I remember vividly, those long dark nights and empty days of life as a first time mom. I remember the tears, the fear, and the constant anxiety that welled up over and over again, as I tried to care for my baby. I remember the countless days with no end in sight…and the terrifying nights of no sleep as this anguish settled into my heart questioning what to do to make my baby well. I remember feeling utterly alone, and desperate to find peace in it all. I remember the emotional toll of heightened hormones and unpredictable turns and twists in what was supposed to be a miraculous and beautiful journey into motherhood. These years were the hardest years of my life, having babies who didn’t sleep, who were sick all the time, and who seemed to cry relentlessly.
Oh, how I remember.
I remember fits of rage and the breakdown of tears. I remember the exhaustion and the belief that I couldn’t continue one more second, one more minute, one more day in it all.
And I remember the profound love for my child that kept me going- every second, every minute, every day I wanted to surrender and give up.
I recently read a book that reflected many stories about the suffering, the struggles, and the undeniable love that women have endured and survived through their own motherhood experience. It was incredibly profound, to learn of so many women who have been through their own darkness and managed to survive through it all. As I read each powerful story that these remarkably brave women shared, I was reminded of my own desperate moments in those early years, and I immediately felt a new sense of comfort in knowing I was not alone.
“Mothering Through the Darkness” was inspired by two talented women, Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger, who were determined to create an anthology that offers mothers a voice in shining a light on a very profound and private subject that needs more support, awareness, connection, and community. There are moms everywhere who struggle with Post Partum Depression, anxiety, palpable pain and secret anguish behind the closed doors of homes everywhere. There are moms who are terrified at their own emotions, thoughts, and purpose in parenting.
This book is needed.
It represents the whispered anguish of moms who are starving for help, encouragement, and support in what can be a very isolating and terrifying existence. It offers hope that women who have endured such traumatic hardships, have survived with both the wisdom and the strength to share their own powerful tales with the intention of helping moms out there who may be suffering themselves.
Moms who are drowning in the depths of despair, need to know they are not alone, there is help for them, and most of all-
As I read through each woman’s story, I was captivated by the detailed descriptions they all shared so authentically. Many of them brought me to tears, as so much of it resonated with my own experience. I was surprised at my own personal response to this book. Although I was prepared to be deeply moved and saddened by the trials of so many precious mamas who went through such hardships, I was also comforted by them.
Even years later, my own memories of those early years still haunts me, and this book helped me truly realize I was never alone in barely surviving those blurry traumatic moments, days, weeks, months, years that seemed to go on and on devouring my own sanity.
I could share each and every story here, because there isn’t one that isn’t important, significant, and inspiring. I hope and pray that if you know someone who may be struggling as a mom- that you would reach out to them, help them, and perhaps get this book for them. I KNOW it would help, it would heal, and it would give that mom an anchor to hold onto while she feels she is drowning.
Oh how I pray this book falls into the hands of mamas everywhere who need that live-saving lifeboat right now, to lift them out of those deep dark waters that can often feel like a torrential flood.
Please help share this powerful resource with someone. It will not only comfort them, but guide them through some very important ways they can be lifted out of their own darkness. Through this collection of raw and real stories, you will read many ways these mothers found a way to help themselves manage their anxiety, depression, OCD, anger, fears, grief, apathy, suicidal thoughts, utter exhaustion, failure, brokenness, psychiatric diagnoses, mental health issues, dangerous distress, and much more.
This book needs to be placed in the hands of many who suffer in silence.
One of the most profound stories I read was written by Alexandra Rosas. What struck me was how she received the help she needed so desperately. It came in the form of a tuned in and compassionate labor and delivery nurse who sensed something was ‘off’ with Alexandra and followed up with her at home a few days after discharge. It was the call that saved her.
“On the morning she called, at the sounds of her voice asking me how I was, and if everything was all right, I could only answer by choking with tears. She asked me for my address and told me to sit and wait, and promised, “I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”
I held on to the phone, and the emotion I’d been hiding from everyone else burst through.
The depth of this sadness brought me to my knees. Clutching my chest, I sobbed. Heaving and gasping, and not understanding any of what was happening to me.
….Tears streamed down my cheeks as I stood at the window and watched for Mardi. I had to make it, to hold on, for the twenty minutes until she got there. My life had become just that- surviving small blocks at a time.”
Because of an intuitive and compassionate nurse, who took the time and the effort to check in on Alexandra, and had the incredible heart of compassion and comfort to reach out to her…
This precious mom received the help she so urgently needed.
“I was saved by a woman who knew just what I needed. The hope that she gave me is the only way that I survived.”
This message is for us all.
There are women everywhere suffering, suffocating, and desperate for a Mardi to show up in their lives.
May we all keep our eyes open and dive into those deep debilitating waters that some moms are submerged in and help them come up for air. And if you are one of those moms who are suffering quietly in the confines of your own home, trying to survive your own darkness…
Please know you are not alone. You can get help. Take those scary first steps and reach out to your doctor, your friend, your nurse. There is hope and healing on the other side.
From those of us who have been there…
Go buy the book HERE. If not for you, perhaps for someone else.
*I was honored to have the opportunity to receive this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom says
This book is needed. Yes. I used to be very open about how hard new motherhood was to me, in hopes that I would help others. I didn’t suffer PPD, I just couldn’t handle a newborn. 🙂 Funny, though, over the years I have become more quiet. The drum beat of “We are over the moon”, “It’s the greatest blessing,” etc. drowned out what I thought was reality for everyone–that it’s hard. This book sounds like it will help so many!
I couldn’t handle a newborn either!! Especially one that cried and puked all the time… and was sick most of the time. I’m not a baby fan, really. I feel awful saying that, but the baby years were not good to me for either of my kiddos! Give me a threenager any day! LOL I’m so glad these women shared their experiences… I truly hope and pray those women who suffer in silence can read it and feel empowered to get help.
Allie @ The lathckey Mom says
Damn Christine, what a beautiful review. Thank you so much!!!!!
Your story was incredible, Allie. I had NO IDEA your boys suffered from TTTS, and yet I was SO glad they both survived! I was so deeply moved by your experience…And I could relate to many parts of it myself. Bless you mama! I’m honored to help support ALL of the women out there who struggle in so many many ways. I kept thinking of Alexa too. Did you know about her Kathryn? I’m guessing if you didn’t, you surely do now. Breaks my heart to pieces…
Alexandra’s story gave me goose bumps. This book will help so many, I echo your prayer that it finds the people that need to be found – directly or via someone reading this review or hearing about the book another way. I wish I had had it.
I love that you came by to read this, Stephanie. Just love that. Thank you SO much, my friend! It sounds like you get it. We’ll pray together, that women everywhere who are really struggling read this book and feel less alone and find help!
Janine Huldie says
Beautiful review and definitely does sound like a great resource for so many who might be suffering and need to hear that they truly aren’t alone. Thanks for sharing, Chris.
Thanks Janine. I was really honored to read it and review it. <3
I so wish you had this book and community of women when you were a young mother — I didn’t go through such intense struggles, but I felt profound loneliness at times. Your plea to share this important resource with other women is such a blessing, and I will surely keep it in mind to share with young mothers. Our culture is so fragmented, there was a time families and tribes helped one another raise one another’s children –there’s such a need for connection and support for young mothers! Thank you for your encouragement and sharing your own struggles! Always you offer the precious gift of encouragement!
Aw Kathy, what a blessing you are to me! Thank you, friend. And I agree that there is truly a need for connection and support! I remember feeling so alone with my internal battles. I’m so glad this book can fall into the hands of moms who truly need to know there is help, and a variety of moms out there who have been THERE.
CeeCee James says
AWESOME book review! woohoo!
Thanks CeeCee. It is a hard book to read, but the comfort women will feel in reading such difficult stories of Postpartum Depression will help them not feel so alone in their struggles. I do pray it reaches women who need this.
My Inner Chick says
I shall order this.
I am sure it will help many women out there who assume they are alone.
They are not.
Thank you, Chris, for your great review & support for so many needed causes. xxxx
Thank YOU for always supporting my support for so many needed causes! 🙂 I love that you appreciate it. Oh, how I do. <3
oh how this book is needed by so many. All moms have been there…and the darkness and lonliness can be unbearable. Great review. I will look for this resource for those Mom’s I know who need it. 🙂
Exactly Brianna! Unbearable is the perfect word to use for this experience. I’m so glad this book is available now for moms to not feel so alone.
marie kléber says
This is brilliant Chris. We tend to think that as we become mums, everything will fall into place easily. It’s what the world is telling us. And when we are face to face with our tiny one, we feel helpless and guilty for not being able to do half what others are expecting us to do.
It is tough to become a mum.
I think women sharing their stories is a great way to help other women dealing with similar thoughts, ideas and pains.
I was lucky to have enough help around, as I was crawling through motherhood, lost and in pain.
Your review makes me want to read it and share it.
Thanks Chris, Jessica and Stephanie. This has the power the change the lives of many women struggling in those early years of life.
Oh Marie- what a beautiful response to this book you share! YES… I hope and pray this book lands in the hands of so many mamas who are suffering alone! There is NO SHAME in what they are going through!
Hi Chris! I worked in a busy OB/Gyne office for over ten years. The phone calls from women with post partum depression just broke my heart. These women were so confused. Why do I feel like this? Why don’t I want to hold my baby? One time, I did break down myself after talking to a particularly sad mom.
You are so right, this book is truly needed. These mom’s do need help, both with professionals, and with their families and friends. They’re going to make it. They will be fine, as long as they know the sadness will end, and that help is available.
I can only imagine the calls you received, Ceil! SO many moms suffer agonizing feelings and feel so alone! I pray this book offers them hope and connection as so many moms feel isolated in their suffering.
As usual, your words make me just shake my head and sigh!
You’re right. This book is so needed.
It was a strange time with both kids – the transition of becoming a mother, and then the one of becoming a mother of two.
Never easy, even when it’s easy.
Meaning, I didn’t have PPD but I suffered in my own ways.
I think so many moms suffer in their own ways… and I hate the loneliness and isolation of it all. I pray this book truly reaches those hurting hearts and helps the women who struggle know they are NOT alone!
Kelly L McKenzie says
Chris, this review will indeed help spread the word about this wonderful, much needed book. Off to share.
Thank you Kelly. SO much. I truly do hope it gets into the hands of moms who need it most. <3
Yes!!!! I’m so excited! I shared this post http://www.akreativewhim.com/the-dark-place/Nehru my second was an infant. I received so much love from Blogland and so much ridicule from family. My mil still tries to convince me how selfish it is for me to not be happy. I’m so glad women are addressing he fact that motherhood can be a struggle without meaning you are depressed!
Oh yes Kate… many people don’t have the understanding or the compassion for moms who suffer greatly. I’m so sorry your MIL had such a negative opinion of your struggles! SO many moms suffer and need attention and loving intervention to help them through such an agonizing experience. I’m so glad you received the support you needed from Blogland! LOVE that. 🙂
Kristi Campbell says
What an incredible and gorgeous review, Chris. Thank you! I so wish I’d had this book when I needed it. To this day, I hesitate to say that I “had anything” but I had visions of my baby’s head splattering open ALL of the time (as you know as that’s what I wrote about for the book). Ugh. I hate that you could relate so well. I love that you felt comfort. XOXO
I was terrified ALL. THE. TIME. It took me a few years of utter anguish to finally get on meds. I’m SO grateful for you and all the other heroines of this book to shine a light on this darkness SO many moms endure! THANK YOU love. I get you. I get it all. <3
Wow! I think this would resonate with all new moms out there. It sure did with me. I didn’t have PPD, but with a lack of sleep, my anxious tendencies came out with a screaming baby I was trying to feed, and I was flustered as we struggled with nursing. (Gracie was born 3 1/2 weeks early)
Family and friends kept me going thorugh the first couple months-I truly don’t know how people do it when they don’t live near family.
A sleep training book recommended to my husband, walking workouts, and a friend with a daughter Gracie’s age were my God sends!
OH Sara, I’m SO glad you had your family and friends and your husband to help you during those first hard months! I honestly don’t know how woman do it alone, either. I can’t imagine! It’s so so hard to manage the emotions, the exhaustion, and the relentless questions we face in parenting our babes!
What a great review. Being a new mom is a lonely time, and I was able to reach out and find other moms who helped me merely by sharing their stories. It helped me to know that there were others who were in it with me.
I didn’t suffer from the debilitating sadness that so many mothers experience after the birth of a child, yet I know many who did. I’m glad this book is available for moms experiencing PPD. If it helps even one woman, it’s life-saving.
I agree, Andrea. I think the most horrible thing that could happen, is a mom struggling with such intense feelings alone. I too, hope and pray this book falls into the hands of women who need to know they are NOT alone. I hope and pray they can reach out and find help, connections, and relationships that will support them in this very difficult and exciting journey.
You are so right, my friend. That book is much needed. I remember those early days well even though they were so long ago. I wasn’t much of a reader back then so I pretty much suffered in isolation with no clear understanding of what was happening. The sleepless nights and constant crying (both mine had colic) were absolutely unnerving. I will keep this book in mind for any new mommies I come across. Thanks for the recommendation!
It can be SO hard. So lonely and isolating! I’m just so glad there is this book of so many personal stories that can encourage mothers who are struggling to know that they truly are not alone. I’m so sorry you suffered alone, my friend. I felt very much the same way. It can be so overwhelmingly terrifying and so exhausting.
Christina @There's Just One Mommy says
What a beautiful review for what sounds like an awesome parenting book. I have to say the little tidbit of the story you shared from the book brought me to tears. Sometimes just knowing we are not alone is what we need.
It brought me to tears when I read it, too Christina. Oh, how I just love that the nurse truly plugged in and reached out to ultimately save this mother. Thank you so much for coming by to read this review, my friend. Pass it on if you know someone who needs this book!
I could only imagine. How selfless mothers are. My mom friends would appreciate this. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for coming by to read it, Lux~ Please pass it on if you know of anyone struggling with motherhood. They truly need to know that they are NOT alone. XO