Falling Apart While Keeping It Together Mental Health & Motherhood

Losing my job and being evicted was more than traumatic for me, but the constant stress of being the sole provider for my daughter put me in a place I never thought I’d be.
In the summer of 2018, I was Baker Acted ( a law allowing families and professionals to call emergency mental health services for those who may not realize they need it) and my daughter was physically taken away from me but not after a fight. We were staying at a local motel and when the cops showed up stating why they were there, I grabbed my daughter and ran for my life. Unfortunately, the cops saw us walking the streets at 4 o’clock in the morning. I had no place to go, no family in town, and my daughter was tired. I had no more energy to run. i broke down in front of my daughter and I felt hopeless watching her walk away with the police. I felt like a failure.
I was taken to a hospital and admitted. My daughter had nowhere to go and I had no family in the state I was living in to help me, so Children’s Services was called and my sweet girl was placed in foster care. In the hospital, I could hardly think straight and had difficulty figuring out what was going on and why I was there. I remember constantly asking the nurse if there was any word on my daughter and of course she didn’t know anything. Eventually, two caseworkers showed up and told me my sweet girl was placed in a foster care home and that she was alright. The thought of my child being with a strange family made me sick to my stomach. The thought of foster care made me even sicker. Thankfully, my family out of town was contacted and I’m grateful they agreed to take care of my daughter. Yes, she is with family (in another state) who loves her, but I want my daughter with me which is where she belongs. In April of 2019, I signed my parental rights over because I did not have a home; I currently live in a shelter. My family was in a better place to give my daughter the proper care she needed and they love her. I had to think about my daughter’s wellbeing instead of my own. With family, she can heal and live as normal a life (without me) as possible while I get the required help I need.
I felt like I failed her and was willing to do whatever was necessary to get her back. I felt broken – all we had was each other. I live with the guilt of all of this causing trauma for my child.
I cried a river of tears when she was taken from me and I am still crying. We’ve been together since her birth and have never been separated nor did I ever believe my dedication to her would end like this.
I never imagined being a single mom would be so hard. So many women do it seemingly without effort. I guess there are those, like me, who need some help and probably don’t know how to ask for it or maybe we don’t think we need help.
Financially, I sought all the help I could through various charities which I was thankful for, but too often I would go to places for help and was denied. I would cry at the bus stops I was so focused on taking care of my daughter’s emotional needs that I wasn’t aware of my own.
I ignored the signs of my mental health breaking down. Actually, I wasn’t even aware of mental health. I was just tired and agitated. I went way past my breaking point. To be honest, I thought I was going through what all single mothers were going through – the stress of just trying to make it work, trying to provide, trying to show my child I loved her by doing whatever was necessary regardless of how I felt physically or mentally. She was my priority.
In the evenings, my thoughts would take over and my lack of sleep would catch up with me. I knew something was wrong I just didn’t know what to do about it.
The court system ordered me to attend counseling and to get help for my mental health. I see a psychiatrist regularly. I’m going through all the steps necessary to get my daughter back.
It wasn’t easy to share my story of loss, but I hope it will help another mother pay attention to her mental health before it’s too late. Mothers are not supermoms, but we try to be. We try to be everything and everybody to our children and now I know that is impossible. Get the help you need and educate yourself about mental health awareness. I don’t know who said the following quote, but it’s true.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

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