Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Digging out with a teaspoon

I have been... unhappy much of this year.  I have been hard on my husband, hard on my kids and harder yet on myself.  I have been trying to dig up and up and up and hopefully, eventually, out of my depression.  But I am digging with a teaspoon most of the time.  And so it goes.

But lately I have been better.  My healing is coming in the form of learning to let go.  But that letting go?  The releasing of dreams, disappointments, heart break?  Is so much harder than I could have anticipated.  So much more painful than I had prepared myself for.

There are moments in this last year I crave with all my being to redo.  Moments that I can see, now, are steeped in depression, but at the time?  I just thought I was a horrible mother and wife. 

The one moment that comes to mind the most often?  The minutes just after Isabel was born.  I will never forget that morning, though most days I wish the memory was hazy, that I didn't see with shocking crispness all the ways I was hurting without knowing.  Isabel came out in a rush - the doctor barely got his gloves on, never mind his scrubs, before she was lying warm and wet in his hands.  My husband turned to me and told me we had a daughter and I could see the emotion in his eyes, the tears just behind the surface.  I could see, too, that he was hedging his emotion on mine - if I cried, he would too.  And all I was thinking was that I was tired and that now that she was here I could go back to sleep.  I knew I was supposed to say something, do something, but I had no idea what it was.  To fill the void I was staring at I kept asking "is she okay?"  Over and over I pestered the peds nurses.  The doctor was kind enough to reassure me time and again that Isabel was fine.  Then I was holding her, this tiny bundle of a girl, wrinkled, bitty, worn out and weary from her journey.  And all I felt was incredibly empty.

Those minutes?  I play them over and over.  Because I know that girl now, I am looking at her tiny lips and her round eyes and her trusting smile and I love her.  I know this with every fiber of my being.  And I wish I had been able to tell her that then, and mean it.  I want to go back to the woman holding a baby who was hers, but did not feel like hers and say: "it's okay. You'll be okay, and this girl-child?  Do not be afraid: you do love her, you just can't see it yet."

I want to go back to my daughter who knew nothing and understood less and say: "you have not done this. She is in love with you, but it will take a while for her to find her way back to knowing it."

In life there isn't a way to get back those days and weeks and months.  So I am left with this hollow ache where joy should have grown.  But I am healing now: I am learning to let go, to become okay with the fact that for me?  The day she was born was not the happiest moment of my life.  That day came later, and I can cling to that moment instead.

The letting go of that day?  Is an incredible battle, one that I know isn't over.  I will always wish it had been different.  Always.  But I am learning to let go of that sorrow and instead am thankful that I am here, now, loving her and her sister in all the ways I could not do before.



  1. ((hugs)) I am glad that you shared this. It can only help you heal. Remember that it is never wrong to ask for help if you need it. You are not weak, far from it. Enjoy your girls and husband and all will be right in the world.

  2. Oh, I love this post on so many levels. Your honesty, and your clarity in being able to look back and see your emptiness, to wish those back moments in order to reassure you the mother, and your beautiful baby... I am simply not a good enough writer to full describe how richly and fully you have described the pain of depression. And I say this as someone who really, truly understands what you're describing. God bless you for being willing to name it, and share it to this level of detail, and describe the raw emotions that run so deep. I truly believe that you will end up helping so many others that you'll never even meet -- people who will stumble across your writing and feel like someone FINALLY understands.

    And I am so happy to hear you are healing! It's quite a journey, isn't it? (Some days, even after I'm sure I'm better, REALLY better, I have a day where I think I may be falling back into it. Does this happen to you?)

    Sorry for the rambling. Please keep writing -- your honesty is truly beautiful!

  3. Oh, my heart goes out to you. I don't think anyone escapes having some sort of depression at one time or another, sometimes living with it as a daily companion. Another generation ago it wasn't talked about. Thank God that has changed a bit.

    I think it's hard for ourselves when we don't respond as we think we should, like we have a manual in our mind on what's the proper response to everything.

    Don't be afraid of saying your having an off day. It's okay. Forgive yourself for your less than best moments, realizing that your better and best moments far outweigh the ones you'd like to redo.

    Remember, too, how much you really love your second born daughter, first born daughter, and husband. And know that there will be other times when you aren't sure you even like them. That, My Dear, is part of loving people too.

  4. @ Jessica: thank you for your encouragement and support. It means volumes.

    @Melissa: yes I have days where I'm sure I'm going in reverse after feeling like I was doing great for days - or weeks - at a time. What I've come to learn? Those are just "regular" bad days that everyone has, I just put greater emphasis on them because of my fear of returning to the darkest parts of depression. Some of the letting go I'm trying to do? Relates to that particular fear.

    @Grammy: Thank you for your love and kind words. Admitting I'm having a bad day is hard, but I'm able to be honest about it in a way I wasn't before and that helps, a lot. And realizing it's ok not to not always like someone you know you love? Is so true. I'm learning that, too. Thank you Mom. I love you!

  5. I know these days, the ones you wish so badly that you could take back, ones where you know that had you been able to feel anything, they'd have been completely different.

    I've been there. I still visit from time to time, but it's much easier now.

    Hang in there.

  6. Oh.

    Oh my.

    This post is lovely and vulnerable and true.

    But it touches me too deeply to be able to comment adequately here. I too have times in my life I wish I could do over again. Moments that accumulated and turned into months that I wish I could do over again. Which I can never do over again.

    And I weep for the pain and sorrow I caused during those piles of moments in which I was not fully present.

    And all of these years later?

    I have still not managed to forgive myself.

    And so I cannot comment here on those moments specifically.

    Too much hurt.


    I have let go of so much anger and pain and hate over the course of my life.

    But my own guilt?


    It holds me.

    And will not be released.

    Heavy sighs.