See that girl? That’s proof of life. I got up and put on makeup and a nice shirt and did a show at a venue in Nashville last night. You may say, what’s the big deal, Amy? Isn’t that your job? Yes it is, I’d say, but it took Herculean effort yesterday to just get out of bed.

They talk about Post Partum Depression. Is there such a thing as Post-Post Partum Depression or do we just get to say Clinical Depression these days? I’ve struggled with Depression since Huck weaned. It was bad back then. Brought on rage fits and low low bottoms. Opened up a can of trauma worms I didn’t know was that embedded into my skin. Which led me to say uncle, own that it’s just Depression, no post or pre anymore. Just ugly debilitating anxiety and depression. I dealt with it enough to understand it and make major changes (no rage anymore), do some work with somatic and trauma therapists, some DBT training which helped me change my reactions into responses. It was a major piece of the divorce puzzle and I own my part.

It’s a fog that comes in, makes my bones feel heavy, makes me want to sleep all day. But what will happen is I’ll promise to nap for 30 minutes, then I’ll hit snooze. An hour is safe. But after an hour, I’m not sleeping I’m spinning with anxiety but my body is too tired to get out of bed and then it’s too late and the fog has won. Yesterday the fog was in the lead. Something shifted. Maybe just that I didn’t want to bail on a commitment, but whatever it was, I got up, got dressed, did the show and felt, again, back in my body, freed of self. This morning it was back again, like an old friend, but I had a commitment I was not going to back out on, to do the thing it is I know I do best in the world, and I went to my friend’s house and we wrote two songs and talked and laughed and I felt ok again. Then, rather than go home and get caught in the fog, I called another friend to tell them I needed company for dinner. Spent a great hour with them. Went home. And instead of getting overwhelmed by my messy house or desk or dirty floors from the dog, I just vacuumed the carpet. Just one thing. And right now, I feel ok.

What does this have to do with Menopausal Momming, you ask? Everything. Being on the verge of menopause my hormones are wack. But having had a baby at 50, I’m now convinced that there was something like a psychic/spiritual split that happened in that opening in my belly where Huck was pulled from. Bear with me on this – it’ll get a bit woo woo:

I’ve spent most of my adult life wearing some major trauma like a shield of honor. See? I got through it without scars. I’m stronger for the pain. Then, at 49, I injected hormones into my body to prepare it for a 5 day old blastocyte to be implanted into my uterus. One I didn’t believe would stick. But stick it did and it grew and my body changed and I turned 50 and had a baby the month after. Now, I had a C Section. So they cut me open, put their hands in my belly and pulled out a human. This is all day to day stuff, right? Wrong. This is enormous. As is birthing naturally. A human comes out of us. A fully alive human that we have housed for 9 months. What I never thought of was the poetic metaphor of this: pulling anything out of your center might also pull other things out of your core. For me, I’m convinced old wounds pulled out, as well. It wasn’t evident right away. I was in new mama bliss. But when Huck started weaning away from needing my nipple, which is a kind of abandonment, old abandonment wounds stirred. All this on top of being on the verge of menopause, the crone stage, the wise stage. Hormones from Motherhood. Hormones from Crone. All swirling in one soup of depression. No wonder a fog.

The fog talks to me. Sometimes when it comes up no meds work enough. All I want is a Xanax or a bit of weed (but I’m an addict so no on both those). CBD oil helps. Meditation helps. Walking helps. But when I’m in the fog, I don’t have the energy to walk, I have no appetite to eat, I just want to curl up. It makes me feel like it’s not worth the effort. That I’m too old, too tired to be a good mom. That I’m failing at being a mom because Dad is so freaking energetic and creative and is doing an amazing job and Mommy is just tired. Mommy wants to be able to spend hours on the floor with the dinosaurs playing and then building worlds with blocks, then dancing and laughing and singing songs. Then rushing to the playground, to the pool, to the ice cream store. Or crafting like a vomit of Pinterest. I can do these things and I have. But sometimes I just don’t have it in me. Sometimes the thought of an entire day of having to entertain a 5 year old fills me with fear and anxiety. Sometimes I think, what was I thinking being a Mom. Obviously I suck at it. Once in a while I believe I crush it. Few and far between. I’m grateful that Dad crushes it. But can he suck just a tiny bit to make me feel a bit more normal? (just kidding).

I want to go back to the skin on skin time just post birth, to bond even more. To imbue myself with the confidence that I’m going to be a good Mom no matter what. I mean, of course I am, I love my son more than I’ve ever loved anyone and he’s my #1 priority always. I do the best I can. Don’t we all feel that way? That we’re slogging through it doing the ‘best that we can’? I know other mom musicians and we talk about the massive juggle that is momming and writing and performing and staying true to our inner spirit even through the piles of laundry, the morning drop off and afternoon pick up from school that leaves us without much time to do much of anything. The friendships we don’t have time for. The other moms we want to hang out with and have our kids play but they’re on the opposite custody schedule. For the single moms, how would it ever be possible to be in a relationship again while wrangling a toddler. I haven’t dated in a decade. How does that even work anymore.

That photo above. It’s what overwhelm feels like. Fighting the battle with the makeup on. I made it though. And each day I make it is a blessing. I suffer depression. Do you? I promise you one thing though, I’m sticking around. For me. For my son. I’ve recently lost a friend who battled his own demons who had a 10 year old. None of that kept him here on earth and I was shattered when he died. My first thought was how could he leave behind his son? That’s when I know I’m momming like a boss. I may be flailing, but I’m not giving up. So what if I’m not the crafty parent. I am his only mom. I love him and I love playing with him and sometimes I just have to take a nap. Sometimes I wish that I could take a vacation from being a mom. But there is none (with the rare exception of a full day at a Spa, which, someone could gift me if you really wanna show some love). It’s like being on stage except it’s a full time job.

Truth be told: I love it. I wouldn’t trade my life, flaws and all, for anyone else’s life out there. I am madly in love with being a Mom even in the days when the fog rolls in and lies to me. At least I have a good doctor and therapist and program of recovery. And so many friends I call and just say “Tell me what I already know”.

This is how you survive. Tell me what I already know and I’ll tell you the same back. Too many don’t make it through the fog. But it’s just fog.

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