After pushing a 7-pound baby out, something in my blood changed seemingly overnight. My veins ran fast and clear, my skin tingling with electrifying intensity as I floated on cloud nine with my new baby King wrapped up in my arms. I felt perpetually drugged—as if I had overdosed on caffeine and other unnamed stimulants—and could whisk, wash, and fold my way around the kitchen and endless loads of laundry. “AND, I could be making dinner with one hand while breastfeeding with the other,” I often bragged to bemused friends. “I am THAT good at being a mom.”
Yep, my body did what it was supposed to do, and my brain knew better than to lag too far behind. Just as my body was running circles around the apartment, my mind raced with fantastic creativity. Blog, book, art, photography, music—I plotted them all and couldn’t wait to wake up each dewy summer morning to polish and refine the ideas I had spinning inside of me. Right after having a baby was a glorious season of everything new, powerful, and magnetic. A glorious season of wonderlust.
And then, just as quickly as I had entered the realm of divine living, I suddenly fell from the sky into the deep and dark end of the pool sometime in October. The fluffy clouds dissolved into molten lava and I could no longer stay standing as the demands of motherhood—of life—consumed me with hopeless tenacity. My words started coming out thinly and crude, the computer keyboard untouched for days on end. I desperately tried to find joy in writing, in my relationship, in my baby…but couldn’t. My “can-do’s” became “cannot’s” and all of my “possible’s” crumbled into an abyss of impossibility. Since then I’ve been walking underwater.
Today I think back to the last time I was truly and blissfully filled with happiness. Patrick, King, and I were already a few days into our Hawaii vacation when we decided to visit the beach for a late-afternoon swim. Because King was a mere 4 months at the time, Patrick and I had to take turns swimming in the ocean and watching King on the shore.
When it was my turn to jump into the turquoise water, I let the cool waves pull me farther and farther away from the glistening sand. I could no longer feel the sharp rocks beneath me when I turned my head to see Patrick and King waving “hello” to their mommy from the dry land a hundred feet away. I felt so free as elation filled my tanned body buoying up and down with the rhythm of sea. So free and joyful as if I were ten years old again with all the childlike promise and hope of a new day.
I want to be back at that place.