Let it Snow

We had our first significant snowfall last week! Note my exclamation mark - this was a time of excitement in our house. The snow was meaningful for a few reasons:
The seemingly in between season of Fall had me falling back. Falling back to old feelings, postpartum depression and anxiety feelings. Hormones, less frequent walks outside, less daylight and perhaps some poorly timed extra neediness from my fellas, had me down and out. Anyone who has been there knows, those feelings are scary. They are more than scary - once you've emerged from the darkness it's absolutely terrifying to think you might be fading back to black. 
But just like the physical changes that accompanied becoming a mother, those emotional changes may never leave. Is that such a bad thing? Like the stretch marks that I bear on my tummy, I think I'll always bear a tiny piece of that darkness. A reminder of the anxiety, the fear, the depression. A reminder of the struggle. But more importantly a reminder of the strength. The strength that I didn't know I had. The strength that got me going, kept me going, raised my son, cared for my son. The strength that got me through. The strength that returns to me whenever that light starts to fade and I feel the darkness surrounding me. The strength that I never would've known I had, if it hadn't been for my struggle. 

This Fall, that strength came back. It scared me, but it proved itself to me again. And so, with maybe a little bit of pride, I will bear this little tiny bit of darkness, like a badge that I've earned. Maybe it is something that will always be there, maybe it fades just a little bit everyday, maybe one day I will wake up and it will be all gone. For now, it's just something that I - like so many others - live with. It's not something to hide away or feel ashamed of - depression and anxiety happen, it's good to talk about them and it feels good to talk about them. 

Further, the snow was the perfect reminder of all those things that I love, those things that get me through and keep me going - those things that give me strength. The snow got me outside. Whenever I start to feel down, I get outside. Long nights with the kids, lonely days - I get outside. It never fails to help me feel significantly better. There are all sorts of studies on nature and happiness, read up on it if you don't believe me. There's something magical about our innate connection with nature and her ability to lift our spirits. And in addition to the happiness benefits that I receive from being outside - what about my sons! Kids love being outside, and the snow only added to the excitement and desire to bundle up and head out. 

Remember having snow pants, boots, mittens and a jacket on? Remember - barring you had a good seal around your boots - the absolute invincibility you felt running into deep snow? I do. And now I'm lucky enough to provide and witness that same feeling on the faces of my sons. Nothing beats their innocent pleasure. Nothing makes my heart feel so full like watching my fellas play outside. Sure, our time outside may not be as long as when it's warm outside and we might come home all wet and in need of a hot cocoa and a cuddle but when we come home all of us are happier - and that's what counts.

So the snow therapy was two-fold. My kids had a blast, it got me back to nature and filled my heart with so much joy. We don't always talk about our hard times, our down times, or our struggles - I had a rough Fall, but so did so many of my friends that I confided in - so I wanted to share my struggle - maybe someone who thinks they are alone in their struggle will read this and know they aren't alone. I hope Fall didn't have you feeling down, but if it did, I pray you find or have found your strength, those old faithfuls that perk you up - or give my old faithful, the great outdoors, a try. 



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