Welcome to the rally, people! Thank you for showing up!
When I sat down to write this post, I thought “What am I going to say? What can I possibly say that all of these other awesome people coming up won’t also say?”
And then I decided that I don’t care if we repeat each other because the point is clear:
BUST THE STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS. Talk about it. Tell our stories, good and bad.
So, I read my post from last year‘s rally for guidance and inspiration. My post from exactly one year ago today.
People, if there is one thing that I can say that I KNOW this year that I did NOT know last year?
I am not a failure because I had postpartum depression and anxiety.
I spent so much of the first year of Joshua’s life desperately trying to just not screw things up. To not screw him up. To be this perfect parent who did everything right and didn’t make mistakes. To not make such awful choices that he’d be in therapy by the time he was five drawing pictures of his family and putting big red X’s over the Mama stick figure because he’d already decided he hated me.
When I look at my son, really look at him, I know I’m not a failure at this whole mom thing, even if most of it thus far has occurred under the hateful glare of postpartum depression and anxiety.
The past two years have been full of doubt and worry and confusion and sadness and tears in my throat that will not find their way out of my eyes.
But they’ve also been full of moments of clarity and happiness and the absolute certainty that in taking that medication, in admitting that I needed help, in leaning on others in my times of weakness, I’ve done the right thing for my family. For myself.
About a week ago, I took the last pill of my prescription for PPD. There was a moment of panic when I swallowed it because part of me wonders if I’ll need them again at some point in my life.
And I’m okay with that.
I’ve spent the past year trying to let go of the perceived imperfections in my parenting, and in doing so, I’ve cleared my head of an awful lot of negative self talk about my ability to be a good parent to Joshua.
And in clearing my head of the negative self talk, I’ve found a little less stress in my life as far as my ability to raise my son and be a good mother is concerned.
One of the comments on last year’s post struck me as I read it:
There are no perfect parents. And there shouldn’t be. Then kids would think they have to be perfect. We just have to be good enough.
(Can I get an “amen,” y’all? Because AMEN.)
Am I perfect? No. Dear God no. Never.
Am I healed? For now, yes. I think I am. Maybe.
I’ve embraced the concept of being, at best, and worst, just average. Middle of the curve. Right along with everybody else.
The one thing I know is that in embracing this life I’ve got now after the battle is mostly over, I’ve found my own sort of normal. My new normal.
I’ve found the “me” I am after postpartum depression. A little scarred, perhaps. A little less flexible where I was previously broken.
But I’m okay.