It's been 22 months since Baby Girl was born. 22 hard and exhausting and beautiful and life changing months.
Sometimes I wonder if I did it right.
I'm not talking about what I did for her. I'm not talking about her sleep or her eating or her mental development and play. I'm not talking about the magnitude of my love. Because somehow, whatever mistakes and missteps I may have made, she's doing great. She's beautiful and smart and funny and PERFECT and she loves me like nothing else. I know that I am lucky, but I also know that I am doing something right.
But I'm talking about me.
I had a really hard time. Especially in the beginning, but even still now, I've struggled. I cried. I worried. I got lost. I forgot how to be me, and had to start from scratch instead of remembering.
I still sometimes get twitchy when someone else is playing with or holding my toddler. I still sometimes want to scream "Give her to me, she's MINE."
And I know I've come a long way. I know I'm better. I know that I've created something for myself in the world, that I've spread the kindness that was so important to me, that I have purpose in a way I never expected. I started to write and created something here that truly is beautiful and made me proud. I made myself go out into the world, social anxiety be damned, and I'm a better person for it. I made a lot of choices that really healed me, and they were hard.
But sometimes I still wonder if I did it right.
Maybe it didn't have to be so hard.
I never talked to my doctor. I never took medicine or went to therapy. I did make heavy use of online support groups, change my social life, change the way I took care of my body and mind. And all that is important work, but maybe I didn't have to work so hard. At least, maybe I didn't have to do it on my own.
I cringe a little when people call me a PPD mom or survivor, not because I'm ashamed of the title but because I don't feel like I earned it. I don't have a diagnosis. And if I got so much better on my own, maybe it never really was truly depression. Maybe becoming a mom is just hard, and I needed to grieve and adjust and learn how to do this totally new thing.
But maybe not.
I don't want to beat myself up. I don't want to think that any of the trouble I had was because I did anything wrong. I just want to make sure I do everything right next time.
Because next time is coming in December.
Sorry. I may have buried the lead on that one a little.