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Friday, September 3, 2010

Motherhood is a sweet anxiety

I think all new moms go through some sort of anxiety/PPD. Some recent discussions on my mom forums have gotten me to thinking about my new days as a mother. I didn't realize it at the time, but I think I had a mild case of postpartum depression. One thing I thought for sure was that I was a changed person. It's crazy, the kind of havoc hormones can wreak on a person's psyche, not to mention outlook on life.

But eventually those hormones fade and you realize that you're still the same basic person, only this time, you've got to try to overcome all the crap you hate about yourself that you come to realize is still there, and also find a way to incorporate all those wonderful new feelings into the crappy old you. Post-natal hormones are like drugs that permanently alter your outlook, but the ecstasy goes away, leaving you with all sorts of anxiety about how you are going to mesh your two universes together.

I'm in a personal renewal group and this month's chapter in The Mother's Guide to Self Renewal is on motherhood as a spiritual journey. I'm leading the chapter on Saturday. We alternate leading the group. I chose to lead this chapter because I felt so strongly about the shift in my persona when I had become a new mother. I even had several months to prepare for it. I imagined all the insights I would share with my group, the hills and valleys I thought I had crossed.

Then when I read the chapter and began musing on what I thought I had to say, I realized that there was nothing I could share with this group of women that they had not experienced for themselves. Truthfully, the women I meet with monthly, are all seemingly way more self-aware and spiritual than I am. I'm sure I will learn something from them. Them from me? I kind of doubt it.

Motherhood isn't spiritual. Not really. Unless you are a spiritual person. Which, I am, depending on the day. But lately I haven't felt very spiritual. Kind of bad timing.

Over the past couple of weeks I've been experiencing a downward turn. My brain feels like mush. I can't concentrate. I don't feel hungry, but I eat anyway. I can't sleep at night, but in the morning, my body can barely move. I'm not really enjoying things that I normally do.

I can't say that is anything new for me. In a way, I wish this was something new and it was freaking me out. But it isn't. These feelings are a very familiar to me. It's depression. Pure and simple. It's par for the course for me since I can remember. Motherhood hasn't changed that. It'll go away. It always does.

In my first days as a mother I experienced such highs and lows, it was dramatic, and at the time, it felt different than anything I had ever experienced before. Staring into my newborn's sweet, soft face, marveling at her beauty. Then moments later, being overwhelmed with the task before me: Raise This child and Don't Fuck It Up.

Then after two years of missing lots of sleep, my brain has just started to shut down randomly. I forget things. I mean, completely forget. For all I know, I've already written this exact same post and it's buried somewhere in the archives. Luckily for me, most of my readers are moms, so they've probably forgotten about it too.

It's just tiring. Motherhood, that is. It's wondrous and tiring. It's sweet and anxiety-inducing. It's the best drug you'll ever take. It can be a spiritual journey, if you want it to. I suppose, anything can. It changes you, and it doesn't. It is relentless.

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