I wish I could tell you how brave you have been
I wish, as you sit on the sofa crying, craving the break you so desperately need, I could put my arm around you and tell you how brave you have been.
That life hasn’t always been easy; that your journey with mental illness has been more painful and scarring then even you ever realised. That it is no wonder you are finding this phase hard after all you have been through, having grown up in the wake of your own mother’s struggles with depression and anxiety.
Nothing prepares you for parenthood, and your quest for perfection and to reach the impossible bar you set yourself was inevitably going to result in failure in your eyes. But you never failed, and you were never a bad mother. The fierce love you feel for your children means that you will put their needs above yours, even to your own personal detriment.
I wish I could tell you that it isn’t necessary to walk the pram up and down your corridor in excess of a thousand times to get your daughter to sleep, only for her to wake 20 minutes later. You really don’t have to breastfeed your son every two hours throughout the night when he’s six months old. I wish I could tell you that there is no shame asking for help, and this is no reflection on your ability as a mother. That, in fact, by accepting help, you will go onto improve the health and happiness of, not just you but your entire family.
You feel so lost right now. But I promise you will begin to find yourself again. Once you start to allow yourself the space, time, and care you so critically need. This doesn’t come easy, you will unearth some truths about yourself and your past that will cause you pain, but you will finally realise that your best is more than enough. That you deserve to give yourself the same compassion you so readily give to others.
It will be hard for you to believe, but this experience will eventually lead you on a path that will allow you to grow and find so much happiness in helping other mums just like you. This too won’t be easy, and there will be many days when you simply want to stop. But your guts and determination to make a difference and help prevent others experiencing what you felt, and this will be enough to keep pushing you forward.
Please let me tell you this…
Don’t give up.
You are enough.
You will love and be loved.
And that’s all that matters.