When we moved here I knew it would be different. While that's a bit of an understatement, it doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. That's not what I mean. I just mean it's different (very different) than any place I've ever lived. I've always been a West coast kind of lady.
This is my first adventure in the southern United States. The South. There are so many stereotypes that go with that statement. I won't go there.
Like I said, I knew it would be different. I knew it would probably be difficult. But I knew it would be worth it. I knew I wanted to stay home with L. and I knew I couldn't do that unless we moved somewhere with a slightly lower cost of living, a job for my husband, and lots of support for the transition (aka. family nearby). And here we are on a coast that doesn't face West. I'm forever lost as to what direction I'm driving. It's way easier to keep track when the water is always to the West.
Nonetheless, here we are in the South. My first order of business (after moving into the new house) was to find some friends with babies. The "Mommy and Me" yoga class I had researched before the move was defunct. Not enough people to keep the class going. Toddler Story Time at the library canceled the first time we went, only one other person the second time.
I was getting depressed. I missed my friends from home. Thank goodness for telephones and Skype.
I tried a local "Mom's Day Out" event and it was nice for a little while. But then it wasn't. I came home and cried and called one of my friends from home.
I remember thinking about the scene in The Princess Bride when, after surviving the fireswamp Wesley says something along the lines of, "we could live here happily for quite some time and never need to leave". I started feeling that way about our house-not that it was as pleasant as the fire swamp, but that I could live there quite happily for a long time and never need to leave.
I had my girl, I had my honey, I had our cool dog. I could bake things full of sugar and butter. We could play in the sunshine in our backyard. No need to venture out into the scary new world. I tried to explain to J. why I was still crying even though I wasn't going to work and got to spend all my time with L. I couldn't explain it very well. All I knew is that I wanted to stay in bed.
But that wasn't very realistic. I could feel myself falling into the old post-partum depression, waking up everyday and wanting to hide under the bed. I forced myself to try a little harder. I reminded myself how much L. likes getting out of the house. I tried doing things I liked around the house. The smell of baking bread made things a little better.
With a little more research I found some mom/baby groups. One seems more geared toward mom/parent activities sans children. One was gigantic and has a bit of everything and everyone (including lots of people who have moved from other places) and one is small and full of nice moms with one year olds.
I forced myself to attend a few events. I took J. took a couple events with us. Soon enough, as I got to know people, L. and I started going by ourselves. I stopped feeling like I was forcing myself to get out of the house. I started feeling like I wanted to get out and go new places and see new people. And everyone I've met has been really, really nice.
Friday we even had friends over to our house. It was lovely. I feel like I've finally met a kindred spirit in this new place (meaning I'm not the only one who likes to bake stuff, grow stuff, make stuff, use cloth diapers, and breastfeed to name a few). It's nice not to feel alone.
Waking up this morning I had a revelation. I don't think I'm depressed anymore.
Good-bye post-partum depression!
Obviously this doesn't mean I'll never be sad, or I'll never miss my friends who live far away, or I'll never be frustrated with L. or J. or the dog, or that I'll always have good days, and the house will always be clean, or that I won't get pissed off when someone rings the doorbell as soon as L. falls asleep for her afternoon nap. But I don't think I'm depressed anymore.
More often than not, I'm enjoying life. I'm enjoying the walks we take around our neighborhood. I'm enjoying having dinner ready when J. comes home from work. I'm enjoying watching L. dance to the Muppet Show in our living room. I'm enjoying picking lemons in our backyard. I'm enjoying our playdates. I'm enjoying meeting new people. I'm enjoying the friends we have made so far in our new home. I'm enjoying L. sleeping on my lap (even though I can't figure out why she has started waking up if she's more than an inch away from me when she did so well napping on her own for a while).
I think I'm finally not depressed. I don't have to get up every morning and leave L. to go to work. I'm no longer using every single break during my day to pump breast milk. I'm not ready to crawl in (or under) my bed by dinner time (well, at least not every day). I'm not stressed about feeding schedules and whether or not L. will be hungry or up all night nursing to make up for lost time during the day. J. is not all strung out from L. crying all afternoon. I'm not hating missing every cute thing she does while she's awake. J. and I don't spend our only days off together running errands. I'm eating breakfast and lunch almost every day. I'm trying to eat slower.
These are all good things. I know that. I know it won't all be super easy from here on out but I think it will be easier. I know now that the bad days are just bad days. I know now that I'm okay. I'm glad I'm a mom.