“But she’s a mom!”

[Trigger Warning: Suicide]

#Motherhood is hard. Full stop. And while we gravitate to achieving more joy in #workingmotherhood here, it’s not lost on me how lonely and painful the journey can be.

Last month, a friend tragically chose to end her life, leaving her 13-year-old daughter. When my close girlfriend called to tell me this, I couldn’t catch my breath. It was the most shocking and heartbreaking phone call I have ever received. I can’t imagine how hard it was for my friend to even get those words out to me.

Last week, news broke that a well-known mommy blogger, Heather Armstrong, died by suicide. For two decades, she honestly chronicled her parenthood and relationship challenges. She became known as the “Queen of Mommy Bloggers,” helping many women feel seen and paving the way for others to vulnerably join her.

“No one saw it coming.”
“She didn’t seem suicidal.”
“But she’s a mom!”

What I’ve learned these past few weeks – after diving into this complex topic, one I had no real understanding about – is that warning signs were there: feeling like there are no solutions, feeling unbearable emotional or physical pain, talking about being a burden, saying goodbye, withdrawing. I think because she was a mom, no one around her thought she’d leave or was capable of it.

But two things were true at the same time: her suffering was intolerable, and her love for her daughter was immeasurable. Behind her smile, that lit up any room she walked into, she was in pain – from head to toe, inside and out. In her mind, this left her with no choice.

May is #MentalHealthAwareness month and #MothersDay falls within the same month. Perhaps not a coincidence.

This #MothersDay week, I wish you peace, comfort, and hope. You are not alone, even in your darkest of thoughts and days.

(Read more on suicide prevention from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) here: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention.) ~ Erica

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