Today’s Guest Post is from Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Postpartum Stress Center, with locations in Rosemont, PA and Turnersville, NJ. She is the author of several books about postpartum subjects. A nationally sought expert, Karen is regularly featured on PsychologyToday.com. What a wonderful subject to welcome the month of March!
There’s a sweet saying that has been plucked from the chamber of anonymous authors and found its way into popular culture and right into my heart: Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over… it became a butterfly. The large blue square-shaped magnet that displays these words is posted at home and at work, as an ever-present reminder to myself, and to those around me, that good things are going to happen.
I love the image it conjures up and the message is one that holds particular meaning to someone who is besieged by despair. The implication that change does not come to pass overnight is unthinkable to someone who is anxious for instant relief. Transformation, in nature, or recovery of one’s body and soul takes place after untold periods of time, hard work, pain, and discomfort. When healing does take place, it is, indeed, a metamorphosis.
Butterflies are amazing creatures that can take our breath away. How many of us have found ourselves sitting outside in a warm sunlit spot catching a glimpse of a butterfly who was diligently trying to avoid us? Or, what about being blessed by a rare occasion of contact with such a creature who, for reasons unknown, decides to settle somewhere on our body, tickling our knee or perching on our arm? When that happens, we stop breathing for a second. Don’t move, we think, lest we lose this precious moment of connection too divine to really understand. We stop and gaze at the loveliness of it all.
In my work with postpartum women, I rely on butterflies as an icon of good things to come, and joy that is possible and within reach. This belief that good things can still happen, perhaps unfathomable to our client in the earliest sessions, will eventually be endorsed by women who secretly long for it.
What is a butterfly? It’s a moment of pure joy. It’s an instant in time when everything feels right. It’s a thing, or a look, or a feeling. It’s a sense, or an energy that grabs us from behind, often when we are not looking. Most of the time, it is fleeting. Sometimes, it rests right in front of us. We cannot see it if we do not look for it. If we aren’t mindful, we will miss it, and it will be gone.
If we find it, it’s exquisite.
Excerpt from The Butterfly by Karen Kleiman.