The happiness hangover.

Sometimes my heart gets so full that I can’t help but mope when it inevitably empties a bit. It’s the crappy feeling that shows up after a surplus of joy — a happiness hangover.

It’s what happens all to often on Sunday nights, when angst about the work week sets in. You hold off letting those thoughts in but they always resurface to put a damper on things. In college we called it “Sunday Syndrome” — something we’d lament weekly while heaped together watching Grey’s Anatomy, dreading the week’s classes and homework.

The past week was full of so many special moments for me with my family. I feel so full from our time together, and so empty with them gone.

It hit me last night while we sat around a fire in the backyard after dinner, drinking wine and making s’mores…I took it all in…the baby asleep on my chest, perfect fall weather and a gorgeous moon. I had a momentary panic when I realized how perfect a moment I was in, and that it couldn’t last forever.

Silly to worry so preemptively when I should’ve focused on the present.

I think my current happiness hangover is compounded by the fact that maternity leave has come to an end. There are lots of fears and feelings that accompany this transition. It overwhelms me. The logical part of me knows things will all adjust and be fine, but the paranoid voice in my head is fixating on so many unknowns.

I’m returning to a familiar environment but I feel like a completely different person. Like I should be wearing a sign that lets everyone know.

It’s hard to grasp the most difficult parts of this situation, because there are so many factors. Perhaps the worst part has been the anticipation?

I’ve spent all day, every day, with my daughter for nearly three months, and it’s been the hardest, most wonderful experience of my life. There were lots of days when every single minute was a struggle, and my only goal was survival. There were also moments so magically poignant and magnificent that my heart could explode with elation. I feel so fortunate to have had this time with her; it allowed us to form a remarkable connection. I’ll worry about her constantly and miss her like crazy–she seems too little to entrust to anyone else–but it’s going to be ok.

It’s time for me to revive parts of the old me and introduce them to the new me. Hopefully they get along.


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