Anxiety, Then Comes Baby

When You Lose Yourself

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve blogged, and not on purpose. If you know us personally, or follow on Instagram, you know we’re in the midst of a move. Josh and I closed on our home in the suburbs about six weeks ago, and as of this past Sunday, we’re officially in. It was weird saying goodbye to Jersey City, mostly because I didn’t get emotional about it. Every move we’ve had this far (and if you’ve been following a while, you know it’s been a lot) has brought with it some trepidation, some tears. Though I made some lovely friends in JC, I had none of that this time. Just readiness. Sheer readiness to say goodbye to the home that never really felt like one.

Sometimes, it seems, it takes stepping out of something to realize you were in it. I am not sure when I changed, or at least shifted, but I’m guessing it had quite a bit to do with having a baby. Willow has strengthened me even as she’s worn me down. Brought me life even as I gave it to her. It’s been an interesting year-and-a-half since I gave birth, that much is for sure. And while sometimes I sit around missing the baby days, I’m more than aware that it’s nice to meet myself again, on the other side.

So what was I in, these past several months? I wouldn’t call it a depression, but it’s been an uphill battle for sure. Last summer was amazing, filled with mommy-and-me barre classes, iced coffees with new friends, and long walks up and down the boardwalk near our then-home. Winter’s chill brought with it a hardening of my life that I worked fiercely all day to ignore so that I could be the lightest, truest version of myself for Willow. At night, the pressure of my work combined forces with the guilt about having too few hours in the day to be a perfect mother and an amazing wife. I would lie awake, late, staring at the ceiling and wondering how the hell to shake the feeling that I’m never going to be good enough for my own life.

It’s simplistic to boil it down to a wrongness of place, but I can say that since we moved just over a week ago, everything feels different. Boxes and piles are all around us, yet I can already see the order and calm that will fill these rooms once we’re unpacked and really living. I’m learning, slowly, to forgive myself for forgetting to call people or leaving restaurant leftovers in the car and having to toss them later. Even for not remembering the first name of every single new neighbor we’ve met in the past week. I’ll learn in time.

I also read a book last week, the whole thing, for the first time since giving birth. When I reached the last page, held it open for a lingering moment, then closed it in satisfaction and thought about its meaning, its lesson, like I always used to do, I felt it. I was myself again, if only for a moment. I remembered myself without ever realizing that I’d forgotten. And suddenly, here I am.

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to get back to the core of your being. There will always be nights when I lie awake, watching the ceiling and feeling all the guilty, stressful things. That is, after all, a part of me, too. But for the first time in months I feel like I can breathe again despite the pile of work that awaits me when I finish this blog post. I’m going back to yoga tonight and my muscles are tingling at the thought. They’re ready to wake up, too. I guess my heart just got a head-start.