What now?

Well, this is going to be a different school year. I am having difficulty with what should be a joyous occasion. Our youngest is beginning her senior year of high school. Her sister who is 4 years older was supposed to be a senior in college, but due to health issues (primarily uncontrolled depression), she was unable to even complete her junior year. The future should be full of hope and opportunity, anticipation and excitement. Instead, I am full of dread and fear. Comments in blogs and articles about mothers’ actions and the effects on their children strike me to the core. Reading a preview of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, “The Best Yes,” this sentence rises from the page like a leering specter:

I struggle with wondering if my inability to do it all will make my kids wind up on a therapist’s couch one day.

We’re already there.

Both of our daughters have been battling depression the past few years. The youngest went through 2 years of intense counseling, and has done well. Our oldest, however, has traveled a rocky road invisible to most who know her. She began showing symptoms of depression a few months after suffering a concussion the fall of her senior year, but thought that just taking a pill would “fix it,” and refused to go to counseling. She completed her senior year, and then started classes in the fall at a local liberal arts college. Things seemed to go well for 2 years. Then, physical illnesses coupled with severe side effects from medications took their toll. Her fall semester was interrupted and she had to with draw before midterms; in the spring, she tried again only to fall ill 4 weeks before the end of the term and had to take incompletes in most of her courses. Finding a counselor with whom she felt comfortable has been a 3 year journey, but when she became nearly suicidal in early May of this year, we managed to locate one with whom she developed rapport.

After a long summer of weekly counseling, frequent trips to doctors, and much prayer and thought, Abby has made progress. But the future is still uncertain. I struggle with wondering what I could have done differently.  Spend much time in the blogosphere and one is quickly overwhelmed with posts from homeschooling mothers and stay at home wives who have lived up to the Proverbs 31 image of a woman who is in charge of her home. (Or at least give the impression they have.)  I don’t even begin to compare. I have worked outside of the home full-time the past 31 years. My husband encouraged me to continue working and the reality is, we really couldn’t afford for me to quit. My “yes” was to continue my nursing career.  (The concerns and frustrations I’m currently experiencing with my job are a subject for another day.) So, I ponder if my decision was correct. Did I really follow God’s calling? Are the problems our daughters face the results of my choice? A quote attributed to Jacqueline Onassis echoes in my memory: “If I fail my children, it doesn’t matter what else I did.” Yikes.

So now what? I can’t turn the clock or calendar back or undo my career choice. (Other nurses’ kids are doing just fine with their moms working full time.) Where do I go from here?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Danice lee
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 05:25:25

    We hear this so much that it sometimes just seems like something to say, but remember to look to God. You are his perfect daughter, and he gave you THOSE kids because you are the best mom for them.
    I am a single mother of three who refuses to do daycare after being molested as a child, in a daycare setting. I work part time nights and we live with my mother. I homeschool during the day, so I’m usually severally sleep deprived. I’m a “yeller” and a day rarely goes by that I don’t feel like a failure as a mother.
    But. They know I love them, and hopefully I’m raising them to know God loves them even more.
    Your story breaks my heart. I will be praying for you and your girls. I hope it gets better soon.


    • shauna
      Aug 12, 2014 @ 12:20:08

      Thank you so much Danice. You are in my prayers! Wow!
      We were very blessed to have excellent daycare for our daughters when they were small. But I totally understand where you are coming from; the first day care provider we used was a former patient’s mother when I worked in the Pediatric ICU. I knew from the care she gave her daughter she would be kind, patient, and loving. Then when the daycare at the hospital where my husband and I both work had an opening, we moved our daughter there. I do understand your fears, I probably would not have continued working if we hadn’t had such an excellent facility with close supervision.
      One of my coworkers worked night shift and home schooled her children as well. She is a lovely Christian lady and a mentor for me. Kudos to you both!


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