I think back to two conversations that I had during the
early years of my self-care awakening. The first was with a
minister friend who expressed something along the lines of
“Surely there are other people in this church who have
struggles with their children–why don’t we talk to each other
about this?” In another conversation, a minister’s spouse told
me that she and her husband had been going to see a therapist.
She recounted that she had been quite honest and open as she
interacted with others, since her perspective was that this was
a healthy and helpful thing to do for her marriage and family.
She was puzzled and surprised by people who literally came
and whispered in her ear or called her later. In hushed voices,
they asked her questions as though it was something that could
not be spoken of out loud. Her friends needed help too, but
they were afraid, ashamed, or somehow needed permission
from the minister’s family to go and get that help.
A third conversation happens regularly with a number
of mom friends. After taking the initial step into the doors of
a mental health professional, each of these friends has
recounted something like this: “There were a lot of families in
the waiting room, and some were people that I know. There
are a lot of us.” We are not alone.
By the time our daughters were in preschool, I had
definitely surrendered to the idea that mental health
professionals could be extremely helpful. I had already
experienced this when our son struggled with anxiety in the
third grade. There were challenges with our daughters that