For the last 15 months, the depression and anxiety I’ve suffered in various forms for almost all of my life has been the most severe. My mental health has been debilitating and harsh and all consuming.
For the last 15 months, I’ve been a mama for the first time to a beautiful little boy named Jeffrey.
Over the past 15 month motherhood journey, I’ve also begun my journey to healing and taking care of myself.
I can’t count the times I’ve uttered to myself or my son’s father these words, “Having a mental illnesses and being a mama is the hardest thing I have ever gone through.” Especially to a high needs, re-flux-y little boy who won’t sleep on his own. Thankfully, the older he’s gotten, the more independent he’s become and he plays well by himself.
As I draft this, I sit watching my son play on the floor. He’s running around, a plastic ring on his arm like a bracelet, a playing cars stuck to his foot. He’s in a cloth diaper and a t-shirt because it’s hot and humid. He’s enraptured with the patio beyond the door. He’s been walking for almost 5 months now and he’s a pro. His giggles are contagious and I can’t help but catch him mid run every 10 minutes to nom on his belly and induce those full body laughs that I love so much
My biggest worry these last 15 months is making sure my son is okay. That he grows up happy and healthy. But more than that, my hope is that he grows up with a mother who is present mentally more often than not. I’ve worried myself sick hoping the anxiety I suffered while pregnant and the panic attacks his little eyes gazed at for most of his first year and beyond haven’t had a negative lasting impact.
These last 15 months have been some of the hardest of my life, my own body and mind are completely against me, warring on a near constant basis
These last 15 months have been some of the most happy and enjoyable I’e ever experienced as well. There is nothing more amazing than watching the person you carried for 9 months, who is made of a part of you and who you birthed in this world grow, learn, develop opinions and become a person.
I am on my path toward recovery and improved mental health but for now, I know I am not always 100% present. But when I am sitting with my son, playing or reading or talking or exploring and I AM 100% mentally present and there for him…I am so much more acutely aware of everything and how awesome it is to raise a child and be a mother.
I take note of every part of him and all his new habits and opinions and every time he learns something new I am in awe and I clap and cheer and hug him to pieces. I know I would never be as excited or as keenly aware of everything if I didn’t suffer mental health problems and for that reason alone I am grateful.
Share: What is the hardest thing you have had to deal with while also suffering with mental illness(es)? How can you find the positive in that situation?
Note: The image of Jeffrey and I in this post is by the lovely Emily Plunkett taken on my wedding day.