Last night I walked outside to pick up toys before more severe thunderstorms rolled through. They were just beginning to rumble again.
I looked up at the sky and the picture above greeted me in all of its majesty in the sky around me. Light in the darkness. A brief sign that it exists, even when I can hear the storm nearby. I can’t control the crashing claps that scare me or the rain that ruins picnics, but I can embrace the light when it peaks out and invite it to stay for as long as it can.
The light reminded me of the women I met this past weekend in Boston for Postpartum Progress’ Warrior Mom Conference (#WarriorMomCon). They shared their light, hope, courage, and authenticity through the telling of their stories, handing of Kleenex, and hugs. We met at a patient-centered conference for survivors of perinatal mood disorders focused on education and advocacy. I found myself surrounded by 120 women who share parts of my truth. There was something cathartic about being celebrated and heard by women who share the perinatal mood disorder experience… an experience that I largely didn’t share until I was well on my way to recovery. In the depth of it, I feared being permanently changed, never to find or be myself again.
My fears came true. I am permanently changed. Not the debilitated woman who desired sleep 22 hours a day, feared leaving her home, and staved off intrusive thought, I became who I am today. Healthy, full of life, grateful, grounded, loving deeply, vulnerable, and worthy. I think the seeds were planted long before my struggle postpartum, but finding the darkness of rock bottom depression gave me a different perspective. It taught me lessons that I had many opportunities to learn earlier in my life, but circumstance allowed me to dismiss them as “things that weren’t for me.”
What I know today and was reminded of this weekend, is that I’m always going to be a work in progress. I always want to be a work in progress, because I don’t want to be completed, done, or finished. I want to be the book that when you get near the end, you realize that there is more to be written… a sequel, trilogy, series. Right now, my focus is on better incorporating self-care into my routine. You guys are going to hear lots about it. I want to hear from you how you are doing it. What’s working? What are you doing?
P.S. I’d like to thank Cotton Babies for being the national sponsor of the conference. After meeting the founder of the company, I’d like to go back and cloth diaper my children, just to support her business. Maybe I’ll just buy some cloth diapers, because we all know that I never would have used them. 😉