A Letter to Myself One Year Ago
Encouragement and lessons learned from my experience with postpartum depression
In less than a week you will meet your miracle baby boy. He will look nothing like you or Daniel, but you will fall in love with him and breathe him in and be consumed with gratitude. You will hold the baby you thought you lost
His entry into this world will be a trial, one different than Flora’s, but one of greater physical pain. Pain that will last for much longer than the time it takes for c-section incision to heal. You will have upwards of 100 stitches in perhaps the most uncomfortable place to have stitches. For months you will become familiar with searing pain and discomfort. And even as the pain subsides, the unfamiliarity of your body will only increase. You will feel like you will never be yourself again, and you may be right.
Star, this next year will be your hardest one to date. You will sleep the littlest you ever have. You will be demanded of nearly every moment of everyday, trying to meet the needs of your family and often failing. You will feel more like a failure this year than ever before. Your ears will be filled with the sounds of constant crying and sometimes it won’t be coming from your children. You will hide in your closet with a giant glass of wine and write curse words in a journal into the wee hours of the morning when you should be sleeping. You will feel confused and alone and like this world would be better if you weren’t here. You will long for a break so badly that you ponder how to crash your car in a way that only hurts you. You will eat far too much McDonalds b/c you feel guilty spending any more money for food that you don’t have to prepare and getting to eat it while it’s still hot.
You will come to find that friendships are even harder and trickier than they seemed with only one child. You will long for someone to notice, to encourage you, to tell you you aren’t alone. You will text your spouse in your moments of utter distress just wanting to be heard and he won’t understand. You will wonder why you can’t cope, why the smallest task seems insurmountable. Your heart will race. Your teeth will grind. Sometimes it will be hard to breathe. You will long for relief.
Some moments you will regret having another child. Never the child himself, but the fact that you put yourself in a circumstance where you were so incapable of even the most normal task. Guilt will surround anything you think about or try to do. You will wonder where God is in the midst of all of this and if he has forgotten you. You will drag your self to Bible study and be there only physically most weeks.
You will try to think of something concrete, a memory from an event or moment in the last months and come up short. Nothing will seem settled or solid, like you are a small boat set out to sea in a storm with no way out.
This is the year you will learn you have post partum depression and that you are not ok. You will keep waiting for someone else to help you and find your answer and it won’t come. You will learn this year that only you are responsible for your health and well being and that putting it aside hurts those you love and yourself. You will see that a short bath and glass of wine in the evenings isn’t going to fill your cup and make you thrive. You will need to get help and take some time to sort out this new you that seems to belong to everyone but you.
You will become a mother of 2. 2 under 2. And it will be hard. You will feel like motherhood is a trap and wonder if life will ever let up. If you will ever enjoy your children…
Let me tell you, you will. Even amidst the trial this next year will hold, there will be tiny little moment where you stare into your babies eyes and see, just for a moment, the man he will be. Your daughter will tell you she loves you and you will melt to the floor. Your babies will start to interact and play and sometimes forget you are there entirely. There will be no magical corner you will turn where it becomes easy or you have it figured out. But you will slowly feel a glimmer of hope that life won’t always be frantic dash from fire to fire.
You will learn more this year than many years worth of lessons and be humbled flat on your face. This year will teach you that despite all your effort, you will fail a lot and that all the striving for order is usually a senseless task. You will look back on this year and not recognize the woman you were before. For all the good and the bad you are different. You are changed. It’s not a regret, it’s an acceptance. You are who you are. You are at where you are at. No pill, article, lotion, advice will change that. And you know what, that’s ok.
To the year-ago-Star…this next year will be the most bizarre mixture of hell and beauty, panic and peace, falling and standing, pain and hope. I have no magical advice but to say, hang in there. You will make it. You will.
Follow her on Instagram at @starleewhite.