After my daughter Leyden died, I couldn’t watch my usual marathons of Law and Order and Criminal Minds.
The intensity was too heavy for my internal intensity.
Over time I have been able to integrate Benson and Stabler back into my life.
I haven’t had to shut off a show in a few years.
But 10 minutes into an episode of Hulu’s “The Act,” and I was utterly shaken.
If you don’t know – it’s the story of Gypsy Rose. Her mother convinced her and the entire world that she was sick. All of her teeth removed. Inaccurate diagnosis of cancer. A wheelchair that wasn’t necessary.
The list goes on.
I could watch horrific murder scenes and serial killers all day- this was different.
I was physically shaking and uncontrollably crying.
And before I even began processing my reaction, the words poured out of my mouth.
How could she take advantage of the incredible privilege of being a mother? Her daughter trusted her- she needed her- how could she make her sick every single day?
She was given a healthy child. How could she intentionally neglect that gift?
I screamed then whispered my questions. Words stopped, and tears continued to flow.
The pain of losing my daughter Leyden took over. The guilt from not being able to protect her created massive knots in my stomach.
The shame I feel of being responsible for her illness was like a wrenching of my heart.
How could she?
It’s a question I still think about.
I want to be clear; I don’t believe just because we can birth a child means we should do so. Everyone gets their pick on what is best for them.
But when choosing to parent, it’s one that can’t be taken lightly.
It is tiring, exhausting, exciting, challenging, rewarding, and above all, it is a privilege.
All the moms out there doing their best – you are amazing.
When you lose your temper or opt for the drive-thru or hear the words, “Because I said so,” pouring out:
You are still amazing.
Your child is amazing.
Together, you are amazing.
We can’t undo what was done in the past, but maybe we can allow from such horror- a light to shine on the privilege and gift of mothering.
Even if sometimes they present in the form of runny noses, temper tantrums, sleepless nights, and longing to shower in peace- even those are indeed gifts.