Yesterday, I fell apart. I literally crumbled to the ground as I watched my tears gather on the cold, dirty floor of Toys R Us. I sat there, hovered over my puddle of tears until I heard a quiet, cautious voice say, “ma’am, are you okay?”
Of course I’m not okay, I thought. I’m a thirty one year old woman crying, alone, in the middle of Toys R Us. I’m pathetic. I’m a mess. But I wouldn’t let him know.
“I’m okay, thank you for asking.” I gathered my tear soaked tissues, stuffed then into my purse, and stood up.
What the hell is wrong with me?
I finished my shopping and made it to the car before I fell apart again.
I am so not okay.
I thought about the last time I fell apart in public like that. Nearly two years has passed. It was shortly after my third son was born and I crumbled in front of a bright pink preemie dress at Babies R Us. Baby boy #3 was supposed to be wearing that dress. I was supposed to have a daughter.
I recalled all of the times in the past few years that I’ve fallen apart over the same, stupid, selfish grief. I became quite angry with myself. Just get over it already, I thought. Why are you still crying?
The guilt wave didn’t creep in like usual. It crashed over me, all at once, dragging me under until I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was drowning.
Memories flooded in of all the times I was too busy crying to play with my boys. All of the priceless moments I missed out on because of my grief.
I’m a horrible mom. My children deserve better.
I saw flashes of my precious baby crying on my lap. And me, cloaked in a thick blanket of postpartum depression, staring off into space. Ignoring his cries. Wishing his existence away.
I remembered all the fights with my husband, as he tried his best to be there for me, but couldn’t. He was too busy taking care of the kids that I resented. To busy protecting them from their sick mom.
Thoughts of my own words came to mind, “I did the best that I could at the time and although that will never feel like enough, it will always be enough.” I tried so hard to believe them but the guilt was just too thick. My child deserves better. He’s always deserved better.
As I drove home with tears streaming down my cheeks, I felt the guilt slowly start to dissipate. I took a deep breath, exhaled, and began to hear a thought. One that had probably been there all along.
He got the best of you BECAUSE of your grief.
I let the thought wash over me. A profound sense of peace arose as I let this new idea sink in.
My grief didn’t make me a bad mom. My grief wasn’t stupid or selfish. My grief was a beautiful beginning.
My sadness undoubtedly kept me from enjoying several moments. But what came after the tears, the deliberate practice of mindfulness in order to bring myself back to the moment, changed me. It brought out the best of me so I could give all of me to my kids.
I don’t have to feel guilty for grieving. I don’t have to hide this journey from my kids. I can let them in. I can draw them close. Because every time I fall apart it makes me love them that much harder. Each time I come undone, my world breaks open in a way I could have never imagined.
The falling apart is what makes me a better mom. It’s what allows me to give every ounce of myself to my kids. Falling apart makes room for love. The indefinate, indescribable, rip-my-heart-open-and-bleed-for-you kind of love.
To the one who changed me, who broke me in ways more beautiful than I can describe,
Thank you for opening me up to the most magical kind of love.
Thank you for teaching me that pain has a greater purpose.
Thank you for giving me new eyes.
Thank you for bringing healing into heartache.
I love you sweet boy.
Thank you for showing me that broken is the new beautiful.
***Postpartum Depression(PPD) can be a serious, life threatening illness that needs immediate medical attention. If you think you have PPD, call your doctor right away. To read more about my experience with PPD, Am I A Bad Mom?