I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how far I’ve come as a mother. After my first daughter was born seven years ago, I battled postpartum depression. I was convinced I was going to die, that something was terminally wrong with me. As time went on and I wasn’t feeling any better, I wanted to disappear. I wanted to float away on a cloud, have my mom take care of my daughter, and return when I felt like myself again. Flash forward seven years, and I still haven’t returned to “myself” again. I’ve returned as a much better person.
Cognitive behavioral therapy helped me immensely. It aided me in becoming a better “me.” I was at the lowest of lows. You can’t get any lower than being brought to the emergency room, stating you’re suicidal, then being admitted to a behavioral hospital. On the ambulance ride from the emergency room to the behavioral health hospital, I kept demanding answers from God, “Why? Why is this happening to me? I’m a good person, and I have always dreamed of being a mom, so why? Why?! Why?!!”
I now know why. God challenged me in ways I never knew were possible. He was stripping down my insecurities and building up my strengths. He was doing this so I could be the best mother possible to my daughter and future children.
My spirited 7- and 4-year-old daughters and toddler son challenge me nearly every day. My daughters can sometimes make me question if I’m doing a good job as a mother. They can overwhelm me and get my blood boiling with their gold-medal temper tantrums. But they’re also tangible proof of my triumphs. They were put on this earth by God to make me a better person.
There are times when I need help. I can’t always do it on my own. Life isn’t easy. It’s hard! No one should have to carry the entire burden and do it alone. Sometimes reaching out for help is the kick-start we need to become our better selves. I know it was for me.
One day, while putting my oldest daughter in the car, my husband called her a “doll baby.” She shouted back, “I’m not a doll baby! I’m a human!” We laughed because it was so cute and innocent coming out of a child’s mouth, but it stuck with me on a deeper level — because it’s true: We are human.
First and foremost, we are human. There are going to be days where we question if we’re doing the right thing and worry over every little decision we make as mothers. It’s only human, as the saying goes. We’re going to question if we’re feeding our kids the right food and sending them to the right school. But, you know what? If you and your children are fed, bathed, and clothed, you are doing the right thing. We cannot be so hard on ourselves.
I know I am doing the right thing. You are doing the right thing, my friend.
I know I am not postpartum depression. You are not postpartum depression.
We are human.