Saturday, April 22, 2017

Motherhood is h.e.a.l.i.n.g.

It's been 536 days since the birth of my first child, our son Bradley.  A ‘phoenix rising” moment, I would later learn (one of many).   

It's been 419 days since my Dad’s life ended by suicide.  Only 117 days into Bradley’s life.  Just 38 days after I started anti-depressant medication and cognitive behavioral therapy for postpartum depression and anxiety.

38 days.  On day 1 of 38, I started to measure:

The Prozac would take 4-6 weeks to kick in, and then I would notice myself getting out of bed with less of a struggle.  At 5 weeks with regular therapy and medication, I would go back to work after my maternity leave.  My bosses assured they’d take it easy on me, time to adjust back into this alternate universe.  “Perfect,” I thought, “they’ll go easy on week 6 of my medication, and then by week 7 or 8, I will feel better about everything.”  

Everything included my self-worth, my ability to mother, to be a partner to my husband, to be anything but the still barnacle stuck to the wall of a damp dark cave.  I couldn’t go on like this.  

But after just one week of returning back to the office, day 38, my Dad disappeared from my childhood home.  My Mom had called us kids, and the rest of my family.  We started a search, knowing his intent to self-harm.  We called state and local police and fire departments.  We stalked EZ-Pass records online, with their hours delay, and we’d follow his path.  We followed the investigative musings of two psychics.  We followed his past, gravesite of a best friend, vacation spots from yore.  We followed his present, marinas along the coasts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.
On Day 39, my Mom and Uncle spotted his truck at a motel near the coastal shore of New Jersey, surrounded by police vehicles.  Back up two days earlier, day 37, I had just started  toying with the possibility of maybe being able to crawl out of the damp dark cave and face my future life.  But one day later, my Dad had erased his.  
Motherhood, daughterhood, wifehood… it all became extremely difficult again.  Life, as I would learn, is H.E.A.L.I.N.G.

Happiness  Exhaustion  Anger  Love  Inspiration  Noise  Grief ...and everything in between.


June 2015

In the first week of returning home from the hospital after my second birth, in the midst of little sleep,  and discovering my newfound capabilities of caring for two children;  I was numb. My emotions felt as though they were held hostage: locked away somewhere inside my head. It would take months for me to feel again. The only pain I felt was the physical reminders of a body full of stitches. I could not articulate how I felt about the trauma that just took place and it was unnerving. Songs were the only way I could feel. I clung to those melodies and lyrics as a proverbial life preserver. I would sit on my couch during feedings and listen to music. I played the same three or four songs on repeat, listening to those words that resonated with me. One song in particular that I listened to was "Jerome" by Zella Day. The ending chorus spoke to me: 

"Hold me, I'm not breathing
Hold me, I'm not breathing
Hold me, I'm not breathing
Hold me, I'm not breathing
Hold me, I'm not breathing
  Hold me, I'm not breathing"