I am a Warrior Mom. What does that mean? It means that I suffered from and survived postpartum depression. In my case, it also means that I am a mom of children who have special needs. That one sentence defined me for years. I was stuck, isolated, pissed off, and afraid. I was a tree for about four years. Our entire family was suffering. Our lives were not being lived, they were being endured. Everything was out of control.
I knew in order for things to change I had to figure out what the actual fuck was going. It took me about a year and a half of soul searching and bi-weekly therapy to figure it out. That was the easy part. Then it was time to acquire the services and supports we needed to make the changes necessary for lasting growth in our family.
Figuring out how to get the help our family needed, took about two and a half years. It took that long because the systems out there to help parents are incredibly difficult to identify and access. To make matters more complicated, I was elbow deep in depression, anxiety, PTSD, and PPD for the first 6 years of motherhood. Fighting for the needs of my children while battling depression and anxiety was the hardest thing I have ever done. Those years are a blur, I remember only bits and pieces, flashes of birthday parties and holidays. For so long we seemed to be living life on a roller coaster, our emotions taking us in each and every direction without any sense of stability or predictability at all. The courage needed to fight through all of my personal shit so I could work to “fix” our family and the work that is required to change is now the ongoing battle. I know it will be a part of my life forever.
The Change I want to see in our life is less serious and anger and more silly and happy. I will do anything to make it happen. I have changed the food we eat, the activities we engage in, the words we use. We have made so much progress.We still have a long way to go. Part of it, I am sure, is that there is not one recipe to follow. There are so many outside factors involved that the ingredients necessary to make lasting progress change with the seasons, the sizes, the sunshine, whatever it may be. I guess that means that we need to continue to change as well. I have been, it’s exhausting y’all. We all need and deserve some understanding and compassion.
The hardest part, for me, is that the changing, growing, and adjusting, occurs at such a rapid rate. I don’t get to enjoy the present very often. I am so focused on the things that I want to change that it feels like I am distracted all of the time. It is relentless. It is so easy to get pulled into the dark tunnel of defeat and self loathing. I need my tribe to stay productive and present.
The Find Your Magic Mama Tribe.
Does this sound familiar? Maybe you’re stuck? Please reach out if you even think you are. This may sound crazy to some of you but the last two people I turned to during this time were my mom and my husband. For me, it was too hard to let it all out in the middle of our daily lives and way too easy to just lash out at them. That made it super easy to avoid doing the real work I needed to do. I was too afraid to openly share with my friends, I mean who wants to hang out with Debby Downer all the time!? Plus-what would they think? I mean really!?!
Instead, I got myself a great therapist. I sought out strangers who were going through similar things. You guys, don’t laugh, but there are some incredible groups on facebook. The Warrior Mom group I joined played a huge role in my recovery. I was no longer alone. I could share all of my thoughts with these ladies, they got it. I went on a writing retreat. I went on a religious retreat. (MUCH more on those experiences later) I started following amazing people writing raw and powerful blogs. Little by little each one of these things began to come together for me and I started to feel a noticeable change.
I found the experiences that I connected to and started seeking them out. It is going to be different for all of us. Instead of therapy and blogs some will begin to heal through church and running or reading and playing darts. What we do while we heal is not the point. The point is, we figure out whatever it is that helps us heal, in a healthy way, and then we go and do that. In the meantime let’s practice being kind to ourselves.