Can you come in close? I want to tell you something very important:
Your life matters.
It’s not just because you care so well for you children, (even when you don’t feel like you’re doing a great job).
It’s not because your family depends on you to be unfailingly strong, (even when you feel so weak you cannot fathom getting out of bed in the mornings).
It’s not because of anything you do or don’t do today.
This nurturing, giving, feeding, parenting journey is hard. Sometimes unbearably so.
18 months ago, my son was diagnosed with a rare syndrome that made him allergic to food. Not just a few things, but about 99% of all foods. He had a traumatic, life-threatening injury at birth and we came so close to losing him. We were just starting to get our footing back when he was diagnosed with FPIES.
My rope, the one I had been hanging onto for 7 months, the one that was frayed and just starting to strengthen again? That one. It broke. And I broke with it. I felt shattered. I was in emotional/psychological free-fall, the pieces of me scattering across the ground that felt impossibly far away and also like it was rising up to swallow me. (See Feeding Echo, here.)
I struggled periodically with some anxiety and depression in the 34 years before I gave birth, as well as PTSD, although I would never have labeled them at the time. I was under the very harmful and mistaken impression that any sort of mood, personality, or mental disorder or imbalance meant that my life would stop and I would forever wear a scarlet letter for the Crazy I carried around in my brain. And if I was Crazy, it meant that nothing I said or did mattered anymore…continue reading here.