I’m attending my first-ever BlogHer conference this summer (yikes – next month!) and I’m so excited. I feel like I sort of attended the last three conferences because I diligently followed the conversations on Twitter. Attending this conference is like my nerdy blogger dream come true.
This is BlogHer’s 10th anniversary celebration and so they asked the question: “Where were you 10 years ago?”
They say if you’re going to make changes in your life you shouldn’t do all the big ones at once, right? Make a major move, switch jobs, have a baby, buy a house.
Yeah. We did all that in a matter of months. In July of 2004, we moved into our own place in Syracuse. It was a six-hour drive from my family in Massachusetts, a plane ride from my husband’s family and several states away from Florida – the place we had moved from and the place where I’d spent all of my adult years up to this point.
The best part of the whole move was that we now had a beautiful two month old baby girl. We were over the moon in love with her, like any other new parents. But there was a storm brewing inside me and I had no clue it was coming.
Many of the women who responded to this BlogHer question spoke candidly of their struggles with postpartum depression. It’s something I had heard of, but not at all something I believed I would ever have to deal with.
It snuck up on me and it sent me reeling. Looking back at pictures is hard to do. I don’t recognize myself.
- I would drive to Target and put my daughter’s carseat in the top part of the shopping cart. I would meander up and down the aisles, never buying anything. We were on one income and it was tough to make ends meet.
- I ate poorly and didn’t exercise at all.
- I obsessed over our daughter, taking several pictures of her on a daily basis. This was before we had a digital camera. I would take advantage of sales at the local drug store and get three copies made for each roll of film. One for each set of grandparents and one for me.
- I saved EVERYTHING. If my daughter picked a leaf? Saved it. Found a cool rock? Saved it. Drew a picture or ten thousand pictures? Saved. Them. All.
Thanks to a few great (and not so great) therapists, I eventually learned to process the emotions I had not allowed myself to feel – or worse, didn’t feel worthy enough to feel – when I gave birth to my son. They were bubbling to the surface now that I was parenting my daughter. I had stuffed everything down for years. And now it was manifesting in the form of derailing depression.
While I wasn’t blogging at the time, I did find solace and comfort on various boards and chats with other moms. Specifically, I turned to a wonderful book called The Baby Whisperer. I devoured it. And then I went online and found her website and her discussion boards. There was this whole community of women sharing their concerns, questions, fears and so many personal details. It was overwhelming and comforting at the same time.
This post is substantially longer than I’d intended mostly, I think, because it’s not a topic I’ve written about before. And frankly, it’s not easy. I love my son and my daughters more than they’ll ever know. I just wish I’d been better prepared when I entered motherhood. Both as a birthmother and as a parenting mother. And I wish more than ever that the great work this woman does now was available to me back then.
So that’s where I was in 2004. A scared new mom whose poor husband had to deal with a woman who was slowly falling apart.
I am so glad to be on the other side now. Writing has helped. Talking has helped. And blogging has helped.
There’s so much more to my story, as there is with anyone’s story. But for me, right now, I am grateful for this time in my life and for the profound amount of healing that took place these last ten years.