When the American Dream Becomes a Nightmare for Middle Class Moms

I’m heartsick about some news that I just heard about my current hometown.  According to a county human services worker, the suicide rate amongst moms is exceptionally high around here.  In fact, it’s so bad that it’s one of the county’s greatest concerns.

And this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that.  A friend who is an emergency responder shared with my husband that his team often responds to 911 calls for moms who have overdosed on drugs and alcohol—often in the middle of the day.  A nearby neighbor recently lost her rights to her children after driving them to school while intoxicated.

Ugh.  It’s a punch to the gut.  What is going on?  Why are the moms in my neighborhood succumbing to drugs and depression and suicide?  We live in the middle of the American dream–a sprawling, well-planned suburb where you can have it all.

Our lawns and our fingernails are beautifully manicured.  The kids around here sure look happy and healthy and play soccer and lacrosse and football every weekend.  The husbands and wives drive new SUVs and pull them into oversized garages every evening. What’s happening inside those walls? What could possibly be pushing people to kill themselves when it would appear that we have all the world has to offer?

I lamented this news to one of my best friends via text this morning.  She lives in Thailand and has watched in wonder from a distance as our family has settled back in to the US after living overseas for so many years.  Her response was, “Talk about having the world and losing your soul.  That’s Parker.”  And I think she might be on to something.

Jesus asked, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Matthew 16:26)  It would seem that we have indeed gained the whole world in my neighborhood—really, we have it all.  But clearly souls are being lost.  Women and teens especially are languishing and ending their lives.

Jennifer Oshman
Jennifer Oshman
Jen Oshman is a wife and mom to four daughters and has served as a missionary for 17 years on three continents. She currently resides in Colorado where she and her husband serve with pioneersineurope.com, and she encourages her church-planting husband at redemptionparker.org. Her passion is leading women into a deeper faith and fostering a biblical worldview. She writes about that at jenoshman.com.

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