It’s quite the paradox when you have so much to say, but you can’t seem to find the words to say them. I write, rewrite, and write again – searching for the appropriate words and phrases to convey the emotion behind their meaning, to somehow give life to the beautiful tribute in my mind, but the words seem to fall somewhere between not quite to not even close. So tonight (this morning) I will simply pour my heart out in hopes that you are able to look past this novice writer and hear my message not for what it says, but rather for everything it represents.
Almost 9 years ago, I became a mother for the first time. Before he even took his first breath, I made a promise to be the best mother I could be – that I would sacrifice anything and everything for him. Four years later, we welcomed our second child and a similar promise was made. As time went on, I became more and more overwhelmed with the challenges of a colicky baby, a chronic puking toddler, and a stalling career amongst every other thing life seemed to throw at me. I felt like a failure in all aspects. My promise to be the best mother ever slowly morphed into a promise to simply survive and hoping I did. I was miserable, exhausted, uncomfortable in my body and suffering from multiple chronic health issues, including the depression that was slowly taking over my life. I wasn’t the best mother ever – in fact, I was convinced I wasn’t even a good mother.
Last January, I was so sick physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that I actually thought about leaving these boys behind because I thought they would be better off without me – I thought they could find a better mother.
Just writing this takes my breath away. To think that I was in such a dark, ugly place that I would consider leaving my children behind not only breaks my heart, but knowing there are mothers out there who are still in that place, brings me to my knees.
Depression is evil. Depression is ugly. Depression is real. But I promise you, those nasty, ugly thoughts that your family would be better off without you – those are not real, they are a LIE. Your babies adore you – yes, even the broken-hearted you. Their world would be crushed if you were not in it. And while it feels like everyone is against you, so many are standing by waiting to fight for you – but first, you must decide to fight for yourself.
Last year, I made the decision to fight for myself. Truly, and fiercely fight. It has been a long journey and there are days I am still at war – but by the grace of God and the support and love of so many amazing people, I’m slowly beating depression. Not only did I have to take control of my nutrition and my relationship with food, but I had to take control of my thoughts and my relationship with myself. I am learning to love myself. It is a process, but it is progress. This year, not only do I get to celebrate another Mother’s Day, but for the first time ever, my children have a mother who loves herself and her life and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I now know that being the best mother I can be means just as much about taking care of myself as it does taking care of them.
If you are suffering from depression or feelings of hopelessness, I encourage you to make a decision today to fight for yourself. Start by talking with your spouse, significant other or a close friend to let them know you recognize there is an issue and that you will need help to work through this. Make a decision to start with baby steps today. You will need help but that is okay. It will be a long journey, but I pray you find the strength to not only begin, but to continue on the road to better health. Make this the Mother’s Day you choose to be the best mother you can be. ~Jessica