vb – (often foll by: on) to chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length
n – pointless chat; chatter
COLLINS ENGLISH DICTIONARY – COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED, 12TH EDITION 2014 © HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
writing life updates
We have officially survived the summer, and are just one month away from what promises to be a glorious fall! That’s the hope I’m sticking to, even though in my corner of Texas we’ll likely be stuck with summer temperatures well into October. I choose to hope for the best in the weather, just like I choose to think about positive things every day. I don’t always succeed. I’m no Pollyanna. In fact, I have often struggled with worry and despair like many creatives. So my recent struggle shouldn’t have come as the surprise it has. At the beginning of the summer on May 25th, I gave birth to my daughter. I had planned and prepared and struggled through a difficult pregnancy. But nothing could have prepared me for the trial of these past couple of months.
I love my baby girl so much, and while physical recovery from surgery went smoother than the first time, inside it’s been far slower. As a nursing mom, I felt constantly exhausted. This wasn’t news, since I’d been through a similar struggle six years before with my son. But once I came off my post-op meds, as the days turned into weeks, I realized something was wrong. All my joints constantly ached so even walking was painful and I was irrationally angry about everything all the time. I felt outside myself, and frankly, I didn’t feel at all like myself, let alone like myself very much. Why was I struggling so much post-birth? I couldn’t remember it being so hard last time. As a worrier, I was determined to figure out what was wrong but didn’t know how to ask for help. And everything I tried to research on my own left me even more worried.
There’s a stigma for new moms out there, that of course you’re so happy and overjoyed with your new little one. And as someone who has suffered multiple miscarriages, a part of me was and is relieved and happy to have a healthy baby again. But sometimes it’s not so easy. I struggled to make that connection with my newborn, and cried as I feared I wouldn’t be able to. I barely admitted this to myself, and wouldn’t have dared say it out loud. Like if I said it out loud, the depression would be true and that much harder to overcome. As terrible as I felt, and angry as I was with myself, I knew one thing for certain.
My daughter deserved better. She deserves the best, just like my little boy deserves the best I can be for him. True postpartum recovery for me began with a choice. I could choose to stay angry and exhausted, or I could be intentional to create good moments. It started with playing a board game with my son and laying beside my daughter as she discovered toys on her playmat for the first time.
It got better when I finally admitted how I felt to my husband and closest friends. I turned back to yoga once I was clear to exercise again, and that’s when I started to feel like myself both inside and out. The first sessions were so hard. Sitting cross-legged was painful, as some of the worst aches lingered in my hips. But with every practice, my body slowly remembered and my strength has been returning. And all the while, as I re-learned how to breathe deeply and live intentionally, I found my anger and despair whittled away into peace and acceptance.
My baby girl is almost three months old (wow!). The disconnect I felt and feared has been replaced by a love that grows bigger every day. Best of all, that fog gets a bit thinner as we have fewer sleepless nights, and refreshed mental and emotional endurance. After two months with baby and working on myself, I’ve finally been able to turn my mind back to writing and publishing Dalriada Valley. I’ll be honest, I didn’t plan on sharing all of this with y’all. It’s not fun or easy to admit. I’d love to tell you that I’ve been Supermom-ing it and handling it all like a boss. But then I thought about the other new moms out there. I thought about the other women who may feel like they’re monsters for feeling the way they have, and I wanted to tell them it’s okay. Our bodies go through so much with every birth, and you can’t predict your recovery journey.
It took me far longer to get back on my feet than I expected or planned last May. But that’s the way life often goes. We make plans, and life happens. It’s often messy. We may not react in ways we expect, and sometimes it takes us longer to come back to ourselves. The important thing, I believe, is to keep trying. Never give up, even when you feel you’re at your worst. Whatever you think or feel about yourself, I promise there are people around you who love you. People who are ready to support you if you’ll only let them. Don’t be afraid of asking for help, or admitting you aren’t okay. It doesn’t make you weak and you shouldn’t feel ashamed. You’re not alone and maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day you really will be okay. Remember to forgive and love yourself. You deserve it 🙂