I was already waist-deep in postpartum depression when my son was diagnosed with a speech disorder. His diagnosis sunk me deeper into a pit of depression, regret, guilt, and fear. I was ashamed of myself, as his mother, for knowing the signs were there. I doubted myself. He is my first born, I was naive and didn’t know any better. I wanted to believe things would work out, he would progress on his own. I never [wanted] to believe that something could be wrong, that years of therapy were ahead of us.
After months of digging into the Year of Creativity to work through those feelings, to work through the guilt and the fear that threatens my sanity every day, I was able to put everything into words. I still fight those feelings, just not as often as I used to. I’ve finally, after a year and a half, accepted his diagnosis and what it means for him and our family. I have dedicated my life to be his advocate and his biggest fan. I believe in him far more than is humanly possible. Once I was able to write it all out, I felt lighter, happier.
Earlier this week a Mom I follow on Instagram captioned a photo about her child who just started their own journey with speech issues. I reached out to her, which is not like me at all. I normally stay quiet, watch from the sidelines, and silently wish them well. I sent her my essay and told her I prayed this wouldn’t be her journey. She thanked me and said I was the light she was praying for. This is her journey and now she has someone who understands. I didn’t set out to be her “light”, I just wanted to share my words to let her know she wasn’t alone. We are never as alone as we feel we are on this motherhood journey; there is always someone out there who understands, who is going through a similar fight. I’ve realized that it is important we speak up. I wish I would have known about all of this before I walked through it. I wish I would have reached out and asked for help, asked if someone understands my pain. Walking that road was lonely and isolating and I just wanted to make sure another mother didn’t have to do that. It’s painful.
I haven’t touched my computer in almost a week. New words have not found their way to the page, but I have been utilizing my journal in a new way. I have to fight the fear that creeps up every time I want to work on an essay. I have four waiting to be finished. I have such a hard time silencing the critic, silencing the fear that tries to take up residence in my heart.
I read Packing Light this week because I am attending Allison’s writing workshop next month. I’ve been reading her blog and trying to familiarize myself with her and her writing. For some reason this brings comfort to me; I’ve never been to a writing workshop before and nerves are getting to me. As I learn more about her, I am less anxious to spend an entire day, away from my children, learning from her.
Much of her book focuses on her fears and insecurities as she tries to figure out how to become a writer. I related to these parts of her book so much. I gained so much inspiration from reading about the leaps she took to make her dreams part of her actual life. It was what I needed to read to do the same. I’m still terrified to attend the writing workshop, but I am excited to learn from someone that reminds me a lot of myself, just with a lot more wisdom.
I know that my words won’t always resonate with others. But in the rare moments that they do, like with the mom on Instagram, I am glad that I am continuing to put myself out there and write. It isn’t easy and so often fear gets the best of me, but this is something I need to do for myself. This space is a reminder to me while I am in the trenches of motherhood, trying to not lose myself, that I am still here. I have a voice and I have stories to tell. I just need to stop being so afraid to tell them.