“I’m fantasising about just walking out the door and leaving them to fend for themselves.” My SOS text went out to my closest friends, the ones I knew would not take me literally and yet would know how completely overwhelmed and spent I felt.
My phone was pinging back in minutes. Notes of empathy and understanding, humorous stories of their own motherhood-nightmares, quotes and verses to encourage me.
We women are quick to talk about how mean and competitive we become as mothers but I have been overwhelmed by the opposite, by our camaraderie in a hard season.
My first evening alone with my two children involved me sitting on the landing floor, holding the screaming two-week-old baby in my arms while the toddler sobbed equally enthusiastically on the floor in front of me. I believe I might have offered her the wrong colour toothbrush. Who knows why he was crying? I thought about joining in (I frequently do) but this time I just leant back against the wall and tried to breathe for a moment with them wailing around me.
I’m not one of those women who enjoys the newborn phase. I didn’t with my firstborn, but then those months also included a healthy amount of Netflix binging while she fed, and summer strolls to get ice cream when I got bored with the monotony of it all. This time—my son is just eight weeks old now—I am trying to survive the same hard early months but with a lively and emotional toddler to keep healthy and happy at the same time. It seems like an impossible task most days.
I’ve heard so many mothers say the move from one to two children was the hardest transition, and I’d agree so far. I feel stretched into impossible poses, trying to feed, clean, change, and entertain these two precious but demanding human beings. I stand in the middle of the living room, both little ones demanding my immediate attention, and wonder how on earth I’m supposed to choose between them, these two halves of my heart.
In the midst of all the nappies and muslins, I worry I am losing myself. Every minute of my day is spent caring for my children. I rarely have a moment where one of them is not in my arms or on my lap. I can’t tell you when my day ends or begins anymore because it blurs into one long stretch of time punctuated by difficult feedings and too-short sleeps.
I miss writing. I miss having conversation with an adult that isn’t interrupted every few minutes by the needs of a child. I miss leaving the house on my own. I miss being able to act on my dreams and ideas; everything is on hold for now.
But right there, in those moments when I have forgotten who I am, and my vision is blurred from tears and lack of sleep, there is a sisterhood that reminds me of my worth.
These women have brought over meals and brownies and flowers, have sat on my un-vacuumed floors and listened to me tell it all out. They have sent me cards and messages and a whole amazing babyshower-in-a-box. “I’m going to remind you of your own words to me,” one friend wrote to me, “You are a good mama and you are enough.”
Best of all, they’ve been my safe space. My space to say it real. My space to say the things which sound terrible coming out of my mouth, but I know need to be diffused by the grace and hope that these women will meet them with.
There’s a song by the beautiful singer Birdy that I has been ringing in my head this past week. The words speak to this sisterhood that keeps me going, that has been there through some of my darkest moments, before and since becoming a mother, to remind me of who I am when I have forgotten.
Hold tight; you’re slowly coming back to life
I’ll be keeping your head up, darling
I know your soul; I’ll be your home
Til you can breathe on your own
I know they are right, that this season, hard as it is, is a short one in the big picture of our lives. Their perspective and encouragement is what enables me to keep breathing, even as my toddler loudly mourns her pink toothbrush at my feet and my son yells to be relieved of his discomfort.
It’s this sisterhood that lets me celebrate each small moment of victory and enjoyment in the day, and it’s this sisterhood that helps me forgive myself and start over again for the hundredth time when it doesn’t go so well. They are the voice of the Spirit to me in this season when my hearing is impaired, and She is whispering to me the words one dear soul friend gave me: “You are walking this path well. And you are Enough.”
This post was originally published at She Loves Magazine.