I was face to face with square one. All of the progress I had made went down the drain and stuck to the bottom of the pipes. I trusted myself to fall into the arms of someone who understood why I was so depressed as a new mama… but the only arms available were those of the chair that already knew my scent – spoiled breastmilk. Every other day I was grabbing the same pen that was touched by hundreds of other individuals… signing my name onto a sheet stating that I was next in line for another therapy visit. The wipes I used for my daughter were lying at the top of my diaper bag at all times. Knowing that they were within reach kept my breathing under control. It was almost like I could see the germs bouncing around her – teasing their way into the folds of her soft hands.
“Courtney, you can come on back.” I knew her voice. She stood in the same corner, clip board in hand. Again, I struggled trying to maneuver my way between the seats with a car seat that weighed more than I did (or what felt like). She politely asked me if I needed help, to which I always declined. The only help I truly needed was getting my mind to plug itself back in. It was lost, confused. Even the slightest light in the distance would help me find my way. That’s all I needed, that’s all I ever asked for.
I positioned myself in the chair knowing I would be there for a while. I gently placed my daughter and rocked her with ease… only to startle her small body into an uproar. I could feel my skin turning red as my heart tried escaping from my chest. I feared that judgement that everyone talked about – She must be a new mom. Poor girl. It was like I forgot how to be a mom when people were watching me. Every technique I’ve ever used to comfort my daughter slipped away with the sweat of my fingers. I decided to do what I knew best… pull out my boob and allow her to nurse however long she needed. The little feeling I had left was quickly ignored when our voices filled the room. I had to stop myself from watching the clock… an hour seemed like an eternity, a time that I just could not sway.
The worries that boggled my mind were waiting to be acknowledged at the tip of my tongue. Single filed, back straight – they were aware of how much they were about to be broken down. My therapist asked to see the palm of my hand, I complied. She put a drop of lotion there and told me to focus on only that. Was it cold, wet? Color? Use? Scent? Questions that I answered with a smirk on my face. I told myself, she has to be kidding me right now. What does this have anything to do with what is driving my insanity? My abrupt criticism left me to scoot lower in my chair. As much as I hated for her to be right, she schooled me in a lesson that I wasn’t even conscious of.
“Now tell me, what did you walk in worried about? Can you remember?” And just like that… I had trained my mind to overlook the silliness creating a web in the center of my brain. The time I spent focusing on that damn lotion was also time used to shut out every little detail of my anxieties. Brilliance was placed directly into my hands – a method I planned to use every time I felt like I was losing a battle I so badly wanted to prevent.
This was a first of many appointments to come… the only time I’ve ever felt bad about wishing for the minutes to rapidly disappear. I walked out as confident as I could be as a new mother of one. The sun that I so desperately tried to avoid had finally felt comfortable on my pale skin. Instead of pulling away from the office as if I were evading a crime scene, I sat in the back seat with my daughter… staring at the rainbow that turned a couple into a family. I promised myself that no matter how difficult it felt to roll out of bed, I would try my absolute hardest to be the best mama to this sweet babygirl. She deserved to witness my mental health expand into a beautiful being – she deserved to have a mama who was happy with herself , even through the rain and storm clouds.
What felt like the very end of a tragic story turned out to be quite the opposite. I was fully prepared to make changes that would be served on a silver platter. My family and I would ALL feel the effects… and that’s what drove me to become a better me.
The cold, white, fruity hand lotion is what drove me to write another chapter…
… a chapter I was more than willing to reveal.