September was Suicide Prevention Month, and I believe the best way to prevent it is to normalize talking about it. So, we are continuing the conversation. It’s easy to suffer alone when everyone who’s suffering is silent about it. Let’s not dance around the topic here. Let’s boldly declare that we are unashamed of what we’ve overcome.
Everyone wants to talk about the mom’s guilt of yelling at your kids, working too much and allowing excess amounts of screen time. Everyone’s game to be relatable when other moms all have guilt about prioritizing alone time or going out with friends.
But it gets to feel real isolating when your mom-guilt goes so much deeper. When you don’t enjoy your kids like you thought you would, when you don’t feel proud of them or grateful for them because you just don’t feel anything. At all.
When you’re so tired of feeling guilt and shame and sadness and you numb out all the good feelings, too. Nobody really wants to talk about that feeling of wanting out of life so badly that you’d leave your kids without a mom, all while so many other women struggle to even conceive a child.
When you’ve got everything that others want so desperately and you’re just wishing it all away… No one wants to talk about that. It can feel really isolating.
Here’s the thing though, just because you feel alone, that doesn’t mean you are. You’re not the only one who has ever felt this way, you’re not the only one who feels that way. But every time you pretend this isn’t you, someone else feels alone, too.
When you feel shame for the way you feel, you’re telling yourself and everyone else that it’s not okay to not be okay. I need you to know something very important: you don’t need to feel shame for wanting to leave this life, shame won’t help you heal. You’re not a bad mom for wanting a way out, you’re a hurting mom. Taking the exit ramp isn’t the answer though, that much I know.
It’s like your extreme love for your kids, your deep knowing that no one can fill your role for them that’s kept you hanging on. Hold onto that. You’re not a bad mom for being depressed, you’re not depressed because you’re a bad mom.
Depression and motherhood are not connected. It’s simply an inconvenient overlap. Depression is an imbalance – of neurotransmitters, of healthy nutrients, of soul vs ego, of positive and negative thoughts. Depression is not a reason to feel shame, it’s a reason to get mindful and encouraged to elevate to the life you’re craving, a reason to seek community, camaraderie, and compassion.
It’s never too late to get help. It’s never too late to make a change. It’s never too late to build a life of joy.
I could leave you here with this kernel of hope, but I know that alone won’t leave you with a lasting impact.
You are the best mom for your kids. Period.
You were chosen, against all odds, to be the mother to your kids. I know you know that deep down. You’re meant to be their mother. You know you’re the perfect fit. They belong with you.
Get mindful of how you’re spending your days. Pay attention to what’s working and what’s causing you extra stress and anxieties. Seek help where you need help – whether that’s therapy, home care, child care, whatever. Let go of the guilt of letting things be easier so you can focus on prioritizing your mental health.
Need somewhere to start?
- Call 911 if you or someone you love are in an emergency.
- Contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline if you are experiencing mental health-related distress or have concerns about a loved one. You can call or text.
- Connect with a trained crisis counselor. 988 is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365. You can also connect via chat at 988lifeline.org.
- Find local resources by visiting Oregon Suicide Prevention’s Get Help Now page or Washington Suicide Prevention information.
- If you or your loved one are not in crisis, you can:
- Check out my free workbook to get you thinking about the way you think: Happy Mom Mindset Makeover
- Scheduling a therapy session a local therapist or an online platform such as BetterHelp if you need to speak with a licensed therapist.