Beautiful mess. Beautiful sacrifice. I’ve called motherhood a lot of beautiful things. Even through the hardest days and the roughest moments, I strive to see the beautiful, capture the beautiful, and write about the beautiful.
meeting the ones that call me Mom
So what happens when you can’t see the beautiful? When you’re exhausted and everything seems too difficult this time. When the harder days are even harder, and the rough moments become dark. When you feel broken.
I’ve been struggling lately, as we all do at times. But my struggle became the norm, my mood swings stayed and never swayed back to happy. I was a mess, a functional mess, trying to juggle life the best I could. I wasn’t happy. And I don’t know why I believed the lie in my head that told me this was normal. Moms, hear me: this is not normal.
I told my husband that I was miserable. That I dreaded waking in the morning. Tears would well up in my eyes while I listened to him get ready for work, and when he was gone the crushing feeling of being alone would take over until Kolbe or Rose needed me and I would snap out of it. Every time Mike would play and laugh with the kids I would resent him. Why did his loving come so easy? It wasn’t fair.
I was angry, and I’m rarely angry. But I was now, and often. At some point every day, I fought to not slam the literal door closed and hide away. Most days I lost the fight. It took every ounce of energy to not scream at Rose (or even Kolbe) when things weren’t going the way I wanted them to. Sometimes I did scream. Alone in my room or the shower, I would scream. It was like the rage had to escape. I would shake uncontrollably. It was an anger I’d never felt. And it scared me.
My mom guilt was magnified in every little decision I had to make and my flaws were constantly running through my head. I didn’t think I deserved to be their mom. Here I was, witnessing the incredible little lives of my two children, wondering if my own life was worthy of them. I didn’t wish myself (or my babies) any harm or pain, but I wished they had someone better to call their mommy. I was broken.
Postpartum depression is funny thing. It creeps up, it steals joy, and makes things a lot less beautiful. You’re supposed to be happy holding your little ones, but instead you’re sad and you don’t know why. Sometimes you feel everything too much and sometimes you’re numb and just want to feel something at all. It comes in waves, some days you’re okay so you think you must’ve just been making up the hard moments in your head. You still love your children, you can still smile with them, read books before bed, sing their favorite songs. You still Instagram the hell out of your squishy baby and find pride in teaching your toddler new things. You’re still mama. Just not completely.
As I wake from my haze of postpartum depression and anxiety (thanks to an amazing OBGYN, 3 hefty injections of progesterone, a supportive husband, and the love of family and friends checking in on me), I wanted to tell you, Mama who is struggling:
I share my story for you, because it’s not easy to move past pride and the lies that we’re okay and “just a little” tired or overwhelmed. It’s hard to admit there’s something more. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression in my past, but to recognize it taking over this time? That took weeks. Don’t let it take weeks for you too.
Even though I doubt life will ever seem easy with a toddler and newborn, I know the overwhelming times are fleeting and the joy will win. And it’s okay if it’s not beautiful right now, this day, this week, or this season.
While I sat and prayed and cried and begged for things to be better over and over and over again, I focused on the cross. The greatest example of love that I know is Christ on the Cross. It’s not beautiful, not in the obvious sense. It’s a broken body, and it’s a sacrifice. It is Love in the truest of forms, and it’s our call as mothers to cling to that love, and be that love.
When you can’t see the beautiful, look for the brokenness; love lives there too.