Suddenly, and without warning
I found myself in a dark chasm,
deeper and further from the light than I have ever felt.
On every wall was a mirror
that reflected some false truth about myself,
and somehow all of my protective amulets,
my cloaks of wisdom,
my jewels of dignity
could not penetrate the illusions.
I lay sleepless, naked and lost,
overcome by the fear that my newfound predicament would never end,
however abruptly it had arrived.
All my knowing was swallowed by the heavy weight of shame
I felt at finding myself in this place.
Me--the calm presence,
the grounded, graceful one,
the wise priestess,
the midwife who guides others through labyrinths of treacherous terrain.
Here I was lost in a sea of doubt and fear
and deep, deep sadness.
Would I rise from this descent?
from this abyss of unknown and disregarded
pieces of my soul?
Who was I if not who I thought I was?
Where was my faith? My ground? My truth?
If none of my tools were working,
or if I simply could not access them,
how would I find a way back to my Essence?
Two nights passed and on the third night I found myself at the gate of desperation.
Here I left behind my necklace of oils and herbs and exchanged it for a chemical elixir
that would guarantee me respite from this nightmere, if only temporarily.
My spirit was weary so I received it gratefully, drinking it in like a thirsty desert traveler.
I was granted several hours of my most coveted medicine--sleep.
Though thankful for the oasis of dreams, I awoke in a daze, quickly realizing that my nightmere was my waking life.
I had not moved from the chasm of mirrors reflecting back the matrix of personal lies…
I'm not enough.
I'm not safe.
I'm a burden.
I was still lost, just a bit more rested.
How long would this go on?
Where were my children?
How could I care for them from here?
What was the meaning of this labyrinth?
I had passed through the gates of overwhelm, guilt, shame, fear,
and sadness so deep it felt impenetrable.
On my descent, I had found my essence again and again after traversing these gates.
But I had never before passed through the Gate of Holy Terror--not to this degree.
I felt trapped by the never-ending responsibility to love, guide, protect, teach, provide, and nurture
these three babes whom I now carried on my back.
The walls of the chasm were steep and I wondered how I would make my ascent when my body
ached with fatigue and depletion.
Yes, the anxiety had lifted.
I had passed through the gate.
But the journey was still long and now I just felt empty--
knowing the work ahead and carrying the weight of depletion,
the shame of having been lost,
the guilt of knowing how much worse it could be and was for so many other mothers,
the humility of losing touch with my own essence,
of discovering that my own tools and wisdom were not deep enough to hold me...up until now.
And finally, through a deep dive of faith,
Through expanding, opening, and trusting
that I could find my way--
that the nightmare was purposeful,
and my passage through the chasm of false selves
was all in service to the deepening of my own
chrysalis and ultimately to my emergence as a Motherfly!
This is something I wrote when I was in the depths of my depression and had anxiety so bad that I came home from a birth, exhausted, and couldn't sleep for 3 days. In this last week, I have been hearing from mother after mother, presencing that they have struggled or are struggling with postpartum depression and so I offer this piece with the hope that it speaks to those who know this experience and offers a lifting of the shame that isolates us when we go through something like this. You are not alone and there is help. Reach out.