I’ve been thinking a lot about how social media shapes our perception of what someone’s life is like and what they’re experiencing. And in all honesty, I wonder how much of what we share is based in actual truth and reality.
I know what I share on social media is about 55% truth right now.
My experience with postpartum anxiety and PTSD is not shared with you all on a daily basis on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. That 45% is hidden inside my home, shared with close friends and family, and sometimes just with my own mind chatter. I am still working on feeling “not guilty” about feeling overly sad, flooded with “what ifs” about my son, not being able to feel comfortable socially because I’m away from my son and away from anyone I thought I was just a few short months ago. It’s scary. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating and the hardest part is that I cannot help it move along more quickly than I’d like to.
What you do see are sweet pictures of my darling River. When I see him smile or share a cute photo of him — that is my reality in that moment — happiness, overwhelming love and pride, and a feeling of zen.
Maybe it’s more comfortable for me to share those moments because I don’t want to be seen or heard as a ‘negative’ person. Maybe I don’t want to bombard people with my need for help. Maybe I don’t want to be misunderstood as a “bat shit crazy mom” that many people stereotype when a woman is dealing with postpartum issues.
But I slowly know and feel the nudge to share the other 45%. I am not alone. I am equal parts in love with my new life and equal parts recovering from an “energetic car crash” of sorts. You may not be able to see my injuries, but they are there. Healing, having to be re-bandaged (sometimes daily), and starting to work with all the other parts of my mind-body-spirit. I’m happy to say that the scales are slowly tipping toward the new life — moving in a motion similar to the final stage of labor. Pushing.
The final stage of labor doesn’t always mean you’ll experience a ‘one and done’ push and baby is birthed into the world. Most often — and seen with many first time mamas — pushing takes time. As the baby is pushed toward life Earth-side, every push gets the baby closer and closer to our world, but baby also moves back in the birth canal for a period of rest before the next big push.
Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to be birthed in this gentle way throughout different stages of life. I’ve always been the prideful warrior who wants to just rip the bandage, or in this case, get healthy all in one push. In the past two months, my armor has been shredded and I am unable to remedy my pains the way I once have. Each day I give it a little push forward, and sometimes I move back. Although this doesn’t mean I go back to square one (even thought it feels like it sometimes!) — there are certain things I need to slow down and experience again, or get used to, or feel, or see, or whatever. As frustrating as it can be to not get to where I want immediately — I know there is a giant gift in my own birthing experience. I may not have fully unwrapped it yet, but that day will come.
To round back to social media again, keep in mind if you are experiencing something hurtful, frustrating, sad, depressing, anxious, whatever and you think everyone else “has it together.” Don’t even go there. Know it is easiest (and most fun) to share the best parts of ourselves. I think this is both helpful and hurtful. It is helpful because I believe the more we focus on the good — the more we’ll get. And the hurtful — we aren’t fully connecting to all of ourselves with each other. I have learned there is nothing more precious than sharing vulnerability with others. It gives us the ability to help. To understand. To share. To GROW.
We NEED each other. And the way we do this is to ask for and accept help. Just know I am thinking of each and every one of you reading this right now and extending my love to all the broken parts you may be experiencing but don’t want to share. Just remember:
“The wound is where the light enters you.” – Rumi
It’s OK to take off your bandages and share your wounds with the world. You are safe.