What makes me so different?

Friday I was getting ready for work. It was after five, and as everyone was winding down their day, mine was just beginning. With the kids out front with the Hubbs and the neighbors, I enjoyed making my dinner and listening to the news in the background. As awful as the news can be, I'm a self professed news junkie. I half listened as I enjoyed some alone time, thinking I could not wait for the weekend to begin. 

Then I heard it. Another report about another mother, brought to the edge of motherhood, and beyond. I froze. I turned around. And soon I found myself on the floor of my kitchen, crying.

Ebony Wilkerson has been charged with three counts of first degree attempted murder and three counts of child abuse after she attempted to drive her three children, ages 3, 9, and 10, and herself into the Atlantic in her mini van. Reports say that she had been acting "crazy" since arriving in Florida a few days before to escape an abusive relationship. Reports say that members of her own family tried to have her committed just days before her drive head on into the ocean, but she did not meet the criteria for a 72 hour involuntary hold. Until she drove her mini van into the ocean.

As I sat there on Friday with huge tears in my eyes I knew what would become of Ebony Wilkerson, if only in name. She would be labeled a monster. A criminal. The worst mother to walk the earth. How could she? Why would she? What is wrong with her? She will be the hot topic for months and maybe years to come. I'm of the Susan Smith generation. Perhaps you are of the Andrea Yates generation. But we will forever remember those names, as long as we live. Because they are mothers who's minds took over. Mothers who couldn't get the help they needed, even if they didn't desire the help.

Why would a story like Ebony Wilkerson's or Cynthia Wachenheim's affect me so? Because every time I hear their stories, I think: What makes me so different? What made them snap? And what has saved me from snapping?

The same day as I was sitting in my kitchen floor, staring at the TV in horror, was the same day a friend of mine on Instagram posted a picture of her running away from home. It was only for an hour or so, but motherhood had gotten the best of her, so while she ate in a restaurant alone while crying, she posted her confession. Because she needed to know she wasn't the only one. She needed to show someone else that they weren't the only one. She needed to document the point where she said, I need this. I need to breathe, I need to re-group, I need a time out.

Did Ebony Wilkerson ever have that opportunity?

Saturday night, after my hell of a day, I cried in bed as I recounted all the ways I had failed at life that day. Then I started to tell the Hubbs about Ebony Wilkerson. How she just drove into the Atlantic. And I told him that I got it. That some days are so incredibly hard that all you want to do is run. Run away and never look back. I asked him, what makes me so different? And while I would never consciously do anything to harm my children, (that I have nightmares that anyone would ever come to that conclusion about me) I didn't immediately think Monster when I heard Ebony Wilkerson's story. I immediately thought, she had no where to go

I've said before if the only thing I ever do is to open the conversation about how difficult motherhood can be, how isolating and crippling it can be, then I will have served a wonderful purpose. Yes, motherhood is beautiful and wonderful and everything and nothing you have ever wanted. But damn if it isn't the hardest thing you will ever do. It will make you crazy, it will make you emotional, and it will make you stronger after every battle, after every failure, after every fork in the road. Many of us are lucky. We have support systems, friends, family, and dare I say, blogs. When we break down, walk to the edge, need a time out, and most times we can get one. We can look at our children and remember why we are doing this. We can count to ten, breathe, and convince ourselves that the best solution is a Starbucks in an aisle at Target, and not a drive into the Atlantic.

There will continue to be reports about Ebony Wilkerson. No matter what they say, no matter what truths we may find, one truth remains: She was a mother. A mother who in that very specific moment felt that she had no other options. That after enduring abuse, after being evaluated, after thinking she was fine, she made a decision that changed her entire life, and the lives of her children. No matter how many people call her a monster, believe she is a monster, and call for her to be treated as such, at the end of that day, and at the end of her days, she will still be a mother who was pushed to the edge.

Today, I'm asking you, no begging you, say something. If you are the one who is hurting, speak up. Even here in the comments if you want, or email me at mamma_megs@yahoo.com. If you know someone who is hurting, talk to them. It can be as easy as saying, "Motherhood isn't easy, in fact sometimes it blows". It may be the thing that saves them. Even if you are in Target today, and you see a mom, with one in the cart and another hanging on her leg, both crying, both throwing gold fish all over the floor, smile at her, with kindness and say, it's the hardest job in the world, and you are making the best of it. She may just kiss you on the spot. Because there is nothing worse in the world than feeling like you are the only one struggling. That you are the only one who can't breathe. That you are the only one, two tantrums away from the edge of the ocean.

7 comments:

  1. Even after months of having Jack I hadn't gain my old inside's back. Things were going downhill as his first birthday approached. I treated him wonderfully but I was treating myself and everyone else around me awful. I finally made it to the doctor where he treated with celexa. Wow! It really helped. I'm so glad I sought help..

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  2. Absolutely loved this post. There are so many days where I think I cant do it anymore, when the baby is just never happy no matter what I do, when its been days since Ive showered or had any time to myself, or when she's woken up 12 times the night before and wont nap the next day. But those times are all erased whenever she smiles or crawls across the room to my lap because she needs me. Those times are always in my mind and make everything so worth it. It hurts me to think there are those moms that cant keeps those thoughts and memories in mind, where it just gets to be too much. Motherhood is the hardest job ever but such a blessing. Thanks for this post, it was perfect!

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  3. Brought me to tears. I don't make time to read your blog as often as I'd like... But every time I do, I'm glad I did. Yes motherhood is hard, and though I don't see me getting to that kind of breaking point, I can certainly see how one could get there! We definitely have a hard job as moms... And we can all relate... I have claimed myself to be mommy monster at times. I'm sure we all can be. So we definitely should never be so judging of other moms. Really great post!

    Maria-Isabel

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  4. There went my eye makeup for the day. ;) This post hits me, hard! Like I said on fb, I have a post in draft about this same lady. When I saw it on the news, my first thought wasn't "monster" (like I'm sure so many people thought). My first thought was "that poor mama", if you've hit the point in life that you're driving your mini van filled with your precious children into the ocean... you're clearly overwhelmed. Not a sick, cruel person.. but a mom who needed help and didn't get it. I wish that Ebony Wilkerson would be the last mom that we'd hear about, ever, in a situation like this but sadly, she won't be. And that alone breaks my heart. I hope that a judge out there will see the pain she's dealing with and not lock her up forever, but instead get her the help she needs. :(

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  5. This post brought me to tears. You are a phenomenal writer and when you write about issues that affect all of us moms it comes out so clear about how you understand us. Motherhood and everything it brings is especially difficult when you feel like at every turn you are going to lose it. I think as mothers we've all been there at some point - some of us are very lucky to have a support system to hold us up and remind us that we can do it. I feel so saddened my the women that don't or don't feel like they do. Thank you for writing about what no one else will. You are our voice.

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  6. As a mother of four little ones, within 6 years of each other, I was home alone with them for four wonderful, glorious, horrid, grinding, awful, soul-wrenching, fantastic years when I doubted my sanity daily. I somehow survived and today have 4 wonderful adult children with children and I look back on those early days in wonder. I wonder how I made it through it all in one piece, I wonder how my children made it in one piece and I wonder how mothers face everything they do day after day. Most of us have someone who helps us when we are down, some of us have an occasional moment of peace to gather up for the rest of the weeks ahead of us, some of us have a stronger ability to deal with the confusion and chaos that comprise motherhood and some of us don't have any support or back-up at all. I pray for all mothers, they all need the love and support we can give them. God Bless mothers.

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