Our Mission – or Why I Do What I Do

Mama in Darkness exists to fill a gap in parenting resources. Parents with mental illnesses need to know we’re not alone, we’ll be okay, and more importantly that our kids will be okay. So here I am. Let me tell you about what I do.

Parenting is hard.

I know I’ve said it a billion times, but parenting is hard. We all know that. Parenting when you have a chronic mental illness, though, is parenting on extreme mode. We’re trying to survive illnesses that daily seek to mentally and emotionally lock us up, and all the while we’re trying to be present, loving, and supportive of our children. We’re trying to find a way to spare our kids the same struggles we face. We are trying to be the best we can.

In the same breath, we’re telling them they’re loved and worth something (maybe even everything), and deep down we’re beating ourselves up, saying things like: We’re worthless. We’re alone. We’re Failures (yes, with a capital F).

Well guess what. It’s not true.

I think every parent has their desperate moment where they dive into the world of mommy blogs, praying for a quick fix. Something, anything, that tells them they’re doing it right and that they’ll survive and that they’re not alone. Hundreds, thousands, (honestly, probably millions) of parents are seeking proof that they are not alone and that they’re not going to destroy their kids just because they are sick.

We want help. And instead of the support of other parents suffering the same mental struggles, we’re met with tidbits on how to keep a tidy home, or “enrich” our children’s lives, or why we’re doing fine even though we forgot laundry this week.

This week? How about this month?

We deserve more.

I want to hear about the mom who faced extreme guilt when her baby didn’t gain weight, because the PPD made it unbearable to be around her. I want the dad who can’t figure out how to talk to his kids about why it’s okay to be sad, when he keeps beating himself up over his own depression. These are the voices we need to hear. I need to know that her daughter grew up to be healthy and strong and that he found to say it’s okay to hurt by sharing his own struggles.

We need a resource for parents who fight the same battles we do. We need to know we’re not alone.  And most of all, we need to know it’s going to be okay.

This is why I do what I do.

I’ve been there and through extreme luck have made it through the other side (at least most of the way). I say I was lucky because I had years to work through living with bipolar, and my support network went above and beyond to keep me going. We all worked hard to figure out how to make this mess work for me, and for my daughter. By the time my son came around, we had a solid plan in place.

Not everyone is so lucky.

That’s why I’m here. I want you to know you’re not alone. You can get through this. And your children aren’t doomed to a life of misery because you are ill. We deserve support, and we deserve education. Most of all, we deserve to feel like successes and not failures.

Together, we’ll come out the other side and we’ll be better for it.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

<3

Shahana

P.S. That mom who couldn’t nurse due to PPD? That was me. And guess what… She’s doing fine. <3