernate. I wasn't ready for the world. I felt exposed, inadequate and scared.
Time passed and things grew easier. Warmer weather came to stay. I was more laid back. The fog had lessened. There were still times when it seeped back, as thick and debilitating as before, but those times grew less frequent. Still though, I didn't feel myself. I felt empty of me. I was full of love for my baby, my partner, but not for myself. I was nothing without the baby. A non entity. I loved and laughed with my family around me, but without them I couldn't remember how to be. I didn't know who to be. Who was I, without my family?
All too soon, winter returned and while I had moved on and relaxed, the same feelings reared their heads. Hard wired into me psyche. I felt the fog come over me. This time though, I had the strength to fight. Things weren't the same. I knew I had to stand firm. It wasn't easy, but I got through and found joy that I didn't know I had. I found strength. This time, despite the fog, I was able to breathe.
So what about now? The fog has come and gone. In this, the 2nd summer of motherhood. I feel like it has finally lifted. I almost feel like me. The me I was before. Yet not less than before. Even more. Stronger, and fiercer for all the demons I faced. Having a baby changed my life, and it would be entirely foolish to tell anyone that it doesn't. Having a child changes you forever, you shouldn't expect to adjust to it quickly. A child is a living, growing thing, they change as often as the tides of the sea.
This summer is a revelation to me. I am starting to see the true shape of the wonderful family we are. I don't know what it was that finally tipped the balance. That let me breathe again. I owe a lot to friends. Who were gentle with me. Not expecting too much, and having the sense to hold back when I needed it and hold out a hand when I was ready. New friends showed me that I wasn't alone. That I had more to look forward to than I ever dreamed possible.
Dear friends, thank you for helping me. For helping me to be me. For showing me that while being a mummy requires sacrifice, I can still be me. Thank you for bringing me back to life.