I haven't pushed aside the crumbs and the bristle blocks to introduce her to you because, well, two kids is not just one plus one, even when the older one is the awesomest creature on the planet. Plus, Judith is a little extra work in that she is a projectile vomiter, doesn't like to be set down ever and is just overall pretty cranky. Extra work but not at all less loved.
Also, I have a smidge of the post-partum depression. It comes and goes but when it comes and I have to go a couple of rounds with it, that boxing takes any extra energy I have left. Have you read Hyperbole and a Half's column on depression? You should. Go now; I'll wait.
Mine is not anywhere near that in intensity or pervasiveness. Mine shows up as emotional detachment in the face of being overwhelmed. I just sit there staring sometimes, knowing that this is normal and not my fault and being disappointed in myself anyway because there is so much that I WANT to be doing, not to mention the things that need to be done. Also, I get extremely irritable. And sometimes I get very panicked and my adrenaline spikes and my body feels very scared that this is never going to be any better, even though there is a part of me somewhere that knows that I should take steps to ride out this particular endocrinological storm. usually there are tears.
I had one of the worst of those last kind of last bout on Friday. They are particularly hard, because I know that I should call someone to come help me, but in that state, I feel like everyone I could call would just feel bad that I feel bad and I don't want to add to their burdens. (I know this is ridiculous . . . and yet. . . )
Eventually, I called Jacob and he told me to go for a walk. I decided that meant I should go for a walk to the Korean bakery, even though I know that my depression will only be solved in the short-term by food. On our way into the bakery, a homeless man held the door for the stroller and I thanked him politely but breezed past him, which is my normal policy. He then WALKED INTO THE STORE, which totally breaks my sense of propriety for panhandling. I shook my head, smiled, and said, "Not today," which is also procedure for me because it linguistically leaves the door open for God's nudge every once in awhile.
OF COURSE, in the moments after the guy left, God nudged. I remembered that Anne Lamott and Glennon both counsel getting outside of yourself when depression hits. So, I bought the raisin bread to serve in place of the challah that I was not going to get baked (not beating myself up, not beating myself up), bought a cookie for Esther and a ham and egg bun for the homeless guy. I chose ham and egg since I can't bring it into my kosher home, which would force me not to bail on my intent to be kind to someone else. I did NOT buy a sesame ball for myself. (I just ate bits of Esther's cookie.) Of course, original homeless dude was unavailable when I wrestled ourselves out the door but I trusted that in my neighborhood, God would send me someone else to serve and she did.
This is not a miracle story. My sense of panic did not lift as soon as I handed the bag to the guy holding out the styrofoam cup from his wheelchair. No, we went home, turned the TV back on and snuggled on the couch some more. But it did dissipate eventually, as I knew it would, even if I didn't trust that confidence.
And a day later? Apropos of nothing? Esther turned to me (again on the couch while watching TV) and said declaratively, "Mama happy." What could I do but agree? What grace God gave me that my daughter doesn't see my depression, just my happiness. She quickly followed her statement by cheering, "Happy yellow diaper!"
I'm not sure how her favorite cloth diaper and my happiness are combined in that little pea brain of hers but it made me laugh and that's something.