Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If there is an end to the road, then I guess this is it!

It's been almost three years since the nightmare began for me.  I should have seen it coming, been more aware, known the risk factors, but somehow I didn't and I wasn't.  Since then, I have definitely tried to make "lemons out of the lemonade", though severe PPD is more aptly named something like "hot poison lemon" than a delicious and refreshing beverage like lemonade.

Each and every week, one or more of you write me.  Many at the beginning of your journey, seeking resources and acknowledgment that you are not alone or to blame for your experience.  But, more often than not, you writers are moms who have older infants and toddlers, who desperately want to know just when, exactly, you will get better.  You've moved past the sleep deprivation, become more accustomed to a new reality, yet something still feels off.  Or, perhaps, you are not sure how you'll know when you are better. Or, at least, that you are getting better...that you're out of the woods.

We've talked many times before about how PPD is not universal, it doesn't look or feel the same for everyone, and how it doesn't discriminate.  We know that different treatment options are more acceptable and effective for different people.  That one method or medication may be a perfect fit for one mama and completely ill-matched for another.

I think sometimes we focus so much on the beginning and middle of the journey we fail to realize the importance of the end.  We know that the first steps to healing, which are somewhat universal in nature, are sleep, vitamins and nutrients, sunlight and fresh air, and a support system.  We are great at reminding women to do this and to seek professional treatment to learn what individual next steps are best for them.  But, what about the end of the journey...and is there really an end?  And if there is one, how will you recognize it?  And if you recognize it, will you know in that moment or realize it later, when reflecting upon that moment?

I had an AHA! moment this weekend.  Sure, I've been successfully functioning without medications, sleeping unassisted, and able and energetic enough to care for my family, do my best at work, and even help a few families along the way.  But, there came a point when my focus shifted from beating PPD, to moving past PPD, to eventually not just doing a good job as a mom, but enjoying motherhood.  Embracing my role, finding joy in the present, living in the moment and feeling like I am thriving (instead of simply surviving) in motherhood.  So, you say, how did I know???  Was it divine intervention with a chorus of angels?  Was it a month long string of "good days"?  Was it being given a "super mom" award?  Na.  No.  Nope.

My moment of realization came when I drove my freshly washed and waxed mini-van home from the dealership and as I was driving I found myself smiling inside and out.  I now not only owned a mini-van, but I wanted to own one.  At this moment, 35 months after becoming a mother ripped me apart physically and mentally, I realized that it wasn't about the vehicle.  It was about me.  I want to be a mom.  And this is just a little symbol of my joy and desire in doing so...

Officially a soccer mom (of one),


Grace @ Arms Wide Open said...

i am SOOO happy for you! Thank you for all the hope you give to us moms still struggling to get "there."

Beth Plyler said...

Ditto...thank you for all your encouragement, honesty, and support for us moms who just randomly email you hoping for any words of "Ive been there" or "you aren't crazy" or "this too shall pass"

Way to go, you've officially arrived with your new swaggin wagon!

Devan @ Accustomed Chaos said...

I am so happy for you - such a beautiful post.

♥ ♥

Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous of your van. My mom mobile AKA the pimp ride (for one also) is a 1997 Chevy Venture. Somehow when baby came along, Daddy got the brand new Chevy HHR, my Honda got sold, and I got stuck with the van. But just like PPD, I'm gonna make lemondae out of my lemon of a van! Take Care! ~Joan

Jennifer said...

Hurray! I am happy for you. And a big shout out to the Minivan! You made me laugh out loud with that picture.

I don't remember when the veil "lifted" but it was around 9 months with both children. One day, I was in the lingering throws of PPD and the next day I was not. Not a chorus of angels...more of a leveling. Things shifting, ever so slightly, and then returning to me.

Thank you, Amber, for all you do for so many of us.

Kimberly said...

Amber I needed this more than you know! I too wonder if "this is it" and when will I know...this post was really inspiring and encouraging. Like a big cyber hug.
I am so happy for you and thank you

Amber Koter-Puline said...

Thanks for the support of my vehicle, but more importantly celebrating wellness...not just PPD recovery, but adjustment to motherhood with me. Much love to you all, ladies!

Chris said...

It's so wonderful to read about someone really feeling well. I've only had a few minutes to read your blog so far and what I've been thinking is how much I wish I'd had it when Jack was a newborn. I didn't reach out to blogs or online support (or in person). Thank you for sharing your story for all of the people who need this so desperately. And those of us who've been there, too. :)