When I had postpartum depression, it felt like a heavy blanket soaked in cement had covered my heart. The only person who recognized my cries (because I hid them from even my husband) was a friend who happened to be a trained psychotherapist. She could tell I needed something. I had never considered that I was struggling from a mental health issue, and I felt a deep sense of shame that I wasn't stronger. She helped me separate the feeling of brokenness and shifted my perception to one of compassion for myself.
I had a baby who would not sleep, not matter how many parenting books I read. As she grew older, I deflected psychological blows from doctors, teachers and other parents who thought they knew what was best for my child. The main theme: I needed to parent with harsher discipline. I was told everything I was doing was wrong. "Stop listening to your intuition and make your kid fit in the box, or she will suffer in the long term" was the message I received.
I tried so hard, but she couldn't fit and my soul hurt from trying to change a perfect mini human into something other people thought she should be. When I finally found out she has sensory integration challenges, and that her brain simply could not process the data coming into it, she was starting fourth grade. I believed I was a horrible Mom for over a decade. I don't ever want anyone to feel that way. I wish I had met someone earlier who could have told me, "Hey, you actually are completely right!" Fortunately, I had a supervisor in the last year of graduate school who understood and offered unconditional compassion for what I was struggling with, allowing me to rediscover my own instincts that had been pushed aside. Thank goodness for her and my daughter's amazing Occupational Therapist who taught me how to view my daughter with a non-pathologizing lens.