Written by Christine Carter

It was 4:00am, and I had decided I was done. “I CAN’T DO THIS!” I screamed writhing in pain, as the nurse stood at the end of the bed daring me to push just ‘one more time’.

“The PAIN! Oh how it HURTS SO MUCH! I need the epidural. GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL!” I was desperate. I believed I wouldn’t stand a chance getting through this delivery without the pain relief, despite having no chance at getting it. My baby was crowning, and there was no going back- no giving up.

I was done, but I couldn’t be “done”.

Motherhood has a way of taking us to the ends of ourselves, pushing us to the brink of the break. We can demand to be done, but truth is- motherhood is never done. We want so badly to give up, let go, check out, take off- and yet, we find ourselves in the thick of the madness and like quicksand, it holds us captive until we dig to find our maternal strength to pull ourselves out.

I’ve been there too many times to count.

After crying out for help and relief, I pushed. I pushed through the ripping, the tearing, the sweating, and the swearing. And in my trembling and exhausted arms…

I finally held my newborn son.

Have you been there?  At the end of you?

I’ve had countless middle of the night meltdowns, with a relentless baby whose cries wouldn’t stop. Sleep deprivation messes with your mind and twists your perspective into scorched branches of dried up twigs. For months, I would grasp onto what seemed like empty dry stifling air for strength- as my prayers became desperate and my wails seemed louder than my baby’s.

I was done. I would shake and tremble and cry out to my husband, “I can’t do this anymore!” I honestly believed I was at the end of me. No more to give…Over and over again, on the brink of the break.

Yet, I couldn’t be ‘done’.

There is nothing more intensely gratifying and painfully grueling than motherhood.  It hurls us into pits and slashes our strength with swords of challenges we MUST forge through- no matter the sacrifice or the cost. We can be bound in the thick chains of relentless trials that bring us to our knees pleading for mercy as we are shaken to our very core-but we can’t be done.

That may sound harsh, but it’s true. There is a dark side to motherhood, where we grovel and groan and barely make it through. I know. I’ve lived to tell about it.

These moments of dangling off the edge of who we are and thinking we cannot do this thing…

Near the brink of the break-

They are the prize of parenting.

Yes. They are.

When we manage to make it through those harrowing episodes, it’s quite miraculous really.

Those trying seasons of motherhood, when we are called to stretch far beyond ourselves, are quite extraordinary. The prize is when we prove the unthinkable; discovering new strength where we believed we were empty.

Each time we rise victoriously through the battle of that brink- we discover once again that we CAN do this. We CAN hold onto that branch on the side of the cliff and our grasp will not break. We may think it will, but there is power in our grip. Born within us is maternal fuel, saved only for those desperate dangling moments.

Oh mama, if you are in that harrowing place right now-  at the end of all you think you can give, nearing the brink of the break…

Believe in the power within you that will give you more.

It’s there. I promise, it’s there.
Faith has a way of growing, when it’s cracked open into crumbling pieces. These tests build tomorrow’s unbreakable ground.

You’ll one day look back on each maddening moment and think, “Yeah. Somehow I got through it.”

And as new sacrificial seasons rise once again, you won’t let go, give up, or check out. You won’t break, even though you’re on the brink. You’ll find that strength once again.

And claim one of the greatest rewards in parenting.

Hold that prize with pride, mama. You earned it.



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Christine Carter is a SAHM of two pretty amazing kids. She has been writing at TheMomCafe.com for over five years, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration and faith. You can also find her work on Scary Mommy, The Huffington Post, Mamapedia, and For Every Mom. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!



Mary Katherine is a southerner, born and raised. Growing up in Alabama, she developed an affinity for lightning bugs, sweet tea, playing guitar, and having strong opinions. She's happily married with a son (Nugget) and two fur babies. Fun facts: MK is a living kidney donor, speaks a little Thai, and has written two novels.

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