The High on the Other Side of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can come and go in waves. But the beauty of the darkness is that it helps you see the light.

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As I sit on the other side of depression, I feel like I could be in these moments forever.

It’s loud. It’s chaotic. It’s messy. Scottie McCreey's "5 More Minutes" is blaring through the house as my daughters chase each other in circles, their laughter echoing off the walls. I love the sound of the two of them delighting in each other’s company. I love the sight of every new thing my son masters on those short little legs he just learned to work.

I could keep sitting here, listening to them read without a care in the world, as the minutes tick by. I could keep letting them drag out every art utensil we own and let the mess go untouched. There’s a lot that actually needs to be done. But there’s really no big rush to get anywhere anytime soon. So for now, I’m just going to enjoy being here on the other side of postpartum depression.

There’s beauty and joy in slowing down the clock, to simply be and observe.

Motherhood can weigh me down some days, stop my heart with fear and worry, and test my patience, endurance, and stamina.

For me, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. It’s a splattered canvas painted with the chubby hands of young babes. There’s no rhyme or reason to the way the days unfold, but the final product somehow turns out to be a beautiful, splattered with all the bright and dull colors that make up our days.

I’ve been in the middle of the storm, where the chaos of my working mom life whirled around me like a tornado. Twice I have found my way out of the red haze of postpartum depression, where a dawning light of the sweet part of motherhood became my lifeline to take my life back. In those angry, panicked moments of depression I was too blind to see through the haze that engulfed me. I was afraid I missed too much of my children’s infancy and early years as I tried to find my way out of the fog.

Here, on the other side of depression, I can see clearly again.

When you’re there in the grips of depression, the red haze clouds your vision, obscuring your view of the beauty that stands just in front of you. It’s like you’re flailing around in the darkness trying to find the light switch. Just as your fingers brush it, and hope sparks in your chest, you flip the switch to only discover you’re still bathed in darkness—the light has burned out. You think about calling out for help, but you fear others’ criticism, so you stumble around, constantly clawing for a sign of the light. You’ll see it flicker in the distance, and it gives you hope that you’re getting closer to crawling your way out.

When you’re there in the grips of depression, the red haze clouds your vision, obscuring your view of the beauty that stands just in front of you.

Then you are here, where I stand now, wishing for “5 More Minutes” in the sweetness that makes motherhood the ultimate joy it’s meant to be. I stand here on the other side of depression, thanking God for the return to myself, breathing in the chaotic beauty that surrounds me in the cacophony of children running wild through the house.

Maybe that’s the beauty of depression—there’s an amazing high you get on how wonderful life can be when you make your way out of its darkness.

While I don’t live in depression permanently, I’ve spent a lot of time worrying when it will engulf me again. But for now, I will stand here a little longer and take it all in. I will love it fiercely because this is where I’ve been trying to make my way back to for so long. Here I am, finally back in the beauty of motherhood.

Angela Williams Glenn is a published author who writes about the struggles and joys of motherhood on her website Stepping into Motherhood.