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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Berry

Postpartum Freewrite

It’s so easy to lose sight of priorities, and it’s been even easier for me to lose sight of them over the past year – the constant fog and the highs and lows of postpartum depression and anxiety coupled with the responsibility as my family’s primary breadwinner – it’s been hard for me to feel in control of anything, let alone my body as I nurse two children. I feel like I’ve been waiting for a sign or a moment of clarity to indicate that the bell jar was lifting, but I’m realizing that, like the debilitating depression I experienced in college, this is something that I have to continue to wade through. If I can keep reminding myself of my priorities – I’ve got a thousand little sticky notes littering our farmhouse with love notes and to-do lists and memories of pronunciations or adorable sentences uttered from a child’s mouth – if I can just keep my eyes focused on what matters – the forest feels thick right now but it will thin eventually. And look at this girl – take notes from the children. They know what they need: Mama. What will happen if I lean into this role? If I let myself fully become this new thing? Instead of being scared that it will swallow me whole, maybe I let it and see what happens.

This image lives in my mind of my daughter – it looks almost exactly like this. She is blurry, somewhat out of focus, and it’s dark. However, despite the darkness, I am able to see the light (where is the light coming from?) reflecting in her bright eyes, and they are laser-focused on me. I’ve been functioning in a dense fog of depression and anxiety that settled in over my head a few months after our daughter was born and I’ve been worried about how it might affect our connection and her future well-being. She has so far been the happiest baby and truly a little light in our days. This photo will forever remind me to look for the light. It’s shining, even though it’s sometimes impossible to see it through the fog.

Seeing it captured through the lens of my camera, I am convicted. She sees me. She loves me. And she is watching the choices that I make and learning from how I prioritize my mental health.

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