A few years ago when I was in the throes of raising five little boys, a well-meaning neighbor dropped a book about depression and various medications in my mailbox.
I was a bit offended, annoyed.
Still, I perused the book and found that although I certainly felt low, my symptoms didn’t match true depression. I didn’t have trouble getting to sleep– I simply had little people interrupting my slumber; I hadn’t lost interest in my hobbies– I’d simply lost time to pursue my own talents.
With all respect to anti-depressants and the relief they give to so many, I didn’t need a drug. I needed to know I was normal, that I wasn’t alone. Today, I found the book that I wish had been placed in my mailbox on that rainy autumn day.
The Mother in Me: Real World Reflections of Growing into Motherhood is an anthology of prose, poems and photographs by 29 Mormon mothers who capture the beauty, heartache, backbreaking workload and profound love of motherhood. As I turned each page I marveled at each woman’s honesty and found myself nodding my head, “Yes, yes, I’ve felt exactly that way.”
My stomach churned in an essay about morning sickness, I ached for the mother who felt pressure to have another child before she was ready and I cried for a stillborn baby boy.
The poetry in my own life became evident as I read verses describing childbirth, sleepless nights, sibling love and true play.
I love that this book was written by women in the trenches: smack in the middle of babies and carseats, diapers and playdates. Too many mothering books are written in retrospect and lose the fresh, real honesty of life right NOW.
Already, I’ve given away the crib and our strollers are gathering dust as I move onto the next (and I believe easier!) stage of motherhood.
I’d like a stack of books to give away: one for Sarah who just had her first baby and will love the newborn poetry, a copy for Sharon who is mothering three tiny ones, another for my dear friend Kit who spent seven years in infertility clinics begging God for a little one and then felt guilty when she discovered mothering is ridiculously HARD.
Julie is so sick with her 4th pregnancy that she may have to lay on my bed while I read to her. And Jodi may be too busy to read at all—but she’ll pick it up one dark day and know I love her. She’ll know she is not alone.