I was nearing 40, had a caring husband, a precocious little boy, and a healthy, rotund baby girl. I lived in a new house in a cookie-cutter neighborhood and had plenty of happy mommy things — a nurturing local preschool, playdates at parks, plenty of friends. But the world around me darkened as I pondered my career prospects.
My thought process went something along the lines of this: If only I had a well-paying job we would not have to host international students in our home and we could afford childcare or someone to help me with chores. If only I had made better decisions in the past I would not be dealing with this. If I only I hadn’t gone into teaching and then quit and then marketing and then quit, and then started the wrong business and then quit, I’d be somewhere by now. If only I could figure out what I want to with my life, at least I could move in the right direction. Why can’t I figure it out? And why had I been so unsuccessful at doing so? What can I do anyway at this age? It’s too late to go back to school and who would hire me? But it is great I can stay home with the kids. I should be cherishing the time but I am wasting it worrying. What should I do? How did I get here? How will I ever get out of this mess? Why am I this way? Nothing I do ever helps. Why can’t I just enjoy this season of my life?
I was physically exhausted from having young children and mentally drained from those thoughts in my mind. Sweet, nurturing mommy on the outside, darkened self in the head. Friends listened, sermons gave insight, and books advised, but the inner dissonance became so unbearable that I sought professional solace. Unfortunately, the therapist I decided to spill my guts out to turned out to be brash and insensitive, so that was the end of that.
Looking back, those early years of motherhood were somewhat of a mixed bag: a good amount of loving moments with little ones juxtaposed alongside a dull undercurrent of self-loathing, confusion, and discontent. I wish I could have fully enjoyed my time at home with my children, been more present with them, but then again, no one chooses to be depressed.
Questions for Discussion: What do you think about therapy and counseling?Have you seen a counselor before? If so, what was your experience?