I’ll admit – it hasn’t been easy for me. Moving forward has not been easy.
Whenever any one of us goes through something painful or traumatic, muddling through the aftermath can be almost just as hard as when you were going through the negative experience itself.
I have been striving, very hard, to move forward past my traumatic experience with postpartum depression. In three months, it will be 3 years since I suffered through the horrible illness.
They say time heals all wounds, and there is truth to this, but there are some days when the pain can hit you just as hard as if the event happened just yesterday.
After my healing came, I was a changed person. And I strove to help others going through what I experienced. I shared my story over and over. This helped in my healing process, but it has also been very triggering at times.
When trying to move forward, or to put the past behind you, it’s like you can take two steps forward and one step back. You make progress, and then you’re back to where you were…hurting. Remembering. And it is deeply painful.
My journey in trying to move forward, as I said, has not been an easy one, and I’m still on the journey of putting the pain behind me.
When we look back to the past, we can feel a multitude of emotions. Sometimes positive. Sometimes negative.
When I look back to when I had postpartum depression, as one could imagine, there are very few happy memories. It was the darkest, most terrifying time of my life.
I’m not a fan of the phrase or being told to “Move on.” For it’s not that easy to do so. I have also thought about the popular phrase, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” I love these words, and yet, at the same time, it irritates me. I know we do not need to dwell on the past…past mistakes, past hurts, past painful experiences; but I think we must acknowledge and give ourselves the permission to know that this experience is forever a part of us. It may get easier and WILL get easier as time goes on, but it’s a part of your story. It might have helped change the course of your history and the history of those around you. It’s natural to look back. And I think it’s important to look back sometimes…to see the positive that came from that experience. You might have to look hard to find that. There are lessons to be learned, wisdom to be earned. But I do agree that we should not wallow, or try not to wallow in misery every day of thinking about the past.
For me, it’s been a challenge to overcome the flashbacks of the experience I went through. There are so many moments from that time that I find myself reliving from time to time as if I were literally back there again. It’s also been a huge hurdle to overcome my fear and anxiety that I get of ever having to go back to that dark place again.
“Where’s the silver lining in this story?” You might be asking. “How are you moving forward?”
I have to move forward, first of all. We all do. We can’t stay stuck in the past. My counselor told me the other day that God doesn’t want me living this way; feeling this way. Filled with negative emotions like fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, sadness, anger, regret, jealousy and envy. God doesn’t want you living your life bound to these emotions either; imprisoned to them.
So I must seek. I must seek and find the silver lining. I must see the beauty that came from the most painful experience of my life.
I must look back and see, and thank God for my parents and for holding me and crying with me during those dark days. I must be thankful for the closeness and bond that was forged between the three of us because of what happened. I must see my sister, and the love and support, the empowering words she said to me.The love that I saw she had for me. For my brother-in-law and the words of comfort he gave me. I must thank God for my in-laws, who supported me and never made me feel ashamed, but who loved me as their own and who I know prayed fervently for me every day. For all of my extended family – I am so thankful for them.
I must thank God that it CHANGED my marriage. Our marriage wasn’t sunshine and roses before I had PPD, and this experience could have made or broken the relationship between my husband, Josh, and I. He could have abandoned me or lifted up his hands in the air and said, “You’re on your own.” But I saw that man truly shine his brightest. He was an angel, a godsend, sent from above. He held up my arms when they grew weary of carrying my sword and shield. He sometimes took my sword and smote at the enemy himself. He was my hero, and I know I could not have made it through without him. We’ve both thanked God that it changed our course, I truly believe, and made our love grow indescribably closer. We have a bond. We get it. We get each other. We love and cherish one another more than ever. Our hearts have changed BECAUSE of PPD.
I must thank God for the bird he sent my way. I must thank Him that there were crows and buzzards hanging out in the dead tree in my parent’s backyard, taunting me. I must thank Him for sending me a little wren that made a nest outside my window and sang to me every day. For the moment that bird looked in at me through the window and locked eyes with mine and I knew that it was God…his messenger sent to give me hope. I must thank God for this imagery he sent me, that he made me aware that there was a spiritual battle going on, a war between God and Satan.
I must thank God that he saved my life. That he healed me. I must thank Him that He was near me; I felt his presence. I called in His name and clung to him. I grew closer to my Heavenly Father.
I must thank God for my friends. For those who called, texted me, sent me letters, who prayed for me. Their prayers helped send healing my way.
I must thank God for my beautiful daughter, Isabella. For the love that I have for her that is insurmountable. That cannot be measured. That I loved her so much from the moment I saw her, that I fought for her. I fought to stay around. I thank God for the bond we have now, and that she calls me her best friend. I must thank God that PPD did not mess with the bond between a mother and her daughter.
I must thank God for the wisdom he gave me and the words he has given so that I have been able to relate to and help other mamas going through what I experienced.
And I must thank God for the mamas who did not have to go through what I went through. I must thank God that they can enjoy and love on their babies those first precious moments of their life, and not be surrounded by a dark cloud.
I must thank God that he changed me. That he opened my eyes to this life and filled me with zeal and passion. That he softened my heart in many ways.
And I must thank God that I am here. That I am able to share my story with you.
I am a survivor!
Yes, I am moving forward. One step at a time.