So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I woke up abruptly, heart palpitating, eyes wet with tears, desperately trying to pull myself back to reality so I could go check on my son, asleep soundly in the room next to mine.

It was just a dream,I told myself, over and over again.

But it wasn’t “just a dream”. It was a nightmare. One of many that have troubled my mind ever since I started allowing a little piece of my soul to walk around outside of my body.

In the dream, my husband and I had taken our two-year-old swimming. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except, instead of a swimming pool, we found a murky pond; so dark it was like swimming in tar. And instead of holding him safely in our arms as we floated together, we just threw him in.

Yes. Threw. . . him. . . in. And lost him below the surface.

To anyone else, it may sound silly—irrational, even. But every time I think about that dream, those feelings come flooding back all over again.

The helplessness I felt diving beneath the surface, each time only to return with empty arms. Every second in my dream world dragging on like hours, knowing my child was stuck somewhere in the darkness below, longing for his mother.

I couldn’t save him. No matter how hard I tried.

The dream may not have been real, but the terror certainly was. And now, that senseless hallucination is something I carry with me. The damage invisible to everyone but myself.

Before becoming a mom, most of my nightmares were harmless. Missed deadlines, late for meetings, showing up at the office in my underwear. You get the gist. Sure, there was the occasional bad dream where something would happen to my husband or a loved one, but those were rare. Any terror my mind managed to make-up was just that: made-up. Easy enough to get over by simply turning on the light.

But motherhood isn’t just a state of being a woman enters into when she has a child. It’s a process that changes us from the inside out. Where pain, fear, and worry comes at us from all angles; real and imaginary.

It has introduced me to a type of joy I didn’t even know could exist. Seriously, how can that little boy’s smile alone feel like radiant sunshine beaming down on me? But every yin has a yang. And with the joy, I have also met the fear. The fear of not just losing something I love, but losing a piece of myself entirely.

It’s easy to delight in motherhood in the daytime. Watching my son play, hearing his giggles, hugging him tightly—it really is a dream come true. The tradeoff comes with the darkness. When my subconscious worries gain enough traction to overpower my sense of reason.

It’s something I rarely talk about, and I’m not sure why. Because I would bet my bottom dollar I am not alone. There are others out there, like me, who dread the night, not knowing what horrors their minds might create.

So I’m here to say: I see you, mama, carrying a burden on your shoulders that is unlike any other. The weight of your world and the worlds of your precious little ones always baring down upon you. I hope you know that at the end of the day it’s okay to lay those burdens down. I know I am going to try to do the same.

Take comfort in your faith, in your spouse, in your family. And know that no matter what fear the darkness brings tonight, tomorrow’s light will surely cast it out.

You are not alone.

Note: While infrequent postpartum nightmares are common, high anxiety, insomnia, and OCD tendencies that may accompany more frequent nightmares are not. If you or a loved one are suffering instead of thriving, please seek help.

Kayla Runkel

Kayla is a former marketer turned stay-at-home-mom to two sweet boys. You can follow her blog, The Rustic Hideaway, or her writing page, K.C. Runkel. When she is not writing, Kayla loves teaching fitness classes, reading books, and spending time with her husband and sons exploring her favorite place in the world, Wyoming. Or as she simply calls it: home.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading