Thursday, April 22, 2010

The D word

"As the dear panteth toward the water, so my soul longeth after thee. You alone are my heart's desire, To you alone does my spirit yield... "
This was one of the songs that played over and over in my head.
In those darkest moments, when even our faith is so far removed from our bodies, there is that lone thread that keeps us tied to sanity, to reality, to the world around us...just barely sometimes, but still just enough.
It was so different for me than they described it. It wasn't that I did not bond right away. I did. More than I have ever bonded to anything or anyone in my entire life. So much so I cut everyone else off. My husband did everything, more than any other man I think could possibly do! He was patient, loving, caring, gentle. He was nurturing. He was my ROCK. He was my life preserver yet I continued to drown. 
I did not even know I was drowning all the while a dark abyss had swallowed every ounce of my being. It was so dark I couldn't tell where I was.  The black water surrounding me had taken over my senses.  I could not breathe, my air had been sucked right out of my body.  I could not see, my eyes were flooded by the tears of my soul.  I could not talk.  I was screaming inside my head but nothing was coming out of my mouth.  I could not reach out and touch.  My hands were floating around me lifeless.  Looking back now some of it is so blurred it is hard to recall when it started and when it ended. There is no way to point to a date on a calendar.
Depression. It is such an ugly word. It does not matter what other words you put before the D word. They are all ugly together or standing alone. Because when you in the midst of any of them all you feel is ALONE. Depression on its own runs in my family. I have suffered from it before, the broken hearted kind. This was so different. This was in a class all its own.
I was overjoyed with my baby. This baby was the only thing that brought me any joy during this time. It was the rest of the world I shut out. Everyone around me no longer mattered. I went into robot mode, going thru the motions that were necessary to keep them at bay. “Them” being everyone else in my life! My husband included. God bless him! He cooked for me to eat. He would bring me water to make me drink. He drove me everywhere the first several months. He stayed by me. Even when I did not want him to.
Mother love us
Mother loves us
Mother feed us
Mother feeds us
Mother teach us
Mother teaches us
I cried. So much. The silent cry where tears just stream. There was no other emotion on my face. I could wipe the tears away and no one would notice a change in my demeanor. I would sit up in my bed at night, holding my sleeping baby, with my husband sleeping next to me and just cry.
I would sit in the glider and we would rock. I would hum most days because I could not find the energy to sing the words. Somehow I prayed silently in my head. Certain passages would run thru my mind from my childhood. Most of them in the form of a song we used to sing.

Fear Not...For I am with you says the Lord.
I have redeemed you; I have called you by name..

Some days I did not even know my own name.
I wanted to spend every waking moment with my baby. I did not want to share him. I did not want someone else to rock him, feed him, and care for him. I wanted to do it. I was consumed with it. I used nursing him as an excuse to lock myself in my room or the nursery. I had a new mom friend ask me later how long it took to nurse a newborn in the beginning. I wasn't sure how to answer because I was pretty sure it wasn't supposed to take an hour!

Child you are mine...
Whose line is that?
I don’t think that was supposed to be mine...

THANK God we are not all called to give our children over to God like Samuel. Or are we?
One by one God began to pry my fingers away from the death grip I spiritually had on my child. I was sucking the life right out of him in order to stay alive myself.
When you walk thru the water I will be there

And thru the flame

Fear Not!
What was I doing? This child was not sent here to be my Savior. That child had already come and gone. And was Risen again. This child was given to me as a gift to teach, love and to yes give back to God.
It is so painful to just throw the light on when we are in that sickening, drowning darkness. Yet when the light is turned on too slowly we don’t see anything changing. And sometimes God just says,

"Let there be Light!"
And there just is.

Light at the end of the tunnel.

Light in the darkness.

The night turns into day.
Your mercies are new every morning.
Life is restored.  Love is renewed. 
In an instant I found myself floating on top of the water.  My eyes closed, arms outstretched on either side, my body relaxed, bobbing along and the sun was shining again.  The darkenss was gone and I did not have to sit up to realize that the shore was so close.
Looking back on my postpartum depression, I can understand how so many new moms and dads do not realize what is going on with themselves or their wife. The women experiencing it personally are so lost in it they have no idea where they are. Those around them don’t always know what to say or do or even how to pray. They begin to feel lost as well. It can be a tornado sucking everyone around into its vortex. Once you come out the other side you have been changed. Life does go back to normal just your definition of normal is forever altered. I can't tell you what causes post partum depression or how to stop it. I can tell you that if you have it there is hope. There is life after the big D! There is light and it is GOOD. Sometimes you may not know you are in the darkness until the light is restored. Rest assured those around you know—even if they don’t know what to call it, they are trying to help. Listen and let them!

I was recently reminded that the lessons of life are meant to be learned, accepted and welcomed not scrutinized, dismissed and disregarded as irrelevant. I have accepted this specific journey as an extra warrior patch that makes me who I am, that has taught me to be sensitive to the fragile journey of others.


Des said...

What a brave and open post. It's so amazing to look back on things in life and see the triumph of WALKING THROUGH.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing, Survivor Mama!

Amber @ Beyond Postpartum

Anonymous said...

So true Rena! Looking back I think I had a battle with post partum, but didn't know it. And then when you feel good again you realize how great it feels to live in hope. love you ! Thanks for your openness.