The Guilt of Motherhood

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It all starts with one word.

Mama.

Long before it is even spoken by those little lips, already while being knit together, whether in womb or heart.

A piece of you. A part of you. Growing. Shaping to roam and change the world.

Without you.

First comes the joy and excitement, which if we’re honest, is followed by extreme terror and doubt.

You become responsible for this being that prances around with your heart like it’ll never stop beating and can endure all things.

When in reality, after week one, it starts dragging never to fully catch up again.

Sleep is but a vague memory. Clean floors. Dirty dishes. Laundry piles. Dusting – who still does that anyway? It never ends.

Yet, very few of us hold only the prestigious mama title. One that really is enough to consume every ounce of sanity and energy one human is capable of producing.

So we push through day after day as a full-time mama, in a full-time career, as a full-time cleaner, as a never ending cook and a 24-7 first responder…. I haven’t even touched on comparisons and the dos and don’ts that attempt to choke us at every turn.

These little people are everywhere and they need us every minute of the day, even after they start pretending they don’t.

Mamas we will never be done. We are in this forever. All of us.

Feeling alone? Exhausted? Like you’re the only one that just fed their kids Kraft Dinner three days in a row? Like it’s only your child that throws a tantrum in the check out line every. single. time. And the famous words I HATE YOU…. you must be the only parent to have ever heard that.

Because all the other mamas feed their children only organic food with 80% vegetables, 10% protein and 10% carbs. All the other mamas know how to hold their temper, even behind closed doors. They get promotions at work and their homes are spotless. Their children are in ballet, gymnastics, soccer and well every fricking thing under the sun. Oh and their husbands? Well, they are clearly living happily ever after.

Insanity right? How do we keep it together?

We don’t. Each of us marching to the beat of a different drum in the same band. Alone.

Mamas we need each other. We need to do this together.

We need to be able to extend and share our bruised, dragging hearts in all aspects of motherhood. On the street, in the market, at the park and in our homes.

Together with so much grace, love and respect for each other that all those moments of guilt, fear and doubt are replaced and filled with assurance, support and love. Oh so much love.

Because despite all of it, at the end of the day, we love our little beings so much, that we wouldn’t change it for anything.

And there is only one way we can remain sane on this crazy adventure of motherhood…..

Together. Hand in hand. Heart to heart.

You with me mama?

 

Until next time,
Eva

 

 

Photo credit – DanaWall Photography

Plenty of Tea and Hands To Hold

DAPPER ESSENTIALS

It’s a bit like turning the heat up on a pot of frogs. Which, come to think of it, is a silly idea really.

You can be in that state of mind only for so long. Push you way past any limits you ever dared to think you had and then some.

In time the water will get so hot, that even though you have trained your mind to a mental state of resistance, your body will eventually tap out.

When that tap out happens, may the strength of your mind be enough to land you in the shade with plenty of tea and hands to hold.

We like to think it’s smooth sailing after the landing, if only that were the case.

The reality of the situation will only come to be as the breeze blows over you and your wounds get attended to.

Not just some quick miracle healing. No, that would shell shock the system and dismiss the beauty in forming and shaping of each scar individually.

As your hands get held and your wounds begin to seal, the taste of the tea becomes sweet, and you begin to acknowledge the shade not just as a dark cloud keeping you from the sun, but as a protection from more heat.

In that place, people may come and people may go, some bringing salve and others tearing the band-aid off carelessly. Revealing those never ending scars.

In time, that will matter less.

As the feelings start to return, so will your strength. Emotional, mental and physical.

Enough so, that you may come to a place of recognizing that many of those scars won’t be going anywhere for years to come. But you are able to look at them no longer as to what happened in that pot, but as to what happened under that tree.

And oh the beauty of you sitting under that tree, grasping the hands of so many hot pot frogs to follow.

There you will let your ever faded scars shine bright on the ever gaping wounds of those in your presence.

How sweet the tea will be!

Until next time,
Eva

The Voices

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I remember a time when there was only one. It was peaceful.

Then there were two and a constant battle.

The one dreams big and believes in all things, the other slowly chews it up and spits it out. Scattered everywhere. As if to say, try that again and see what I will make of it.

People used to tell me about it and I lacked even the slightest bit of sympathy. You just block it out, pray it out, knock it out. Whatever you need to do, deal with it.

I actually probably never believed it to be real. Because, the world was my oyster and no one could stop me.

Maybe because it was absent for so long, it now feels the need to work over time, make up for lost time you know.

It took me awhile to recognize it when it first came around. It sort of just sneaks in all sly like, as if it’s always been there. It becomes apparent only after it dominates every decision you make and you actually no longer hear the other.

It thrives as the unknown, the unnamed.

We’ve met now though. Face to face. The way I like to be with everything occupying space in my presence. On a first name basis.

I call it the voice of lies.

I greet it, acknowledge it, sit with it for a bit, then I go full blown battle on it.

With the voice of truth.

Because the voice of truth enables us to be bold and beautiful. Even a little bit crazy. It comes in joy, sincerity, peace and hope.

Hope in big dreams, hope in beautiful growth. Hope to be one hundred percent you!

Because being our beautiful whole self is the most courageous thing we’ll ever do, and it really only has room for one voice.

The voice of truth.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

Living From the Heart

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Remember when I wrote that blog about going on this trip and taking my anxiety with me? I had thought the trip was going to be a great idea and then the first couple of days I didn’t know if I would survive? Yeah, I that one!

Well, it really was the best thing EVER! Not as in the best holiday I have ever had, but the best thing for my heart.

My sidekick and I spent some time in Buenos Aires and then made our way into the cold windy plains of El Calafate. This is where the magic happened!

When we got to our cabin in El Calafate, I immediately asked for the Wi-Fi password because let’s be honest, the necessity of wifi is right up there with food. I was greeted with a ‘no hay wifi.’ Mmmm, come again?! I had booked to stay at a place for 7 days with no Wi-Fi??? Oh dear me.

The thing here is I’m not OCD about having Wi-Fi all the time (ok maybe I am), but especially when I’m away from home and don’t have a good international phone plan.

Ever since our family tragedy in 2009, which happened when I was in Israel, I panic at the thought of my people back home not being able to contact me.

So yes I went straight into, ‘Eva what the heck mode,’ meanwhile smiling and assuring my host that it was totally fine… When in life do we learn to feel one thing and say the other?!

But you guys, after I processed my panic, shock and fear it ended up being okay. Actually, it was the best thing that could have happened on that trip.

The next 7 days Alayna and I saw the most beautiful scenery ever, but better than that was my Wi-Fi free time.

I kept Alayna on her routine of going to bed at 7pm, which meant I now had hours to myself with NO INTERNET. At first I would literally just find myself sitting by the window staring into space for hours.

I would go to a place of peace in my heart that felt so good, I couldn’t move.

In that peace my heart would begin bubbling over with inexpressible hope and joy. I had not felt the extent of that in years, if ever! It was so good I wanted to hold onto it. So my staring turned into writing which turned into listening which turned into dreaming BIG!

It’s amazing what the heart holds when we stop long enough to dig way down.

The challenge here is holding onto that which we discover in those heart moments, especially once you get back to every day life.

I’ve tried to pause long enough every day since being back, to get a glimpse into those moments again.

Because even a breath in that space is enough to keep me dreaming big and believing big. And when we start dreaming and believing big, we start living from the heart.

And living from the heart really is the only way you guys.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

Photo: Our no Wi-Fi cabin where magic happens 😉

Why I will Always Stand with the Immigrant

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My parents had been living on rice and beans for months with 8 children under the age of 10. Then, their only means of income was taken away from dad because of outstanding debt. They had no place to turn…..

until a friend extended an invitation to take them to Canada.

My dad and the kids came in as second generation Canadians born abroad. My mom had nothing. She came in as an immigrant.

Almost 2 years later, I was born here. In Canada.

You see, even if Canada hadn’t given them an avenue to come in and immigrate her legally, they would have had to do something. I can imagine many scenarios of what that could have looked like.

Even though she was the only one that immigrated and I was actually born here, I always felt like I didn’t belong.

“Hey you fucking M&M’s, go back to where you belong!!” We heard that so many times.

To have someone pull up and yell that out the window when you’re walking down the street minding your own, really does a number. You only need to hear that once to get the message.

Every time after that is just a nail in the coffin.

I would get so angry and want to run after them, mom would just laugh and brush it off.

My heart aches for her and every other person who has ever felt like they didn’t belong because of race, gender, culture, religion or whatever else it may be.

I was traveling when a huge statement was made just across the border from us.

Not once did I bring up the topic, but everyone that recognized us as foreigners asked me about it.

The pain in the heart and eyes of the Jewish woman sitting beside me on plane was real you guys. The Brazilian American standing in the airport line behind me said it wasn’t the same coming ‘home’ this time. Then added ‘maybe this never was home.’

You could feel the tension of South Americans serving us North Americans because they should stay or go back where they came from, but we’ll go wherever we want and they should be there to serve us. No you guys, it wasn’t just me and in my head.

It was real.

Some say it was all media and won’t be what it was portrayed to be. Well, I can tell you this, whether it was platform or media, what I felt all those years ago and what those people are feeling right now is real!

SO gosh darn REAL you guys.

We CANNOT sit back and let history repeat itself. We need to STAND UP and STAND WITH them. Loud and bold!

Because we all belong you guys. We all belong. Together.

Lets be intentionally and do life together. Regardless of race, gender, religion or culture. Next time you’re out and about, hold out your hand, whether literally or in action to say, I AM WITH YOU.

WE ARE WITH YOU! Always will be.

Until next time,

Eva

 

 

 

 

 

The Hard Truth

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I have been thinking for a while now about how I would tell you this. It’s long over due but I have no idea how to do this. This is the most exposed I have EVER felt.

Over the months of thinking and discerning through whether I should or shouldn’t write about this, in the end it was Glennon and her post that made me realize I could and should.

This is big, hard news you guys.

 

 

Gary and I are separated. Have been for a year now………

 

 

If you feel sick, disappointed or angry right now. I get it. It’s ok.

For those of you that know and believed in us, I am sorry. So sorry! My heart breaks for you in your disappointment.

So why haven’t I said anything sooner? To be honest, we were encouraged to keep it quiet…. Out of love for us I’m sure. But I’m at a point where I just can’t anymore.

You are probably wondering, what the heck happened? The story is not just mine and it’s big and so, so complicated you guys. I wish I could explain it to you in one sentence, but for you to really be able to wrap your mind around it, I’d need to sit with you for days.

To the world it may look like I’ve given up and I’m choosing an easier route. You guys, I have never actually met someone in a similar situation who just decided to give up. It comes after a long hard, hard battle.

This last year has by far, been the hardest year of my life. I know, I say that every year. Seriously though, this last year doesn’t compare to anything I have lived through.

The pain of death does not come close to the pain I have felt in this.

In all of the other tragedies, although I felt deep pain, I didn’t need to carry it. I had a large community carrying it for me. In this, the pain has been far, far greater and besides a few close friends, it has been on us.

I’m not casting blame because many of you had no idea, and for those of you that did and didn’t know what to do, I get that too.

So how did we get to where we are today? I ask myself that every. damn. day.

Some things are not okay and cannot be denied. Even in missions, illness and community expectations.

With respect to Gary I can tell you this, I was at a place emotionally and mentally that if we hadn’t made this change, I don’t know that I would be here today, functioning. Because of what day-to-day life was like.

It was a slow process with a few BIG episodes where I knew something had to be done. I found myself in a place where I no longer knew who I was. I was completely numb and felt nothing to love or harm. My thought patterns and actions were so foreign to me.

I had become a puppet to fear, shame, self-doubt, harm and pain.

Over time I became smaller and quieter. I had no idea where to turn. No idea what to do.

When I finally started talking, very few heard me. But a few sweet souls not only heard me but they heard us. They held my hand. They held Gary’s hand. They loved us right in our mess. That brought the brave out in me again.

I believe more than anything that pain is not meant to be carried alone. It’s meant to be shared. Only then, can it reach it’s fullest potential.

Opening up about a broken marriage is taboo and I don’t like it. Is it any wonder marriages are struggling all around us? The enemy devours what we keep in the dark. We need to change that.

So what about Alayna? It is actually because of her that I knew we needed to do something. I believe in leading by example and yes, if Alayna were ever to be in this situation, I would want her to make changes to heal and become whole, however that may look.

I understand that many of us feel very strongly about what this looks like to God. I can tell you that this does not separate us from God’s love. This does not surprise him at all. He has walked with us every minute of our hard and he will continue to do so.

I am not asking for your opinions, suggestions or advice. And I most certainly do not need you to try and fix us. I imagine this to be a great “did you hear” story, but I have been called to be open and vulnerable with you, what you do with that is not on me.

My hope is that it will encourage others to care for their soul in all situations and circumstances.

To always be ready to choose love over judgment.

I will keep my head high and continue to speak up when I feel lead, to make a difference where I can. Always.

Now I’m going to go throw up as I hit publish.

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. Gary and I are trying to continue to do ‘family’ together the best that we can. My hope is that we both be treated with love and grace. Please know that there are details in this that I can’t share with the world out of respect for Gary, Alayna and myself.

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Entry 3 ~ Anniversary Series

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It’s been a few days since my last entry, and each one of those days is filled with weighted memories, but I needed some time, the last entry knocked the wind out of me.

Physically, emotionally and mentally.

I think the concept of how much our emotional pain affects our ability to function as a whole, is so often overlooked and under played.

Allowing myself to really feel through the emotions of that day, left me wanting to sleep for days. I probably should have, but instead I dragged my tired self through the days in a haze.

I convinced myself more than once, that I wasn’t going to do it again. Why would I put myself through feeling that, when it seems so much easier and less draining to just bury it.

Well, the haze has somewhat passed and the reality of what burying it does set in again, so here I am.

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March 1 – March 5, 2009

The plane did land and a sea of heartbroken faces welcomed me.

I have since walked through those same doors at the airport a handful of times, and that image never fails to greet me there.

A sense of reality set in as I saw the gut wrenching pain in the eyes of each of my siblings.

I didn’t go home to make funeral plans for my momma and the sweet littles. No, not long after getting off that plane, I was sitting in a small cold room in front of a computer screen, with images flashing before me.

Words like grey matter, stroke, non-responsive, major damage, vegetable state and life support were all thrown at me like a knife to my heart.

‘You’ll need to make a decision soon’ ended that meeting.

I was so numb at that point, I can’t even put it into words; a state I am not sure the English language can depict.

I was still finding it hard to swallow through the fact that momma, Johnny, Neta and Tony were gone, and now I was supposed to think of ‘making a decision.’

They gave us a few more days. We needed to get home for the funeral of the other 4.

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March 5, 2009

The funeral. Gosh I dislike funerals…. So, so, so much.

I grew up in a culture that believed in open caskets. Frick, I kid you not, I have seen everything under the blinking sun….. I won’t even get started on how I feel about viewings.

I saw momma for the first time at the funeral home, before the viewing.

Goodness I miss her. Hurts so bad.

I wish I could look back on that day and think, “we celebrated them well,” but that’s not the reality of funerals in that culture.

All the details of that day are not for me to share, for respect of others involved, but I can tell you this; according to my psychologist, a lot of my pain is not from the loss itself, but from the words spoken to me in that loss.

My heart remembers nothing but cold, gruesome, stark facts about that day.

After our final goodbyes, the dirt starting hitting the caskets and the wailing echoed far into the distance.

A piece of my heart was buried that day. Momma’s got it with her in heaven.

I picture the kids sitting on grandma’s lap, having some chocolate covered cookies. Sharing a few with Jesus of course.

I wish this was the end and rest awaited us in the following days. That was not the case.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. For those of you that don’t know about my background. When the time is right I hope to write about what life was like growing up in ‘that culture.’ For now, this is all consuming.

 

 

 

Entry 2 ~ Anniversary Series

March 1, 2009

I had called my mom just before I got onto the plane. I told her that I loved her, she said, “Me too.”

This was big. I never, ever heard, ‘I love you’ growing up. Never. From anyone. I actually didn’t know that wasn’t normal.

My friend Lis and I graveled up for the long flight to Tel-Aviv. It knocked me out good and proper but my poor girl didn’t sleep a wink. She almost went insane.

We arrived in Israel late evening and since I had slept the entire flight, sleep eluded me. Lying in a new bed, in a foreign place, I wondered what the days ahead would hold.

At suppertime I had prayed, for God to prepare us for whatever he had prepared for us.

At around 3 am I had this gut feeling like something wasn’t right……..

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Ugh, I don’t know if I can do this.

The raw details of the events that followed are buried so deep in my heart. I haven’t gone there in so long, if ever really. I have shared bits and pieces here and there, but never really felt it. This time is different. This year I’m feeling it. From deep with-in.

My supper wants out. My bones are aching.

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I couldn’t shake the feeling, so I finally turned on my phone to check the time. Much to my surprise, I had tons of messages. I didn’t think I had phone service.

The first message just said, “Eva, call us as soon as possible.” The second message said, “Eva something really bad has happened, call back please.” I don’t know why but I listened to message after message, until I was completely numb. I knew deep in my heart what had happened because of a ‘vision’ I had had about 9 months prior (that’ll be for another day).

I got Gary on the phone but he couldn’t say it, he just kept repeating my name over and over, until I finally asked, “My parents passed away, didn’t they?” He found his words and said, “They had an accident, mom is gone………..” I didn’t hear anything else after that.

Gary kept talking but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. His words all slurred together. My mouth was so dry, I was so numb, Lis was looking at me, pale as can be.

Then I felt this presence wrap around me and I caught my breath enough to mutter, “I’ll come back as soon as I can.”

I don’t remember much of what happened the following 12 hours. My girl Lis tells me I went 100% into survival mode with burst of tears.

The earliest flight I could get out was that day at 2pm, so I had the morning to go crazy. The team I was with was so gracious and supportive (Thank you Abe). They took Lis and I around to see a few sites. I don’t remember any of it. I have the pictures… I’ve never had a desire to get them printed. Those pixels carry so much weight.

By the time I got onto the plane that day, I had become aware of the awful reality that was now my life. I had lost my momma, two nephews and a niece, with my dad and brother in critical condition.

I sat down in my seat, buckled up and whispered, “Jesus, I’d be ok if this plane doesn’t land.”

What awaited me in the days ahead seemed insurmountable.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. I don’t know that this post can hold the amount of emotion I felt typing these words. My heart feels pretty raw. I feel pretty naked. Like I’m letting the whole world into a place I find so hard to go myself. My body is begging me to release all the pain I have stored away for so long. To be whole again.

 

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About 7 hours after ‘the call.’ I have no recollection of this moment.

Forever grateful for you Lis!