Something about getting stuff done, doing good work, building my business, and receiving positive feedback gets me all fired up. If I don’t have work to do, I tend to feel aimless and, from there, depression follows.
I was feeling anxious as my maternity leave approached. I’m terrible about delegating work. I was nervous about pressing pause on new projects. I didn’t want to lose the momentum I’d finally been gaining. I was also pretty sure I’d get bored.
And when Emily was finally born, I couldn’t let go entirely. I continued conducting interviews and writing articles for my main permalance client.
But I refused to take on anything new. And I had subs teaching all of my yoga classes. And much to my surprise, I didn’t miss any of it. None of it seemed important anymore. I began to wish I could afford to be a full-time mom.
But the baby blues began creeping in almost immediately. As much as I loved Em, I began to feel so suffocated—so overwhelmed—that the tiniest things would set me off, leaving me sobbing on and off through the day. I started going to a weekly Mommies’ Moods group, a support group for those with postpartum depression. And though so much in my life felt like too much, loading Em into her car seat while lugging her diaper bag and her carrier and then heading over to the JCC a few towns over came to be something I looked forward to. My life line.
This past Friday, for the first time, I didn’t go to Mommies’ Moods. I wouldn’t have minded seeing everybody. But I felt I no longer needed it. And it seemed silly to take up the group’s time when I knew there were others there who had a lot to unload.
Besides, I could use the time to get work done.
And I think that’s what’s shifted for me.
When maternity leave ended two months in, I didn’t immediately start piling on the work. It was just too much to do on my own. (I was trying to work from home while taking care of Em without paying for additional childcare.) And though I wanted to write my own stuff, I felt I had neither the time nor the brain power.
But once I admitted to myself that I needed help, and actually reached out for it, things began to pick up of their own accord.
I started this blog, which was a huge help, as it really helped me regain my identity as a writer. I began pitching and submitting to publications again, and am actually working on a couple pieces as a result of that. I sought out regular writing gigs and, thanks to the best writing partner in the world, got my regular blogging gig with mom.me. There’s another possible writing gig in the works. And on the yoga end, I finally taught my Inner Peace workshop again. And it went so well, I’m now developing a restorative series.
I’m trying not to take on more than I can handle. But it feels good to have purpose again, beyond motherhood. Not that motherhood itself doesn’t give me purpose. How could it not? But I always liked to say that, as per Walt Whitman, I contain multitudes. Finally, that’s true again.
So I’m happy to be finding the space for everything that I am again.
And I’m looking forward to discovering and exploring all the multitudes that Em herself someday chooses to inhabit.