A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to have A’Driane from Butterfly Confessions ask me to guest post for her. When fortune smiled on me and I happened upon an inspiring tree in a garden, I asked her if she would like to swap guest posts based on a photo prompt. Always up for anything, she accepted!
A’Driane and I are new blog buddies. She is warm, optimistic, and passionate – and one of my very favorite #ppdchat mamas. Always there for me when I need some cheerleading or an empathetic ear, she’s an amazing woman and I’m glad to have her on my team. I admire her honesty and the transparency in her writing and am thrilled to introduce her to you. Please give her a warm welcome and be sure to visit her at Butterfly Confessions and follow her on twitter!
Here is my post, over at Butterfly Confessions…And without further ado, A’Driane’s post.
First let me make a confession, well three confessions.
1. When I first saw this picture I cried. Still not 100% sure why I was
overcome with tears, but I couldn’t hold back the deluge that flooded
my eyes and trickled it’s way like a stream down my cheeks….down
my neck…soaking my chest.
2. When I read Susan’s post about it I cried again. Her words were so
beautiful, the post so wonderfully written I felt it in my soul. Her words
lifted the latch on the gate to my emotions and out they came, again
soaking my face.
3. Her post was so amazingly written I caught a case of writer’s block.
I had nothing to write. Seriously. I honestly felt like she had said
everything that needed to be said. It was as if when we saw this tree
we shared the same brain, because she gave a voice to my exact
thoughts. So, I sat for awhile. Dumbfounded. And then my kids went
all Ok Corral on me so I had to leave it a few times. But everytime I
came back to it, I just. couldn’t. think. The words weren’t coming.
But then today, while driving the picture flashed through my mind again and
like falling rain in the midst of sunshine, the words started pouring down in
my mind, so here I am, back on the computer, ready to write what’s stirring
in me. Here goes:
When I look at this tree, I see myself but what strikes me even more is that I see every single woman I’ve met in the #PPDChat group, every single Mama whose comment I’ve read on postpartumprogress.com, the women I would see in the waiting room at the Postpartum Stress Center in Rosemont where I received my initial treatment for PPD/PPA. I see the Mamas I pass in the aisles at BJ’s & Target who are juggling screaming children and trying to not lose their sanity in public. I see single mamas working 2 &3 jobs so they can put food on the table. I see Mamas in social services offices trying to wait paitently for their name to be called by a social worker who is usually too overworked and jaded by the system to give a kind word or a comforting smile. (I’ve been there, in those offices, more times than I’d like to count-or remember)
When I see this tree, I see Mamas. When I see its branches I see all
the different hats we wear that accompany the different work uniforms
we change into like hosts of award shows several times a day. Mother.
Comforter. Nurturer. Wife. Lover. Worker. Nurse. Chef. Teacher. Tutor.
Like the buildings & shrubbery surrounding it, I see all of the places we
inhabit, the circumstances we face, and the stresses of life we encounter,
when I look at this tree and the environment it’s placed in.
And then I see the Mamas who have come to hold a special place in my
heart: the ones who battle and try to find their way through life, through all
the different things they must juggle while suffering from, living with, and
trying to recover from a Mood Disorder. Like the tree I myself, I see these
Mamas I love reaching out and bending over. For the tree, it’s just a
pathway it’s bending back over to reach the sunlight. But for us, for those
of us struggling to balance motherhood with trying to make ends meet, for
those of us struggling to understand and cope with motherhood while being
caught in the sweeping torrents of a Mood Disorder, it’s not just a pathway-
for us it’s the cold, harsh, hardened path that leads us further away from
ourselves, from the women and mothers we know we are and aspire to be.
So like the tree, we reach for out for our health, for our sanity, our well-
being, our survival, our souls. We bend. We bend back. And back…and
back…. And back til we think we can’t reach or bend anymore. But just as
it seems our branches have gotten too heavy and the weight of our
struggles will cause us to snap at root, there are beams nailed on either
side and underneath us to hold us up as we keep reaching, keep bending
toward the light. For some of us it’s the support of our families, husbands,
best friends. It’s exercise, a better diet, it’s therapy, it’s medication, it’s
psychiatrists. It’s faith – of any kind. And as I’ve come to learn over the past
9 months, it’s an army. An army of women who know what it’s like to have
to reach out and bend back. So they come and nail themselves to us. The
power of their stories and experiences driving the nails in deeper,
strengthening the beams even more. They are on Facebook, they are on
Twitter, they have invaded Google +, they are found at places of refuge like
PostpartumProgress.com, and My Postpartum Voice, and hundreds of
They have been there for me. I found Katherine Stone, Lauren Hale, Jaime
Harker, Susan, and so many other woman when I thought I couldn’t bend
anymore and I was going to break. And they were there. Their presence ,
their work, my faith, helped save my life. They helped me keep reaching
and bending my way back to ME.
And if I am ever afforded the opportunity to meet ANY of the women I’ve
met through #PPDChat and other websites, I will most definitely scare them
with my ugly cry as I try to articulate how much they have meant to me.
I hope that while I recover, and when I recover, I can be a beam for other
women, other Mamas as well.
A’Driane is an afro-rockin Bipolar Mama who is often confessing things she shouldn’t much to the chargin of those closest to her. She writes about her life in the hope that putting her humanity on blast, helps you embrace & learn to love yours.