Soon after the birth of my son (baby #2), I felt myself being stuck. I was down. Blue. Very melancholy and just all around blah. But the interesting part about it was that I actually liked it. I was experiencing emotions that had been buried for so long- I did not even know what to do with them! My poor husband! On the other hand, that place I was in was a motivating factor for me. I saw where I was and where I wanted to be. In fact, I wrote all about that place here.
During that time, I had an email exchange with a dear friend from high school. She and I have been in touch off and on since we graduated. It is amazing that she and I have chosen much of the same things in the way we choose to live our lives. (Natural living, home birth, reading, spirituality) Although I’d wager that she is more of an Intellectual than I am. And I’m okay with that.
Anyhow, I thought I would share Mel’s words with you because they helped me so much. I hope she doesn’t mind…
I’m sorry you’ve been feeling hints of those darn winter/baby blues. Change is challenging and stretching and beautiful and some days downright hard. I think the transition of adding children is particularly multi-faceted. We want to add to our families, we know it will bring unmeasured joy, but this quote has always spoken to the feelings I’ve had moving from one to two and then two to three:
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. -Anatole France
There is a loss of what previously was and never again will be. In those moments of frustration, sadness, or whatever the emotion of the moment is, perspective is our salvation. There are so many sweet reminders that the new normal is full of adventure, joy, wonder, and growth. It is the plan of God that we may learn to love as much as our mortal hearts can possibly bear. It is His plan that we learn to sacrifice that which we didn’t think we could – our time, energy, preferences, ideas of things as we think they “should be” etc. And the process is refining, beautiful, and wholly Godlike.
A recent essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education made the following point (ht: Andrew Sullivan):
“I for one am afraid that American culture’s overemphasis on happiness at the expense of sadness might be dangerous, a wanton forgetting of an essential part of a full life. I further am concerned that to desire only happiness in a world undoubtedly tragic is to become inauthentic, to settle for unrealistic abstractions that ignore concrete situations. I am finally fearful of our society’s efforts to expunge melancholia. Without the agitations of the soul, would all of our magnificently yearning towers topple? Would our heart-torn symphonies cease?”
We shun sadness, but yet we worship a weeping God. A God who knows all there is to know of sadness and heartbreak. And we strive to be like Him. That means we strive to feel, experience, and to some extent come to understand and maybe even embrace sadness. And that’s an uncomfortable thought and reality.
Feeling that melancholy is a beautiful process of this mortal experience thing. Love it. And then let it pass by and choose joy.
I have reflected often on these words. About how we must die to one life before we can grow into another and how it is important to feel the Ups and Downs of life. About how dealing with Change is Godly. What a beautiful thing that is. I am grateful for this realization. I should report that since I have been aware of this, things have gotten better. I still have those days. However at times, I enjoy their presence because it reminds me that I am Real. Part of being Real is feeling and changing and being okay with processing all of it.
I don’t really have anything that I can add to what has already been said.
If you have struggled with postpartum emotions or just have a difficult time dealing with Change, I hope that Mel’s words will help you like they have me. I am so grateful for them!