Years ago when I identified that I was experiencing postpartum anxiety and depression, I was elated when I finally found release from the darkness and sadness I had experienced. Therapy and medication provided an almost immediate relief for me. But as time goes on and the months and years pass I find myself continuing to lament “I just want to feel like the old me again.” You know, the “me” before babies and before Postpartum anxiety and depression.
Words of Wisdom
It wasn’t until recently while talking to a wise mom friend of mine that I had a light bulb moment. We were discussing our postpartum bodies. In particular, we discussed the pressure that new moms face to “bounce back” to our pre-baby bodies. While having this serious discussion, my friend said something profound. She asserted, “you know Meghan, postpartum is forever. I don’t want my old body back. This body has birthed two babies and nourished them and provided comfort for them. That’s pretty incredible.”
This friend is on a mission to love and embrace her new body. Her old pre-baby body is gone, and she has come to a place where she is comfortable bidding it farewell. All of this postpartum body talk made me think; if I can learn to look at my post-baby body changes as positive, then I should do the same for my postpartum emotional changes.
Looking Back at Where I Was
While I am a sporadic journal writer at best, I can appreciate the benefits that consistent journaling provides. One positive thing about keeping a journal is that you have a sort of window into your past.
A few days ago I came across an old journal from the early months after my second child was born. In it, I had written, “You know those days…the days when you rock, bounce and shhh for an hour to get a, maybe, thirty-minute nap? The days where it becomes undecipherable who’s tears are streaked down the front of your two-day old t-shirt. They could be yours or your baby’s, at this point it’s impossible to tell. It is here at this moment where I need you the most Lord. Meet me here. Meet me in the midst of this. As I am changing diapers, changing sheets, changing another load of dishes, You are changing my heart.”
Reading this reminded me that the most beautiful things are on the other side of the hardest trials. I continue to carry some scars after battling through postpartum depression. And I sometimes get lost in the depths of these scars. But experiencing this has taught me to be more patient, to listen better and be empathetic to others. The me that I am now is stronger than the pre-baby me.
If I am not skipping through life as carefree as the old me once did, it is only because I am walking with more intention. Just as I am making a more asserted effort to embrace my new postpartum outer appearance, I am also committing to working on accepting the changes that have occurred inside me. It’s past time to say goodbye to the me that once was. That old Meghan had less worry and responsibility, but she also had a lot less love and purpose in her life.