Into The Murky Dark Water

Four mornings in a row I picked the Alligator card.

But even more strange is that just recently Phoenix received a sweet little gift from my friend Chris--a pair of alligator mittens--that I like to think make pretty cool hand puppets as well. I could have sworn I put them away a few days ago--but they keep showing up in strange places.

Then, last night I turn on the television and the first thing I see is some documentary on alligators.

According to Ted Andrews the alligator represents "primal energies of Birth, Motherhood, and Initiation".

But it occurred to me that the alligator also likes to burrow itself into the depths of murky, dark waters and maybe that's why I've been picking this card and receiving its medicine again and again.

Sunday morning, after a horribly painful nursing with Phoenix, I immediately decided to quit nursing altogether.  Cold turkey.  As I wrote in my last post--the pain had gotten to be too much already.

I was giving up.

Let me just start with the body is an interesting terrain for the spirit to grow.

I'll be honest, I don't know much about being a mother--about breastfeeding--about the postpartum body altogether.  So other than knowing that my breasts were most likely going to become engorged--I thought I could handle this.  Just a little transition that's all.

But what really happened, and almost immediately, is I became so depressed.  Sunday I just thought it was me mourning this connection I had with Phoenix.  Monday I thought maybe it was the pain of having engorged breasts--and the fact that Phoenix was all out of sorts and screaming constantly.  But Tuesday---Tuesday was the worst.  Tuesday I became the alligator as I burrowed deep into the darkness of my self.

I know I'm out of alignment with Creative Source--with my truth--when I begin to argue with Hansel.

I know I'm out of alignment with Creative Source--with my truth--when I feel down.  Really down especially.

I know I'm out of alignment with Creative Source--with my truth--when I begin to worry about things, doubt myself, and keep feeding my misery with more and more negative thoughts.

And I was doing all of this--plus crying.  Crying profusely.

Noticing I was out of alignment--I went to the park and sat by a tree.
Didn't help.

I tried breathing techniques.  Tea.  I called my best friends.  I ate chocolate.

Nothing was helping.  Nothing.

And then there was poor Phoenix.  He was even more out of sorts--crying and screaming most of the day.

So I put him in his car seat and went for a drive--the sure trick to calm him down always.  When crossing over a bridge the most horrible thought came into my mind--I wondered what would happen if I just made a wrong turn and drove off.

Suddenly--right then.  Right after this terrible thought went through my mind, another voice rose inside me--I heard deep in the core of my body to call my doctor.  To go see my doctor NOW.

So I did.

And luckily she was there.  And thank goodness she took me immediately.

I am so blessed to have this woman by my side .  She wrapped her arms around me and cried along with me.  She listened, and sweetly she spoke to me.  She shared her medical insight--as well as her own motherhood wisdom--and she was truly a sister.

She told me the worst thing I could do for both myself and Phoenix is to quit nursing cold turkey--it does crazy things to the hormone level in your body, thus creating the incredible depression that was taking over.  She told me that the same thing was happening to poor Phoenix--who not only is nursing an act of nourishment--but an emotional attachment as well.  And not being able to understand why he was being denied this was sending him into his own turmoil.

My heart just ached that I was dragging him into the murky waters along with me....and my doctor sweetly told me that Phoenix and I were in a dance--a dance for life.

A couple days before the infection got bad, I took medicine to help clear it up--and this time my doctor gave me a shot and told me to go into the breastfeeding room and spend some time with Phoenix nursing--that it would make things a little better--and we would discuss more when I was finished.

Have you ever had that experience when you are totally PMS'ing and all you want is chocolate--and the second a piece of that brown goodness touches your lips your whole body and mind melts into peace?

That's how it felt when Phoenix started to nurse.

The pain wasn't there.  And I could feel my Soul begin to rise to the surface of the dark murky waters I was burrowing in.  And my sweet Phoenix--he was becoming lighter too.  He nestled in and fell asleep and calmness came over his chunky little body once again.

We were dancing.

My doctor explained that the best for both of us would to begin to ween Phoenix from nursing slowly--and try a few more things to help with the infection.

But something else happened as we joined together again in the breastfeeding room.


Healing on a deep, deep level.  Healing that occurred on the ground  level of my heart where light has trouble reaching.

It's so funny for me to think that I knew what I needed...that I had this preconceived idea of what healing should look like--when really, this time around, it looked like nothing but darkness.

The alligator was telling me to sink into that darkness--the truth of my Motherhood journey would be found there and she knew what she was talking about.

She knew.  She knew.

Before Motherhood, I thought I could do everything on my own.  I thought I had to, actually.

But since Phoenix's blessed Soul entered my life--I've been learning again and again how so connected we all really are--how each of us have helpers and guides both in the flesh and on a spiritual level that are communicating with us constantly--that are waiting for us to ask for help.  That want us to reach out and are nudging us to listen.

I didn't go into those murky waters alone--I was guided by the alligator.  She took me on this journey--and dear angels hear on this planet came and rescued both of us out.

And Phoenix,  oh my sweet Phoenix.  How you are my greatest teacher by far.

How grateful I am for this dance.


Lucy Chen said...

Whoa! Connie! I'm so moved by your story! I don't even know what to say in this comment section. Motherhood is hard sometimes, but when you look at the baby's sweet face, resting with eyes closed in your arms, nursing, so close to your heart, what more can you ask for?

~hali said...

*speechless* this is exquisite.

Charlotte Pettus said...

((((Love)))) Thank you for listening my powerful and amazing friend♥ Love that ol' mama gator energy :) So glad she found you♥

Lis said...

Sending you both continuous waves of love ... your guru is doing so well!

I am reminded of something Anne Lamott wrote: "reach behind you and take the hand of a person with a newborn, and help him or her, as you find that someone with a toddler is reaching for you, who is holding the hand of a kindergartener’s father, or mother." Motherhood can feel so isolating in our society, but it is meant to be a time of connections, the web of love extending out beyond ourselves. I know you know this :) Here is the full piece by Lamott which you should print out and read.

I hope you know, you have a huge pit crew here ...



Surabhi said...

Hi Connie,
I can relate to your post. My baby girl is now an year old but I still remember those initial days.
To share with you a few things that I did to help the situation:

I am from India and not sure if I ll be able to explain it to you properly, but let me try
1.I had a massagist, who literally for almost over a week spent 15 - 20 mins everyday squeezing the milk out of my breasts. It was awful and I have cried in those sessions, but I remember that in a period of about a month's time I started feeling comfortable and the pain was gone. The milk flow had become normal, and whenever the supply was more, it simply leaked off.
2. Do not stop breastfeeding your baby. You may need to wean your baby till the infection goes off, but I am not a doctor and your doc would be the best person to commebt on it.
3. In the initial few days whenever I found my breasts becoming hard, I would either take an absolute hot water shower, making an effort to pour it on the breasts, It definitely helps. Or a hot water bottle massage on the breasts also helps.
4. Use the technique of finishing one breast first before switching over to the other and try to create a schedule for breastfeeding, for instance I remember that I used to breastfeed my baby every 2 hours, even in the nights.
5. All of the above was possible because I had my mum over and I was only responsible for taking care of the baby. What I am trying to say , is that rest is even more essential, to counter the postpartum depression.

P.S. I dont want to be preachy , even though my comment might look like one.
Phoenix is absolutely adorable and I ll pray for you to get better soon.

Amanda said...

Loving you, big time. <3 This is beautiful, you are beautiful & I'm not sure I have ever heard, when you go hours & hours without nursing, be explained so right on & gorgeously... that's exactly what it feels like, chocolate. YES.

I miss nursing my babes, even though sometimes I cursed it... I do miss it.

You got this Mama & you have a boatload of us here for support.


Danni said...

I'm not a mom yet myself, but this still touched me. That you are able to be so open and brave about something that a lot of women struggle with - to shine a light into those murky places where women often feel ashamed is something so special and powerful.

I'm not a mom yet, but when I am, it is these stories I will look to for support and soul nourishment. The honest and real ones where it isn't all sunshine and happiness. The ones that let you know you, as a woman and new mom, are not alone.

Love you, momma.

P.S. As an aside, what sort of doctor do you see? Because almost all of my friends who have had children have not had obstetricians that sound nearly as amazing as your doc. Just curious if she's a special practice/type or just a beautiful soul in a sometimes cold profession. (sorry if that came out akwardly, like I said, no baby experience here. ;-) )

Sally said...

Sending you big hugs Connie. Motherhood is wonderful but I never realised before I became a mother what a roller-coaster of emotions it can be. S x

Jaime Lynn Barks said...

Hi just signed up for 21 secrets and I this most was so moving I had to comment. I am usually a silent blog lurker. I love that you shared this. So beautiful. I struggled a lot longer than I needed to before asking for help with my postpartum depression. You are not alone. You will eventually reconnect to yourself but it does take some time. I think talking about the struggles is a big step in the right direction. I didn't and it made restoration much more difficult. Just know, even if people don't say it, you are with the majority not the minority.

sophiaburning said...

Your post reminded me of this beautiful article I read a few months back. I thought you might enjoy ;) this is a beautiful and touching story. Thank you for sharing your soul ;)

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