The other night when I wrote my previous post, it was completely spontaneous and probably one the most Cathartic writing sessions I have had in a long, long time. I felt like I unloaded and after writing, my mind felt clearer and my chest less heavy. It felt really good and it felt like what writing used to feel like for me. And while my days are a bumbling routine of toddler chasing/entertaining/feeding/napping/wrestling and infant feeding/changing/holding/bouncing… it’s hard to find any release anymore. I have to admit, I am now going into year 3 of parenthood with 2 babies and while it is like clockwork at this point…it is also a lifestyle change that takes an insane amount of energy to get used to and then get used to again over and over and over again.
I haven’t had a constant in a long time. I haven’t had a passion in a long time. Our life since getting married and moving to Greenville has been pretty much one marked by phases of big life transitions: newlyweds, expats moving a 1,000 miles from home in a UHaul, new residents in a different city where we knew absolutely no one, separated by immigration issues, pregnancy, new parents, new parents again etc etc. I have to say, that I haven’t had much time to explore and nurture my own passions because my mind has been in overdrive for a pretty long time, especially during this season of early parenthood.
What used to be my constants? Writing. And music. In that order. I was a writer before I considered myself a musician. Writing has always been cathartic for me, except for in the past few years when I suffered a pretty bad writer’s block. I just didn’t know how to do it anymore, didn’t know where to start. I literally have dozens of books filled from front to end in writing, prose, journaling, poetry, songs… My life revolved around fishing around in my purse to find some blank piece of paper, a receipt, a bus transfer, an empty cigarette pack, an old school assignment… I always had to have something where I could jot down my words spontaneously. I had a blog before the world “blog” even existed. Seriously, going back to like 1999, I always had a space on the Internet where I wrote (if only I could log in to those dated websites again!), and I could go back and just read my words. Words were my power. Words were my freedom.
I’m trying to find that freeing quality about words again. Or rather, maybe it is finding me. Because through parenthood, I have found myself as a mother, but I fear I have simultaneously lost myself as an individual, as a woman, as an artist. I know it takes time, but it has been a hard reality.
So my first project for myself involving rediscovering the power in words, are writing down affirmations. Simple affirmations. Hopeful affirmations. Affirmations of truth that maybe I don’t even believe. Things are complicated and jumbled in my brain these days and I believe that writing down affirmations will help center my thoughts and actions. My therapist explored the power of affirmations with me and I immediately thought it was a great place to start. There is so little affirmation in the season of Motherhood, and I think it is important to be able to affirm our own abilities and accomplishments. I wanted to share my first two affirmations that I hope will be impressed on my subconscious and help me deal with the anxieties I am facing and trying to work through both as a mother and as an individual. I will be posting my affirmations in places that I look to regularly at home.
About this Affirmation: For quite some time now, I have been having a lot of anxiety about maintaining an adequate milk supply for Juliet. I have become obsessively paranoid that she is going to starve and that it will be all my fault. I have lost many hours of sleep, cried hysterically and inconsolably about it, and have thought about it non stop. It has been almost two months since that anxiety started, and even though she is gaining weight, meeting milestones early and is extremely healthy and alert, I am still not convinced that what I am doing is “enough” My therapist explored this with me yesterday and suggested that I make this my first affirmation. That Juliet is indeed gaining weight (and not starving). And that whatever milk I can give is enough.
My last thought in my session yesterday was that I am not getting better. I truly do not feel like I am getting better or feeling any better from postpartum anxiety and depression. Most days I actually feel like I’m failing on all fronts. And while my therapist affirmed that perhaps I am not feeling better or good… she assured me that I am making progress. So while I don’t necessarily believe that completely…I made it my second affirmation to work on.
The power of words. It used to mean something to me, and it was important to me and through these affirmation exercises, I hope that it brings me some sort of joy and identity like it used to.