I can remember the day so vividly, it’s as if it happened yesterday. My newborn was around 8 weeks old, and sleep was elusive at best. I can remember many nights being up all night long with a fussy baby, and when he did sleep, I was still waking up 3-4 times per night to nurse him. The days leading up to my ‘meltdown,’ I had started feeling sad, and cried more. One night, I fell asleep crying, and every time my son awoke to nurse, I would cry some more. I was SO DONE. This was TOO HARD.
The next morning, I looked in the mirror, my eyes puffy and bloodshot, and a thought suddenly came to the forefront of my mind:
“I cannot be a mother anymore. I cannot be a wife anymore. I know what I need to do. I need to leave my husband, so that he can find someone else…someone better suited to raising our children. That’s right…someone else needs to raise my children.”
I know, I know… you probably think all this sounds crazy. But in that moment, I was convinced. I wanted to quit being a mom. So I started planning in my mind how I would leave, and just drive away, off to anywhere. Where I didn’t have a baby attached to my breasts, I didn’t have a toddler throwing tantrums, I didn’t need to maintain a home, volunteer for everyone, and still work from home. Where I could be FREE.
My husband must have noticed that something was wrong, because he kept asking me how I was. “I’m fine. I’m fine.” Maybe if I said it enough, I could convince myself I was fine, and this would all go away.
As the hours of the day passed, the more convinced I was that I was not cut out to be a mom. I had failed miserably, and I would continue failing, so there was no point in trying anymore. I drove to a weekly women’s bible study at my church. I have no clue what was discussed that day during the study, but while we were meeting in groups, each person was sharing what was on their heart. At the very end, when everyone was about to pack up and leave, I blurted out, “I pride myself in always being OK. I want to be there for others, I don’t want to be struggling. But… I am not ok…” and through sobs as tears poured down my face, I told the group about how I was convinced someone else should raise my children, and I couldn’t do this anymore.
A part of me (let’s be honest, the crazy, sleep-deprived part) actually expected them all to agree with me. They must have see how frazzled I came in each week. How I could barely get my kids ready, let alone myself. They must have noticed how I had become just a shell of a person – hardly able to engage, with barely anything to offer, because everything I had was being given already.
But instead, those sweet, sweet women…started saying things to me like, “Oh, I’ve been there before.” And then each of them ENCOURAGED me. They told me I was the best mother for my boys. That I was the one meant to raise them. They reminded me that sleep deprivation makes anyone crazy, and that this is a very difficult season, but I’ll make it through.
After that day, these sweet women brought meals to my house, offered to watch my boys so I could rest, and texted me and called to see how I was doing.
I’ve now looked back on that day many times as one of the most important in my journey of motherhood. That day humbled me. It made me realize how much I need others. How important vulnerability is. And what it feels like when you are hurting, and others just show up for you.
I share this story in hopes that if any other moms face a similar moment; one that breaks you down to your core and you decide to throw in the towel… you will know that you are not alone. And here’s something I need to tell you:
You were meant to be a momma. Destined to raise those children. There is no one else who can mother them like you can.
You can’t face this on your own. You were never meant to. Reach out and find others willing to help you fight on and push forward.
YOU are enough. No matter how you think. No matter how you feel. You are enough.