May 22, 2007

Mother Doubt.

I've been arm-wrestling that part of my brain again this week- The one that seems to intermittently take over and crowd out all the good that I know is in there.

This post is honest and I don't apologize for it, although I do wish that I could be the kind of person who didn't feel the need for posts like this... the kind of person who didn't know thoughts like mine on a regular, cyclical basis. If I could stop these feelings I would, but they are ceaseless (like waves), and sharing parts of them with you is only in the hope that my words won't fall on unemphatic ears. That some of my struggle will hit someone out there like a ton of bricks because they know what it's like and they suddenly don't feel so lost anymore.

I'd like to say that I know I'm a good mother. I can say with all honesty that I know I look like a good mother, but anything beyond that catches on my lips. No, it doesn't even get as far as my lips... it stops long before my throat, even. My very heart questions it.

I feel this way because I honestly don't know if I'm alone in feeling this way. I feel like I'm the only one who has these thoughts of doubt and rage and fear. I'm becoming more sure that I'm alone in teetering on the brink, and everyone else is a good enough mother to never even see the edge.

I love my son. He is wonderful and none of this has to do with him. But there are days when I honestly question my decision to become a mother. Days when I think about how it was before he was born and I pine for them. I don't mean this flippantly. These feelings are gut-wrenching and they occur too often.

I want to be the kind of mom that doesn't wish for the old so much. I want to be the kind of mom that doesn't feel the anger well up so quickly that she's jerking her son's arm before she even knows what's happened. I want to be the kind of mom that never sees that look in her child's eyes- the one that instantly makes me sob with shame and fear.

I am tired most of the day and I feel bored with the mall and the barnes & noble and the raging allergies I deal with every time I try to take Ezra outside. I feel like a failure on so many levels. I mean, most moms I know are ready and excited to have another baby by this point... I feel like something is wrong with me because the thought of another baby (most days) is too overwhelming to even day-dream about. It fills me with fear and anxiety.

The thing that would always help me through this re-occurring fog in the past was remembering back to before I was pregnant- back when I felt that God spoke clearly to me and asked me to have this child for Him. I was excited about what God was asking me to do, even though I'd never really wanted to be a mom up until that point. I said 'yes' out of obedience (and the joy of being asked), and I trusted that God would give me everything I needed to raise this child in the way He would want me to.

So what do you do when you begin to question the Voice that you heard?

"What if I heard wrong?"

I know that God will still provide for me, but the doubts! They suffocate!

Ezra is so amazing. I know that this can't be WRONG. I know that he is RIGHT. But what if I never am the mother that he deserves?

What if he needs more? More than I can ever give?

These questions are the screaming in my gut.


piper of love said...

Emery, what you are experiencing right now is amazingly normal. Especially for a stay home Mom. I can say that because before I was divorced I was a stay home Mom, and I teetered on the brink of insanity daily. It's not a joke, and I'm not making light of it. The feelings you are having are intense and true, and the fact that they concern you just goes to show that you are a wonderful Mother. God gave you Ezra because YOU are meant to be his Mommy. ONLY YOU! You and I both know that old addage "God never gives us more than we can handle." It's true, but that doesn't mean He doesn't give us stuff that's overwhelming and scary. I'm on the other side of the spectrum now, I'm divorced and raising two little men all alone. I still feel the way you are feeling though. Sometimes I wish they would go away, sometimes I hate myself as a Mom. I feel like I unintentionally gave every bit of myself away along with giving birth. I'm not cool anymore. I'm not as cute. I've lost my zing. I'm just a Mom, and that is a hard pill to swallow. While as Mothers we freely give everything we have to our children it doesn't mean it's something we really want to do. At the end of the day, when you've spent all your energy and thought, when all you've received is fits, whining, and occasional hugs, it can be a very lonely life. I've said all this to say that even though it feels like it, you are not alone. I remember being told to "get involved" with other Mothers, that only made me feel like an even less compitent Mom. I don't know if there is a real answer to this, except to say that God, our Heavenly Father is the only person who really understands. I pray that He will take you in His arms and cradle you and allow you to feel His presense so intensly that the warmth of it will refresh you and give you the fuel for the next day. Remember that you are storing up treasures in heaven. When we bless others we bless the Lord, and raising healthy kids is pretty much, I think, the biggest way to be a blessing. You are doing great.
God bless you and reward your honesty and integrity.

Flo Oakes said...

Man. This post could NOT have come at a better (or worse?) time!
I think you and I are in the same water logged boat my friend.
I wish I could come over with tea and chocolate and help you paddle along..or at least bail some water.
Seriously though...I know what it's like..I really do.
My next post is going to be about my day today...and how I locked myself in my car for 10 minutes and cried that I didn't want to be a mom while the kids screamed inside.
Something labor taught me was to take each contraction .. one at a time, cause to think of the entire labor would be enough to make anyone give up. When I think that way about motherhood, it makes it easier--just one day at a time. Tomorrow just try to be the best mom God made you to be that day..and don't worry about the next day-it can worry about itself.
I'll be posting soon..about very similar things. You are Ezra's very best mommy:)

Misguided Mommy said...

first totally normal. second. maybe make a list. if you were given the chance to go back to the old what would you miss about the new? not even just ezra but everything about the new, like your house or city or grass or whatever, because basically we are calling the old everything from before the day ezra was bored. put it somewhere you can see it and maybe it will help. then realize maybe god asked you to do this because he knows deep down emery is the one with the strength and tools to be strong enough to overcome all of these feelings.

maybe its also time for a change of scenery or pace...what if you got a part time job and took ezra to day care just two or three days a week with the money from the job and then that could also maybe help you save up to take some classes at the local community college or what not? maybe, you aren't listening hard enough and God is telling you right now, TRY SOMETHING NEW...break out of the barnes and nobel and the mall and be free (two days a week :)

mayyyyybe God is telling me to stop typing and shush and just say hey kiddo, your doing great, Ezra looks happy and healthy and your kicking ass at the mom thing!

sufferingsummer said...

I'm on board with you and the boat...except I probably don't even have the sense to bail I'm just flailing my arms and screaming for more chocolate STAT. I'm not making light of this, I feel for you, really feel it.
What I do know is God's plan is a complete one with no mistakes but to try and see it in it's completion will bring us nothing but fear and worry that is why we just have to trust and Flo is right on, take it one day at a time.
Now I'm off to try and take that advice for myself, just for today anyway, tomorrow's another story.

Thank you for this post, for the honesty and raw clarity of the struggles we face as stay at home Mamas or just Mamas in general. You are wiser than you may feel my friend, and this post is obvious witness to that wisdom. The more we can admit we don't know the more we trust that God does.

kachina said...

I'm not a mommy yet...I have no idea what you are going through...but I do know how BIG our God is! How faithful, how true, how honest, and caring He is. His perfection is more than we can understand...which causes us to doubt why such a perfect being would pick us, who are more than imperfect, to do His will. I don't have any answers...but I do have prayers. I also know that when WE are weak HEEEE is strong! I love you Emery and I am praying for you and your little man. <3

Andrea June said...

I'm not a mom, so I can't say anything from experience, but I've watched you with Ezra, Emery, and I would have given my right eye to have a mom with as much patience and integrity as you. Not that I don't LOVE my mother...they come in all styles.
But you have some very special qualities that are just YOU that no other mother could ever capture.
I'm praying for you!

momar said...

Emery: Help has arrived ... What wonderful blog friends you have ! This is all great advice and spot on ... I am grateful for the wisdom and love I hear from these people who are still so young. I love you.

Jessica said...

Hey Emery! I read this at the GirlTalk blog today and thought of you. Be strong and courageous!

Cam said...

I wish I could somehow convey how very much I relate to your post. I can't, though. I'll just say that you are not alone! All those feelings, especially pining for the days before motherhood--I've had them, and I've had the latter many, many times. Not so much this past year, but for G's entire first 2 years on this earth, I lamented every day that I had made the wrong decision. Then it finally started going away. But, talk about guilt!

And you not being ready for another baby when everyone else is? Oh, I so totally relate to that. Most of my friends who had babies G's age were pregnant again (or trying to get preggo) by the time our babies were 18 months old. I thought they were nuts. It took me till G was 2 1/2 before I could even think about another baby without starting to twitch from all the horrible memories of his infancy. Even now, I don't feel fully happy about another baby on the way; in fact, I have many reservations.

You have my understanding & empathy. I hope you can find the peace you seek & the balance that you need. Motherhood is terribly hard, no matter HOW much we love these wonderful kids!

Shawna Herring Photography said...

I don't think I have ever read someone else's blog and felt like they had somehow found a way into my own head. Thank you for being sets other people free. You are a fabulous mom and it's OK to long for the days when you could jump in the car and go to a movie or be spontaneous or stay out late...or a million other things that you can't really do right now. It's a kind of payoff, isn't it? Because back in those freedom days, you had no idea how much unconditional love you had. Or what it felt like for someone to be absolutely dependant upon you. It is meant to be scary in a's meant to push us closer to The Father. So don't worry, you are perfectly normal. Tell that
"other voice" to shut his lying pie hole.
love you!

Cheatwoods said...

first of all I want to tell you like everyone else did that youa re normal. It is hard, It is amazing, but its hard!!
And I want to ask you while yhou feel you need to have another? Its you and Chris family, dont feel like well Ezra is 2 we should want another right?? No you do what you want. Dont feel like you need tohave another becuase thats what you do. No thats not true!!

I love you Emery, getting out of the house well be good Ithink!!