It turns out that spending years longing for, and trying to have, a child doesn't change the fact that taking care of a newborn is really, really hard.
Extreme exhaustion and new (nearly constant) demands strip away all your normal defenses and pulverize your ego. From a spiritual standpoint, this is supposed to be some kind of glorious gift. One of those learning/growing/surrendering opportunities. Unfortunately, like most of those opportunities, it royally sucks. (The exhaustion and crushed ego suck, that is, not the boy. He's pretty fantastic.) Add a history of depression to this mix and what you end up with feels…scary. Like walking a tightrope between two buildings without a net scary.
Normally, when life flips upside-down on me, I eventually remember to slow down and breathe. The problem here is that it's hard to get enough time and space to gain perspective. Hell, it's hard to get enough time and space to take a shower. But today I realized that I don't necessarily need as much time and space as I think I do. I may not have 20 minute chunks lying around for meditation. I may not have hours for photo walks, or books, or quiet contemplation. But it only takes a moment to stop and breathe. It only takes a second to return to the present.
Today I made a list of simple ways to reconnect with the present--a walk around the block, a deep breath when the baby cries, noticing the smell of his head, the weight and warmth of him. But the easiest thing on the list to share was photography.
One of my favorite ways out of the dark is to pick up the light, one piece at a time.