It is daunting. It really is. My friend Mary got it absolutely right when she said that part of the reason we struggle with motherhood is because our moms made it look so easy. The truth is that motherhood is anything but easy! Enter in all the expectations of a modern, social-media-obsessed culture and that only compounds the struggle.
Between throwing the perfect birthday party, making all the right foods (from scratch), volunteering in the classroom, working just the right amount, keeping a tidy and clean house despite the toddler tsunamis, and staying perfectly holy and devout and joyfully open to life for us Catholic types, motherhood can become a maelstrom of mayhem.
We are currently expecting our third child. I have had a very rough first trimester. Beyond the physical toll of nausea and fatigue, this pregnancy has led me into a battle with some deeper emotional and spiritual demons. Long story short, I have not been overjoyed to be carrying this little bundle. I am beyond excited to meet him, but carrying him – that’s another story. It is a fact that has been hard to admit living out loud as a devout Catholic. It can sometimes seem that there is no room for doubt or darkness.
Yet, that is where I spent many of my days until I finally admitted that I wasn’t doing okay. I admitted that perhaps the reality of accepting God’s will for us isn’t always an easy road. Sometimes it is an uphill battle, and sometimes I would rather just lay down and take a nap. Along that climb, there are days where I would rather just raise the white flag of surrender and go crawl under a rock.
There is freedom in admitting that we cannot do everything – at least we cannot do everything alone. I certainly hope that the coming weeks will get easier, but I am also now very aware that I need to tap into my “village” for help. The fear of being a burden or failing at adulthood cannot keep me from seeking the help I need to thrive even in the moments of darkness. Maybe that means splurging on a maid service, or having a clean-house party with the girlfriends. Maybe that means talking to my doctors about the possibility of medications that could help lighten the emotional turmoil. Mostly, it means abandoning the idea that I have to keep my failings and struggles hidden while I still try to do it all.
As a mother, I’m taking off the cape and waving the white flag of surrender to the idea that I must be Supermom – saving the world with all go, all the time. I surrender to the fact that I will fail, that there will be moments that I make mistakes – big ones. I surrender to the reality that at this moment, we are in survival mode, not superhero mode. It is a successful day if I get them all dressed and fed and still have a little left over energy to shower as well. In this moment, it is okay to boil ALL the things down to the most important things.
While it took me a long time to accept that this reality doesn’t signify a colossal failure of motherhood on my part, I think at the end of the day it is a valuable lesson for the everyday that my children can take with them as they grow. We live life at such a fast pace, that the blessing in this struggle has been the absolute necessity of hitting pause. It has caused me to truly look at what is necessary, what is desirable, and what is excess. You know what? I’m beginning to think that a lot of our lives are lived in excess.
As we approach Advent, I am actually a little thankful for this dance with darkness. I’m not sharing the name we have chosen for our son, but I now know that he will be instrumental in my own journey to salvation and healing. This struggle in carrying him has caused me to open myself in ways that I have never before given myself permission to do. I have no choice this season but to slow down. My body won’t accept the other options while I am carrying this boy. While the struggle continues for now, I also know that darkness doesn’t fight against nothing. If anything, this bout with the dark side reminds me that all life is ordered for the good – for hope, for love, for light – and that is what scares the darkness most of all. So perhaps, in simply being open to God’s will, we are fighting the good fight against the darkness like superheroes after all.
How do you battle the darkness in your life?
Copyright 2015 Rakhi McCormick
Photo copyright 2015 Rakhi McCormick. All rights reserved.