I lay restless, in distress and the little body next to me won't stop. I am devastated by the thoughts in my head and feel my control over my thoughts diminishing. This loss of control is allowing these unwanted thoughts to run rampant and my body seems to also be detached from my purest intent.
Her nagging, moving, and crying are relentless. She is a little person, with no words to express what she feels or needs, she has sounds and some gestures, but my tired and overwhelmed mind just wants her to go away.
My heart is breaking. I want to make it stop and…
A moment later, just in time, the door opens, and my mom is standing in the door. [Tears spring to my eyes as I write this, remembering the light of relief filling the room.] My rage unleashes with the same lack of self-control I have over my thoughts. I need her to take Charlotte and let me be, let me sleep - let me not hurt her. I am petrified of what might have happened if my mom did not step into the room at that divine moment. I sleep a delirious dream-filled hour. I am tossing and turning through my worst nightmare.
I have been home for a few days. The jet lag is not letting me rest. The days are full, and I am making up for lost time. I am tired, I am sad, I am alone while surrounded by people I love. The night and day are turned around and we just can’t seem to find our rhythm. A 30-hour flight from San Diego to Johannesburg with a little person under 1 was a sleepless one. I am beyond exhausted, and it is close to a week without real sleep.
When I wake from my delirium, I rush hysterically to find Charlotte. I find her in the kitchen amongst a few people visiting. I didn't even notice them, just sank to my knees and cried my heart out, holding my baby, feeling remorse for what almost occurred. It felt really close - too close. My heart breaks and its anguish ridden. There is a deep understanding and overwhelming gratitude for my mother who is close at this moment, yet so far most of the time. Being an expat and a new mom is devastating away from the familiar. [Now I am in tears, remembering the pain of isolation.]
It was in this moment, that I was so vividly exposed to the reality of so many mothers and the pain and grief of trying to do it alone. Isolation in foreign countries, not knowing where to turn. The multitasking syndrome, the idea that we should be doing it all and be able to be working moms and stay on par with stay-at-home moms. Comparison and righteousness holding us from true connection. I believe and sit with conviction that it is time to stop. It is time to reach for one another.