A Big Hole In My Heart

For eight weeks, the house has been falling into gradual chaos.  Not the best way to prepare for a move halfway across the country.  After a week of feeling listless–while trying to ignore the source of my intense heart ache–I knew I needed help.  Talking it over with Ben, I decided to call my mom.  Already planning on taking the kids to make moving easier, I asked if she might come a week early.  Without hesitation (well, maybe a 2-day delay), she drove 6 hours to help.

Packing their little shirts, pants, socks, and shoes, I kept repeating, “This is a good idea.”  I even made a mental list.

  • Because we’ll be selling/donating/boxing the stuff in our apartment, keeping the kids at Grandma’s house will help lessen their anxieties over the great changes occurring.
  • To begin selling/donating/boxing our stuff, I need time without little children under foot.
  • To finish school (a few independent study classes), Ben needs unlimited and focused time to study, write, and prepare for his finals.
  • Since I will be cleaning, the kids need a place to roam with entertainment that doesn’t include Super Why! or Sesame Street.
  • Due to the most recent loss, Ben and I are experiencing intense grief and have limited emotional availability.  The kids need a place with unrestricted love and availability.

But this list doesn’t stop the guilt from building.  I feel like I’m suffocating even though I know it’s a good idea. I am questioning my ability as a mother because I can’t fight through my grief and be what my kids need.  For the past week, I claimed victory that I actually got up, fed the kids, and changed their diapers.   Heck, if I showered and dressed the kids I gave myself 2 stars.  But that’s not enough.  They need so much more.

It’s great that Grandma has taken them.  They will be surrounded by Aunts and Uncles, vying for their attention.  They will be well fed, regularly bathed, and, best of all, endlessly loved.

Then why do I feel so lost?


Filed under My Kids

24 responses to “A Big Hole In My Heart

  1. That is exactly what my mom told me when I was worried about having 2 so close together… "Call it a good day if they've eaten and they've had their diapers changed"… I use that as my mantra on bad days. You are TOTALLY entitled to do whatever you need to do to get through this. You are going through A LOT right now, moving being one of them, and if your kids going with grandma helps them out and you out, it's a win-win-win situation. You need space to be able to grieve by yourself. Give yourself that space. It will be better for your family in the long run.

    Also, my mom had a nervous breakdown when I was younger, and my local grandma came every day to take care of us. This is just what they've told me, because I don't remember any of this, and I was 5 at the time. So, you worried that your kids aren't getting enough love and attention right now… I promise they won't even remember. And if they're anything like my kids, they will fully enjoy being with aunts/uncles/grandparents right now anyway.

    Let me know if you need help packing!! When do you go?

  2. (((Hugs))) It's so hard to send them away, when sometimes it feels like they are the only thing making you get out of bed in the morning. I hope that you can find the rest and recovery you need. Even if that means a few days crying in bed. I know that watching old TV shows on DVD helped distract me enough to start feeling a little bit better.

  3. My daughter was my north star while I was mourning, though I would have loved to have a day or two without her constant needs to let myself find a touch of peace. We can feel two things too easily.

    My mother in law had to have a hysterectomy when her kids we little. A great aunt took them for two weeks, and at least my husband remembered nothing of it. Finding them a place of ease while you go through all these changes is a blessing – for you all. (I moved with a 4 yr and 6 wk old. Packing was impossible. Sorting an interesting daydream.)

    And I hope you know that taking time when you need it is no failing. It is the strongest course of action.

  4. You're a mom, and you're grieving. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to feel whatever you need to. Maybe consider this time like a hospital stay — you have to do it to get better so that you can be the mom Emily and Andrew know and love. You have my heart and my prayers!

    • I'm with Kelly, be gentle with yourself my friend. No one can do it all, nor should you expect yourself too. Trust me, asking for help and accepting it is a huge step.

      I'm thinking of you so much, and wishing I could hug you in person.

  5. They are a huge part of your day to day life! I think it's natural to feel a bit lost.

  6. Jessie T.

    Sometimes the best thing a mom can do is to take care of herself. If that means that someone who loves her kids takes care of them for awhile, then so be it. The kids won't remember it as anything but a fun time with Grandma. This is why Heavenly Father put us into families: so that we can take care of each other.

    You feel lost because we're supposed to do it all. We deal with crushing blows while going on like everything is normal. We put on a happy face and we soldier on. Except sometimes our knees buckle under the strain and we have to let someone else help for awhile. It doesn't make us weak or bad mothers, it just makes us human.

    Another time you will be the helper instead of the helpee. Just cut yourself a little slack and you will get help from on high to make it through this, too.

  7. sometimes we know we're headed in the right direction, and feel like we've lost our map even so. hoping this time passes in a whirlwind of packing/healing/finishing/wrapping up loose ends! hugs.

  8. Sara

    You did have victory; you got up and you struggled on. Now you have reached a stage where you know you need some time; whether this time is spent still being a "super-mom"and preparing for your move (and dealing with your feelings this way) or if it is spent giving time and love to yourself- it will be the right thing to do. It is never going to seem that is the right way because you want to punish yourself-this is normal. I went back to work the day after my first son died, and bled out whilst at work (nursing); I had a daughter 9 months ago- and I was home after 16 hours, and I was cooking, doing washing, running my mom around and looking after all of the tribe straight away. Was I strong??? No, I was subborn and pigheaded. Take the time for you!

  9. Praying for you still and ALWAYS!

  10. This is going to sound cheesy, and I probably won't be able to explain it well. While I was reading your post, an image came into my mind, kind of an analogy for life. I pictured you or me or anyone standing on a hill, next to a larger hill, and it occurred to me that if we want to get any higher than the hill we're on, we have to climb a different one, and sometimes that means we have to go down first so we can climb the next one. Sometimes we have to go through low places before we can get back up to where we were and then move on to a higher level. That low place is okay; it's part of a bigger plan to help you climb a higher hill.

    I hope that made any sense at all. And to echo what others have said, your children are fine. Sister Julie Beck told me once at a fireside, "Any feeling that says 'you're not good enough,' does NOT come from Heavenly Father. He only ever says, 'You can do better, and I'll help you." It sounds to me that what you're feeling falls in the first category, which means it's not coming from a place of truth. See yourself as He sees you, and there's a lot more hope in that.

  11. Cat

    I think Jessie T. summed it up pefrectly. We expect the best of ourselves and when it's just not possible to give 110% we feel a bit guilty. Don't! Families are there for us to lean on and help out.

  12. You're doing the right thing Amber… And the kids will love spending some time with their extended family. Thinking about you always.. Wish I was closer so I could come help you pack .. xoxo

  13. Mother's guilt is the worst. Try to let it go and do what's best for you because ultimately that's what's best for the kids.

  14. Amber, I've not been able to visit blogs very much lately and have thus missed the news. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know nothing I say can lessen your grief – I've had three miscarriages myself – but please know that it's perfectly natural for you to feel this way, that you're blessed to have your mom at your side to help, and that you have a community of friends here in the virtual world who are here for you.

    Write, talk, grieve, feel.

    Love and hugs.

  15. Keep writing. Keep focusing on those you love, and doing whatever you need to so you make it through.

    Sending love.

  16. You are going through so so many transitions right now. I had a similar thing happen at your point in life. We were in LA for grad school and I felt like I was lost in my own life. I was sad. I cried a lot more than normal. I couldn’t pin point my sadness. And I had not even had a miscarriage (or more than one). You are molting. Your marriage, your mommyhood, your life. Give yourself permission to struggle. You are on track.

  17. Amber, don't be so hard on yourself. Surround yourself with your love. Sounds like that is what you are doing. Heal my friend. Sending hugs and love. xoxo

  18. You want a break from them, and you want them to be near you. It's one of motherhood's greatest paradoxes, at least for me. And, honey, you need some time alone. Not just to sort and pack and donate but to hurt and heal and breathe. Accept you're guilt (we all feel it!) and know that you'll come out the other side a better mother for it.

  19. Allyson

    Why do we do that to ourselves as mothers? Why do we pile on the unnecessary guilt? I'm proud of you for asking for help. Packing (and grieving) will be so much easier for you and Ben without having to take care of the kids as well. Enjoy this time with just the two of you, and you'll both be even more excited to see your kids again after their trip. Let us know if we can help!

  20. Sweet girl, it takes a village to raise a child. All the time. In the best of circumstances. And right now you're dealing with challenges that are overwhelming. I think it's a sign of what a great mama you are that you recognized your need for an extra pair of hands and asked for help. Bravo to you. xo

  21. You made the right choice for your whole family to step back and take some time to reorganize yourself. Your children will miss you at first, of course, but they will have a wonderful time with family that will spoil them and be thrilled to play with them every waking minute of the day. Hopefully you will find some peace in the quiet.

  22. Tay

    Feeling lost is a good sign about your mothering – you love your kids and want them near you. But you realize that sending them with your mom is better for them right now. Sometimes there are really hard choices that you have to make for the love of your children, choices that seem like they could be heartless but are actually for the best right now.

    Much love to you.

  23. Lots of love. And amen to what has been said.