It comes back. The depression. Especially right before my cycle starts for the month. Lingering feelings of unworthiness, sadness, guilt, anxiety, fear, and disgust take over my body. The obsessive thinking is never too far away either. I always feel frustrated when these feelings come back and apprehensive about what the future holds for my mental health.
Sometimes these feelings stay for a few days, other times they scatter suddenly and I feel okay. Whether or not these feelings are the result of having my daughter, they leave me feeling helpless. My husband and I have spoken about the possibility of having another little one in the future, but what if the postpartum depression hits me far worse than the first time?
I understand that I am not defined by anxiety and depression. I have learned not to push the feelings aside but instead recognize, allow, investigate and try hard to not get caught up in identifying with them. Instead of the destructive thinking pattern of “I AM anxious,” I reword my thinking to “I’m feeling anxious right now.” It will pass.
When the depression hits, I practice mindfulness, try to exercise, and then I focus on the things I’m grateful for in my life. I also hold myself in compassion and try not to berate myself for feeling this way. Sometimes I take a nap with my daughter. Sometimes I meditate. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I go outside and take a deep breath. Sometimes I just sit with the depression.
My parents are visiting us and they kindly offered to watch our daughter while my husband and I took a ride on our motorcycle. Before becoming pregnant with our daughter and welcoming her into the world, the motorcycle was our main transportation around Belize.
Motorcycle riding has become part of my identity (our identity as a couple) and it is a joyous occasion to reconnect with my husband and feel proud of his confidence on the bike. It’s also an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the time he has spent mastering the art of riding. I definitely reap the benefits of the year he spent motorcycling around the United States before we met.
Although I’m always the passenger, riding on the motorcycle has opened my eyes to nature in a way I never dreamed possible. I feel the wind. When it rains, MAN does it rain! Who knew tiny rain drops could be so powerful when they hit your body at seventy miles per hour?
I smell the blooming of all things lovely in Belize. Appreciate how alive I feel. Feel the movement, speed, vibrations. Hold my husband close.
I also take this time to extend loving-kindness to the world. I repeat metta phrases in my mind, “May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be happy. May all beings be free from suffering.” The calming motion of the motorcycle gives my thinking brain a break.
Coming home after our ride, I feel the depression lift a bit. I view the day with more clarity and feel the love from the people that surround me.
My motorcycle meditation was a beautiful gift.
I have three sons,14, 5, and 4. When people see the two youngest, they assume they’re twins. Close, but not quite. We…thatoddmom.com