Two postpartum symptoms I struggled with were an acute sensory sensitivity and a severe lack of focus. On several occasions I heard the words being spoken to me as strange sounds and oftentimes holding conversations felt like fighting against quicksand. I found social interactions to be so draining that for several months I did everything I could to avoid them. Even though my heart wanted to be connected to those dear to me, my mind and body demanded space and made me pay when I pushed their boundaries.
During this time I began to understand the words I love you in a new way.
I came to use the words I love you as a placeholder for all of the support I couldn’t offer, gratitude I couldn’t express and laughter that lay silent in me. I believed in I love you. I felt lighter… felt the emotions in me, that were screaming for a way out, find safe passage each time I’d say I love you. I was so grateful to have a simple phrase that was wide enough to fit the range and strong enough to carry the depth of my feelings.
As I become more comfortable with a wider range of interactions I continue to hold the fondness I gained for I love you. I know it can be used as a safety release valve when I’m experiencing emotions that are difficult to express. And I know it to be an effective messenger when I can’t say anything else.