Two years ago I was in the exact same place I am now, sort of...I mean literally I was sitting on the couch thinking about "life" that was yet to be discovered. But that's pretty much the only thing that hasn't changed about me in the last 730 days. Having a child has been the realest unreal experience I've I've ever know -- a vivid yet blurry masterpiece of a never-ending adventure. Herein lies the long and the short of my 730 days with Sheppiedoodle.
I could go on ad nauseam about my birth story...been there done that. We all know giving birth hurts like hell (even with an epidural) and just when you think the memory of physical pain will never go away, it passes and you are left with a teany tiny masterpiece to call your own. I marveled at my masterpiece for days.
Then, it hit me, "OM freaking G, I don't really know what I am doing with this little person who was so quiet at first and now in just a few days has found his voice, and I'm more effing tired than I can comprehend because I can't actually comprehend much of anything." That's when the depression set in.
We rallied as a family, my husband took charge, woke up every night with the baby for months while I slept in the hopes it would help me regain clarity; we hired a baby nurse and then a babysitter; I went to therapy; I took medication. We got through it. It took what felt like forever but was really way less than 730 days.
Those beginning days were filled with immense love and letdown. There was a huge life force pushing and pulling at me all day, every day. This was my new real life and the fear I felt for it was paralyzing.
"What if the baby doesn't stop crying? What if he wake up again tonight? What if I don't get more than 2 hour of sleep? What if I am not making enough milk? What will we do all day by ourselves at home? How will I shower today? What will I do if I don't like being a stay at home mom?"
Name a worry, I had it and It was hitting me in the heart and I hid it from almost everyone. Depression is gutteral. It gnaws at you and pulls you apart no matter how hard you try to keep it together, sometimes you just can't.
We began to adventure as a family and I on my own with Shep. We started small...trips to the mall, ice coffee and a stroll in the parks. Play spaces galore, then summer came around and there was lots of pool time. Trips to NYC, and Philly for a long weekend. We went anywhere we could go and I made sure not to worry about what was going to come next.
You know how I said depression grabs you and takes a hold of you? The other thing about it is, if you keep fighting, one day all the little pieces that make life so monumental, line up and you light up. There's that one fractured piece that was missing the day before and it seems to fit today!
Yesterday is gone and today feels different -- you actually feel the rays of sun shining on you and, for one minute you know (simply put) it's all going to be OK. You can breathe, you can smile. There is relief in the belief that motherhood is your calling and your adventure has just begun. And that, my friends is what life is about.
Today is Shep's 2nd birthday. We have been 'celebrating' all week, eating muffins (pretending they are cupcakes) and playing outside as much as possible. Sometimes I feel a twinge of sadness knowing I missed out on some of the moments during the first year. That year where I wasn't totally 'present' alongside him mentally and physically but maybe that's why I am so "here" now?
For Shep and I, our eyes are open all the time. We spend our minutes making mundane moments into wondrous ones. We jam pack our days, not so I don't think about the past, but so I make the present as perfect as I can, because I know how valuable feeling love for someone is.
I try not to look back at that time when I was half of me because as corny as it may sound, I am fuller than full now and there is so much more life to be had. I mean it has only been 730 days with Sheppiedoodle and in the span of this vast life that is nothing and yet it is everything. Today is a great (birth)day to be us.