As a mom these precious moments that I have been forcing myself (ok my husband is waking me up early because Lord knows I will hit the snooze button until my lovies force me out of bed) to have some much needed alone time are so valued.
A lot of things contributed to my acute onset of postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD. Some carried more weight than others, but one of them was not allowing myself some mommy time. Or, for me, some Mommy and God time. Early rising seems to be the only way I can find some of it. If I try to find it through out the day, when my little one is napping, my eldest is constantly at my side. As much as I love him, that can get annoying. There, I said it. I am at times extremely annoyed by my children. Normal? Yes.
When I feel like that I look to God to remind me that I should be clinging to Him the way my preschooler is clinging to me. Seeking that constant source of strength, reassurance, peace, and His presence brings me closer to Him, more tuned into the Holy Spirit's guidance, and in turn, more patience to dote on my son who loves me enormously. One day I will be clinging to his grown up leg and begging him not to leave. (How ridiculous would that look?) I am trying to savor every moment with my little ones as these days race by without my control.
I am more than thrilled that I can type those words and mean it. When my postpartum OCD hit, I was scared to be with them and felt unfit as a mother. But now, 8 months later I am in a new place. I won't pretend that I don't have OCD moments or even days that bring me down, but praise be to God that my good days outweigh my bad ones.
My therapist told me that a lot of people with OCD use the AA adage, "One Day At a Time" and taught me about mindfulness. I can recall in the thick of my battle that I sometimes had to take it one minute, or even second at a time as the pain was so intense and so thick to wade through. I felt as if I had fallen into quicksand and instead of being still I fought against it, and was sucked deeper into the abyss that is postpartum hell.
Don't get me wrong, I am glad for the strength God gave me in the darkest moments. He made me a warrior. Now I can see where being still is healing. I am learning the art of mindfulness and taking each moment for what it is and not worrying about the next one. Some days are better than others, but I am going to get there.
Deliverance from any postpartum mood disorder requires utilizing the "art of mindfulness" and just being in that moment. Allowing yourself to feel whatever it is, realizing it will pass, and it will not be forever. I spoke with a good friend of mine on the phone the other day. She asked me how I was doing and I told her about my approach to mindfulness. At that moment I was cleaning the cabinets and trying to focus on every detail of that action. She thought that must be terribly exhausting. She's right, it can be, especially when the focus is on the pain of the moment, but it gets you to the next moment when it's not so bad.
Go outside today and breathe the crisp fall air, notice every detail around you, the color of the leaves or the way the wind may be blowing. Look about and absorb what your senses collect. This can be therapeutic in itself. Practicing mindfulness is such a great tool for anyone, let alone those of us who suffer from postpartum related mood disorders.
It doesn't appear that my little one is going to settle himself back down. I guess I can't complain since he sleeps through the night.... :)
"For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness."