Saturday, 20 June 2015

Welcome to Holland

Having been through post-partum depression myself, I am fully conscious of how long the days can feel when you are home alone with a baby. Even seconds can feel hours long. Counting the hours left in the day until your partner comes home can induce panic and tears. I have been there.

So on this, the longest weekend of the year, I'd like to raise a little awareness for mamas working hard each day to conquer PPD and love their little babies.  During one of the PPD group sessions I was in, our social worker read us the poem below. It was initially written to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability. I had never heard the poem before, so when it was first read to me, I didn't know this and felt it applied to my PPD just as perfectly. I still can't read it without tears in my eyes.

To the mamas out there climbing out of the darkness, I'm thinking of you and sending you love and courage along your way.



Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

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