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TRIGGER WARNING: The following post talks about suicide. If you are in a place where discussing suicide may trigger you, then take care of your mental health and choose not to read this. My hope is to help, not to hurt. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255
This month is suicide prevention month, and all over social media, I see beautiful tributes to those struggling with suicidal thoughts. I’m sure you have seen the same. These tributes tell you things you may have already heard, such as “you’re worth it,” and “your story is not over.” All of these statements are absolutely true, but you may be wondering why nobody is talking to you.
Yes, I know they’re talking to those battling suicide, but not the moms with the same struggle. Nobody talks about how suicide accounts for 20% of postpartum deaths. The media doesn’t dare speak of how 4 in 10,000 women in North America attempt suicide during pregnancy. Unless it shows up in your 6-week postpartum depression screening (which you may or may not even receive), society stays silent about the mental load of motherhood.
Mama, I see you. I see your pain because I was there. I remember laying on my closet floor contemplating ending my life. In the living room, I could hear my almost-1-year-old playing. I wondered if he would miss me when I’m gone. I loved my family more than life itself, but the darkness felt too heavy. My whole life I was told that suicide was the selfish way out, but the darkness was convincing me it was the only way.
In a small effort to escape the darkness, I dialed the suicide prevention lifeline. The lady on the other end of the line spoke so kindly to me. She reminded me of my son in the other room. She told me to make a cup of coffee, and she taught me how to breathe. I prayed that night, and that was the night The Overcoming Mom was born.
Mama, you’re not alone
I know you’re not alone, because I was there. I fought tooth and nail to keep my head above the water. On the days where the stress felt like 100-pound weights, I closed my eyes and soaked in the important things. I focused on my son’s laughter, my husband’s smile, the sunshine, the shelter over my head, my breath, and God’s hand holding mine. It’s easy to think little of those things when life is hard, Satan wants you to think those things are small. But in reality, those moments are everything.
I put blinders on to block the filthy house, the dwindling bank account, the world events, and judgmental social media trolls. I didn’t pretend like they didn’t exist, I chose to value my mental health first. Dwelling on the overwhelm would cause me to drown.
When we’re drowning, struggling only makes it happen faster. Even if you are barely above the water, breathe. Stop moving and breathe. Your breath is a gift, even when it seems it is all you have.
You’re an amazing mother
Mothers are scrutinized for so much. We live in a society where we’re shamed if we do, and shamed if we don’t. You may be finding yourself drowning in shame. I want to remind you that when society tells you you’re a bad mom, SHAME ON THEM!
If you’re concerned about the quality of your motherhood, you are a good mom!
Bad moms don’t care if they’re bad. They don’t care who they disappoint or hurt. Simply having the desire to be a great mom makes you great! If someone in your life begs to differ, SHAME ON THEM!
Mama, it’s time to take the shame off yourself and put it where it belongs. Society has convinced you that the smallest of decisions will ruin your family. You have been lied into believing that suicide is the only way to rectify your “mistakes”. I know you, mama. I know you do what’s best for your family. You bust your tail just to stay alive every single day. If society has told you otherwise, SHAME ON THEM!
Your past will not define you
Mama, you may have made mistakes. You may have said the wrong things, taken the wrong actions, and done what you think are irrevocable mistakes. Perhaps you have had to pay the price for your mistakes, and you’re struggling to find your worth after the fact.
Let me remind you of who a good mother is: a good mom cares about being a good mom.
If in the past you didn’t, then that’s not today. Today you are proving you are better. Today, through God’s forgiveness and grace, you are proving that you are not your past. Yes, you may have to pay the consequences of your mistakes, but when debt is paid off, it is gone forever. The only one who lets the debt back into your life is yourself. Jesus paid the ultimate price of sin for YOU, please don’t let your shame put that sinful debt back on.
I know you care about rectifying your mistakes and becoming better. That alone makes you great! Keep caring about becoming better! Why? Because that gives your breath purpose!
You are the mom your family needs
I know society has made being a good mom almost impossible. The expectation to be Instagram-Perfect-Mom can feel suffocating. Mama, let me remind you: a good mom cares about being a good mom. Period.
Vacations are great, toys are wonderful, the “healthiest” food is awesome, the greatest parenting innovations are excellent, but they’re not everything. You, on the other hand, are everything!
The lies of suicide try to convince you that you’re not the mom your kids deserve. But remember what those thoughts are in the first place. Lies.
You are the mom your kids deserve! You are, and will always be, the woman for the job. Any opposing voice that tells you otherwise is a liar. You are a mom who cares about being a good mom, and that alone makes you a good mom! No amount of social media perfection can change that.
Don’t let suicide have the last word
When I laid on my closet floor, with thoughts of suicide racing through my mind, I took in the lies it spoke to me. I soaked in the lies saying my son deserved better than me, my husband deserved better than me, God didn’t love me, and that I was a bad mom. I let the lies of suicide take the podium of my mind.
Which is why I needed a voice that spoke louder than the lies.
It can be incredibly hard to hear and see God when your mind is a war zone. That’s ok, I understand. You’re not a bad person for fighting in this war, but you don’t fight alone.
Lean on Jesus. Read His word (Psalms is a great place to start). Find someone to talk to. Please, I implore you, do not be afraid of seeking professional help. There is no shame in seeing a therapist. If you find yourself in the middle of a crisis, don’t be afraid to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They can be the voice you need in that moment to drown out the lies.
The greatest thing you can do to defeat the lies of suicide is to live. Live and prove it wrong.
It can’t stay dark forever
Right in this moment, it may feel like darkness will be all you know. That’s what darkness does, it makes you feel hopeless and unworthy of anything better. This is all just a lie that suicide wants you to believe. It wants you to believe your life will be dark forever, and you don’t deserve better days.
You deserve better days, and those better days will come.
In the moment’s suicide grips your mind, darkness feels inescapable, but always remember that it takes just a speck of light to eradicate darkness. All it takes is seeing one ray of light to dissipate the dark.
What are your rays of light?
Let’s start with your breath. Breathe in, and breathe out. Sometimes focusing on that simple gift of breathing can make your dark moments feel less suffocating. Look at your children, wherever they may be. Children can be the greatest source of light you have! Look to Jesus. I know when it seems darkest that Jesus seems farthest away, but in reality, He is closer than ever. Find those rays of light in your life, and hang onto them.
Your story is not over
Don’t let the lies of suicide convince you that you ruined your story. In reality, your story isn’t over.
In the mental health community, the semicolon (;) has become a symbol of suicide awareness. That is because the semicolon symbolizes that an author could have ended a sentence, but chose not to. Yes, you have the choice to end your story, but don’t.
There is power in continuing your story, even when you feel it is over. Satan wants you to end your story before it even begins, but there’s victory in choosing to continue.
Don’t let the lies of suicide convince you that your story is over. Your life has a beautiful story to tell, and your family have sequels to write, and spinoffs, and parodies to continue. You are the heart of their story, and you are necessary. Don’t end your story before it can even begin.
I’m on the other side of the semicolon now. I chose to keep going when I almost ended my story. Right now, I think I’m in the best part of my story. I’m in the part where I encounter my enemy and show it who really won, and I will be there when the profound epilogue is written, and the story talks about how many grandkids I have, and who remembered my impact.
Mama, don’t end your story, because your story is so special. Your story creates other stories, and those stories create stories. Libraries can’t contain the stories you will help create.
In conclusion, when the darkness of suicide lies to you, remind it who you are. You are the author of stories, including your own. That makes life worth fighting for.
You are worth living for, mama. Don’t you dare forget that.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org or text “START” to 741-741 to immediately speak to a trained counselor at Crisis Text Line.