Dear Precious Momma,
I remember. What it’s like to be there.
Yes, I know, no doubt, you’re madly in love with your baby. You stare at him every possible second. You constantly hold her little hand in yours looking at fingers that couldn’t possibly one day hold yours back. You can’t stop smelling the top of his head. You want to freeze her in this this moment forever so she doesn’t have to face peer pressure, body image issues, and stupid boys breaking her heart. You believe that every single movement and facial twitch is an expression of the Divine. I am head-over-heels, so crazy-obsessed-it-hurts, too. I wouldn’t go back for anything. When those little miracles showed up it was like the first day of my life.
But, I remember. It’s not all rainbows and lollipops. It’s not all twirling on a hill, birds singing and alighting on your shoulder. It’s not all Disney-ending, happily-ever-after, music-swelling-and-roses-falling-from-the-sky.
I remember those days.
The impossible exhaustion that threatens to overwhelm every cell in my body and render me paralyzed and useless on the couch. Even though I can hear the babies’ cries in the next room it feels like it would take a bulldozer to move even a step. My insides are a yawning abyss seeking to swallow me whole. And, there’s a significant part of me that would welcome it. Because I would be able to sleep. And finally. Rest.
I remember those times.
The rooms pulsate, throb with guilt. Guilt at not trying hard enough. Loving enough. Being happy enough. Being creative enough. Being domestic enough. Being motherly enough. I wrap myself in it like a musty, old blanket. It’s familiar. Smells like home. Comforting, in an odd way. But, bitter. I long to be free of it.
I remember those moments.
Sitting in the darkness. In the forced quiet, though brief as the babies drift off to fitful sleep. I mentally write up all manner of to-do lists or lamely scour Facebook searching out in anything and everything for something to distract me from the inner reality:
I long for where I imagine I might be in this moment – a beach, a conference, a New York City café. I am jealous of other women, pastors, writers, adventure-seekers, mothers who seem to have and do it all. I despair at the thought of doing this indefinitely, waiting around for the twins to fall asleep and stay asleep. I am angry at them for waking up, I am angry at myself for being so heartless and impatient and selfish. I am afraid that this is all there is for me now.
I remember. Expectations shattering. No end in sight. Empty and desperate. Please, hear me: There are other moms like you. Like me. It took me a long while. Conversations with the husband. Trusted friends. A counselor. But, I surrendered. And admitted that I was tired. Ashamed. Enraged. Frightened. Uncertain. But I felt it, and said it out loud. Because, the babies mean all the world to me. Just like yours do to you. For the sake of them, I needed to do something. I talked to someone who could help me help myself. I saw my doctor. I started running a little. I tried my hand at baking muffins. I took deeper draughts of fresh air. I found help in a pill.
So, I’ll just say again:
You’re not alone. Don’t worry about carpe diem. Be gentle with yourself. Go one day at a time. Buy a pretty dress. Eat some chocolate. Go on runs. Talk to someone professional and don’t close yourself off to outside help. Plant some flowers. Be adventurous. Wait for God, and take heart. Most of all, remember: This wilderness isn’t your prison, and in fact, it may be your saving grace. If you let yourself be open and vulnerable to it, you may be surprised at how God will make a way for you. And when you do get there, you will get on your knees and simply drink in the sunlight. It will be so good.
Because, believe me, there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know it may not seem like it. I remember I wanted to murder anyone that said that to me after the 100th time. And I got so pathetic and clueless – rainbows and lollipops suddenly seemed like oases in that unforgiving desert. They’re mirages though. Fluff. It won’t give you life. In fact, those unrealistic ideals and expectations will drown you. Seriously. But I’m here on the other side though. You’ll make it. I know it. I believe in you.
We’re all pulling for you.
P.S. Mine are only 14 months old. I’m no expert. And I hear there’s way more to come…So, please let’s do it together.
*The block quotes are excerpts from my journal.
Adding this to Amber Haines’ MotherLetters collection, designed to celebrate moms and to encourage them in this oh-so-important life journey. You can add your own words of hope and promise by checking out this link:
*something wonderful….mother letters gives back. a portion of every ebook sale goes to the Mercy House in Kenya.