One of my favorite Trisha Yearwood songs is “The Song Remembers When.” The lyrics talk about the power a melody or a verse has to bring you back to a moment in time. And although times may have changed and people may have forgotten, songs can always trigger your memory.
Tonight, as I walked down the hall to our bedroom, I passed my little one’s room. As usual, her lullaby music was playing softly. I hear it every night, but for some reason it made something inside me stop and remember.
We first bought the CD – a sweet collection of instrumental Disney music – about 10 years ago when our older daughter was very young. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was well into the throes of some form of postpartum depression.
Whenever I hear any of the songs, my mind travels back to our tiny condo in Syracuse. To her pink and purple room with the flowers on the wall. The little green dresser, the princess bookcase, her kid-sized blue and green gingham-print rocker. I remember the smell of Johnson and Johnson lotion (the one in the pink bottle). When she was very small, I would rock her and our eyes would lock. I would stroke her little cheek. Her eyes would flutter shut and then open again, as if she wanted to steal a few more moments of the day. All the books say you’re supposed to sleep-train your baby, never let them sleep with you, don’t let them fall asleep in your arms. Screw the books. I did all of those things.
I realize now how very lost I was back then. Even though my husband was a very attentive father, I felt overwhelmed and exceptionally lonely. I was scared and unsure of myself. And I had yet to realize that the unresolved feelings I’d expertly avoided when my son was born were now bubbling up inside of me and manifesting in the form of guilt, supreme self-doubt and uncertainty. My world was consumed by this little person to whom I was entrusted.
I’m in a different place now. Literally, physically and figuratively. I still feel the effects of depression (does it ever fully go away?), but it doesn’t have the same hold over me. I now know that moving through my emotions rather than avoiding them is the healthier route. I now know how to take care of myself a little better. Guilt and self-doubt and uncertainty linger, but if I let it move through me, it doesn’t have the same power over me.
It just sometimes catches me off-guard the way the songs did tonight.