Are you her?

Have you become her?

A lifetime of trying

All directions opposite

Has it happened?

The frustration

You feel it.

The anger

You recognize it.

The passive aggressiveness

You’ve been named it.

It’s her

It’s you

The bad guy.

You don’t want it, but

You’ve become it.  

Achingly so.

You don’t want it.

You don’t want it.

You don’t want it.

You want peace.

You need peace.

You crave peace.

Is that a lie?

Are you a lie?

Who are you?

To lay blame

How easy it would be

Trying circumstances

Stressful realities

Lies to cover

A means to survive

Continued existence

To see the next day

For which,

You are her.

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I promise.

Dear me,⁣

I’m sitting here on our phone looking back at pictures you took. It’s January, 2016. You have just recently become a mom for the first time, and are six weeks postpartum.⁣

The majority of the pictures are of the babe your body created. You aren’t in many, and in those that you are, there is a purposeful effort on your behalf for the photo’s focus to be on anything else but you.⁣

But, I look to you anyways. Your face. Your hair. Your eyes. The layers that tell a story. Faint smiles, tangled curls in sloppy buns, dark circles and sleepy squints, a breast milk stained cardigan on it’s sixth day of wear. The story of a woman trying. Trying and tired, trying and unsure, trying and afraid.⁣

Ah, all that what would come in those months ahead. The countless hours of colic, the incredibly little, little sleep, the exasperation at the useless futility of everything you tried, the heart pounding anxiety at anything “gone wrong” that would envelope you in a bundle of trauma. The culmination of it all breaking you. Chasms laid wide, intrusive thoughts hungrily consuming the darkness now bare. An unspoken guilt that consumed you, perpetuating and furthering the cycle. Rinse, repeat, remorse and regret.⁣

It will be okay, I whisper to you. Gently placing my finger on your shoulder on the screen, as if it could be a hug that transcends time and instils in you the hope you didn’t have. You WILL overcome. The colic goes away, eventually. He sleeps, eventually. You get help from doctors, finally. It starts to work. The pieces come together. You find what he needs. You find what you need. Together, you thrive.⁣

You’re even crazy enough in five years to do it all over again, mental health reckonings and all. But, we figure it out that time sooner. ⁣She actually sleeps. She’s happier. She’s easier.⁣

Right now, though.⁣

It feels like you can’t breath.⁣

I know. I hear you.⁣

But, you will.⁣

We will.⁣

I promise.

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Goodbye to you.

I’m feeling this profoundly hard today, and I am making this public so I don’t have to answer (as many) questions later:

My broken, bruised and harmful relationship with my mother has reached beyond its inevitable breaking point, and I am finally having the courage to cut ties and walk away.

And, in time, hopefully heal…

“You don’t have to be a product of the inept, cruel parenting that was shown to you, and this starts with the brave decision that the cycle stops at you. People who do this, who refuse to continue a toxic legacy, are courageous, heroic and they change the world. We’re here to build amazing humans, not to tear them down. How many lives could have been different if your parent was the one who decided that enough was enough.”

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And now, postpartum OCD.

Postpartum OCD entered my parenting journey at six months in.

It took me doing a lot of thorough and careful research after a counsellor, someone not at liberty to diagnose, made an offhand comment while recommending I see a psychiatrist during my postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression battles.

Despite it having been years since, I have never spoken publicly about this.

I can count on less than one hand the people I have privately told that I have about my postpartum OCD, internal thoughts and actions.

Many of my closest family members do not know.

If I had previously shared my struggles with you about my supposed postpartum anxiety or depression, I purposely did not correct myself.

And typing this right now?

It’s terrifying.

There will forever be a piece of me that believes speaking this truth to power will result in my child being taken away from me.

Even in this very post of me admitting to it, it will glaze over the details of *how* and in what ways I suffer from postpartum OCD. The fear of repercussions — it is strong and deeply, deeply real.

One truth I am not afraid to glaze over is this: there are few things in the world that make you feel more like a terrible person and a terrible mother than postpartum OCD. (Yes, I am far past postpartum now, but I still have the same symptoms — though not as often, so I struggle with what else to call it). The guilt that comes with this disorder is a heavy, heavy load to bear. It hurts in ways I didn’t know one could feel pain, and it can be a gut punch from nowhere that can derail a whole day.

But, I have learned to reframe it. I have learned to positively see the whys. I have learned to function.

Others haven’t. Postpartum OCD is not something widely understood, or rarely talked about. Predominantly from the very people who need help the most, those who are suffering in silence and with my same fears.

If I am ever to truly heal, my truth must be heard.

And if you’ve ever been here, or are here, you are not alone. I hear you. I am you. This will not defeat us.

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The words.

I’m unexpectedly revisiting an old journal of thoughts that I opened as I couldn’t remember it’s purpose.

These are the words of postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression.

Attempting to get philosophical about how much I’ve grown or healed since these days is a bit too wax-poetic for the raw pain of what this experience was and sometimes continues to be for me.

But, I can now say, and truly believe, that my kid loves me. 💚⁣ ⁣

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