Thursday, 28 August 2014
Turns out there is an edge to the map and it is possible to fall off.
I fell off.
Maybe you noticed.
I was recently told when a baby is born, two infants are born. The baby itself and the new mom. Throughout the first two years the baby and mom share a sense of time and discovery. Time seems to stretch on and on and on. Everything is new and hard and frustrating and fascinating.
This moment is all there has ever been and all that will be.
That is what postpartum depression feels like for me. This constant barrage of new and hard and frustrating and fascinating is all I can remember and all I see ahead. There is no relief and nothing is familiar anymore. Not my home, not my body, not myself. It's the lack of familiarity and the inability to find the familiar which causes deep sadness. A grief of sorts.
For me, postpartum depression is like falling off the edge of my own map. Before Pruin I knew every corner of that map. I knew the shortcuts. I knew the ravines and the beautiful places and how to navigate between them. I knew, to a degree (and not to push the metaphor too far), how to find myself. Where to find safe places and where to avoid.
My world changed and it didn't come with a map.
Being a new mom is being an explorer. The wardrobe and landscape aren't glamorous or exotic. Definitely not a page out of National Geographic or Indiana Jones, but it is exploration complete with dirt & grime, rugged outings, indecipherable babble, cultural misunderstanding, and life-changing moments.
Part of the explorer gig is recording and reporting back. In the deepest, darkest moments of my fall I was unable to record and report. Survival was the priority. In my experience fieldwork & exploration always comes with a period of pure survival.
The analogy of new mom as explorer is perhaps a bit romantic, a tad over-reaching.
However, it is exactly how I feel. Permanently relocated to an uncharted territory trying to survive and thrive without a map or direction or promise of relief supplies.
After 15 months out here in the wild I might be closer to drafting a new map. Everyday is still about survival, but I might be starting to thrive a bit as well.