Sitting here, as I attempt to write this, the difficulty is still plentiful. Nothing profound, you see, just memories in my mind of my daughter when she was an infant, a toddler, a vivacious 5 year old—those memories sadden me more than please me.
When my daughter was born, I was in a state of postpartum depression. At first, I didn’t know what I was feeling, just that I wasn’t immediately feeling the love and joy that a new mother typically experiences. I was overwhelmed and confused. What was I to do? How am I supposed to raise this innocent tiny human being as my own? I didn’t have a clue and she didn’t come with a manual, just my husband to guide me.
As I look back, I look at my husband with awe and appreciation. I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for him to be there and recognize the depression that I was experiencing. It was he that helped me through it all when I thought I was going to lose my composure and my mind. It was he that raced home from work within 5 minutes because he knew I was on the edge. At the time, I felt like my world was caving in.
But as the years passed, I grew to be the mother that I have always wanted to be, and as we glided into parenthood without a glimpse of guidance from anybody but each other, we realized that she is our world, our life, our everything. Even though I struggled with postpartum depression during those early months, I quickly grew to love her and understand that what I had experienced wasn’t emotional, but physiological.
Years later, I would have a diagnosis that was a wakeup call for myself and my family. Realizing that during that stage, it was a cocktail for disaster. But I got through it and now that our daughter is an energetic and active 10 year-old, and even though we have many more years with her, I still look back with wonderment and amazement at how I escaped the odds of my physiological state.
All I can do now is look back and reminisce about those days and remember them as much as I can; look at photographs to remind me of her innocence and how the tiniest little smile ruled our world. And at the age of 5 months, remember how she would look up at me from her stroller with the biggest smile on her face, and how it brightened my day. Her first word, her first meal outside of formula and breast milk. When she learned to crawl at 11 months old while I was waiting for a business flight to Chicago during a 10 hour delay, and not long thereafter, when she took her first steps. Her first day of kindergarten and how I watched and cried from afar.
The memories are endless.
I want to remember it all, but I fear that someday, those memories will fade and I will only remember the bigger milestones in her life. I often ask myself, where has the time gone? The memories might die, but the experiences won't.
All I can do is keep my mind and memories fresh, because as I look back, I look on with a sense of pride and accomplishment. It’s time to move forward now and experience new memories for years to come. So even though those new memories might be filled with sadness, they'll be my memories, nevertheless.