This essay was written a few days after I wrote the previous one I published. It explains the why of it and how I was able to change my frame of mind.
It must first be understood how I came to feel the way I felt in the dark hours of that hot summer morning. We had returned from Australia two weeks before. We all suffered from a severe case of jetlag. Our daughter had arrived home sick with a fever and runny nose which had resolved within a few days. Her cough, however, had lingered and continued to interfere with her sleep (and mine!). Every night, at around 3 am, the tickle in her throat awoke us, as she called for the soothing of honeyed tea and the comfort of my embrace.
Slowly but surely she started feeling better yet kept on waking up in the middle of the night. One night she was scared; another night she needed an extra pillow; that fateful night she thought she might have heard a crawling insect! It was the straw that broke the camel’s back! I was tired, my brain as fragmented as my sleep had been for two long weeks, my body waging battle against a particular strong hormonal wave.
When she started to argue with me about leaving her door open, I, whose exhausted, sleep deprived spirit had been teetering at the edge of the precipice, fell feet first into the deep dark hole where tired mothers all over the world find themselves from time to time. Suddenly I was on my knees, engulfed by a thick fog, unable to move, think or silence the demons that had followed me there and whose screeches echoed against the walls of my newfound prison.
“I don’t know how to be a mother!”
“I can’t be a mother!”
“I don’t want to be a mother!”
In a state of frenzy, I did the only thing I could still do: I walked to my computer, placed my fingers on the keyboard, strung letters into words and named all the emotions I felt at 3 am, on 09/20/2017.
This is when I wrote The one where I don’t like being a mother. (Read essay here).
Now that you know the backstory, I dare hope you won’t condemn me.
Each sentence became a step on the ladder that allowed me to crawl out of of the gloomy wretched hole I had fallen into. When I had dotted the last i and crossed the last t, I stood dazed but surrounded by light again. The fog had parted. The darkness had vanished.
Like a Phoenix, I had arisen from the ashes of the despair I had so keenly felt the night before. I felt reborn, regenerated, no longer filled with fear but recharged with hope.
I no longer wished to forfeit my greatest mission: that of being a mother!
I would keep on going faithfully.
I would peel off the layers of ugliness one by one until my true self shone.
I would do the hard work; my babe deserved that much.
When I stood by the open door of my daughter’s room, love and gratitude filled my body and soul. There, on the bed, lay my most precious treasure.
She would need all my strength, all my courage, all my determination.
When I headed to bed at 7 am, my heart felt lighter, no longer anguished and desperate.I rested my head on my pillow and closed my eyes, uncertain of what the day would bring but grateful that she was my daughter, that I was her mother.
Perfection is not required.
Quitting is not an option.
Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy and she… she’s worth everything.
“I have to admit that the course of motherhood is so much longer and so much harder than I ever thought it would be. (…) it is not sinful to be tempted– all of us are tempted to compromise our ideals, and all of us become weary in great tasks. Yet it is how you respond to these obstacles in the course of your life that will determine the telling of your life story”
Sally Clarkson in Desperate- Hope for the mom who needs to breathe.
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