I want to hug you. I want to hug every mom. Every single one of you.
Yesterday was a particularly low day.
I couldn't stop crying on my way home from work. I took the wrong exit ramp. I had to ask my husband, on the phone, where I was going. He asked me, "Do you remember Hawaii?"
"Wasn't it the best time of your life?"
"It feels so far away now."
What ended up actually helping me was his walking me through my surroundings: "Do you see signs for Howard Avenue? Just keep heading west until you get to the freeway, then you head..."
"I know where to go from there. I haven't completely lost it."
A funny choice of words when I lost myself on my way home from work, in an area I've lived in for three years.
I thought I'd had PPD this whole time, because there have been spells of weepiness here and there. Yesterday showed me that I haven't had PPD this whole time. It's hit hard now. It's made worse by bad days. External stressors make the internal struggle a wreck. A mess out of me. I took the wrong ramp. I almost didn't know who I was.
But I did know. There was sane, happy, regular old me somewhere. Taunting me, almost, with the promise of the fact that I know what a normal life feels like. That I can be present, that I can be smart, that I can be on the ball.
I continue to make jokes. I continue to laugh. I continue to pretend things are normal to the people who don't know, mostly for the fear of bringing them down. For fear of scaring the pregnant woman at work about what may be (1 out of every 8 moms, y'all) to come. For fear—that's been justified—that people just don't know how to handle this truth.
I continue to enjoy the beautiful moments. I toss my daughter in the air and I hold her so close I'm sure she can't stand it. But she does. There's not a second I'm with her that I regret. Not a second that her smile doesn't bring one to my face.
I'm not broken. I'm not weak.
I mean to say that despite the beautiful sunset rainbow I'm looking at as my baby sleeps, I am sad and conflicted. I mean to say that some people don't know how to handle someone with PPD. Or any mental illness.
But I'm grateful for the national conversation sparked this week about depression. Admittedly I am just now starting to consider it a physical illness. I hope that the paradigm is shifting. I hope.
I want you to know that most moms hate and love their lives. I want you to know that no one's Pinterest version of their lives is the whole truth. Behind the perfect-looking recipe is a messy kitchen counter and a sink full of dishes. You are not alone. Not a single one of us is perfect.
I want you to know that I made it home. And good news was waiting for me there, news that made my day, along with a long, long hug from my husband and playtime with my daughter. News to come.
For now, I'll try to rest. Another therapy session tomorrow. This time I'm looking forward to it. I like that.