I don’t think that it’s a secret that the Holiday Season is my favorite time of year.
This year is extra special because my son will be 3 months old. (That’s right internet, I had my baby.)
It’s even more happy for me, because I am coming out of the fog of depression. Or, more accurately, I am learning to cope with my normal depression and anxiety that was magnified by the birth of my son. Postpartum depression is a beast that really knocked me off of my feet. If I felt that college and grad school was tough, it had nothing on fully manifested depression. With counseling and the help of medication, I am slowly getting to a normal where I can function during the day.
A lot of my depression came from the hard realities of my childhood. I am not shy about my Huntington’s Disease experience. To finally acknowledge the fact that my mother was unable to be the parent I needed her to be (at best)and abusive (at worst) has been incredibly painful. To be honest, I thought I was over it. All it took was to see my son’s face for the first time and that familiar panic set in. Crap, he looks like me and I can see her there too. For the first few days of his life, I was on the edge of panic. Was I going to be just like her? Can I be a good mom at all? Is my son going to disappoint me like I disappointed her? Panic and anxiety were always close for the first 4 weeks of his life. My poor husband had to deal with my issues, and not fully understanding what was really going on in my head because I couldn’t explain them. I was turning into the madwoman in the attic (without the patriarchal oppression though), seriously it wasn’t pretty. Everything I expected for my motherhood has been completely turned around. I thought I would use cloth diapers, nope… it’s a miracle if I can even keep up with laundry at all. I expected to be breastfeeding… again… (and I still feel shame for this)… no. My son is fed and healthy, can’t that be enough? Even though he isn’t getting the rosy ideal that I was hoping for, I love him more than anything, and I am here.
It’s taken me 3 months to finally be okay enough to say: I am not okay. I’ve grown, don’t get me wrong, and Zoloft is a miracle, but I am still struggling. I’ve spent 30 years listening to a twisted narrative of who I am, and it’s going to take some painful digging and rewording to feel and appreciate my story. I am not ashamed to say that I am not okay. I not okay, yet I am here.
This holiday season, I am learning so much about my new identity as a mother, as a wife, as a writer, as a business person, and as a friend. I can’t wait to get started on some things and spread my wings in ways I’ve only imagined. I can’t wait to share it all with you. Growth is often difficult. We will see what happens. I am embracing the pain and difficulty. It’s actually a great time of year for reflection. This Christmas, I am learning to how to love myself more and let the negative voice in my head (which sounds suspiciously like my mom) have it’s say, but know that it isn’t coming from a place of acceptance. I am feeling that next year is going to bring a lot of personal and professional growth in my life. Which, is amazing even if it’s a little difficult.
I hope that your holiday season is wonderful. I hope that if you’re struggling with anything, family, money, that horrible feeling of inadequacy, that you’re able to embrace yourself right here. I hope that next year is fabulous for you.
In the mean time, I am here.