Look, The Suniverse is here!
Suni and I met at BlogHer 12 and we fell in love with each other on the spot. Then I read her blog and I keep falling deeper and deeper in love with her every time I read her voice. She blogs at thesuniverse.blogspot.com
I vividly remember sitting across from my second or third therapist, many years ago, telling her about how I couldn’t handle the past week, how things were so terrible, that I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do anything.
She stopped me and said, “What happened that you didn’t survive?”And I started going through my list – anxiety and panic and soul-numbing despair – and she stopped me again.
“What happened that you didn’t survive?”
I looked at her in confusion and started to repeat my list – I had a panic attack while driving, I could hardly get out of bed, taking care of the girl was overwhelming me – she stopped me again.
“You’re not listening. What happened that you didn’t survive? What happened that you couldn’t overcome to get here, today?”
That question stopped me cold.
It made me realize that I was surviving.
That maybe just because things weren’t going perfectly, and just because things were sometimes so awful I couldn’t see past the next minute, it didn’t mean that there was no hope. That it didn’t mean that I wasn’t capable. That maybe, just maybe, even though being a new mother wasn’t full of the perceived lightness and ease that most other women seemed to glow with, I was doing o.k.
I was surviving.
At that moment, that was enough.
In fact, in all moments, that’s enough.
I remind myself, daily, that I need to just be. To just be in the moment.
My girl is now sixteen years old. Those moments that seemed so endless – that feeling of despair that I wouldn’t make it through the next minute, let alone the rest of the day – have melded into the past. It’s not a completely fantastic soft-focus montage like you’d find in a rom-com; it’s more like a mix of happy and awful, like you’d find in, say, Days of Our Lives.
But I remind myself, daily, that things worked out. Not always in the best way, but they worked out. I got through it. I learned I could survive. I also learned I could talk and open myself up to people and they wouldn’t see me as weak, but as someone who was worthwhile. Someone who could take the help she needed and move forward from there.
I was thrilled when Yael asked me to do a guest post for the Mama’s Comfort Camp blog. Almost as thrilled as I was when I met her at BlogHer12 in New York. I want to thank Yael for giving me the opportunity to be a part of a community that I would have killed for back then, but that still gives me comfort now.
Because we are all survivors.
Thank you so much, dear Suni. The subject of surviving the hardest moments/days/months and accessing safety through the discomfort is central to my work. You don’t have to like it to survive it is one of my most useful mantras.
I just love that your therapist asked you this question all these years ago and that it was the beginning of a new understanding of yourself and of your powers.
I wish I could have had the Mama’s Comfort Camp available for you when you went through PPD, just like I wish something like it could have been available for me 9 years ago.
But my favorit thing about being in the Mama’s Comfort Camp today, is that even long after I recovered from my PPD, and now that my kids are way past the newborn stage I still need all the support and community I can get, I still need a safe space to normalize the inherent difficulties of regular everyday mothering.
I love that our group has such a diversity of ages and emotional places, it warms my heart to hear perspectives from moms of teens like you Suni, and from some of the grandmothers in the group, and that somehow we do all this without dishing unsolicited advice and the group culture is so full of love and support.
I am so grateful that you are there with me.
Suni will be joining me on Thursday (Valentine’s Day for the First Annual Mama’s Comfort Camp healing song circle.
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