At one point I was going to post here about postpartum bliss. So much is said about postpartum depression these days (rightfully so, information is so very important), that I think I was a little startled to find myself experiencing the exact polar opposite; inexplicable, deeply abounding, over-whelming joy, even in the face of unpleasantness. Kids yelling, roof falling down around our ears, up to our eyeballs in laundry, me smiling serenely and telling my bewildered husband how much I love our family, make my heart beat funny exultation. It’s there still, in glimpses here and there, precious, perfect, fleeting moments.
And then there is the other side of the coin, more pressing just now, stifling at times. I have the capacity for such great joy, in a family that I love, in a life that I love, housed in a building that I love, settled in a landscape that I love….trapped in a body that often seems determined not to let me enjoy any of it. Everyone has their sad stories, their struggles. I know this. And I also know there are stories far worse then mine. Nightmare-ish existences that cause me to bow my head and give thanks for everything I have, every single day. But I also doubt that every person out there reading this right now has a folder on the desktop of his or her computer titled “if I die”, full of letters to their children. This is a big chunk of my life right now. Testing my genes, testing my heart, testing my brain, testing my mother (!) testing, testing, testing. All in the hopes that the next test or the next expert might be able to tell me whether or not it’s likely that I could drop dead at a moments notice with no warning. So there’s that. How worried should I be? I don’t really know. And no one else seems to either. I rarely talk about it and I often play it down if it’s ever brought up, but secretly I worry. I worry a lot. A little about me I guess, but mostly I worry about them.
I try to put it all aside in my mind when I can. At night when I lay awake trying to plan contingency on contingency for a time when I might not exist, I remind myself to put a hand on Steve’s chest or back or arm, sleeping beside me steady and real and here right now and his warmth and the beating of his heart calms me. When I feel well physically it’s easier to forget. Much easier. I live in the moment and those snippets of indescribable transcendent joy flicker in and out on waves of laughter. When I’m unwell, a shadow falls over everything, lost in a fog of fear, worry and pain. It helps to accomplish things- to move forward in life despite everything. Only often when I do those types of things, I end up paying in pain later on and being smothered in the fog yet again.
Sometimes our life is lush gardens, the softest of ballet slipper pink yarn, heart to hearts in a room full of hand drawn horses, a 5 year old little girl digging up weeds on the side of the road to plant in our yard, home made pie cooling on the counter next to a bouquet of old-fashioned cottage garden flowers. And sometimes it’s laying awake at night staring at the ceiling worrying that no one else will remember the trick to taking away the pain of a bee sting or what to do when someone wakes with a leg cramp in the night. Agonizing over where to leave a letter for my husband, so that he’ll see it when he needs it, but not before and what to even say? What will he need to hear in that moment? Wondering how long it would take a baby who’s never known anything other then nursing to sleep in her mama’s arms to give up and accept that mama’s not coming back. Our life is all of those things.
I haven’t been posting much here lately. We’ve been busy. I’ve been tired. Sometimes it’s just too much effort to write and sometimes I don’t want to waste my good day or good hour in front of a computer. But I also think that part of it is that I’ve been afraid. Afraid that if I started typing all of this might come pouring out and what then? When I realized that, I decided I should just own up to it and move on. I created this blog during a rough patch when I needed to stop and see the good in life. Posting here helps me. It’s like a narrowing of focus, a meditation on all of the many things I have to be grateful for. I don’t know how often I’m going to find the time and space to post in the future, but I want to be sure I have the option to do so unfettered.