This week we have beautiful and soothing words from a Pacific Post Partum Support Society Counselor. Take a short coffee break on this cloudy morning and drink this story in!
Article by Anna Chambers
Long after dusk, thirteen and a half years ago, my baby girl moved in waves and emerged from a cocoon of velvet darkness into the green of spring.
An angry week later, my former self fled the cramped apartment, leaving behind a mother’s shell, cowered in the corner and consumed with failure. Failure with breastfeeding, nappy changing, bathing, rocking, soothing and most of all: sleeping. Her sleep became my sleep and our lack of sleep became a dank, dull lack of existence.
Black tears mourned my pre-immigrant and pre-mother life. Rage ended up as broken dishes and charcoal marks on walls.
Slowly, I reached into pockets of light within the community and began to voice my pain. I found comfort in the anger and confusion of other mothers in a support group, knowing that I was not alone. Together we told our stories of disappointment, anxiety, and dreams of escape. Together we shared our journeys of rediscovering the women we now were. Our group facilitator with the sandy light hair supported us in shaping tools to take care of our emerging selves.
Empathy soothed and lit our way.
During more frequent moments, my nose remembered pleasure in my baby’s fluffy black hair, and my ears noticed the joy in her laughter and others’.
When my son was born at home in October, darkness prevailed for much of the labor but was eventually broken by the sun smiling momentarily as he tore through me into the bedroom. Second time around, I faced the challenge of parenting as a lone immigrant, harassed by an ever consuming child custody court case. Days were spent in a bitter greyness, and again I lost sight of the woman I am, and became a watchful critic of my actions. It was only when a court ordered psychologist spent time with me and my children that understanding was born.
The psychologist watched and listened.
Now, later, I listen to the stories, the dreams, anxieties, confusion and mourning of mothers. Mothers, who are suffocating in the tunnels of their days. Mothers, who are grappling with playing their new roles. Mothers, whose foreign thoughts are shared with no others. Mothers who listen to others share their stories of darkness touch mothers with the cloak of empathy.
Empathy soothes and lights our way, rippling into the community.