A friend from Mom’s group gave me this book to read called, “Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning” by Rebekah Lyons.

I don’t normally get sucked into this type of book. But I totally did.

It’s a woman’s story about uprooting her three kids in the suburbs to move with her pastor husband to the city. I felt an immediate kinship. Of course, she moved to New York, which is a significantly higher level of urban than San Francisco.

One page in particular jumped out at me.  The emphasis is hers:

“Even more shocking is the number of women suffering depression. The more I dug into the problem, the more I realized its vastness. I discovered that we as women are 70 percent more likely than men to experience depression. One in four women will suffer some form of depression in her lifetime. From anxiety attacks, as in my case, to mood disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and so on, women are under siege. And the majority of women who are wrestling with depression fit nicely in the twenty-five- to forty-four-year-old age bracket.

We aren’t depressed because we are getting old; we are depressed in the prime of our lives.

During the years when we ought to be making some of our greatest contributions to others and to the world, we are stuck. Caught in a quagmire of confusion, hardly able to put one foot in front of the other. What is going on? And why now?” –Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons p.67

It’s no mystery to me that my best energy is required to foster new life, namely my beautiful babies. But sometimes I feel like I’m undergoing a long slow death of self while I’m busy making sure this mothering life gets done.

I wonder whether this “death of self” is healthy or unhealthy. I do have moments where I feel fully alive. But is it so inconceivable that I feel like that all the time?

Most of my days are spent with a nagging sense in the back of my brain that something is being left undone, something more than the laundry and my to-do list.  Is there more resistance at play than just my full mommy schedule?

I know I am more than a mother.  I know the world needs something from me outside of my useful womb.

But how? And what? And when?

8 responses »

  1. Barbara . . .

    I am at home from work today, and going through loads of email, etc. I came across the following blogger/author/artist and immediately thought of you.

    Just thought I’d pass it along, in case you had not already heard of her. I really DON’T know how many of you exist out there, but my brief perusal of her recent essay in Christianity today had the same sort of ZING that I find in your writing . . .

    Here is a link to the original article in Christianity today.



  2. My biggest anxiety–not reaching my full potential. Did I miss the boat? Could I have done better? Am I not being gutsy enough? Am I too lazy? Etc. Etc. I know, it’s all mostly lies, and I know our full potential comes as we are in Christ…. but still.. There are so many quick Christian answers, but I think it’s worth taking the time to affirm (or at least not pretend like it doesn’t exist) the oppressive yoke of this world and the excruciating affects it has on us/me.


  3. While I understand some people genuinely have a problem, I didn’t like how she lumped us all into “we women are under siege”. I am not; never have been; and will not be ‘under siege’. Not through traumatic birth; diagnosed terminal illness; organ transplantation; raising daughter Amy; sister’s 10-month-old given to my care; and a 15 year old girl from Sweden. Barbara you are accomplishing the greatest deed a woman can EVER accomplish!! And finding time to write stories about it!! BRAVO!!! I don’t care if you’re not Condoleezza Rice… Mother Theresa… freakin’ Hillary Clinton! YOU are BARBARA JAMES-LYON, Woman Extraordinaire!!!


    • There are other oversimplifications she makes in the book. I’m not sure I would describe myself as “under siege”, but I have had a surprising number of friends/peers who have struggled with anxiety or depression. I know I’ve asked and worked for these babies and I’m so grateful! Just struggling with my Dorothea Casaubon syndrome a little I guess.


  4. WHAT? THIS: What you are giving in your blog. You are risking vulnerability and challenging others to do it also. You are redeeming what is perceived as mundane and putting it in the limelight to reveal what it is: opportunities to transform rather than “transcend.” When? NOW because NOW is all we have and every minute of NOW is a foundation for the future & a redemption of the past. You are writing to remember & writing to remind yourself & others that what we see is Not all there is.


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