Motherhood is a journey, not a destination. It is an individualized path, an experience that will be as unique to the mother as fingerprints are to humans. This is an experience that should be shared, embraced and celebrated. No mother should ever feel alone on this journey no matter the circumstances, whether rich or poor, having a husband, boyfriend, partner, family support or the lack there of. But many women suffer in silence each and every day with depression, stress, violence and simply no help.
No woman should have to face motherhood or life alone. As women, we can support each other in positive, pro-active ways. I write this because in the last few months, its been very difficult for me, although I have a husband and friends. Two weeks ago, a very talented musician, whom I didn’t know, but many of my friends did know committed suicide leaving our community in shock and disbelief. Several asked, “How could this happen? Why didn’t anyone know?” The answer is simple he suffered in silence. On Facebook, friends shared their shock, prayers for the family, and reasons why people should never resort to this last course of action. I admitted in the same conversation stream that I had been suffering quietly for a year and a half with postpartum depression.
Another person quickly chimed in that she had experienced depression and had put the mask on trying to fake it until things get better. I reiterated that I did that all the time. Its my coping mechanism, although it’s not the most effective emotional management tool, it gets me through.
However, after having almost lost my house, and nearly pushing my husband and my children away, almost losing my sanity I have decided that a new approach is best. Besides at my lowest point, the only force that could help me was God,whether, you believe in him or not, that’s who saved me. I thought I understood what people meant by going through trials and tribulations, having a testimony or going through something, but I really didn’t understand it fully until I went through something. Those who’ve experienced a time in their life that changed them understand this better than most.
What I realize more than anything is that I should not be dealing with my feelings and emotions all by myself. Therapy, prayer, time with girlfriends is well spent to help me recover and get back on track. I have great friends, who unfortunately I didn’t turn to because I felt like I could solve my problems on my own or their problems were bigger than mine. Many people who suffer through depression feel this way, especially mothers who have to battle “The kids are a blessing…you just need to get over it” mindset.
I– like others I’m sure battled the same personal demons–there’s something wrong with me because I’m not happy with my kids, but I believe that the problem lies not in the children, but in the notion of what motherhood is. If people are honest about it Motherhood is not for the faint of heart, its difficult, time consuming, exhausting, but so very rewarding and there are no easy or right answers to many situations.
You learn and earn your warrior mother stripes with children. When I first became a Mom, I envisioned battling mythical threats (intruders, robbers, killers) to protect my son. Praise God nothing ever happened, but immediately I became a protective tigress over my baby cub. No one tells you that about becoming a Mom. I thought I was a weirdo because I have a such a vivid imagination. Who knew.
My female friends have been very supportive in sharing information, their struggles, their triumphs and their fears with me. I am now doing the same and finding out we are all experiencing the same amount of angst in varied degrees. My mission is now to form a support group for mothers who are suffering through depression and share my story of hurt, fear, anger and triumph. Prayerfully, someone can be reached through the sharing of information and not continue to suffer in silence anymore.
Motherhood its a journey. You get there when you get there, whatever way you travel.