When thinking of this post I had to first actually look up the meaning of the calm before the storm. I knew what it meant but I always like reinforcement. This is what Google says it means: “a period of unusual tranquility or stability that seems likely to presage difficult times.” I am so glad I looked it up because when thinking of the storm of postpartum depression the two words that are perfectly associated to a calm before that type of storm are tranquility and stability.
So often we hear about the calm before the storm but oftentimes we do not hear about the calm after the storm. Imagine how shocked I was when I went to look for the featured image for this blog and I found a slew of images and quotes of the calm after the storm. I absolutely love the quote on the image I chose but we will get to that later.
How many times do you honestly think of the calm before a storm? I personally do not think about it a lot or maybe even enough. Sure, there are times when we know something huge is coming and one may step back and take in their surroundings because, well, we may not know if they will be there after the storm. But for me I am usually so swamped everyday all day that I honestly do not pay attention. If the storm is coming and I actually know of it (all hail Facebook posts and Stormy Stace for keeping me in the loop!) I do what everyone else does: I freak out and run to the store. My first priority is always hitting up the liquor store. Hell no, I cannot go through the storm without wine. Next I hit up the grocery store and my first goal there is coffee because let’s face it, if I have to listen to whining kids without video games or TV I need to be awake and on my A game. And then, yes only then, do I get to what’s left of the bread and milk. I am sorry if you think my priorities are out-of-whack but think of it this way: when you are on a plane and the attendants give you the safety drill they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then your child. Why? Because if you can’t save yourself then you can’t save your child! Wine and coffee saves me so… The next priority for me is, you got it, I charge up all the ipads, iphones, ipods, and basically anything that will save our souls and sanity during the storm. And then what is next? We wait. And wait. And wait some more. And then sometimes the weathermen were spot on and it was a disaster of epic proportions. And other times that baby re-routes and we don’t get one iota of a storm. In fact, there are times where those days turn out to be the most beautiful ones ever… Strange, no?
But let’s talk about the calm that does occur after the storm. It is unreal, is it not? Everything is or is not in shambles. Everything is wet. The air is different. It is totally calm. It is eerily calm, actually. There may even be a rainbow. And then the sun comes out. Though it was VERY rough during the storm, though it was VERY scary, though we did not know if we would live or die, after the storm was over there was beauty, there was light.
That is how I personally feel right now after the storm of postpartum depression. For me, with this recent bout of postpartum depression I only vaguely remember a few days of calm before the storm. Once it hit it hit HARD. And that storm lasted for months which though it seemed like a million years is nothing in comparison to how long it can and does last for others. And for the past couple of weeks I have only felt the calm after that storm. It is a calm unlike any other. It doesn’t resemble the calm before the storm at all. It is serene. It is peace like you cannot imagine. And the only reason I think it feels like that is because once you endure something like postpartum depression you see things in a different way and you surely appreciate things more. You value what you used to feel like, look like, act like. You don’t take things or people for granted. You embrace whatever your normal is or becomes. And calm? Hell…calm has never looked so damn beautiful! When you can’t shut your mind down, when you have intrusive thoughts, when your mind races it is as if you have forgotten what calm felt like so when it introduces itself once again you grab that bitch and you hold on to her for dear life. Ah, tis true.
I had postpartum depression before. I knew I could get it again. I thought I was prepared but then I thought I would be ok and instead that beast grabbed ahold of me and sucked me in from outta no where. Maybe next time, if there is a next time, I will be sure to follow all the guidelines for “storm preparedness”. At least that way I will tackle her head on. And then, when that calm does come after the storm I will celebrate it; celebrate another victory against this illness. And if I am so blessed that I never meet face-to-face with postpartum depression again (except to flick her off when helping other women with it-insert middle finger emoji) I will be sure to always embrace the calm, this calm, today’s calm. It’s like the quote on this featured image reminds us; after the bad there is good and the sun will always come out. It has to, it must.
P.S. Sorry Ma, I cursed. In my writer’s defense though sometimes you need use certain words to bring out what you are really trying to say. #sosorrynotsorry #justkeepingitreal