“How could she!” she gasps as talk turns to the horrific news story of the mother who hurt her child…
The story stabs at my guts.
‘How could she’ I think, but I know.
Do I dare to say it?
“Haven’t you ever felt so overwhelmed, so hopeless, so exhausted, so out of options, that you’ve… well… that you’ve felt your muscles tense and had the urge to… to hurt your child? Just for a second, you don’t do it… but just for a second, you think about it…”
There is total silence and I am suddenly sure I have said too much, that I am the only one who has ever been in this dark place, that I am a terrible mother, a monster.
The silence lingers, and then she says it.
“I’ve been there.”
And that is all it takes to open the flood gates.
“Yes… I’ve been there too. When he just never slept and I was so tired and on my own all the time… ”
“Yes! When you just feel so alone, and like you have tried everything, and this baby is still screaming and screaming…”
None of these Mums have ever hurt their children, but we’ve been on the edge of that cliff once or twice.
We know what it is like to feel pushed right to that point… but we are lucky.
We are lucky that we had support, information, the emotional and mental capacity to try something else, to take a break, or to reach out for help, but what if we didn’t?
What if we were in that dark place and we had nothing, no information, no one to turn to, no way to get out, no light at the end of the tunnel… What then?
How could she?
There but for the grace of God go I.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, if you have no support, if you are on the edge of that cliff, please know that you are not a monster, and you are not alone.