I Should Be Thankful For My Life, But I'm Struggling
As my three young sons whirlwind around me, I try to remind myself to be appreciative. I should suppress the feelings of the growing sadness that consumes me because I have an incredible husband, three kids, and a career. I silence my inner voice because I have healthy children and the textbook picture-perfect family.
I close my eyes and take deep breaths.
The path to motherhood was a relatively smooth one, other than a miscarriage that preceded my two pregnancies. My mind shifts to the hard bed of the ultrasound room to confirm what I already knew. My baby was lost. In a cruel irony, the previous pregnancy scan image was still on the screen. The happy couple passed me, and my empty womb felt even more vacant. A few months later, I became pregnant with my eldest son. Two years and three months after, I gave birth to twin boys.
Be thankful for your life.
My mother is an iron-clad woman who raised three kids with a philandering husband who offered little help. When she left my father, he told her she would never make it.
He was wrong.
I feel like it is a rite of passage of the immigrant mother to have come to this country without family support, with little money, and to have still built a successful life for her children. No one discusses the depth of her sacrifice, and mental health was an invisible issue.
Why is this so hard for me?
Parenting in the pandemic has left me painfully grabbing at vestiges of my former life, to no avail. The texting and video chatting fills some void, but nothing replaces physical contact with people. Being confined in a house with three sons without a community has left me in shambles.
I am supposed to have it all.
I return to work soon. This is my catharsis, the socially distanced, mask-wearing, face-shield wielding reprieve when I leave my children to go teach other people’s children. I stand on the precipice of returning to some semblance of my former self by going back to my profession.
The sands are shifting.
I won’t see my twins’ toothy grins and the pseudo conversations that are beginning to unfold. Their little personalities are budding and interacting with one another. Their big brother wants to play with the twins but is intentionally and unintentionally too rough. The subtle nuances of their development slip through my fingers like sand.
I will miss them.
One day I will be the mother warrior who passes on my truths to tearful, overwhelmed mothers. I’ll snuggle their baby to give them the desperate break that I needed in my darkest moments.
My time will come.
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