Sleep deprivation and constant self sacrifice – required from every angle, demanded with shrieks and tugs in different directions – has led me to quite the desperate place.
The kind of church community we need in order to thrive has been mostly non existent for well over a year now, and that coupled with the obstacles this year has presented, plus two babies in less than two years brought me to some serious hopelessness.
I lost sight of almost any joy in motherhood.
I finally said out loud that I’m battling PPD.
What you might not know is that even when things seem to be going perfectly, I’m a moment away from being certain that I’m the worst person ever.
So when things are going badly, I perceive with some serious certainty that the entirety of what’s wrong in the world is my fault. (Obviously I know how ridiculous this sounds, but is my truth, far too often.) It is where my heart goes. There’s this guilt that starts to weigh me down for all of the possibilities of various outcomes for every miniscule to major mistake I perceive that I’ve made.
And I had this community where I felt so at home to share my struggles that I didn’t censor my stresses. It was my attempt at processing what I wasn’t able to. And I caused stress to women who I only ever wanted to equip with new courage.
I’ve been so lost and felt so alone.
I’ve struggled so much as a mom and felt cheated and punished yet completely deserving of every adversity that I’ve come to expect nothing less than pain. Nothing less than an unceasing battle.
I’ve given up on rest.
I’ve been living in the darkness.
I’ve stopped desiring any light because I’m afraid of hoping that things will be different. Because then, when they’re inevitably not, I don’t have to process the disappointment, because I expected it.
And I’m so sad.
I’m so sorry this has become my reality.
I’m so sorry to the friends I’ve discouraged.
I’m so sorry that I’ve said such dreadful things about motherhood.
And I’m so grateful for those few of you who cared enough to see that I’ve been drowning and had grace enough to not abandon me entirely.
I’m not out of it. It feels like I never will be.
But I have to hope otherwise. I have to hold onto the idea that today is the first day of many that will be entirely different.
I have to notice and say out loud and practice with my every breath this idea of thanksgiving. (Eucharisteo.)
Because if I don’t, I think in this drowning I might just sink. The fighting will end and I’ll just fade away.
It’s my hope. It’s hope that I can name these gifts I’ve been overlooking and practice hope. Practice coming back to life.
So here goes:
1. Light poured through shady trees
2. Spanish moss
3. Fresh ocean air on open roads
4. Bridges and uninterrupted skies.
5. A house full of friends, sharing a meal
6. Mismatched chairs
7. Late night films with my soulmate
8. The sway of my little boy, barely walking and determined to dance.
9. The boldness of that little boy to take on big things.
10. The tenderness of my daughter to swaddle her pretend babies.
11. Teddy bears ticked in with blankets to their chins.
12. Wisps of sleepy sweet sweaty blonde baby hair
13. Siblings imagining the same thing together.
14. Amelie’s bewilderment at all things alive. (And sometimes dead.)
15. lily pads
16. Still water
17. Unkempt nature
18. Pig tails.
19. Curly, blondish, ringlet, pig tails.
20. Her smile.
21. Toddler pants.
22. The texture of printed, bound pages
23. The freedom of conviction.
24. The sounds of ocean waves
25. Wind blown curtains
26. Reminders hidden in pages.
27. Forgiveness of friends.