S.A.D. and being a mother
In Alaska, a high number of people suffer from SAD :: Seasonal Affective Disorder. Essentially, it’s a depression caused by lack of light.
In Alaska, a lot of people wear down skirts to keep their legs warm in the winter.
I started wearing my down skirt in the summer, because I’ve been cold since we moved here.
I started suffering from SAD in the fall. Or maybe not SAD, since technically we still have a good bit of daylight (yes, 9:15a - 6:15p is a lot of daylight compared to what’s coming!), so I guess it’s just plain old depression.
Sometimes I cry because we don’t have any friends.
Sometimes I cry because I don’t ever get to have adult conversations and my kids pretend to speak a foreign language now so I don’t even get to have English conversations.
Sometimes I cry because I miss Chipotle.
Sometimes I cry because I won’t get to meet my baby nephew until he’s four months old.
Sometimes I cry because Alaska doesn’t have a good donut shop.
A lot of my tears are about food. Chick-Fil-A, please come to Alaska.
We miss Atlanta. We miss our home.
A lot of factors have contributed to my depression, some deep personal ones that we won’t dive into right now, but it has been really hard adjusting to life here in Alaska. And I’m hard on myself, I don’t give myself much grace - and I know most other moms don’t either.
I tell myself all the reasons why I’m a failure - I have a record of lies about myself on repeat in my mind. Most of them start with ::
you’re a bad mom because…
your meals are not the perfect combination of healthy + delicious, go read some more blogs to get better at it!
you don’t play outside enough with the kids, who cares if it’s 20 degrees, do better!
you should have more friends by now, you aren’t trying hard enough, go to some more play groups and try harder!
…this list could go on for days. And I really don’t think I am the only mom who hears these lies playing over and over - it’s so easy for us to believe all of them. The ironic part is, I am working on a big project right now that will help kids learn how to exchange their lies for truth. And then of course I tell myself I’m a failure because I’m not qualified to teach kids that since I can’t even live it in my own life!
It’s not lost on me that the cause for SAD is lack of light, and that Jesus tells us he is the light of the world. Of course we need light - physically and spiritually. We need God’s truths to ring louder than the lies in our mind.
I listened to a podcast today called God our Mother. And I cried through most of it. I felt affirmed in who God created me to be - a mother to my sweet babies, and, yes, a stay-at-home-mother for this season of our lives. I am doing enough. We can relate to God with our mother hearts. And God can relate to us. Take a listen for yourself if you’re ready for a powerful paradigm shift [God our Mother].
But I want to leave you with this poem from the podcast - written to show the heart of a mother and the heart of God. Be encouraged, you are enough.
To be a Mother is to suffer;
To travail in the dark,
stretched and torn,
exposed in half-naked humiliation,
subjected to indignities
for the sake of new life.
To be a Mother is to say,
“This is my body, broken for you,”
And, in the next instant, in response to the created’s primal hunger,
“This is my body, take and eat.”
To be a Mother is to self-empty,
To neither slumber nor sleep,
so attuned You are to cries in the night—
Offering the comfort of Yourself,
and assurances of “I’m here.”
To be a Mother is to weep
over the fighting and exclusions and wounds
your children inflict on one another;
To long for reconciliation and brotherly love
and—when all is said and done—
To gather all parties, the offender and the offended,
into the folds of your embrace
and to whisper in their ears
that they are Beloved.
To be a mother is to be vulnerable—
To be misunderstood,
For the heartaches of the bewildered children
who don’t know where else to cast
the angst they feel
over their own existence
in this perplexing universe
To be a mother is to hoist onto your hips those on whom your image is imprinted,
bearing the burden of their weight,
rejoicing in their returned affection,
delighting in their wonder,
bleeding in the presence of their pain.
To be a mother is to be accused of sentimentality one moment,
And injustice the next.
To be the Receiver of endless demands,
Absorber of perpetual complaints,
Reckoner of bottomless needs.
To be a mother is to be an artist;
A keeper of memories past,
Weaver of stories untold,
Visionary of lives looming ahead.
To be a mother is to be the first voice listened to,
And the first disregarded;
To be a Mender of broken creations,
And Comforter of the distraught children
whose hands wrought them.
To be a mother is to be a Touchstone
and the Source,
Bestower of names,
Influencer of identities;