In the book, “To the Lighthouse,” one of the characters is a little boy who is upset because the weather is too rough for a trip to his beloved lighthouse. His mother reassures him with the words above, but to the little boy’s mind, it is little consolation for the loss of his most desired action.
Perhaps that is you, right now. You wake up each day, hoping to find the sun shining and the birds singing. You go through the motions of daily life—maybe you go to your job, maybe you stay at home. You feed your baby and other children, if there are other children to feed. You do the laundry, you clean the house, you do everything needed to get by. You force a fake smile, you put on a strong façade. But all the while, you see it in the background. You see the lighthouse. And no matter how much you want to get there today, you know you can’t.
That lighthouse, it represents so much. It stands for all the other mothers who seemingly have it more together than you. No one could possibly understand how this feels and subsequently, it is all your fault that you feel this way. You will it away, you wish it away, you try to cry it away but to no avail. It’s there, towering over you, reminding you of all the things you aren’t.
I have been there, dear mama, and I know how impossible the journey to the lighthouse looks from where you are. I don’t know if you are like me, and keeping your secret darkness to yourself for far too long. Or maybe you have shared it and gotten a poor response. Or maybe you are in the depths of treatment, already having started your journey across the rough seas, being tossed by waves, desperately trying to paddle your little boat to your destination.
I have been there, dear mama, and I know. It is dark and it is cold and it is lonely. There is no hope. There is no sunshine. And birds? There are definitely no birds singing. I have sat where you are sitting, and watched terrible vision after terrible vision crash into my little boat, showing me my deepest fears, replaying my scariest moments of a traumatic birth, making me feel worthless. I have stared into that void of the deep, dark sea, and felt, maybe it would be better to just jump off this boat.
In those hopeless moments, hear Virginia’s words. She doesn’t give a guarantee and she doesn’t give a promise. She reminds us that perhaps, just perhaps, tomorrow will be the day where it will start to get better. And having been there myself, right where you are, I will give you a guarantee and a promise that it won’t be like this forever. So feel me and your entire army of Warrior Moms by your side. You will heal. The seas will calm and your boat will come to rest. Your arms will regain strength after all that rowing. No one wants to be here, and I’m sorry you are.
But. The sun will shine. The birds will sing.
You can do it, dear mama. One tomorrow, soon, it will be fine.
Until then, we are with you.
The Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness & provides peer support for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. To see some of the ways we provide moms support, visit http://postpartumprogress.org/community/.