My oldest son is 20 years old, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had a baby in the house. As I was organizing some books the other day, a single journal entry fluttered out of a notebook and caught my attention. I looked at the date: April 1993. Then I started reading.
I’m so tired. I’m so lonely, so confused. I can’t fit two rational thoughts together any more. How am I supposed to help anybody else? I love my baby, but I feel like I’ve got to get away. Teething, ear infections, and sleepless nights are too much. I can’t go on. I’m so tired of laundry and dishes and never being enough. I’m tired of failing. I just can’t cope anymore. Nothing helps. We have no money. No family to hold me up now. Who do I call when I want to quit?
I’m tired of faking being happy. I’m tired of pretending I am strong and everything is okay. I need somebody to see through the façade and to care about me for once. I’m being so selfish, but I just can’t help it.
I don’t know how to reach out to you, God. Can you find an escape for me – some kind of respite or retreat? Can you help me to keep my sanity? I don’t know how to let you hold me up. I don’t know how to do anything anymore.
My life feels so useless. I’m too tired to care. The slightest thing sets me off. I have no patience, not even for my baby. He can’t help it that he doesn’t feel well. I don’t know what to do, where to go, what to say, or what to ask for. I’m empty, and I can’t stand up anymore.
But I still have to anyway.
Wow. I wonder if I might have been suffering from a bit of post-partum depression when I wrote this. According to the date, my son would have been nine months old at the time, and that means he had been walking for a few weeks and getting into everything at that point. I remember that I was exhausted a lot, but I’m so thankful I was able to write this down and pour out my heart to God in the midst of my angst.
Writing my thoughts and prayers is like therapy for me sometimes. I often don’t really know what is inside of me till I start to articulate thoughts out loud or on paper. For someone’s sake, I’m glad I wrote this entry.
If you’re a new mom and can relate to this painful message from my younger self, know that you are going to make it. You may not be able to see past the dirty laundry, piles of toys, ear infections, or sleep deprivation right now, but I can honestly say that it won’t always be so rough. The teeth eventually all come in, a new type of pre-school clean-up-the-toys song will teach your child to help out someday, and one day you’ll wake up with six or seven full hours of sleep in a row and you’ll feel like a new woman. The laundry will continue to be an issue throughout life, but most other things will progress.
And I can honestly say that there is hope. I poured out my heartache to God, and he heard me. I didn’t get a huge reprieve from my chaos at the time, but I did receive what I needed to put one foot in front of the other, and I was able to keep going. God met me where I was. He listened, he comforted, and he helped me to continue the journey after a personal time-out ensued. I survived. And so did my son.
I believe in you. You can do this. Call upon God to help you; I know that he will.
He believes in you too.
Love, love, love this. Love your openness and heart for sharing your life experiences, thoughts, and emotions. I can definitely identify with many of the feelings/thoughts you shared when Justin was just a baby. I’ve felt all of those and then some! I wish more moms would express their experiences more candidly. There’s been many, many times that my emotional/mental cup was running over (and not in a good way), and I really needed connection, affirmation, and encouragement … to know that I wasn’t crazy, that motherhood and all that is is hard, and to know that it would get better … but mostly to be heard and comforted. The women I’ve tried to connect with seem so opaque and life seems so wonderful and always happy to them, and when I would share occasional struggles, their responses were polite and reserved “oh I know” and then they’d smile and get on with what they were doing. Really? And sadly, many of these were “Christian” women. I say all of that to say thank you, Tabby for your example of vulnerability wrapped in grace, wisdom, and love. The world (specifically the world of moms) needs more women like you.