Our son’s last day of Jewish preschool has come and gone, and there are still times I cry, but not for the reasons you may think.
I wasn’t one of those moms posting on Facebook about my son’s first day at preschool and my overflowing tears and anxieties. We took a picture of him outside with his backpack–which was posted on Facebook–and drove on, knowing he was going to have a great time. This mom wasn’t sad or worried, not one bit.
Deciding to send our son to preschool was fueled by a couple of factors: our son’s need for more activity and my history with Postpartum Depression (PPD). We were expecting our second child in the fall, and a difficult pregnancy kept my son home with little opportunity for active play, which he desperately needed. I also felt it was important to prepare for the possibility I may experience PPD again; being proactive was important to me.
Our second son was born and we were doing OK, adjusting to having a toddler and a newborn, but PPD wasn’t far behind. Thankfully our son loved going to school, which gave the new baby and I a chance to get to know each other, but also allowed for a much needed break while in PPD’s grips.
Many mornings on the way to school, our son asked me to walk him into his class. I’m sure there were plenty of mornings during which I had the look only a mom of a newborn could have, but for me it was layered with an unhealthy dose of anxiety, depression, guilt, and feelings of inadequacy, all which made for a difficult time. My son’s teachers, unknowing of my PPD, provided words of support, encouragement, reassurance, and hugs. They did this on days I happened to be hanging by a thread. They became a part of my motherhood journey and recovery without ever knowing just how I was hurting.
When the last day of school arrived I was amazed by our son’s growth over the year, but I was also amazed by his teachers’ unexpected role in all our lives.
How do you thank the people who gave you hope, strength, and courage? How do you thank the people who knew nothing of your struggle, and yet did so much? I’ve always known teachers did more than just teach, but I would never have imagined this.
So, on our son’s last day of school, I cried, in front of his teachers, no less.