Faith and denial

I remember the moment a few years ago, as one of my daughters was going through a health crisis, when I felt like I was falling apart. Harsh words coursed repetitively through my head…

I am not cut out to be a mother! I am not cut out for this job!

As I heard myself screaming this, I had a moment of made of equal parts panic and recognition of the insanity of that thought. I knew I’d had those thoughts so many times through the two-plus decades since I became a mother, and I reminded myself that once upon a time, I reached a juncture and realized my need to figure out how to remain an active parent in my children’s lives without it bringing me to my knees. I needed to find healthy tools to help me cope.

What a simple idea. What a seemingly impossible task.

I shared here earlier that at the moment of each one of my children’s birth, I had a feeling of love that no words aptly describe. Simultaneously, I felt the fear that my job had just begun. I had to keep them healthy, alive and help them grow into magnificent human beings. Had I known this before they were born? Theoretically, I knew that was the role of a parent, but there was no way I could have known the enormity of that task until I held those babies in my arms, saw their faces, looked into their eyes, saw the essence of who they were, and heard their cry. Perhaps it was good I did not realize. I wonder if had I understood, would I have ever have had a baby?

So how did I go on to have five more babies after the realness of my role was so evident after the birth of my first child? Faith and denial. Isn’t that what it takes? Is this a bad thing? Whether we are conscious of it or not, if you are a parent you are living in a constant state of reality and denial every moment. I think living in this state is a healthy mechanism parenting requires of us. Living otherwise would destroy the joy and the beauty of this magnificent journey we are on with our children.

But what did I do specifically at that moment of fear when I questioned being a mother? I came back into the moment and thought what can I do right now? I reminded myself that worrying wasn’t going to do anything except make me feel powerless. It was not helpful to her. I reminded myself she was ok at the moment (she would be fine long term) and that was what I needed to focus on. So what did I do? I laughed and treated myself to a cup coffee and climbed back into my wondrous state of denial.

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