This post showed up in my Facebook news feed today and the pang of grief I instantly felt let’s me know that I’m still healing from this loss. For those of you who don’t know the background story, you can get caught up by reading my Pursuing Passion post.
I love my daughter and I love being her mom. She was supposed to come into my life when she did. I’m completely sure of that. However, such truths do not exempt me from the feelings of loss one might feel from having to so quickly let go of a dream and forge on with a new and unexpected one. That Facebook post also reminds me of my grandmother’s passing during all of this.
There’s a level of freedom the Tulane path provided me that I will never get back. Of course, I can always go to graduate school whenever I choose to – having a baby doesn’t change that. However, I can’t go free of any obligations to anyone other than myself. Some may see this as a selfish statement, but I think it’s important to feel that freedom at least once in your life and nurture yourself wholeheartedly without having to cater to the needs of others. It’s a part of self care and self love. It’s a part of learning who you are.
I had felt as though I hadn’t allowed myself such freedom in my life and that Tulane was probably my last chance considering I was nearing the 30 mark. This was my chance at pursuing my passions unbridled. I had always held myself back before. I knew it and wanted to change that. Tulane was more than just pursuing academic endeavors. It was a chance to have an affair with myself. Thoughts of internships abroad, traveling the world, going to conferences all over the country, considering jobs in any city I wish. All of which I was ecstatic about and felt I’d never given myself the chance to do.
Then my beloved grandmother passed and new life arose in the form of two pink lines. My life had changed forever and with that my chance at that level of freedom and that unbridled affair with myself died. I transformed into a mother and from now until forever I will always be a mother first. Yes, I can pursue my passions still even though I’m a mother but not in that uninhibited way. That is what I grieve.
To say I had a rough pregnancy is an understatement. I battled with depression and anxiety. My therapist labeled it “adjustment disorder” saying that my heart and my head hadn’t caught up to each other and that I was in a state of shock. Eventually I accepted my new role as mother, but the depression didn’t subside regardless of how in love and happy I was about my daughter. Adjustment disorder was then labeled as post-partum depression. I still think they had it right the first time but I didn’t fight the diagnosis. About 3 months post-partum I started to suffer from post-partum rage. People don’t talk much about this, but it is actually very common and very intense. My rage was directed towards Amelia’s dad and myself. It was then that I decided to seek pharmaceutical treatment for my depression. That has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. The intense edge I was battling with calmed down which allowed me to process all of this change in a healthy way and at a reasonable pace. I feel so much better. I’m still not okay, but every day I wake up feeling better than the day before and more adjusted.
Clearly, I’m still in the grieving process otherwise something as simple as a Facebook post wouldn’t upset me like it did today. However, a year ago that post would have brought uncontrollable tears and anger whereas now I just feel a pang in my heart. A heart that is filled with love for my daughter, love for being her mom, love for her dad, and compassion for myself. A heart that doesn’t condemn me for my feelings but allows me to feel them completely without judgement. I’d say that’s quite a bit of progress.
I’m ready to let go of my grief and move on. There’s a better dream for me and my daughter has shown me that. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. In the meantime, compassion and acceptance of where I am at in my healing process is essential as well as enjoying the moment and loving where I am at in my life right now even though it’s not where I expected to be.