I am blessed to have two children with such different personalities. I am blessed to have a son who is hugely energetic, whose imagination is rivaled by no other, and who is truly empathetic. I’m blessed to have a daughter who is wildly spirited, fiercely independent, and loves like there is no tomorrow.
It’s completely fair to say that I love my children differently. Let me make it perfectly clear – it is NOT that I love one more or less than the other – but I love them differently. They are different people, with different needs, who have each brought happiness and joy into my life in different ways.
The other day we were all in the car, with my husband driving, heading home from a birthday party. I looked back and smiled at Morgan. She returned the smile with her impish little smirk and held out her hand.
As awkward as it was physically, I reached my arm around and held her hand in mine. We both sat there looking at our intertwined hands. I would have given my left arm to know what she was thinking at that moment.
Morgan was my post partum depression baby. Calling her a PPD baby might seem strange, as I know some women’s PPD manifests in a way that makes them feel disconnected from their kids . I thank God everyday that my PPD experience was different.
In fact, it was just the opposite. I needed my kids more than ever. I needed Morgan. I loved her so much I was afraid of failing her. I held on tightly, cared for her, nurtured her. I cuddled her and tried to not let her realize that I was an imperfect mom – that I had flaws and shortcomings that would inevitably affect her in some way or form. I tried not to let her see that splitting time between two kids meant that she’d never have my full attention all the time.
I went through a lot in the first year after her birth. I was overly aware and obsessed with my inability to be a perfect mom. I realized that I was unable to control the life that was happening around me. I lived with the guilt that I could never be the mom to two kids that I was to one.
I received counseling (from both a psychotherapist and a psychologist, mind you) weekly. I had meds. I was on a painful journey of self-realization that required me to come to terms with the fact that I would never be a perfect mother. But all the therapy and meds would only take me so far.
What I needed to get me through it was my Morgan. My sweet and innocent little baby who I desperately tried to shield from the anxiety and fear that lived within me. It didn’t matter to her. She loved me, unconditionally. She needed me more than ever. She didn’t care if I made a mistake, or didn’t shower, or wanted to stay isolated from the world. She just wanted her mama to be there for her. And thankfully, I was. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my PPD manifested as it did and allowed me to still be the mother my kids needed during that year. I can’t say I was successful in all roles of my life that year, but I wasn’t about to fail my kids.
I’ve completed my journey wtih PPD. It’s been over a year without meds, no counseling, no issues. Gone are the days of living in anxiety that I was going to fail my kids. I’ve learned to survive, to make it through the day, but more importantly, to be happy and content with the mother I am, not the mother I think I should be.
As we held hands in the car, I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. I could see her wheels churning. I focused my energy in trying to communicate, through the embrace of our hands, what I was thinking at that moment.
“Thank you for blessing me. Thank you for accepting me for the mother I am, even though it’s not always the mother I want to be. Thank you for helping me through my darkest days with your unconditional love. Thank you for needing me. Thank you for being you. My special, endearing, little girl. To you, I will always be thankful.”
I may never become the mother I want to be. But in their eyes, I know I’m the mom they want me to be.