Today’s guest post is by my friend Jenny. We met on twitter, and she’s been a wonderful source of encouragement and support to me. She’s insightful, funny, generous, and invites trust with the kindness that radiates from her heart. The story she’s going to tell you resonates a lot with me. I understand the bond she has with music, and what it feels like to lose it and then find it again. She doesn’t have a blog (yet), and I’m really excited to share her words with you today.
I am so honored that Frelle asked me to guest post at her blog. We met through #ppdchat, and we have heard each other’s stories on the PPD SpeakEasy Calls hosted by the lovely Yael Saar. After reading Frelle’s blog, I discovered we had a mutual love of music. We both discovered our tribe through chorus in high school.
Music has always been a huge part of my life. I come from a musical family. I was involved in choirs in school and in my church. I also became involved in my local community theatre when I was in fourth grade which led to an involvement in musical theatre that continued through middle school, high school, college and after college. I met the love of my life as well as my future mother-in-law through community theatre.
When I was entangled in the haze of post partum depression and anxiety, I lost my ability to sing and lose myself in the music. I sang to the girls, but I did not enjoy it. Singing to my oldest used to be my favorite bedtime ritual. Postpartum depression and anxiety manifested itself in me as intense irritability, rage, and tearful outbursts.
Throughout my journey of post partum depression and post partum anxiety, I had the opportunity to sing in public; each of these brought forth a different reaction.
I sang for my dear cousin’s wedding with my sister in March of last year. My youngest was only six months old at the time, and I was unaware that I was struggling with PPD and PPA. My sister and I share a special connection, and it is very apparent when we sing together. Our voices blend like we share one voice. I was distracted that day, and I missed an entrance cue which is unlike me. I was also very unsure of myself on a song with harmonies. Everyone told me we sounded great, but I really have very little recollection of that day. That makes my heart hurt. I wanted so much to give this wonderful gift to my cousin, and my soul wasn’t really in it 100%.
My sister, my aunt and I sang for my grandpa’s funeral in June of last year. We sang one of his favorites: “Panis Angelicus”. I had been diagnosed at that point with post partum depression and post partum anxiety, and I had just started my medication. I had begun therapy about six weeks prior. I still felt the veil of depression and anxiety, but I was able to sing my feelings of grief and love for the man who taught me so much about love, life and music.
The same aunt that I sang with in June was my duet partner for another cousin’s wedding in October. I did not spend nearly as much time preparing for this wedding as I did for the wedding in March. As I sang the Ave Maria with my aunt, I felt the music move through my soul. I looked out at my relatives and noticed the emotion in their faces. I felt alive for the first time in months. I realized what my soul had been missing – that emotional and spiritual connection to music.
Since then I continue to sing to my girls at bedtime, and I am listening to more music. It has become my constant companion again. I am finding the joy in my life again. I am showing my girls how to enjoy life and the music that fills our lives.