I remember when I first found Katherine Stone's blog Postpartum Progress, I stumbled upon this post. This post in which she describes a conversation with her 8 year old son asking her to go to the Valentine's day dance with him.
This is the child “with whom she had horrible, raging postpartum OCD and cried every day, and knew he'd never love her, and thought she'd ruined his life and hers forever and ever.”
I read this post everyday, for a long time. I read it over and over and over. I let the words seep into my heart and my mind and my being. I thought the more I read it, the more I would gradually believe it. And let go of the guilt and shame and fear that my child would never really love me.
For many, many months Solo-boy never really wanted me. At night when he’d cry Mr. P was the only one who could soothe him. In the morning when he woke, he’d ask for Dada. Really, all the time, he’d ask for Dada. He would wail each morning when Mr. P left for work. I thought for sure that he could sense my pain, my anxiety, my fears and that is why he did not want me. I thought I was failing to love him enough.
I’ll never forget the first time Solo-boy asked for “mama.” The first time he actually, legitimately wanted me. I can’t tell you what we were doing. I can’t tell you where we were. But I can tell you how I felt. In that moment. It melted me.
Solo-boy is 26 months old. The pain of PPD is now behind us. I can really say that! And what Katherine wrote in that post is true. PPD holds nothing on us anymore.
My son loves me.
A couple of days ago he gave me this picture. Followed up by a kiss on my lips that I did not ask for.
And last night he went to run an errand with Mr. P. And they came back with this card for me, that Solo-boy picked out from all the other cards and said “mama,” and insisted on buying it to bring home to me.
He melts me.
Lately at night he’s been asking to play with my hair. (Who is this kid? And can I bottle him up just like this forever?) He runs his tiny little fingers through my hair and pats my head and giggles and hugs and kisses me.
Yesterday morning I went to pick Solo-boy up from pre-school. I got there about 10 minutes early, so I watched him through the glass window to the room. He couldn’t see me. So I leaned against the wall and just watched him. He was banging a drum with another little girl. Then they walked over to get jump ropes. Then it must have been time to clean up because he picked up two drums and clumsily carried them over to his teacher. Then the music must have started because they all began to dance and groove.
I sat there and I thought to myself, this is my favorite part of the day. Picking up my son from pre-school. That is something I never thought I’d say in the darkness of PPD. PPD stole a lot from me, but it did not steal my future. It did not steal my son's love for me, like I was so certain it would.
Suddenly the door opened and Solo-boy saw me & his eyes filled with light. And he ran into my arms, squeezed me and rested his head on my shoulder while we walked to the car.
This love, it melts me.