It changed me.
I remember years ago reading about a mom who drowned her kids in a bathtub. It horrified me. I felt a pit in my stomach. I could not understand how she got to that point. I wondered if people around her saw any signs of mental instability. I wondered if she felt incapable. I wondered if she had ever loved her kids. I’ve read several stories of suicide in which moms left young babies in this world, and I’ve wondered the same. I’ve always judged them for it and then pitied them, never thinking I could be one to identify. But the weight of raising kids is enough to break you. I know that now, even though I never thought I would reach a breaking point.
The thought of potentially messing up your children, affecting the rest of their entire lives by your decisions, is such an unbelievable weight. In my mind, the only solution was to remove myself from their lives. I thought it through. I knew they would be well taken care of by my amazing husband and their many loving (and stable) aunts and uncles. It felt like the best thing for them. And for me, it felt like the only way to get off the island and rid myself of the dark narrative that plagued all of my waking hours.
I am here. I got help and am on the mend.
But my stomach turns when I think about what I could have done. My husband talked me through it, even-keeled and with an unfathomable amount of kindness and grace. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around deserving that kind of love.
I constantly questioned my worth as a mother. There was no safe place in my mind that I could rest in, and the world of moms felt like impending judgment. I couldn’t let this out; I would either be pitied to bits or heartlessly judged.
And then, a friend came over. Bursting through the loneliness of my own cyclical thoughts, she parachuted down onto my little island and simply asked, “So what’s going on?”
Dare I hide again? I wondered if she would pity me or judge me, but her response completely surprised me. Her dark, inner narrative had matched mine at one point. We were united in our shared battles with despair and feelings of worthlessness. She had walked through it several years before, but it was like our stories were parallel and as if our souls had just met and hugged for the first time. I felt less crazy. Less alone. Less like I was on the fringes. We had suddenly been united by the dark side of parenting. That conversation was meaningful to me. It was life-giving. I felt air-lifted off of this island I had been on.