This winter has been rough in Michigan. This we broke the record of having the most snow since 1880-81 at 94.8 inches! Every year I struggle a bit from January through March. I try to eat better and exercise more to combat that blue feeling but this year I hit an all time low. I found myself weeping often and struggled with getting irritated by the slightest annoyance. I don't really know how to describe the feeling except but it starts in the middle of my chest and feels connected to my throat and eyes. There were times when I was beyond weepy and just felt plain numb.
In February I started telling my friends I wasn't doing well. In the past if I started to talk about it I would start to get a lighter feeling and I could begin work it out so it would go away. This year I not only told my friends and family but I started telling the preschool teachers and Ada's therapist and basically anyone who had ears. It felt like I was sick and I couldn't figure out what was wrong
Everyone kept saying this was a hard winter and, although I believe them, I think there were several factors involved. I'm tired of not having "me" time. HA! What mother doesn't feel like this at moments? I'm tired of going to therapies for my kids. I'm tired of cleaning the house several times a day. I'm tired of toys. Oh the toys! Really, I should say art supplies because those are coming out the wazoo and there are so many little parts to loom rubber band bracelets, perler beads and crayons.
The thing is, this isn't me. I actually have grown to love the repetition of cleaning the house and the routine of our days and weeks. I normally can't imagine being anything but a stay at home mom in this season of life. I used to be able to laugh when the insurance customer service rep told me she couldn't help me. I found comedy in everything but not for awhile now. It's probably been growing for some time but it really hit me with the combination of the other things of life such as SNOW!
Last week we went to Florida and although it felt great to be in the sunshine I wasn't feeling any crazy joy over it. I did appreciate having my parents and Greg around to help take care of the kids. It gave me space to breathe. When we started to drive home I realized that the depression wasn't gone. I still felt horrible. Since we had plenty of time in the car I started thinking about what I could do to make it go away and why was I depressed? Do I have some chemical imbalance? And, why can't my new doctor not get me in until July to check? Will that be too long? Should I try something herbal?
When Ada was first born friends came to visit and asked me how I was doing with Ada's diagnosis and I really didn't have many negative feelings. Our friend Mike said that I may not now, but don't be surprised if they came later on down the road. His comment was not annoying because of the place of love it came from and I remember making the mental note to remember what he said. That conversation has replayed in my mind several times since January as I ask myself if I am grieving the fact Ada is not typical.
Halfway home we stopped in Chattanooga to see our friends. I was looking forward to this time since my friend Liz and I don't have a lot of phone time and it takes effort to write an email. Our husbands took the kids to the park so we could chat and I told her about how the feelings of depression were still close by and I wasn't sure why or what to do. We talked about being stay at home moms and how I feel sad that I don't have the time to go to library story time because of therapies. I'm sure our schedule would be just as filled as now but I would be at the library rather than at a therapy. Liz pointed out that I never was a stay at home mom with my typical child, Catina. I worked three days a week so I never experienced staying home with a child with no therapies. As soon as June was born doctors appointments and home visits began and so began my time as a stay at home mom.
After that conversation we had another days worth of driving and more thinking time in the midst of passing out snacks and things to do. And, that's when it hit me! I am grieving the fact I am not the mom I envisioned myself to be. I wanted to be the mom who went to story time at the library and made homemade bread and loved taking time to teach my kids their numbers or shapes. The number one being I am not the library mom I wanted to be! I LOVE THE LIBRARY! WHY CAN'T I BE THE LIBRARY MOM!
Jen called me yesterday and told me she was talking to a friend about the stages of grief and she wondered if I was in the depression stage. I couldn't believe my ears because I wanted to tell her about my revelation and how I think I'm in the depression stage of grief. After we got off the phone I googled the stages and found out that the stages don't happen in order. They can happen in any order! DARN IT! SERIOUSLY? Well, this made me angry so I'm hoping that counts as the anger stage.
Today feels a bit lighter knowing why I feel the way I do. I can always see such great things in how my life is. I've met so many great people and there is nothing I would trade in my children. So, how do I learn to to grieve the fact I'm not the Library Mom right now and instead I'm Therapy Mom? Open up, friends, and share! And, I will share with you how The Lord is going to redeem this time as it happens.