My daughter came down with a virus called “Roseola” (have you heard of it?) and I was insanely busy cuddling a little monkey that wouldn’t leave my side. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t love the all day baby snuggles, but it did hurt me to see her in so much pain.
However, her innocence in all of it reminded me so much of the importance in remaining who we are and I want to share with you why.
You see, I knew she had the virus, her Dad knew she had the virus, her Grandparents knew she had the virus, but she didn’t. She was a little under the weather and not completely up to her usual baby speed, but she was still happy, she was still smiling, she was still her adorable little baby self. I could tell she was a little slower than usual, and I could tell she was a little clingier than usual, but she didn’t know that anything was different. She felt how she felt and got on with her day. She still chased the cat around the house with every effort she could muster and she still squealed with joy with every back and forth on the swing she took.
Because she had no idea that she was experiencing what she was experiencing.
Her baby ways reminded me of something so important I learned along my journey. Her baby ways reminded me of this:
Language is so much more than words. It can change the way we perceive ourselves, it can change the quality of our thinking, it can change the nature of our subsequent emotions, it can even change the courses or paths we choose in our lives. Specifically, the language we use toward ourselves on an every day and moment to moment basis.
When I first realized I had “post partum anxiety,” some “post partum depression,” and some “post partum ocd,” I almost wore it like a badge. I told my husband-to-be that I had these things as if they were a part of me, a part of who I was. I innocently owned these labels as if they were why I was the way I was and I innocently owned these labels like they were the reason I was somehow “flawed,” and “crazy,” and they were the reason that there was “something wrong with me.”
The more I said it, and the more people I told, (in case I had to leave my baby with them for fear of going “crazy”) the more I believed it. The more I believed that I was flawed. The more I believed that I was crazy. The more I believed that there was something wrong with me.
What I did see so long ago, at the time, was that there was everything right with me. I had everything going for Me and I had everything I needed to feel better all along. It was that which was making me feel bad, was actually what helped me see that I was good. It was my anxiety showing me that I was innocently veering off course, away from my heart and who I was and into my thinking and stories of who I wasn’t.
I had all the wisdom I ever needed. I had all of the love I ever needed. I had all of the peace of mind I ever needed. But— I so innocently believed otherwise. I kept experiencing horrible thoughts (that were my mind’s innocent way of watching out for me and my baby), and I believed those thoughts, that patterned thinking over my wisdom, over who I truly was.
Think of it like this. I was clear and had peace of mind, just like the clear blue sky on a gorgeous summer day. And then the clouds rolled in. They brought thunder and lightening and hail too. I got caught in the storm and lost sight of the clear blue sky. The clear blue sky that I was. I started believing the sun was somehow gone, that it would never shine again. That this new weather pattern was who I was now, (back then), and that I was deep in the storm and incapable of getting out. I believed that because I had “post partum anxiety,” that that was now who I was.
But I was wrong. I was so wrong. Having “post partum anxiety,” “depression,” and “ocd,” were an excellent description for the kind of weather that rolled in on a perfectly sunny day, but they certainly did not mean that the sun had somehow disappeared, or that it would never shine again.Not. At. All. These labels were great for understanding the nature of the content of thinking that I was experiencing, but they were not a description of who I was a person, who I was or wasn’t.They simply meant that from time to time I’d experience the rain, but like all natural weather patterns, I’d experience sun again too. I, my wisdom, my clarity, my peace was still very very much there even though I was able to describe to “my people” the kind of thinking I was feeling.
And what we need to collectively remember is that…
It never permanently rains. Thunderstorms never last forever. Hail rarely exceeds a day.And This is exactly how being human works. This is exactly how our thinking works. This is exactly how I saw my way out of my post partum experiences.
I saw that I was still who I was and I was there all along. I saw that I had a description and not an inherent flaw. I saw that experiencing human weather was much the same as experiencing the seasons changing.
I embraced each experience, each season for what it was. I stopped fearing the rain and I bought an umbrella. I started believing in Me again, in who I knew I was. I stopped believing that there was something wrong with me, and I started seeing that there was everything right with me.
And that this too, like the seasons and the sun and the wind and the rain, shall pass.