...so I sat across from a psychiatrist who told me that medication was the only way and if I didn't take the prescription the depression would become even worse postpartum.
That was 20 minutes after our first meeting.
I refused and he looked at me in disbelief. I knew there had to be a better, more sustainable way.
(How many others, in the depths of their depression, desperately take that little piece of paper and walk out, clutching onto it as though there are no other options?* I wondered to myself.)
Everywhere I turned to for help, I felt more alone than I did before. I kept searching for a support system but came up short, from radio silence from friends, to crumbling relationships, to pill-pushing medical professionals.
Where's the lesson in this? I asked.
What would happen if, instead of looking everywhere outside of me for the answers, I looked to my own resiliency? What would happen if I believed in my own strength? The power of my mind? What would happen if I let go of the desire to control my circumstances and trusted that everything was happening, exactly as it should?
I became a student of myself and leaned deeper than I ever have before into my intuition, into surrender, into trust.
I was in the throes of transition like I've never experienced before and it felt wobbly, far from perfect, and wildly uncomfortable. At the same time... it felt expansive and empowering. I had experienced what one might call "The Dark Night of the Soul" before, but this was different. This felt like an upheaval of everything I thought I knew, my life was shaking around me and I was trying to figure out which pieces would stay, and which would go. I was rebuilding my belief system piece by piece and learning discovering the depth of trust in myself and in my greater purpose.
If you find yourself dismantling the old to make way for the new... keep going.If there's a voice inside you that's telling you there must be a better way... listen to it.If you know deep down that something has to change, even though it feels uncomfortable, even though there's a million excuses in which you could drawn upon... lean into that change.
We're wired for instant gratification but the quick fix isn't doing anything for what your soul is truly craving. When you trust in the slow and steady process, not only can you listen to the guidance that will drop down, but you'll integrate the lessons into every fibre of your being. That's the way it needs to be in order for transformation to be sustainable.
It took me months of climbing up and down metaphorical mountains to reach a space where I felt at home in my body again, and that's because I know now that everything needed to crumble so I could build from the foundation up.
And I'll continue to let my life lead the way.
This is for you: the one looking for a change after feeling stuck and unsure for far too long. Searching for the clarity and confidence so you can finally wake up feeling alive again. You know now that there's no more room for resistance and playing small, and actually, it's getting quite boring. You're ready to step into the version of yourself that you've been too scared to in the past. You're ready to become the leader of your life.
You just have to make the leap.
If you feel called to, I'd love for you to comment or reach out and let me know how this landed for you.
*Medication is not the enemy and does work for some people who suffer from depression or other mental health issues. I fully support anyone who has made an educated decision for themselves that works and feels right to them. My issue is that often it has become a first resort to bandage up the underlying concerns without exploring a individualized approach unique to the person suffering.
GIVE ME MY FREE EBOOK
As I sit here, it's as though I'm hoping these words would write themselves, praying that they'll somehow tumble out of my spirit.
There's two intentions behind my words. Before fully closing the chapter on one significant piece of my life also means to fully embrace it, dive into it, and remember it in a way to remind myself that I am whole. I am loved. That there's beauty in my own suffering.
Although it may seem like a release of emotion and pain, the main goal is community. Connection. Communion. That perhaps by reading this, you'll know that you're also held, heard, and seen. That your suffering matters. That you do not need to feel alienated by stories of (beautiful) positive experiences during pregnancy and birth. There's power when women come together collectively to share our stories, seeing each other's darkness and light. And there's room for all stories.
When I became pregnant with my first, I knew right away that I would be. I felt it intuitively and wrote about the miracle growing in my belly a couple of weeks before the pregnancy test confirmed it.
With my second, I knew it too - and when I saw that line appear to confirm what I knew to be true, a feeling of peace washed over me. Within moments, I could feel the love in me grow exponentially. I dreamt of a chubby baby boy with dark hair and blue eyes.
By 5 weeks, the nausea was in full force and the level of exhaustion I felt was something I hadn't experienced before. The first trimester is known to be particularly brutal but the weight of everything felt exponential during the 4 weeks that followed... losing a steady income, pulling my daughter out of daycare, family conflicts, tension, drama, stress. Out of nowhere, my world felt like it was crumbling around me.
It took awhile before I faced the truth of how I was feeling.
It wasn't just hormones, it wasn't just the pregnancy. It wasn't something I could "shake off".
Years had passed since I felt that way, it was something I thought I had closed the door on and when it came flooding back, it was all too familiar and it scared the crap out of me.
The fear, the sadness, the complete sense of disconnectedness, the hopelessness, the dark thoughts, the guilt. It burned through my spirit in a way that made me feel defeated and desperate.
I knew I didn't want to suffer in silence and it wasn't long until I was sitting across from a psychiatrist who swiftly diagnosed me with antenatal depression.
Depression during pregnancy? Wasn't I supposed to feel madly in love? Completely blissed out and positively glowing? There were days when I had to scrape through the barrel of my energy reserves just to care for my energetic toddler, only to crash, unable to move while she napped or slept.
Every day felt like an internal battle of trying to look on the bright side, grasping on so tightly to what I had to be grateful for (which was a lot), but feeling completely and utterly empty. I felt like a failure.
My soul begged me to keep going and I desperately searched for the light. Deep down, I knew I had the strength to rise above this, I had done it before.
Give me the strength, give me the strength, give me the strength.
The soul in my womb teaching me lessons already.
I reached out. I asked for help. And more often than not, I was left feeling more alone than ever before. I knew I didn't want to suffer in silence. I didn't want to feel shame for experiencing what I was going through... I was caught by surprise when I’d come up empty-handed.
And the lessons continued.
There's more to share but I want to leave it there, for now.
It's easy to look from the outside in, but you'll rarely get the whole story.
It's okay to not feel okay.
It's okay to crumble.
It's okay to reach out for help.
And it's even okay when the support you hoped for doesn't show up.
Because you are stronger and more resilient than you know.
And even in moments when you feel alone, you're never alone. (You are so not alone.)