(here's a photo of me; pregnant with Paige and so excited about what was to come)

Hi friends!

When I was suffering from the worst parts of severe antepartum depression in August of 2011 (depression while pregnant), I remember the horrible feeling of wanting to get into my car and drive away. To who-knows-where. Anywhere? To possibly drive off a bridge and never have to deal with anything again. It was so awful. I was so sick. I also felt the most terrible feeling of guilt I'd ever experienced. I had everything I'd ever wanted: a beautiful daughter, an amazing and supportive husband, a cozy loving home, a baby boy on the way… why did I feel nothing but dread and emptiness?

I was depressed. But the truth was, I also felt so overwhelmed. I felt so out of control and overloaded that I was simply frozen in terror. There was no more room for anything else. I couldn't think clearly because everything scared me. I was also angry all the time, yelling at Paige for the littlest things and promptly feeling so horrible for losing my temper. This was not the life I'd wanted to create!

Now, looking back, I know that I didn't want to leave my beautiful family behind. Of course not! I loved them with all my heart. I was scared and overwhelmed by the tasks and responsibilities related to mothering. I was becoming a mother of two and was feeling like my own more simple life was being left behind. The truth is, my very purpose was just coming to the forefront and I was shedding the skin of my former life. It wasn't easy! I was facing a big scary job. I wanted to symbolically drive away and leave my cares and fears behind me. We can't do that in real life; we must face our challenges head-on and take them down.

I'm so much better now, and going through that experience made me put a lot of thought into this sacred calling of motherhood. Specifically, how to find all the joy, peace, and sense of purpose motherhood can bring when we know where to look for it; how to flourish while we accept the sometimes dirty work of mothering; how to help make our children's lives magical while happily taking on extra work to do so.

These things come easy to some people. Some mothers are just so natural! They let trouble roll off their backs, they come up with craft ideas and games with ease, they whip up delicious dinners every night, they laugh with their kids in the rain… things I don't just DO. At least not until lately. Being the kind of mother I want to be has involved a lot of thinking, planning, and deliberate action involving list-making, reading, and daydreaming. But, I'm starting to get a rhythm and confidence!

In my quest for enlightenment of the mothering kind, I found the book "Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order & Joy" and read it speedily from cover to cover. I was so excited to finally find other mothers who felt like I did! Who didn't have all the answers and often felt overwhelmed and over-tired. The book is organized into sections called "Powers" where each topic, or power, suggests what makes up a great mother. You can follow along each power to a corresponding month of the year with a book club, group of friends, or individually.

This first month, January, will focus on the power of "Acceptance" which I will write about in my  next post. There are many ways acceptance plays a part in the daily life of the mother; it is so helpful to think of them as I ponder how I can rise above my personal challenges to be a better Mom.

I've chosen to explore each topic here throughout each month and share my thoughts here with you. You're free to explore your own thoughts in the comments section. This journey is my own and I believe everyone has their own personal feelings, wishes, and goals. I hope you find sentiments you can relate to and feel better about. Feel free to share your experiences!