To the Mother Struggling With Depression
I know it’s not easy to read essays about mothers savoring every moment they have with their precious children.
It’s not easy to witness the Mommy Wars over whether stay-at-home moms or working moms have it harder.
It’s not easy to navigate where you fit into any of these modern American cultural mother modes.
You’re too busy struggling to rise in the morning, too overwhelmed from wondering what’s wrong with you, why you can’t feel “normal,” why you have to be one of the one in eight women who will suffer from depression in her life.
You want to wake up excited to the possibilities of the day: making a healthy breakfast, packing adorable mini-sandwiches (or some other cute lunch idea you saw dart by on Pinterest) or planning which park you will take your youngest to today to explore.
You want to do all those mommy activities you see your friends doing on Facebook. You want to have albums full of photos of your kids smiling at their themed birthday parties, laughing at the worms slithering on your gravel driveway or jumping into the Vermont lake you vacation at every summer.
You want to have the luxury of struggling to decide whether your family can afford for you to be a stay-at-home mom.
You want to have the luxury of not needing to decide whether antidepressants cost too much — in a financial and side effects sense.
You want to be a “normal” mom.
All outer indicators make others believe that you are normal and should be happy: a loving partner, a healthy family, a job.
You have the nagging feeling that your friends do not quite understand why you don’t do more activities with your kids, why you don’t have framed family photograph collages hanging in your hallways or why you don’t get giddy about days your kids have off from school.
You may not be able to savor once-in-a-lifetime moments with your kids even though you would like nothing more than to drench yourself in hugs and kisses.
But there is something that prevents you from experiencing life to its fullest: a pain that sometimes tells you that you are not good enough, that life is not worth living.
Of course, you are in therapy, or attending religious services, or exercising, or doing some other therapeutic activity to try to heal yourself for your family, for you.
Please stop, breathe and know you are not alone.
Your family and friends love you, even if they cannot exactly understand your pain.
But I do: I understand the agony of wanting to be happy when it looks like so much fun, when others around you are enjoying life, when your kids are getting older day-by-day.
Your family and friends need you, even as you are, even when you are in a depression. Even when you lose your temper, or yell, or cannot get out of bed.
They are there for you.
And that you is in there. Even though she may be hidden at times, even though you may not feel it, or believe it.
Rest on my belief.
Close your eyes and feel me reaching out to you with all my love and understanding.
Although your experience may not be what you see as “normal,” it is still the experience of a mother.
You are a mother, and you are going to be OK.
Rest in the breath and in the love you can feel even in your darkest moments when you close your eyes, take a deep inhalation, release a slow exhalation, and pause.
Rest here, my sweet darling.
If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
This post originally appeared on Mamalode.