Let me tell you the tale of an Overwhelmed Mother
who had a baby before she was ready, another one after a hurricane,
and one more within the same calendar year.

Let me tell you that one day while her three charges napped,
she looked at everything the diapers, the onesies,
the stroller she could never figure out
and felt Overwhelmed.
Felt incapable.
Felt hopeless.

Let me tell you about how she wanted it all to end.
How she was literally a knife-edge from making it happen.
How she cried on her bathroom floor holding a paring knife to her wrist

But then…
Her husband found her.
But then he called a Kind Mama,
the associate pastor of their church to help his wife.

And even though this woman was not her biological mama,
she nurtured our Overwhelmed Mother.

She held her and rocked in her strong, sure arms.
She told the Overwhelmed Mother not to worry if postpartum depression
stands at her door waiting to devour her,
she would not let it happen.
She would protect her,
like a good Mama does.

She then called the Overwhelmed Mother’s doctor,
a single thirty-something to ask,
“how can we care for this Mother? What can we do?”

And that doctor said, “Put her on the phone. Let me talk to her”
and while the Overwhelmed Mother wept chanting
again and again, “I just can’t do this anymore”.
The doctor whispered kind words, confident words, patient words.
“You will be ok.
You are not alone.
This is not your fault”
her words created a receiving blanket of assurance around our Overwhelmed Mother.

And though she did not give birth to her, the doctor was a Sweet Mama to our Overwhelmed Mother.

And let me tell you about another woman, another Mama.
This time a woman who found out that she could not have children
when she was just about the Overwhelmed Mother’s age.
She thought of the Overwhelmed Mother as her own daughter, though.
Watching her grow from curious child in Sunday School
to a leader of the youth group,
to married to an urban missionary,
to Overwhelmed Mother confessing that she wanted to take her own life.

When she found out about the knife and the crying
she sent cards with Scripture and left messages of encouragement
she sent money to lighten financial burdens and called to check in

But most of all, she prayed.
Every day for the Overwhelmed Mother.
She was a Fierce Warrior Mama.

And let me tell you about the Overwhelmed Mother now.
She’s tries to live every day as kind, sweet, and fierce as the Mamas in her life.

She tries to honor the instinct to care for others in every woman she meets.
She tries to remember that she is not  blessed, called, or special simply because she is a mother.
It’s true. She may be an oft-overwhelmed mother, but she’s many other things too. Good thing the mothers in her life has prepared her well, because in all things she moves through this world with kindness, goodness, fierceness.

Because of the many mothers in her life, she reflects shalom.

She tries to honor the ways men in her life lean into their vulnerability
and nurture those around them.
She thinks this is a gift from God who is both Father and Mother.

But most of all..
She tries to hold days like Mother’s Day lightly.

Because on weekends like this something else waits at the door to devour…
Division and Isolation

So, I’ll resist it with all I can because I was once an
Overwhelmed Mother.

I know the darkness and the lies.
I know the severe stillness of isolation.

So, I’ll be as Kind as my Mama Diane and say to those of you who mourn because you cannot have or have not had a baby
“I will not let the pain devour you. I will hold you and protect you.”

I’ll be as Sweet as my OBGYN and say to those of you who feel like motherhood is swallowing you whole
“You will be ok. You are not alone. This is not your fault”

And Finally, I’ll be as Fierce as My Mama Missy and say to those of you who need it
“I’m praying for you. I’ll fight for you. I’m here for you.”

I will resist division. For you.

This Mother’s Day.
And Always.
Shalom,  my Sweet Sistas,