by Laura Passard Yurko
The first year of my daughter's life was one of the darker periods of mine. While I was overjoyed at the sight and touch of my little angel, I struggled everyday. I struggled with being a stay at home mom (something I'd never planned to be), nursing, changing family dynamics and, though not formally diagnosed, what I believe was a mild form of post partum depression. It wasn't until after her first birthday that my depression lifted and in its absence I could see the darkness that had covered my life for so long.
During those first 12 months, every aspect of my life was overwhelming and I was perpetually afraid that my daughter would die - either due to my inability to care for her or by some tragedy. The fear and shame affected every aspect of my life and I tried desperately not to let anyone know. Unfortunately, hiding it from everyone isolated me, which made it all worse.
Re-emerging into life that second year I became much more active and engaged as I embraced my role as Mommy and set out to plan out my daughter’s entire life (ha!). At the end of the year, I found OLQA’s Moms Group. Initially, I went to hear OLQA School Principal, Ms. Ryan, speak. What I couldn’t have imagined finding there was the nourishment of the Small Faith Group.
I have found that the most powerful aspect of our Small Faith Group is when, through reflecting on the Gospel, I hear my story echoed in the voices of the women around me. The struggles I've faced and lessons I've learned are not limited to my personal experiences with them. The details are different, specific to each of us, but the larger lessons are the same. It’s through this sharing that I realize that I am not alone – not now and not ever.
This Thursday’s meeting was the first of our Fall Session. We were delighted to welcome back so many familiar faces and thrilled to welcome so many new moms to our group. As we sat in our group and got to know each other I was struck by the diversity in our paths…the unique journeys that brought us all to this same place. And, now, here we were, supporting each other, sharing with each other, and learning from each other despite being strangers not 24 hours ago. The bonds of motherhood and our relationship with God had led us to this place where we found each other and felt at home.
This week's Gospel revolves around a theme of lost and found. Three stories illustrate this point: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the Prodigal Son. The details of the stories are different, but the lesson remains: each of us matters. We matter to someone, to the world, and, especially, to God.
Whether or not you were lost before you found us, I'm so glad you did.
Reflections inspired by our weekly faith sharing and fellowship.