It is true what they say, that the eyes are the "windows to the soul"; when I look back on the pictures of the first 2 years of my daughter's life, I can see that my soul had left me.
I can now see that same look in other's eyes - I can recognize the vacancy. I can understand their pain as they struggle to claw their way back up to the surface.
I decided that, in honour of Bell Let's Talk Day, I would take you through my own personal journey in the form of snapshots during my pregnancy and postpartum stages.
My hope is two things: if you are struggling, that you understand that there are so many of us that have been where you are, and that things DO get better, and secondly; if you are a friend or relative of someone who recently had a baby, that you can perhaps learn to recognize the "vacancy" in their eyes and tell them it is OK to talk about it.
Showing these pictures is very bittersweet to me, since my body has changed so much since it has been pumped full of medications... but, I also know that the peace, happiness, and love I feel now was worth every pound <3
Here we go....
Christmas 2009 - 14 weeks pregnant and over the moon <3
May 2010 - 36 weeks pregnant and 4 days before she arrived!
Not the prettiest picture, but this is my first photo with our new baby girl (was a surprise, we didn't know the gender!)
May 25, 2010
7 days postpartum....I remember this as being a particularly difficult day, the crying started, and the hopelessness....I chalked this up to the Baby Blues, which is commonly what occurs at this stage (to up to 80% of new moms!)
Photo by Kathryn Gibbs Photography :)
Two weeks postpartum....I understandably look tired, but the illness was creeping up on me here. I was wondering why on earth I had a baby in the first place, but was still clinging on to hope that this was completely normal and the "Blues" would be over soon....
One of the hardest pictures for me to look at, this is approx 6 weeks postpartum, shortly after my breakdown and admission into the psychiatric ward. My sister brought Adelyn to me for a visit, but quite honestly I didn't care to see her. I can most definitely see that in my eyes, can you?
On leave from the hospital, a few months later. I think I was so doped up that I felt like my head was floating above my shoulders.
Another visit from the hospital, I could leave for "overnights" but had to return afterwards. You can see the hospital bracelet on my wrist in the photo
A few months later, approaching spring of the following year, and Adelyn's 1st birthday.
Still wearing hospital bracelet....
Adelyn's 1st Birthday party. I am very sad to admit that I do not recall much of this day at all. I was still very ill, and trying to get through day by day...
Adelyn is 14 months old...still wondering if I will ever feel normal again.
October 2011, approx 18 months old.
I am just not "there".
She's almost 2 years old!
Slowly starting to be able to play with her, nothing came natural to me, counsellors kept telling me to "fake it till you feel it"....so that's what I did....
Christmas 2012, Adelyn is 2.5 years old, I remember this day as being the first day I was genuinely "silly" with her...started to think that MAYBE this is what "normal" feels like.
I was still admitting for a brief hospital visit on Boxing Day, as Christmas was a trigger event for me, but thankfully only a minor setback.
Fast forward 2 years...so much happened, but the biggest thing that happened was that somehow, I recovered bit by bit. Adelyn is the most loving and caring child, and I will forever credit her for teaching me how to be a mom <3. I am brought top tears every time I think about how her love for me is so unconditional, even though I felt such horrible things about her when she was small...I know I couldn't help it, but the guilt is always there.
I know small gestures like this drawing mean a lot to all moms out there, but for me, it just seems that much more special <3
I have my light back (in my eyes) :) Lots of silly times to be had, once I found myself again. This kid has one heck of a personality (thank goodness!!) haha.
So thankful <3
Thank you for following along....maybe these photos say more to me than to others, since I know the emotions attached to them, but I do hope that it has helped you in some sort of way. It is also therapeutic for me to go through these pictures, and realize that how I felt/looked in those earlier photos, is not who I really am, and it reminds me of how much joy I have in my life today.
Thanks for reading,