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Challenge: Digging Deep

My Bags Were Packed

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It was lonely. It was exhausting. It was motherhood. The first several months of my daughters life were incredibly, indescribably hard for me. Then there was the guilt for struggling so much - I was so blessed. I had a supportive family, including a hard-working husband. I had a lovely house in a safe neighborhood. My daughter was healthy, despite being born prematurely. Motherhood should not be that hard for someone like me.

But it was. It was hard emotionally and physically. It made me feel like I wasn't included in the world around me. I had to use what little time, energy and motivation I had to care for my daughter. There was nothing left for myself or others.

As I sat awake, and alone, at night I struggled. I struggled with anxiety that I wasn't enough for my daughter. I struggled with feelings of inadequacy as a wife. I struggled with doubts I could do it all another day. I struggled with the loss of hope that it would ever get better.

To cope I started planning my escape. I decided I wanted to go somewhere warm, where I could nap in the sun. Somewhere that would be affordable to live but not easy to be found. I planned how I could get enough cash to survive for a few months without anyone noticing. I mapped a route to where I wanted to go - making sure there would be places to stay along the way.

My heart was breaking at the thought of leaving my daughter. I loved her more than words can explain. But, in the midst of exhaustion and depression, I felt like the best way to show her that love was to give her a chance to have a different mother, a better mother.

I convinced myself that it would be selfish for me to stay. I could never be the mother she deserved. I would never be enough for her, or anyone else.

Something stopped me, though. God spoke to my heart that I could do it. I could do it with his strength. I started reading stories of other moms - in books, on blogs and in magazines and I didn't feel so alone. I was able to understand that I wasn't the only one who lived the first few months of motherhood in an exhausted haze. There was hope to feel better - and hope that I could be there for my daughter.

When it all feels too much. When it feels like life is too hard. When it feels like there is no hope. There is. There always is. Search for it in little ways. Pray. Talk to someone. Read a book. Find a mom's group. Those little steps can seem impossible in the midst of the struggle but they are worth it. You are worth it.

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