Last night, I decided to do a catch up with my life. I was all set, nice cup of tea by my side, and a mental list of all the things I intended to do before night’s over and I have to go to sleep (whether I like it or not, needless to explain the reasons why I have to overcome my owl syndrome and force myself to sleep) and the first item on my list were the emails – that are gathering dust, if they were real paper letters – on my inbox.
I found an email of a friend – male friend – who was in a spot of trouble with his actual partner. And more or less at the end of the email, on the final paragraph he asks “please do tell me, you who are the most analytical person I have known what it is that makes a “click” on a woman after having a baby?”
And he continued: “Honestly, something must happen apart from what we all know, and I think she is going crazy. Or I’m going crazy. I don’t know. I found a woman who was sane, and now it turns out she is going insane. Awaiting your views, xxx”.
I think if I was sitting in front of him, probably I would be speechless. To say the least. And since I do not drink alcohol, I would request a very strong Americano and a glass with water for starters. His question opened in my mind a myriad of answers. The inconvenient was, that all those answers were based on my own experience, and for him to have an “analytical” view, I had to try to look from the outside in order to give a less subjective answer.
Was that difficult – not to say impossible – or what?
It was a titanic task. I had to work really hard not to fall on the classic “On my own experience…” but nevertheless and after hours of writing, erasing, writing, erasing, I had to resort to “On my own experience”. And I decided on this occasion honesty was going to be the best policy even when that included very little detachment.
My answer was quite simple. We women are unique, and each one of us experiences birth and the landing to motherhood in a completely different manner. In my case, after birth the time that followed was quite dark and gloom. I did not know what was happening to me, I was meant to be overjoyed and bursting with happiness. I was meant to be.
I can see now looking back I was at a loss and truth to be said I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it was not the famous “baby blues”. And if it was, it was the blue colour in all sorts of hues, all leading to black. Later on, around 6 or 7 months later, I found it was called “Post partum depression”.
Eureka moment? Perhaps. It was like someone lifted all the shutters to let the light in AND finally I saw myself. I SAW. I saw my son, who stared at me right in to my eyes holding my fingers very tight and smiling. I saw my body, deformed after the pregnancy fighting to get back to normal. I saw my partner running like a beheaded chicken trying to help with my son – and hats off to him. I saw that I was wasting my time trying to figure out what was going on, instead of “be a part” of what is going on and just go with the flow.
Eureka moment? Now I can say oh yes, it was. After that, I started to read a lot about post-partum depression and I started to “tick boxes”. Because of course, when I “woke up” from all that gloom and doom coloured in all shades of blue, I thought I did everything wrong and it was unforgivable. And I came to discover that there was nothing to forgive. My brain and my body followed their own path to come into terms with what just had happened. My son was growing as healthy and happy as you could ever wish in a loving environment, and nothing was missing except for one thing: me.
Me, yes. Because I was there, in body and spirit, giving my son all the attention and the care you could imagine and perhaps more; but guess what, my brain took my soul hostage to seek out some logical answers and try to re-establish the “natural order of things”.
HA HA HA !!!
The “natural order of things” was not there any more and it was well gone and never to come back as I – my brain – knew it. The natural order of things was swiftly replaced by the “natural flow of things”. And then, when my brain realised that there were no logic nor analytical process to understand what was going on with my life, hey presto, the soul was released.
And I came back. It was not an easy path. Still it is not an easy path. I walk, towards what I feel is the exit because I feel the fresh breeze coming my way, so I follow through. The path is unmarked and sometimes – only sometimes – I would love to have some guidance, something to reassure me I’m going into the right direction.
And surprisingly enough, that guidance comes from the least expected person, who is squeezing my fingers, smiling at me with almost all his teeth out and pierces my soul with his eyes. I can say that I am with the flow, I am here, and you know what? I don’t regret a single moment.
As for my friend, I did write to him in the end that women we are unique and her partner was going to deal with it in her own time on her own terms; that she was not crazy or anything alike, she was just coming into terms of being a mother and if he noticed something more serious than expected yes, seek assistance. I also made a point telling him that we women are like little planets ruled by hormones and these can go quite unruly during pregnancy and after birth so sit down and wait, and enjoy your daughter as much as you can.
This is to you, my dearest friend. Go with the flow.