Did you ever think that you were Super Mom? As a mom of many close-together children, it was an easy fantasy for me to fall into. As a young mom, I would set my goals high, “burn the candle at both ends,” and “never say die.” After a while the Super Mom fantasy took on a life of its own, and I began to believe the tale. However everyone knows that some things are only true in our imagination. Reality finally strikes and that is where Super Mom meets the Ordinary Mom. Learning that, “I am not a Super Mom; I am an Ordinary Mom,” has become the reality check in my life.
This fantasy was easy for me to live out, but hard to let go of. I thought I was Super Mom! After all, God gave me a ton of energy, a creative spirit, a great brain, and a quick wit. God blessed me with a hearing ear, a beautiful prayer life, and a heart for Him alone. I was equipped to do great things for God! I was ready, willing, and eager to begin each day. The only thing I failed to develop in my life was the common sense to know when to say, “That’s enough for now.” I bought my ticket on the Merry-Go-Round of life, and round and round I went. The ride did not seem to have a stop button. Around and around I went, on the adventure of a life time somehow afraid to take a leap from Super Mom to Ordinary Mom.
Everyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I tend to be an extremist. This quality quickly became a fault causing me to buy daily ticket on the Merry-Go-Round of daily life, with a GO – GO – GO mentality. You see I have always gone 100 miles an hour from sun up to sundown, just like the energy bunny. Instead of hopping, I run the race to win. When the day ends, I collapse on the couch into the arms of my husband, better known as Super Dad. This is where I find my rest.
However, I have come to realize that in order to make it to the finish line, I must pace myself. So taking the time to pause has become essential in my walk with Jesus. It is where Super Mom meets Ordinary Mom. It is where the fantasy ends and reality begins. Oh I wasn’t always like that; it took time for me to learn the art of relaxation. In reality, it took years to learn the art of relaxation. It took a decision on my part to hang up my Cape for the day and leave the rest of my work for tomorrow. After all today had enough work of its own. The old adage, “A man works from sun to sun; but a woman’s work is never done,” is true. I didn’t catch on right away that I too need to stop, let it go, and force myself to rest. Sadly to say, it also took trials in my life to realize that I am no Super Mom at all, but rather an Ordinary Mom, human in all aspects. It took time, a decision, trials, and a lot of prayer.
One of the trials in my life that unveiled the mask over this Super Mom’s eyes was the loss of our baby Zachary at two hours old and full term. The rug came out from under my feet and I could barely stand at all, let alone fly with my Cape on. Ladies, sometimes life is just hard. Sometimes, one mentor told me, “You can barely put even one foot in front of the other, not even be able to force a smile. It is ok!” Those words spoken in due season gave me permission to begin the healing process. You cannot rush a work of God. In order for God to make all things new in our life, we must co-operate with His grace. This is essential. One definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again in the same way and expecting a different result.” In other words, “No change equals no change!”
The death of a baby, or a miscarriage, or not being able to conceive are times in our life when the rug comes out from under us. We are tempted to put on our Capes and fly through the air, but most likely we will not be able to leave the ground. “Life as we know it” becomes a passing phrase. We adapt a new adage, “Life as it is.” It is in the crucible of suffering that growth takes place, if we let it. It is where we take a pause and pray. It is where we come to know that God is God and we are not. It is where your Super Mom fantasy ends and where reality begins.
So what are some healthy ways to get back on your feet again? Here are some suggestions that I call the five “R’s” of heading towards recovery:
Rest and don’t jump back into life too soon. If you carried a baby six weeks then take at least six weeks to rest. If it was nine months like my baby Zachary, rest for nine months. Go to bed early, learn to take naps and, and sit down and rest throughout the day. We are not machines; we are human. Jumping into life too soon may be too much. Rest is what heals the body, but also the mind and the soul. Rest is essential at this time to guide you back to the road of normalcy.
Relax and give yourself permission to just say, “No!” when in the past you always said, “Yes!” Give yourself permission to eat that extra candy bar or favorite bag of chips. Give yourself permission to stay in your pajamas all day and watch funny movies or “sit coms” from the 70’s. Give yourself permission to be around people or to just stay at home and read a book. Go to the beach or plan a trip to the mountains. A change of scenery or a change of pace will help you to have a different view. Vacations are healing to the soul. This is a time to rest and recover, not a time to launch forward and attempt to move a mountain. No, at this time recovery in your life is the goal. Besides, your “mountain” may be deciding what to wear that day and that is perfectly normal.
Reflection is key. Look at your life and recoup. Get to know yourself a little better and get to know God better. Quiet your soul and write your thoughts. If you are angry at yourself, another person, or even God, write it down and toss it to the wind, like the little girl who just lets her balloon go “Up, Up and Away.” This release in the natural somehow disperses the anger. Just say to yourself, “Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go!” If it continues to bother you seek wise counsel. Find another woman with a listening ear, a caring heart, and a well-guarded tongue to talk to. It needs to be a person who takes the time for you when you need her most. Sometimes another’s perspective can set our hearts back on the right course.
Refresh and keep it light. Recovery, especially at first, is not a time to move a mountain, because sometimes you are not strong enough to even move a molehill. It is not a time to be too introspective. It is a time to let your friends, your family, and your church people carry you. Baby steps towards health are way better than giant leaps. Leaping before you refresh and recover may send you on the road towards postpartum depression. There will be another season to conquer the world. This is a time to walk the road toward normalcy and health. Ladies, you may never wear your Super Mom Cape again and that is alright. In fact that is a growth.
Renewal cannot be rushed. Remember putting one foot in front of the other and not even being able to force a smile is enough for now. Do not forget to take that journey with companions that love you, support you, and are ready to carry you when you are too weak to stand. Do not take the journey alone. Seek out a mommy mentor or a Titus II woman to see once a week for a season. Choose a woman who has walked the path before and has the blisters to prove it. They have the GPS. They will never judge you. They will embrace you with the arms of Christ. You see, their heart has been tendered with the pain of loss as well. The gift of compassion grew inside their hearts.
I do not take out my Super Mom Cape that much anymore nor try it on for size just to see if it fits. When I am tempted with the desire to fly through life as in my younger days, I remember when I could not even put one foot in front of the other nor even force a smile. I remember when I was so dizzy in the Merry-Go-Round of life that I did not know how to push the stop button and get off. I remember when I was too busy to care, or to take a breather or to pause. I remember when I was so exhausted running the race to win that I could not even enjoy the view. I remember when I was the energy bunny, who never knew the word, “No!”
It is then that I thank the Lord for the maturity that comes from walking with Him alone. In God alone I place my trust! I put His yoke upon me and I learn from Him. I have found Him to be a gentle and humble teacher who only gives me light burdens. I may not be Super Mom whose Cape sails her through life, flying full speed ahead and not looking back. No, it was exhausting living life at that kind of pace. Now I wait upon the Lord who renews my strength. It is He who “mounts me up like wings of eagles.” I run but I am not weary. I walk but I do not faint. You see my Jesus has taught me to wait on Him. Teach us Lord, teach us Lord to wait. Be still and know that He is God, and then fly not with a Cape, but on the wings of His Holy Spirit. He will become the “wings beneath your feet,” if you let Him.
Ellen Mongan Co-Hosts a Radio Show every Tuesday evening a 7:00P.M. Central time called My Miscarriage Matters Radio. It is a live broadcast and a call in show. This month’s series is on Renewal of the Body, the Mind and the Soul. If you google My Miscarriage Matters Radio you can hear some of the past broadcasts recorded on blog talk radio.