I’m not ok… And that’s ok…


This piece was originally written in August 2016…

My heart is aching. And it’s aching for mothers. 

We have to be strong as well as tender. We have to be strict as well as compassionate. We have to be the driving force of the home and the heart of the family. We have to be everything to everyone, and still be ok. But we are not… I’m not ok…

It saddens me to secretly find out that there are so many mothers who are not coping with all the demands life puts on them. We see happy pictures displayed on their “Facebook lives” and we secretly envy them for having it all together. And we wonder HOW they juggle everything and manage to stay sane. But the truth is… There are so many mothers who crack under the burden they carry on their shoulders – working moms, stay at home moms, all moms. 

We fear sharing our stories.

We fear judgement.

We fear not being perfect.

So we keep it to ourselves and allow it to eat away at our souls, our families and our happiness. We allow it to progressively get worse over time until we wake up one morning and don’t recognise the face staring back at us in the mirror and live a life that’s not authentic.

But on the other side…

Life is so rushed and each person has their own issues, worries and burdens. How often do we disconnect from it all to LISTEN to each other’s stories and give comfort, understanding and above all love.

I haven’t spoken much about my story, in actual fact very few people know how much I struggled, so here it is. I hope you can find comfort, reassurance, whatever it is you are seeking and know that you are not alone. You are not crazy. You are a mother… just like the rest of us.

Missis-Tee-Im not ok-and-thats-ok

So here is my story…

My first daughter, Rainne Iris, was born in March 2013. I fell instantly in love the first time I saw her in theatre. We had no issues with breastfeeding, no issues with bonding, generally no issues at all. Except some colic that she had for the first three months, which would leave us helpless for 3-4 hours most nights while our tiny baby screamed. We tried everything, but all in vain. I barely ate for fear that something I in my diet was causing her to cry inconsolably. At three months it stopped suddenly and we breathed a sigh of relief.

She was an easy baby, a happy baby, but every now and then I secretly wondered what would happen if I just got into my car, switched off my phone and drove away from my life? 

Life continued

We had our own personal battles within our marriage, but we were FINE. When Rainne was 22 months old, her sister, June Eva, was born in January 2015. From the get-go I noticed she was completely different from her sister. I mean, how different can newborns be? They just drink, sleep and poop, right? Nope. I quickly realised that I can’t “copy and paste” my parenting with my second child. 

June was (and still is) a super sensitive little soul and a high needs baby through and through. Since birth, she would feed every 1,5 to 2 hours, even at nighttime! She wanted to be in my arms the whole time and won’t even allow me some “free time” to go to the bathroom by myself. 

As time went by I became more and more anxious and laughed less and less. I found no joy in anything and small things would cause immense sadness. It felt like I was walking right on the edge of a cliff and soon I would tumble into the abyss of ‘nothingness’. On top of this our marriage was barely surviving, we had financial stress added to the mix and two “babies under two”… Often I would find myself wondering, “What the hell was I thinking?”… And secretly wonder how other mothers cope with LIFE? My (then) husband and I started seeing a lovely therapist in the midst of this overwhelming chaos. She radiated calm, wisdom, and everything else that I was lacking at that time, and she suggested that I go onto anti-depressants…


The reality was that I had gradually slipped into this state over a few years, so this became my reality and I thought it was normal – surely everyone feels like this?! Right?! A Well-meaning loved one even told me that I don’t have anxiety and definitely don’t need ‘those meds’ because I’m doing just fine… But, together with all the turmoil in my soul, I’ve become a pro at internalising my emotions and not allowing anyone to see the cracks…

My wake-up call came one night while everyone was sleeping… I got up to drink some water in the middle of the night and June (who co-slept with me in the bed) got upset about it and started screaming bloody murder for 45 minutes… I tried everything to calm her down but she was inconsolable. Eventually I cracked and grabbed my 18-month old little girl by the shoulders and yelled at the top of my lungs, “stop screaming and just go to f***ing sleep!!!!!”.

She went to sleep. 

But I couldn’t. I lay awake, paralysed with fear at the monster that I’ve become. All of a sudden, my dreams of having a beautiful house, nice car and overseas holidays vanished. None of those things mattered anymore, all I wanted was to be happy again. 

The next morning I went to the doctor to get my prescription. I decided that I would rather be on medication and give my family the very best of me, than being too proud to admit that I need help and have children who need to recover from a traumatic childhood one day.

I realised I’m not ok… And that’s ok… 

Within two weeks I could already feel a difference – it didn’t feel like I was running through jelly, it felt like the sun was rising for the first time in possibly years. The energy around me became more light hearted, and so did the people I came in contact with. Yet, the biggest blow came one day out of the blue at the office. When one of my colleagues came to my desk and told me; “It’s so nice to hear you laugh again, I’ve forgotten what it sounds like…”. 

I cried.

I cried tears of happiness because I felt alive again. I cried tears of regret that it took me so long to see the truth and seek help. But most of all, I cried because I realised that becoming ok is a journey.

I don’t know what exactly sent me into the dark abyss of depression – motherhood, wifehood of maybe just ‘lifehood’ and I don’t know if I ever will. I also don’t know if it was post-partum depression, clinical depression or what exactly it was. Because giving it a label doesn’t make it easier to accept or deal with. All I know is I’m not ok… And I never want to go back to that. But the past doesn’t matter anymore.

“Because right now, I’m ok and that is great!”

Looking back…

I wrote this piece around August 2016 and I’ve always felt like this was the lowest point in my life… Not just depression, but facing the fact that I’m not ok…

I’ve been so scared to share a part of my deepest darkest secret, because like the rest of you, I fear sharing my story and I fear judgement. I don’t fear being imperfect anymore, because what is it anyway?

What is your story that you fear sharing with the outside world? What was your lowest point in life and how did you get out?

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Comments (2)

  • Rene van Wyngaarden 8 months ago Reply

    Liewe Talita Ek ken jou so sleg.Ek weet omtrent net van jou
    Maar ek weet dat my sus dink jy is wonderlik en dat jy baie beteken vir my pragtige liewe Peruaanse skoondogter

    MissisTee 8 months ago Reply

    Hallo tannie Rene, baie dankie vir die mooi woorde…. Tannie Ina ‘comment’ baie op my facebook posts 🙂 En Rosa is nogsteeds my beste vriendin, ten spyte daarvan dat ons nie naby mekaar is nie….. 🙂

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