Monday, July 9, 2012

The darkness in spite of all the light.

It would be a lie if I tried convincing anyone, including myself, if a lot of days [read: most days] are not a constant struggle. They are, and most of the time, I have no idea how to handle it. It is no secret to me, or probably anyone around me, that the past 12 months have been the hardest of my life. Simply put, I have postpartum depression. In length, I have way more than just a diagnosis. Yes, my struggles come from depression and anxiety, two little friends that reared their heads for the first very real time this past year. I fight a constant battle which, fortunately (or perhaps, unfortunately), I’ve managed to keep from most everyone that knows me. Jesse is my rock though. He has helped me through the dark and into the light more times than I could ever begin to count. In fact, that number is still ticking upwards when I have a freak out moment like the ones that still come a little too often and a little too blindly. I’ve done everything in my power to not place my depression, anxiety, anger, or confusion on my children, and I think I’ve managed to do a pretty good job of that. So many days, I struggle. Have I said that yet? I’m working through it day by day by day. I feel like the good days outweigh the bad days now, which is certainly a new feeling than past months. I’m getting out of it, but I do think it will take some more time until it’s all behind me, if it ever is. My depression has prevented me from taking in every wonderful moment with my children, and that, for certain, has been the biggest downfall of the year. My beautiful children are growing every single day, and every single day that passes is one that I’ll never be able to relive. Their tiny toes, and tiny voices are only getting bigger, and I’ve failed in trying to remember each little detail. The events of the last few years have left me without a clue of who I am; a result of trying to grow up too fast, if you will. There’s a Hilary outside of being a little one’s mama, outside of being a wonderful man’s wife, and somehow I plan to find and embrace her.
I’ve become an entirely different person since my adult years began not so long ago, and I have a hard time figuring out who I am deep down inside. The early 20s in anyone’s life are about self-discovery, and I’m certainly not exempt from that. The things I am and have discovered thus far, though, have mostly come as surprises to me. I’ve dreamed of having children since I can remember lining my baby dolls along the side of my bunk bed and kissing each one good night and good morning. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t baby-obsessed, quite truthfully. So it was certainly a surprise to me when it dawned on me that I’m not really cut out to be stay at home mom. I don’t think I will ever be the mom that stays up late at night planning crafty little fun things to do the next day, and lesson-planning for homeschool teaching. My goodness, I try, and I’ll keep trying, but I have to wonder if I’ll ever be that mom. I’m sure a lot of that comes with my age, but I don’t know how much of it really. I’d like to think that most of the way that I feel is because of my postpartum depression and anxiety, and not truly because I’ll never be the mom I always dreamed of being. Too often, my mind gets crowded with the “what-ifs” when I think about the college scholarships I threw away, and my stellar GPA that means little to nothing anymore. As my favorite wizard once said though, “It does not to do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” I have so much to live for right now, and that little reminder is what helps to get me through the hardest times.
Every single day I try to do a little better than the day before. I’m not always successful, but I’m trying. Good lord, I’m trying. To my sweet, wonderful husband, thank you. Without you, I have no idea where this year would have led me. I owe my life to you, indeed.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Update of sorts.

You know those times when you have so much rattling around in your head that you feel like any further information would literally just fall right out for lack of room? That’s kind of how I’m feeling right about now. I haven’t had the time to blog lately, and I’m definitely due for that sort of brain reset. It’s been an interesting year, no doubt, and 2012 has certainly given me a run for my money.

Avery is only 11 days away from his 1st birthday, and I feel disbelief, both from how fast the year has gone and how undeniably slow other parts have been. He learned how to stand without holding onto anything, and I’m sure he’ll be taking steps in a month or so. He’s got 12 (count ‘em, 12!) big teeth, and he’s already close to cutting quite a few more. He “talks” constantly, and even tries to sing and dance, which is just downright adorable coming from his chubby little face. He’s still my little nursling, as I’m sure he will be for at least several more months. We’re planning his 1st birthday which is just a week away, and he’ll be having it with older cousin, Abby, who is turning 2 just a few days before his birthday.

This past year since Avery was born has probably been my hardest, far exceeding time spent away from Jesse or when I went away to college, even my first year in Korea. I’ve had a hard time struggling with postpartum depression, which was compounded by medication I was on for about 4 months, a heavy school load, and a very high needs Avery which left me severely sleep and free time deprived. I had a lot of not-so-favorable moments this year, and even now, 12 months after his birthday, I have some really hard days where postpartum depression really gets the best of me. I’ve somehow managed to make it through the year without medication to control it, though there have been times when it may have been the better choice to go that route. Fortunately though, I feel like I’m on the uphill from that these days, and things seem to be getting better everyday.

I’ve learned a lot about myself this year, and I’ve taken a lot of big leaps in discovering what I’m really all about. I finally admitted to myself and others that being a stay at home mom is not what I’m really meant to do. I’m grateful, appreciative, and so thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to stay home with my kids for the last almost-three years, but I can also accept that this is not what I am supposed to do with my life forever. I miss working and I miss contributing outside of the home. I miss adult conversations and yes, I’ll admit, I would love to be able to miss my kids a little bit. Is that weird? The kids get so excited to see Jesse after he’s been gone for awhile, whereas up until last week, the longest I’d ever spent away from either of the kids was 2 hours. Even just last week, I topped out at 6 hours away, which in the grand scheme of time, isn’t much at all. I crave more adventure and the feeling of contribution. When the time comes where I can step outside of the SAHM box, I’m sure it will be a hard adjustment for everyone in the family, but I also know deep down that it will benefit us all in a variety of ways. I’ve already faced a lot of judgment from friends and family that cannot – or choose not – to understand why I would choose something over staying home with kids, and that’s okay, I guess. I don’t need anyone’s approval outside of Jesse’s, but it does get to me when I feel that those close to me don’t at least attempt to see things from my point of view.

Jesse and I recently went through some things that really rocked our foundation, and mine alone too. But I’m happy to say that we both came out on the other side together, not necessarily stronger, not necessarily better, at least not immediately, but together. We are constantly working to improve our relationship, in order to become a stronger couple, better people, and better parents every day. I’d like to think that our marriage will always be a work in progress, never stagnating, something we always want to improve. I guess that’s really the goal of every marriage though.

Anyway. It’s definitely been a year, both since Avery’s birth and since 2012 began. I still feel like there’s so much left that I could talk about, but I can delve a little deeper another day. I’m sure my little guy will be waking any moment anyway. Like I always say, hopefully it won’t be too long before the next post. Hopefully.