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Climbing Out of a Dark Hole: How Blogging Helped Me Find Myself Again

Climbing out of a Dark Hole: How My Blog Helped Me Find Myself Again | CosmosMariners.com

In June 2013, I gave birth to my daughter during an emergency c-section. She wasn't breathing well, so she was rushed to the Level II nursery at the hospital, the first of many tumbling dominos that ended with a four day trip to a Level III NICU and many touch and go moments.

Five days after she was born, we brought our beautiful daughter home. She'd been cleared by the doctors, and we were assured that there was no long term effects from those scary days.

During the first few weeks of parenthood, I floated through diaper changes and 2 a.m. feedings thanks to a combination of very strong pain medications and very little sleep. My husband and I were tired, but that's to be expected with a small baby.

He went back to work, and I began to struggle. So many other moms I knew were back up and at it just a few weeks after giving birth. But I could barely get up and dressed even in those weeks after I stopped taking my pain medication. I tried to present a brave face to the world, but inside, something felt broken, forgotten, empty, irreparable.

I was terrified that I would do something wrong with my daughter. That I would harm her in some way. That she would be better off if I just left forever. That I would never feel like myself again. That I had lost something of myself in the process of becoming a parent.

Before having my daughter, I was a happy-go-lucky, glass-half-full kind of person. I lived my life with joy, determination, and excitement.

But afterwards, I was a different person. I stopped writing in my blog. From June to November of 2013, there are no posts here. I didn't have anything to say to anyone, and I didn't care that I'd lost my voice. I stopped reading, which was one of my favorite things in the world. I stopped caring about traveling, another of my favorite things. I was convinced that I was stupid, overweight, and failing at everything that I was doing. Mostly, I just wanted to hide in my closet and cry.

In November 2013, I found out that my grandfather had inoperable, terminal lung cancer. I was at his side when he passed away five days after the diagnosis. You can imagine what this did to my already fragile psyche.

My husband struggled with how to support me: he encouraged me. He reminded me how healthy our daughter was. He reminded me how hard I was trying at everything. He tried the tough love approach. He argued with me.

Nothing seemed to get through.

Until one day, when he suggested that I start blogging again. He knew how much I loved journaling and blogging, and he'd been sad to see me push that part of my life aside. He told me to set small goals: publishing one or two posts a week.

So, I did. I wrote about whatever was going on with me that day. Those posts, with their lack of focus and irratic desperation, make me cringe from a writing perspective. But, when I go back and read them, I can remember the desperation I had. Sometimes, those blog posts were all that were keeping me from laying on the floor and sobbing.

From November 2013 to May 2014, I felt as if I were taking two steps backwards to every one step I took forward. I loved my blog and would often go to sleep thinking about my next posts. I was pouring my heart and soul into my blog and writing 5 posts a day, but I didn't have many readers. That, in my mind, justified my lack of self-worth.

Then, in May 2014, I found out that I'd won a press trip to St. Petersburg, Florida. Landon and I went on that trip, the first vacation we'd had in almost two years, and it was as if the clouds were parting again. I came back home and wrote with a fury that I didn't know I had anymore. I loved travel blogging. I LOVED it.

And slowly, slowly, slowly, since then, I've come back to my old self again, one post, one trip, one day at a time.

I've been a better parent and a better spouse since then. Blogging may seem a silly way to overcome such a soul-crushing experience, but it combines so many of the things that I love into one package, and I feel lucky to have this space.

I still have moments of doubt in myself, but they're nothing like I used to have. Looking back, I now know that I had some form of postpartum anxiety or depression. But I didn't know enough to seek help: I'd never had issues like that before, so I assumed that they were just caused by my lack of ability as a first time parent.

No matter where you are in your blogging, parenting, or life journey, I hope you know that you are good enough. And if you're having doubts about your self-worth, let me tell you this: you are an amazing person, and the world is lucky to have you. And if you're feeling depressed or alone, reach out for help. Find that person or thing that gives you a reason to get up in the morning.