The mother in an online support group for moms with anxiety and depression asked all us faceless mothers on the other side of the screen: “Why can’t I get it together?”
She asked because she felt alone
Many of us let her know she was not alone, we were right there with her.
We all had felt less than. We all had felt not enough.
We all had wondered why we couldn’t seem to “get it together.”
We moms look for anything that proves we are a bad mother. We do it without even realizing we are. We may not say it, but we think it, dwell on it, speak it over ourselves.
At night, in the dark, we whisper lies to our soul.
“I’m a horrible mother.”
“What was God thinking making me their mother?”
All moms overthink motherhood at some point in their journey.
We overthink about what others think we should be doing.
We overthink about an article that listed what shouldn’t be doing and mentally check off those things we have done.
We overthink mistakes we think will ruin our children.
We overthink and overthink until our thoughts spin so far out we can’t remember where they started.
“Did I hug him enough today?”
“Did I play with her enough today?”
“Was I too easy on him when he made that mistake?”
“Should I have told her she couldn’t play that long on the phone today?”
“Is that stomachache something worse?”
And when you throw in depression? The overthinking happens even more. Thoughts spin even more, spiral us down into dispair and the inability to move forward.
Depression clouds thoughts. It stifles truth.
It tells us we are bad mothers because we deal with depression.
The reality is, all moms are flying by the seat of their pants. We trust our motherly instincts and doubt them at the same time. We are a mess of contradictions.
All moms struggle. All moms wonder why we don’t have “it” together, why we can’t just GET it together.
So often I wonder, ‘what does it mean to “get it together” anyhow?’ What are we getting together? Whose standards do we think we need to meet before we have it “all together?” Does anyone really have it, whatever it is, together?
I don’t know any human being who is perfect. They may look perfect, but we know they’re not because we’re not.
Maybe one mom doesn’t have anxiety or depression, but she has a physical limitation.
Maybe one mom looks beautiful on the outside but inside she holds on to ugly secrets.
Maybe one mom feels like slowing down and letting go of looking perfect will show she is unworthy of what she thinks she has to earn.
Anxiety strangles me most days.
Depression whispers in my ear that I’m never going to be worth anything and I’m never going to be a good mother, writer, photographer, friend, wife, child of God.
Those are the moments I have to fight, even when I’m too tired to fight. I have to learn to expect that all things will work together for His good and His glory – even anxiety and depression.
Sometimes anxiety slows me down. Sometimes slowing down is a gift.
Sometimes slowing down makes me focus on what I have.
Sometimes slowing down reminds me what others may, or may not, be thinking about me doesn’t even matter.
Depression doesn’t make you weak.
Depression doesn’t make you wrong.
Depression doesn’t make you unworthy, unloveable.
Depression doesn’t make you a bad person.
Battling depression and anxiety doesn’t make you a bad mother.
The battle will make you stronger even when you feel weaker.