Light IN the Tunnel

Every mother has “tunnel” experiences.  Maybe you’re in one right now. These are the times when at least one part of your life feels low and dark and uncertain.

I recently asked our Power of Moms Facebook Community what hard things they see in the lives of mothers, and the responses were incredibly humbling.

They spoke of guilt, comparison, illness, isolation, and exhaustion. Other comments included, “stifling your own heartache to help your children get through theirs” and feeling “overwhelmed to the point of panic with how much is required.” The “hard stuff” includes entitlement issues, suicide, being pulled in too many directions, the heaviness of the 24/7 responsibility, feeling judged by others, strained marriages, and “having no clue what I am doing, yet being expected to know how to do this.”

I was especially struck by this one: “looking in the fridge and seeing it’s empty . . . and knowing that it’s gonna be empty until the next check comes in. . . .  Some weeks it’s peanut butter sandwiches and pasta with butter.”

We might be up to the minute on Facebook and Google Reader posts, but most likely, we never really know what hard things our friends are going through.  And because we falsely compare our weaknesses to others’ perfections, we’re convinced that we are totally alone.

It’s essential to know that we’re not alone, but I want to know what other moms do when they’re in the depths of their tunnels. My life is good in so many ways, but I want to know how to get through the really hard parts–with power.

So I’m going to share my best ideas and then invite you to offer your best advice below.  Together, we can get through anything.

Here’s a start: Let the tunnel refine you.

In 2003, while we were living in Boston, far away from our families, our son Ethan was born 10 weeks early:

My son, Ethan, was born at 30 weeks, and that NICU experience now makes me so grateful for his current health and happiness.

He weighed 3 1/2 pounds and needed to stay in the NICU for six weeks.  My husband was just getting ready to start his final exams and fly us across the country for a summer internship.  The apartment was one-quarter packed up, our flights were booked, and a new tenant was moving in.

The insurance company couldn’t pay the $17,000 to fly Ethan across the country to our new home, so we decided that I would stay in Boston to care for Ethan and pack up the apartment, Eric would go start his new job, and our two little girls, ages three and one, would go live with their sweet grandma for a few weeks.

That was one of the hardest tunnels of my life.

I would pump milk every few hours throughout the night, carry it in a little cooler while I took a city bus to the hospital, hold Ethan all day, and then come home in the evening to pack up our dishes and lamps, talk to my husband and girls on the phone, and try to get a little bit of sleep before it was time to pump again.

I didn’t know if Ethan would be okay.  He was tiny.  He didn’t know how to nurse or drink from a bottle. He would have spells during the day and the monitors would go crazy.

But I decided that tunnel was going to make me stronger.  I sang as I walked to the bus stop, learned the names of the moms and nurses at the hospital, prayed harder than I ever had before, and replaced my self pity with gratitude that I got to be a mother.

Now when I watch Ethan ride his bike off to school, wearing his cute red helmet and his Super Mario backpack, I think back on those long weeks at the hospital, and the love I feel for him and the strength I see in myself overwhelms me.

There’s no rule that says the tunnel has to be dark.

We often hear the phrase, “light at the end of the tunnel,” but that doesn’t mean there can’t be light inside as well.

I remember sitting down in my room one evening in 2007 after tucking the children in bed.  My husband’s schedule had been incredibly demanding, and motherhood, to me, felt like a prison. It hurts me to say that now, but that’s how I felt.

I was pregnant with our fourth child, which was very exciting after a painful miscarriage, but I was so tired, and so taxed, and so hormonal. I felt isolated, overworked, and dark.  Very, very dark.

I remember pulling out a notebook and writing down all the feelings and questions that came to me.  Is this how motherhood had to be? Did it really need to feel so impossible? Was there anything I could do to make it better? Or did I just need to endure it and stop being so whiny? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?!

And then ideas started to come, and I filled up that notebook with brainstorms, and I started to make plans, and little by little, that tunnel started to feel mighty light.  And the scribbles from that little notebook have grown, over time, into what you see here . . . the Power of Moms.

Every single time I’m in a tunnel (and there have been a lot of them), I ask, “What can I do to receive light in here?”

And you know what? An answer has always come.

The light has poured out from my friends and family members, seeped through the pages of books, and shone through music,  podcasts, and uplifting media.  It’s appeared in my journals, my phone conversations, and most of all, from heaven.

If you are navigating a tunnel right now, don’t you believe for one second that you have to go through it in the dark.

It is entirely your choice to light that tunnel up.

Once you’re through your tunnel, your work isn’t done.

 I saw this photo the other day, and I had to share it:

Photo by Sandi Gentry from thesandbucket.com

This is from a book called “She,” and the quote reads, “She not only saw a light at the end of the tunnel, she became that light for others.”

Isn’t that what keeps us going?  The idea that perhaps this deep, wrenching pain of a tunnel we’re in can somehow help someone else in the future?

This is why being a mom is so priceless to me.  Motherhood is the epitome of helping someone else through the tunnels of their lives.

I still call my mom when I’m struggling, and even though she won’t remember the conversation, her heart goes out to me, and she says, “April, you sound tearful.  What’s the matter?”  And then I let down my guard and choke back the sobs as I say, “Oh Mom, it’s just so hard.”

She listens. She takes my side. She tells me she wishes she could take my place.

Then she says, “I’m going to jump in the car right now and come take care of you.”  And I know that can’t happen, so I say, “Mom, I just need you to let me tell you all about it, and then you can say, ‘There, there.’”

So she does.  And it works.

The most meaningful and purposeful experiences I’ve ever had have happened in my own home, with my own family, in the midst of some of the longest, deepest tunnels.

Even though we don’t know the specifics of each others’ lives, there’s something extraordinary that bonds us as mothers.  In one way or another, we’re all tunneling at the same time. 

And somewhere inside each of us is the capacity to get through it and to shine.  Really shine.

Today I’m speaking to myself as much as I am to you: Let the tunnel refine you, light up the process, and then give back and become that light for others.

Because someday, when others (especially your children) are talking about how they got through their tunnels, they will be talking about you.

QUESTION: What helps you get through your “tunnels”?

CHALLENGE: The next time you find yourself in one of those hard moments, stop to consider what you could do to let the experience refine you, how you could bring more light into the “tunnel”, and what you could do in the future to help others in similar circumstances.

Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

_______________________________________

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Comments

  1. tripletsplus1 says

    April, what a beautiful story of your son. I’m a mom to 4-yr old triplets, born at 29 weeks. Never will forget how my heart ached, but got through it by spending time with my little ones – and through the prayers of many dear friends and family. Thanks for reminding me to appreciate this beautiful precious time in our lives.

    • April Perry says

      Honestly, I’m so amazed at how parents go through the NICU experience with multiples. Just holding/feeding ONE baby was a huge challenge. I met one mother who had lost one twin and was doing everything she could to take care of the other, and the stress of the hospital experience, coupled with the fact that she was mourning the loss of a child, was almost too much. She said, “We’re just taking one day at a time.” Congratulations on your triplets–and wow, they’re FOUR? You’ve done amazing work. Thanks for being a part of The Power of Moms.

  2. Ann says

    That was beautiful April. Thanks for the reminder that my trials are here to refine me and to help me help others. Recently as I have struggled with certain things I began recognizing that it was those things that would make me stronger, and I began feeling grateful for what I was learning, and for the humility and strength I was gaining simultaneously.

    • April Perry says

      Ann, that is a true gift to be able to recognize the purpose of the moment WHILE you’re in the moment. It sounds like you are doing beautifully. Keep up the great work!

  3. says

    So beautiful and inspired. Thank you for writing this, April!

    I struggle with infertility, and sometimes it seems like everyone around me gets pregnant so easily. But I have realized over the last few years that ALL women have struggles–no one will get through motherhood without facing many tunnels of various types–so we just need to rejoice with each other when things come easily or go well and support each other when things are difficult. We just need to love love love!

    I love the scripture verse in Isaiah 61 that says that Christ will give us “beauty for ashes.” He can make something beautiful out of even the worst trials of our lives. I feel like you really captured that idea in this essay. Thank you for writing it.

    • April Perry says

      Rachel, that is such a beautiful image . . . beauty for ashes. It feels like every single day, there is something hard to go through. I’m going to think of that scripture more often. Thanks for all you do!!

  4. says

    My 5th child was born at 32 weeks at 3 1/2 lbs and was in the NICU for 6 weeks. I always feel an immediate connection with other preemie Moms! My preemie boy is 2 years old and has zero delays, he is tiny for his age, but that is his only effect from his early birth. I am so grateful for our little miracle! I learned to rely on the Savior during that time more than any other! I actually had a powerful experience sitting in the NICU that I have considered writing about for a Power of Moms post. You have inspired me :) (as you usually do!)

    • April Perry says

      Cheryl, you definitely should write about your experience for Power of Moms! We have Spiritual Sundays, if that would be a good spot for it. I so wish I could be there for the moms in the NICU. I remember walking around the hospital and thinking, “Moms are coming in here every single day, and the world is just going on as usual.” But now that I’m not there (and I don’t have clearance to get in or a lot of time to do so), I just think of them and hope that they are comforting each other like the moms did for me. Thanks so much for being such a great part of The Power of Moms!

      • says

        Where I live there is no organized support system for NICU Moms, I have thought about trying to start something. I remember after being in the NICU for 2 weeks a new Mom walked in, and her eyes immediately filled up with tears. She was so emotional (after just giving birth) and so totally overwhelmed at the enormity of the NICU. I went and put my arm around her and said, “I promise it gets easier and your baby is in the best care possible.” She thanked me profusely and we had a bond from then on. My preemie was my 5th baby and I felt like a 1st time Mom all over again. Nothing can prepare you for the NICU experience.

        • April Perry says

          Cheryl, what if you wrote an eBook that could be given to moms in the NICU? We could even put together a compilation/something that could be hosted on Power of Moms. Then, while moms are sitting there pumping or something, we could have material for them to read/experiences from other moms they could share. Maybe you and I could record a podcast? xoxo

      • April Perry says

        We’re working on a “New Mom” kit to launch early next year. I’ll put this on my list for then, and I’ll email you when I have the project more fleshed out. Thanks!

  5. Hillary says

    April, thank you again for a wonderful article. Your writing always hits home in a very personal way. I am definitely in one of those deep tunnels now, caring for my 18 month old son, and army officer husband who was recently injured severely during an airborne operation. There are days when all I can do is pray for wisdom and strength. Ironically, power of moms always seems to post the exact article I need to read at the right time. I liketo think that God is training me up so that I can help other military spouses who find themselves in such a pickle one day. Thank you again for your wonderful work through power of moms and for being that light for our tunnels.

    • April Perry says

      Hillary, you are in an incredibly challenging spot right now, and I can’t even imagine the added worry regarding your husband. Military spouses are some of the strongest people I know, and your experiences are definitely putting you in a situation where you can be a support to others. My heart goes out to you and your family, and I wish you the very best. You sound like such a strong mom, and your son and husband are lucky to have you. Much love!

  6. says

    Although my oldest was never in NICU, she was born 4 weeks early. It was over a week before they allowed her home: she had to get over the jaundice and she had to get up over 5 pounds. The nights were so long. She slept in short spurts and was too weak to breastfeed. It makes for some pretty difficult times, I thought, but nothing to compare what you and some of the commenters went through.

    I was grateful for the strong support of the nursing staff, my husband, and especially for my mom and my mother in law. They stepped in to help and provide wisdom and a shoulder to cry on, which I used often. Now my daughter is 28 and happily married, and has had no residual negative effects of her early birth, thankfully.

    What gets me through the tunnels these days is still my strong family bonds, but especially my relationship with God. I pray regularly, and to look for a way to be grateful for my circumstances. Some days that is easier than others, but learning to practice gratitude has helped me weather tough times.

    • April Perry says

      Kim, the idea of “practicing” gratitude really resonated with me. That is exactly what I want to do each day. I don’t know if I’ll ever be perfect at it–especially when it comes to the hard moments . . . but I can practice! Thanks for your thoughts.

  7. Shelly says

    I found Joshua 1:9 to be my go do scripture or mantra. I receive strength from those words, which keeps me going. I am the mom of 4 boys….all preemies, two with major birth defects and chronic illnesses and secondary infertility of 9 years between our oldest and 2nd son. Countless surgeries, hospital stays,however they are stable at the moment and doing very well. During those early years it was tough. While we had family in the area, they refused to help and wanted one of our sick sons to be alone to die. Those family members caused problems for us at every turn, my husband started to lose job after job due to losing his temper at co-workers, which caused him to shut down. I became sole caregiver to our boys, one in particular whose birth defects are so severe. I clung to Joshual 1:9 with all my heart and sole. I decided to learn all I could about the care my boys needed, fought insurance companies, hospitals and sought out the best doctors for my boys. I couldn’t take the time for silly things, I was fighting for my boys to live. Fought schools to have my boys there. I have found ways to make it all positive and not to dwell on it all in a negative way. Because of turning into a positive experience, I have learned so much and now help other parents deal with the hospitals, insurance companies and school districts. I am happier, I can appreciate everything better. My husband has kept his latest job for almost 3 years and we have found a common activity we like to do with each other and our boys. Our boys are 23, 13, 12 and 10. The 13 and 12 year olds are doing very well and amazing the Doctors on their progress. I can truly appreciate their good health more because of being positive about it all.

    • April Perry says

      Shelly, what an AMAZING story! Thank you for sharing that with us. People just never know what others are going through. And having a scripture like Joshua 1:0 to hold on to is a wonderful idea. So glad that you are in a better spot now.

  8. Kim says

    Thank you for this. I wish there was more honest mom writing like this too. It sometimes seems like every mom in the blogosphere has a beautifully organized home, eats only organic unprocessed foods and only use soft language with their kids, all this while crafting beautiful things and baking gluten free cookies. Not to mention being skinny blonde and impeccably dressed and wearing necklaces. Seriously. Your article was real, honest but still uplifting. I had two babies in the nicu also, it does change your perspective. Like yeah my floor is full of crumbs, but my boys are happy and 98.8% healthy so who cares.

    • Kim says

      I love this comment. It made me laugh because that perception is so real even though behind closed doors it s always different. ;-)

    • April Perry says

      Kim, I am STILL laughing about your comment. It’s a daily process to say, “What I am seeing is not real!” That’s why I rarely read blogs (well, I am very careful about which ones I read). I understand that everyone wants to put their best foot forward–and I do the same thing sometimes–but there has to be that balance. Thanks for your great perspective!

  9. Erin says

    Thank you for the post! As other moms have said it came at a perfect time. I am a mother of three children ages 3,2 and 4 months. Having children close together isn’t for everyone but I really enjoy it. But there are days that my lack of sleep, hormones and roudy sometimes very demanding kids put me so on edge I don’t know what to do. It those days that the 24/7 job of motherhood seems so daunting. The lack of time to myself and the overall lack of good sleep just seems like it all hits at once. I have gone through other tunnels, my first daughter had open heart surgery at 9 weeks old. I would have to say by God’s grace and the prayers of many friends and family I made it through those days without feeling very overwhelmed. Now my son may have to have brain surgery because his soft spot fused too early. For some reason, I guess the age differnce, this seems so much more overwhelming then when my daughter had heart surgery. He is going to be 4 and I am struggling not thinking about how hard his recovery may be and how it will change our lives. I know we will adapt and things will work our for God’s glory, but its waiting in the tunnel knowing the uncertainty of the future that can really get you down. Sometimes the hardest prayer to pray is “Lord prepare my heart for what your will is for us”.
    Thank you for the perspective and encouragement that I am surely not alone as a mother and certainly not alone as a child of God. My prayers are lifted up for those mothers in the heat of battle for their children, their sanity and their marriages.
    Thank you again for the post! love you all!

    • April Perry says

      Erin, I was so touched by your story and by your faith. I don’t know why the hard times always seem to be coupled with a lack of sleep (everything seems so much harder when I’m tired), but I think it requires us to dig deeper and pray harder and believe in God more. At least, that’s been my experience, and it seems like it’s been yours as well. Thank you for sharing and for being a part of The Power of Moms.

  10. Sheila says

    I have to say that as a parent of teenagers I don’t always find your articles and ideas relatable to me. However, I like what you are doing so I keep getting them.

    This exactly what I needed today as I am currently in a tunnel. I’m a positive person, so I know that I will get over the hurt I am currently feeling, but your article really seems to be written just for me today. Thank you both so much for all that you do. You help a lot of people with your inspired words.

    • April Perry says

      Thank you Sheila! I wish I knew more about teenagers and wish we had more resources for you here (of course, you’re welcome to write for us!), but I do appreciate you being a part of our community, and I wanted to thank you for your comment. Hopefully your hurt is healing and things are going better this week. Much love coming your way!

  11. Anon says

    This year my oldest daughter will turn 24, so I have been a Mother for a while now. My life has been so different from what I envisioned as a young woman, that I almost have to laugh thinking about the weirdly opposite ends of the spectrum that I have ping ponged back and forth from.

    I “look” normal and somewhat organized and so many people have expressed to me the assumption that my life is perfect and I have perfect kids and have not had any serious trials.

    But I would gently suggest to anyone reading, that some of the worst trials are those that you cannot talk about publicly. Trials like your children being molested by a family member (he went to jail afer I reported it to the police). Trials like multiple lockups in a mental hospital for emotional illness so overwhelming you are engulfed by suicidal feelings.

    These trials have been dealt with quietly and privately…in the secret chambers of my heart and with Heavenly Father as my constant companion and help.

    What I learned from the darkness of my own tunnels is that in the most mind bending of places we can find peace and comfort from our Savior and while those around us may not be able to “fix” these overwhelming problems, the Saviors love is mighty and he is able to fill in the gaps while we heal.

    • April Perry says

      Thank you for sharing such personal thoughts. I think we all know that the really horrible things are happening, but since they’re not being shared in our circles of friends, we always assume it’s “someone else” going through those kinds of challenges. I heard once that if we treat everyone like they’re having a hard time, we’ll be right most of the time. And I think your experience shows that those who seem like everything is going okay may very well just be coping well. It sounds like you have learned so much from your tunnel experiences. Thanks for your example.

  12. Kira says

    April – you are my hero for writing this. One of the things I was most struck by as I became a mother was how little we are encouraged to discuss the hardships. It is almost as if we expect it of each other to be perfect, and therefore we expect it of ourselves. And that is so incredibly sad. Thank you for your bravery, for it is a brave thing to speak openly and honestly on this topic. And thank you for writing this so that more women can know, truly, that they are not alone. Even though we’ve never met, I am hugging you from Seattle.

    • April Perry says

      Thanks so much, Kira. I appreciate the hug. :) And I send it back! It’s so helpful to know that people don’t expect me to be perfect. Totally takes the pressure off! xoxo

  13. ANON says

    I put 110% of my heart and soul into parenting, but had a troubled marriage. I finally came to realize at one point that I had been the victim of emotional and verbal abuse. This is something I never thought I’d face. I can’t describe the despair I felt at realizing that in spite of my own personal righteousness, I was left with two undesirable choices, either one which could scar my children forever. With some counselling, learning to forgive, redirect my thoughts to positive things, and even finding the good in my life through blogging (I often wonder if my readers think I have a perfect life! But I cannot talk about this deep emotional pain. And looking for the good in my life has been therapeutic for me) and learning to trust God I have found hope. But it has taught me that sometimes women struggle with deep, heavy burdens that they cannot share! (obviously things like these NEED to be shared with a counsellor or religious leader) I often look at other women and wonder what their secret struggle is. Mine I thought was too heavy to bear, but with help, I am making it through, day by day.

    • April Perry says

      Thank you for your honesty and for your willingness to share a bit of your journey. I think it’s very powerful to be able to focus on the positives and bring inspiration to others who may be struggling. Sometimes I think it’s enough to simply say, “By the way, I have really hard things going on that I’m just not talking about because this isn’t the right forum to discuss them . . . but please know that my life isn’t perfect!” So glad to have you here with us.

  14. says

    This post brought me to tears. You’ve summed up so much of what I’m feeling right now, about the darkness and the tunnel and the searching for light and the wanting to be light for others, too. I hope your writing gets spread far and wide because you nailed it here. Thank you.

    • April Perry says

      Thank you Laura. I feel privileged to get to go through the hard times (and the great times) with such a wonderful community here at The Power of Moms. Hope you are doing a little better.

      Love,
      April

  15. Lori Conger says

    Thank you for your thoughts, April. I’ve definitely been in some tunnels of my own, and I can attest to the fact that there is light at the end. Motherhood was never meant to be easy (something I have to remind myself of regularly), and I think it’s because there is so much to learn, so much that makes us dig deep and grow in ways that are painful, but oh so worth it. I truly love this message.

    • April Perry says

      Lori, we just loved having you at our Park City Retreat, and I still think about the stories you shared there. There IS so much to learn, but at the end of the day, it’s amazing to get to look at our family and think, “Look at what I am raising!” Thanks for all the great things you do to support mothers.

  16. Catherine Vos says

    I think the most beautiful thing about tunnels is they way they motivate us to compassion when we encounter those who are struggling in a similar fashion. After struggling terribly as a young mum with 3 kids close together, I now recognise and understand and am much more inspired to help those who are overwhelmed with their workload and young babies. In fact it is an absolute joy to catch up with an overwhelmed friend and instead of sitting with a cup of tea, to do her dishes, help with a decluttering project or fold washing. I wonder what happened to this women helping women kind of culture. When I read stories of women 100 years ago they seemed to get together to do things like canning, harvesting etc. I wonder what has changed in our culture so that we spend our time together sitting and having a coffee when we meet up with friends. And yet we are all so busy? What would happen if we caught up with friends while helping each other?

    • April Perry says

      Catherine, all I have to say is AMEN! I would so much rather be helpful when I’m with friends than just sit around. Wish we could be neighbors!

    • jocelyn says

      I lay awake last night thinking about this for hours, (So much for going to bed early!). My biggest/longest tunnel lasted for almost the first year of my daughters life. Commonly referred to around here as ‘The Fog’. Having my first born diagnosed with a genetic condition at birth was more than difficult for me to adjust to, but we are getting there day by day! One of the things I found was that I eventually cut out the catch ups with mothering friends just for the reasons that Catherine states above. I had so much to do as a new mum, but add in the adjusting and the therapy and the appointments I was drowning. I used to go because I felt I needed to keep up appearances but I would be so stressed the whole time thinking about what I should have been doing for my child, my home and myself instead.

      You’ve got me thinking about a revolution! Away with mothers groups, frantic cleaning before arrival, competitive cake baking and nutritional children snack making. Bring back Mother’s circles’, shared work, shared tears, shared lives…. now could I actually leave the laundry to be folded on display at our next gathering? Could I actually ask for help?…….would be tough… but got me thinking though!

      • April Perry says

        Jocelyn, I love the revolution you’ve spelled out. I will never in my life win a competitive cake baking contest, but the idea of shared work, shared tears, and shared lives inspires me. I’m going to start building more experiences like that into my life. You are an inspiration!

  17. Ann says

    April, I needed to read this today. Thank you. My 15 year old son has just been diagnosed with depression only 10 months after my 17 year old daughter was. Thank you for reminding me of all the light that is in the tunnel!

    • April Perry says

      Ann, I keep thinking about you and what a key role you are playing in the lives of your 15- and 17-year olds. They are lucky to have you. Thanks for your kind words.

  18. says

    Yes yes YES!! What a beautiful and inspiring post! I love how you sent home the message of using our deepest pain and struggles to help shine a light on other’s darkness. It is exactly what I try to do and have tried for my entire life to do…as a therapist, a teacher, a friend, a writer, a musician, and a mother. God’s lifted me through some dark dark tunnels and His wisdom and strength unfold through every turn, and every season of my life. Trusting in His plan, is the key to all the tunnels… :)

    • April Perry says

      Chris, I love your optimism, and I love the way you are applying your energy and wisdom to helping others. Thank you!!

  19. huxtablefam@yahoo.com says

    Thank you for this! Woke up this morning in the deep of this tunnel. My family of 5 has been sick since mid August. one cold, cough, bronchitis, pnuemonia after another. I’m due with our 4th in 4 weeks and can’t get my broken rib to heal cause i keep coughing. I can’t get a grip on our house or schedules. Everyone is acting out. I woke up determined not to take out my exhaustion on my family but sent my husband to work angry and yelling at us all.
    I really needed a reminder that we have the power to see out lives in a new light. I’m still crying but there is a breath of hope.

    • April Perry says

      This comment has been in my mind for the past week. I have totally had times in my life like that–when no one feels good, and everything needs to be done, and I can’t hold it together to save my life. There IS hope. There always is. It’s that holding on during the moment that is so hard, but goodness, it makes us stronger. Wishing you a better week and the strength to deliver your fourth baby!

      Love,
      April

  20. says

    So often I find your articles that were posted long before I needed to hear them and just don’t comment because of the time delay. Today I finally had the moment to sit and read this one after seeing it the day it posted! And it was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.

    • April Perry says

      Thanks so much, Tricia! Sometimes I feel like I’m writing into a void–and your comments (whenever you post them) are very much appreciated. So glad this was helpful.
      Love,
      April

  21. says

    Thank you April! I have struggled through trials of health, miscarriages, and marriage problems for 12 years. This post has given me hope and renewed strength. I have hit rock bottom so many times, but have always found the light through God, family, friends, books, and music.

    I have a journal that is filled with positive thoughts…it is a source of light as well. I pray and often find answers there.

    I believe our trials are preparing us to be angels of mercy and compassion for others whom God places in our path. It makes my trials worth it, knowing I will be able to help someone someday. It’s truly a beautiful plan from a loving Father in Heaven.

    • April Perry says

      What a beautiful thought–to be an “angel of mercy and compassion for others whom God places in our path.” That’s what I want to be. It’s so easy to get caught up in what needs to be cleaned, fixed, purchased, etc. I want to think, “How can I be an angel of mercy today?”

      Thank you for sharing!

  22. galaxceee says

    Thank You April for your inspiring article. I’m always looking for ways to put light in my tunnels. My husband and I and 4 children moved over the summer from a city I grew up in and a place my children have all grown up in to a new state but with family nearby. I was especially grateful and excited my Dad would be living just down the street from us. Only a week after we moved, my Dad died. He was 57. It was an unexpected car accident and he was killed on impact. One light from all of this was that my family all gathered for the funeral and it brought us closer together. But my heart still aches some days. It does get easier with time. I now have a new compassion for others who lose those close to them. On top of losing my Dad I am still adjusting to new surroundings. I feel carried most days, by angels and prayers from those around me. I consider myself a very strong person but I feel this experience has truly tested me and continues to refine me.

    • April Perry says

      I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. You sound like you ARE a very strong person, and I’m glad that you can see the refinement for what it is. I know that the day I lose one of my parents will be one of the hardest I will ever face. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have no doubt that angels are here to help us with these challenges.

    • April Perry says

      Thanks so much, Dana! So fun that you knew Eric in high school. Maybe we’ll get to meet at the 20-year reunion next year?? It’s a little scary sometimes to talk about imperfections online, but I feel so grateful to have a community who is so accepting and kind. Thanks for your comment!

  23. Dana N. says

    April, this was so inspiring. There seems to be so much pressure for everyone to present their “perfect” lives on blogs & FB. I appreciate you sharing and being so real. Life is full of challenges and we need to support each others as mothers rather than compete and judge. I love reading your articles. Thank you!

    BTW… I hung out with Eric in high school. I’m so happy to know he has such an amazing wife and beautiful family. :)

  24. Amanda says

    As I was reading this, I was thinking through my own moments, my tunnels and I realized sometimes I put myself into them by not being focused, diligent and thoughtful. It’s really difficult to admit that, but I do see areas in my life that could be ‘tunnel free’ if I would be more responsible. I realize that this isn’t the case for everyone and it’s not always the case for me, but if you’re asking for ways we’ve learned to get through our tunnels, then this is one of my suggestions. Some of them could be avoided completely if I would do what I know is right to begin with.

  25. Heidi Brady says

    Hi, April, I’ve been feeling like I’m in a dark tunnel recently and made the mistake of reading some blogs written by angry, grouchy mothers who resent their children. So, tonight, I turned to your website and searched “feeling isolated” and this article came up. Thank you for your inspired work and for helping me and so many other mothers to power through the tough times and see the beautiful. Hope you’re doing well! Love, Heidi

    • April Perry says

      Heidi, I just love you so much. I’m sorry you’ve been having a hard time. My heart goes out to you–and all the mothers I know who are going through similar struggles. Thank you for your kind message. I’m glad this article was helpful to you. My prayers are with you!

  26. Marissa Robertson says

    I thought my biggest challenge would be having preemie twins, born at almost 30 weeks. They are now 4 and doing great! It was a great initiation into motherhood because, really, you can’t take anything for granted. I learned that right away. Now, I am pregnant with my 4th child who’s heart formed outside of her body. There’s a teeny tiny miniscule chance that something can be done for her, but in all likelihood, her life will be short, hours, days, months, not sure about which of the above possibilities will be her outcome. Through this experience I am learning to appreciate new things. Like pregnancy. And each moment. And the sweetness of my existing 3 children who already have so much love in their heart for this special spirit. I am pretty sure we won’t have the miraculous healing that some get, but we have seen miracles. Moments that have reminded me that God is over all, and He is aware of me. He is aware of my family. He is invested in my motherhood. It is a very bright light in this tunnel we are passing through.

    • April Perry says

      Oh, Marissa, I can’t even imagine what you are going through right now. Thinking of you and your family. So, so sorry for this challenge. Thank you for sharing with us–I have no doubt but that your faith through this experience will be a light to others. xo

  27. says

    So so beautifully said, love the line about motherhood being the epitome of helping someone through the tunnels of their life. You are so right, there can be light even in the darkest moments. I did not realize that Ethan was a premie and your whole experience with that. My youngest was born 8 weeks premature, while we were on vacation in Utah, but man your situation was even crazier! I remember moments sitting in that NICU where I just wanted to be home, just wished and wanted to be able to go back home with all of my family, I felt so torn as my two oldest were with their grandma and I wanted to be with them but also needed to be with my baby. But there were moments as I held him, once i could, where I literally felt our spirits connect, literally felt myself willing him to grow and be okay, where we felt like one, a love so strong and so much greater than anything I could imagine, a feeling I will never forget, that was my light.

    • April Perry says

      Beautiful experience, Emily! I didn’t know YOU had a preemie, too. So happy to be past that stage, and so grateful for medical care that could help our babies grow. Love you!

  28. Diane says

    April,

    Thank you. You must have written this article for me. Right now. And I’m sitting here on my couch with tears streaming down my face. Just thank you so much.

  29. says

    This article is so very inspired…and so timely for myself included. Thank you for these words and gentle reminders of how to let the light in. I know exactly how to keep my tunnel dark and discouraging when I’m going through the hard things. All I have to do is stop trusting God, find the worst in everything, and turn to media that negatively influences my life. Its an easy road to take, but one that doesn’t make my tunnel any easier. I love your optimism, and the truth in your words.

    • April Perry says

      Sally, I could totally relate with what you said here. I fall into that EXACT same trap. It’s totally a work in process. Glad you’re here with us at Power of Moms!

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