Sobbing from pure exhaustion… locked it the bathroom… with wine and chocolate for companions. Yep, that was me. Last night I had an emotional meltdown. Pregnancy hormones don’t help, but realistically I have an occasional meltdown even when I’m not pregnant. The everyday stresses, the loneliness, the hunger for adult connection, the emotional emptiness of having given and given and given until being completely depleted, it’ll all catch up with me from time to time. Come on now mamas, you KNOW what I’m talking about! Those nights where after the kids are finally in bed, you just collapse into a wine and chocolate guzzling, tissue soaking heap. When you have nothing left, what else are you supposed to do?
It usually seems like a better option than setting the house on fire.
The vocation of motherhood is unlike any other. The work we do is not often physically difficult or intellectually demanding. It’s a work of the heart. A mother’s giving is of the heart. Her reward is of the heart, tiny kisses, watching her children grow, beautiful moments of pure joy.
And her sufferings are of the heart, too.
As mothers, I feel we especially can relate to Christ’s invisible Passion. In fact, He’s beginning to show me that no matter what feeling I am struggling to carry, He has carried it before!
The Emotional Pain of Motherhood
Scourge marks across his back, thorns digging into his head, pierced hands, feet and side. The visible wounds of Christ.
This image brings tears to our eyes. But it’s not very relatable, is it? I mean, how many of us suffer torture? How often do we experience severe pain? Maybe on occasion, a broken bone, a surgery, a difficult birth, a gallbladder attack. But most of the time, how can we possibly relate to Christ’s agony?
He asks us to “take up our cross” yet the very idea of his cross is so foreign we cannot even begin to imagine!
We often forget that His sufferings were not only, or even primarily physical!
When I feel unappreciated and overlooked by those I love most?
He knows these feelings well. He died on the cross out of love for a world that couldn’t care less. While hanging on the cross, he knew the world would still turn away from him. In the midst of his physical agony, He suffered the spiritual agony of knowing his sacrifice would be rejected throughout time.
When I feel exhausted and emotionally drained, with nothing left to give?
Yes, he poured himself out completely on the cross. “My God, why have you forsaken me?” He cried out after giving his all, and still needing to give more. He deeply understands our emptiness at the end of a long day.
When I feel like I am the only one putting any energy into our marriage?
What about our relationship with Christ? Who does more giving? Who puts more energy into the relationship. Betcha it’s not us, by a landslide! (BTW, my husband is wonderful, but I think every woman feels like this from time-to-time)
When I feel that my husband doesn’t see me. When I feel alone and ignored…
Christ sits on the altar and he waits patiently in the Blessed Sacrament every day for us, yet often he sits alone and ignored. His agony in this way will last until the end of time. That kind of puts it in perspective, eh?
Why Us Mamas?
We all deal with the loneliness, exhaustion, frustration and sorrow. There are countless memes about mothers locking themselves in the closet. We tell jokes about wine and chocolate. Mothers’ Day cards are full of this theme. So what’s the deal? Why is this just a part of motherhood?
Every vocation serves a different purpose in the Mystical Body of Christ. As a mother, each and every one of us is called to imitate the Blessed Mother. Where was she during Christ’s passion? She was there beside him, sharing in his agony! Her soul was shredded with grief as she clung to the foot of the cross, but she stayed to comfort and console our Savior. She bravely accepted the sword piercing her heart with sorrow because it was the only way she could share in His sufferings. By extension, the consolation of the Sacred Heart is part of the vocation of every mother.
Can we do the same? When we are exhausted, lonely and broken, can we look up at the crucifix through our blurry tears and ask ourselves if He felt what we are feeling? *hint, keep a crucifix in the bathroom… and the kitchen… and the back corner of your closet where you hide from the children…* Can we intentionally unite our heart’s sufferings with Christ’s emotional agony, to weep beside the Blessed Mother, for the consolation of His Most Sacred Heart?
I hope someday my soul can learn to accept the tough moments of motherhood as precious gifts from God inviting me to sanctity… Accept them with the same gratitude as I feel for warm cuddles, newborn scalp (mmmmm) and tiny voices whispering “I love you, Mama.”
Print this offertory prayer, and hang it up where
you’ll see it when you need it, Mama!
featured image via Flickr user Zack Lee