I think as myself as incredibly lucky when it comes to the women in my life I count as friends. They come from all different walks of life, have different stories, different passions. They are all kind, compassionate, thoughtful and funny people.
Since life often gets in the way of us actually all getting to see each other we use things like Facebook and text messages to check in regularly.
One is a group text that is named “Girls Rule, Boys Drool” and the other is a Facebook chat. Both of these have been in existence for a while and the occupants of these different chats are women from different parts of my life that hold large parts of my heart.
When I first found out I was pregnant, these were the women I first told beyond my family. When Ben was first-born these women received some of the first photos.
But when I found myself suffering in the dark place of Post partum I didn’t tell anyone.
For some reason I quietly took up residence in my own head and never thought to reach out to these women and say what was happening. I would watch the texts go by as they planned summer outings, and politely decline offers to meet for drinks. Ben was always invited, but because my anxiety had gotten so out of control, I couldn’t fathom leaving the house with him for a social event.
I saw funny videos pass me by that I never watched because I couldn’t or didn’t deserve that. I read the incredibly inappropriate but hilarious comments made by some of my friends that would normally make me cry with laughter, but those didn’t process. Didn’t they know that having a baby was serious and anxiety ridden?
Everything was like touching an electric fence. All my emotions, good or bad, I felt ten fold, but I felt more comfortable in the dark places. At least the dark places made more sense. I even remember taking Ben for walks in the lovely summer weather and the sun feeling too bright. Returning to the relative darkness and safety of the apartment felt better. Even now, thinking about that time, I can feel the anxiousness start to creep up behind me.
As the fog began to dissipate though, when I finally started to realize there was something going on beyond my control and sought help, I also realized I had been watching the world go by. I finally understood that I wasn’t just missing my world go by, I was missing getting to see the world through Ben’s eyes.
As I began to share with these wonderful women what was going on, everyone reacted with kindness I could not have anticipated. I don’t think they know how much it means to this day.
So, I sought help and Ben and I continued to go for our lovely summer walks on the prairie path by our house. Enveloped by the trees, dozens of cardinals and the understanding that I was not alone, I was finally able to look up, listen to the summer leaves rustle, feel the rays of sun on my cheeks and appreciate the brightness that I was surrounded by.