When love is not enough

I always believed songs and movies when they talked about things like “love is all you need” or “love lift us up where we belong” or that true love has some magical, mystical powers that can bring people back from death’s door. When my child was a baby, I thought that if I loved her all up nothing would ever hurt her. I would lie with her and kiss her beautiful, cherubic face and tell her she was my everything. She would look at me with love in her eyes and relax into my body no matter what was happening around us. I felt that power of motherhood so strongly and profoundly and I felt like together we were invincible, that nothing could touch us or harm us.

As she grew, I kept giving her all of the love in my heart. When she had pneumonia over and over again, every year for 5 years in a row I would give her all of the loving energy inside of me and she would recover and it would be ok. When she broke her wrist in a snowstorm and we couldn’t get to the hospital or urgent care because of the roads, I loved her all up until she fell asleep soundly and we could get to the doctor the next day. When she was bullied relentlessly in fifth grade, I held her in my arms and we visualized all of the negative comments and words come out of her and we threw them into a fire she created. I thought then that there is nothing love can’t fix.

I was wrong. As I go back into the hallway of my mind, yes the love stands out the most but in the corners lie the truths. When she had pneumonia she took some hard core antibiotics to help her get better. When she broke her arm she needed a cast for 6 weeks to help her bone heal. When she was bullied in fifth grade her self esteem was so wounded that we started individual therapy to help her recover. So while I’d love to think that love is all we need, I’m sorry Beatles, but that’s not just so. Love is vital, love is important, love helps, but love is not all we need. Sometimes we need people around us, doctors, therapists, friends, family to help us recover. Sometimes we need a good ole dose of medication to get us to the place where our bodies and minds can heal. I need to remember this as although my love for her is powerful, asking for and getting help is crucial. It takes a whole team of people to help my child learn to love herself, accept herself, be with herself and I’m ok with that. I’d still like to think love is my super power and with it I and all my loved ones are invincible. But for now, I’ll take all the help I can get. We are not alone.



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  1. I have hesitated to write about myself here because I was scared to admit I am struggling with this as well, not with my kids but with myself. After being bullied by another mother and by an administrator in our town (yes, it continues when you grow up too), for the first time in my life I am struggling with feelings that I am worthless, of little use to those I love, the world would be better without me in it, etc. Love does matter. It is all that has kept me here with my family where I belong. I also do need the professional help I have sought, but love is the foundation and it is those who love me who make me strong enough to even seek that help rather than giving up. I’m mortified to admit here that I am this low, but I want you to know because your love cannot protect your child, but it is saving her life. Love to you, to your kids, and to your whole family.

  2. Amen! Love is only part of the story for all of us. Wish I could convince my 15 year old that finding a boyfriend, or going to boarding school with all new people, or getting away from home and family who, in her mind, CAUSE all her pain, will not be the answer. Some combination of family, friends, faith, doctors, medication, therapy, and self-acceptance is the only answer.

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