Melanie was in the middle of pursuing her Ph.D. in History when she found out she was pregnant. Academic achievement was always her first priority. Children would come after her career. Perhaps they'd never come. She always said, "I'll never, ever have kids. I was not meant to be a mom!"
But nine months later she found herself swaddling a wailing baby who swathed her in sour-milk spit-up. Far from the self-important world of graduate studies, Melanie loathed her new role as stay-at-home mom. The title made her cringe. Her mother suggested, "Why don't you get to know other stay-at-home moms?"
But Melanie refused to become a member of that sorority. She decided to do life and mothering on her own.
A year and a half later, Melanie remained friendless, and her despair deepened. When acquaintances approached her at the library and asked her to become part of a playgroup, Melanie's self-reliant self nearly uttered, "No thanks."
Shortly after, though, Melanie decided to become part of these mothers' small group. The first night, Sue, a calm, kind woman, shared how she was seeking counseling for anger. Anger? Melanie thought. Other mothers—Christian mothers—are angry, too?
Kristin disclosed her struggle with depression and need for medication. Melanie was thunderstruck.
Moved by the group's honesty and gentleness, Melanie blurted out, "I'm depressed. I can't handle life. I yell at my child. My husband and I are fighting. I cry all the time. My life is purposeless. I need help."
That night, Melanie's small group prayed that she'd see a counselor, something she had been mildly considering but reluctant to do. One week later, she was speaking to the same counselor who was helping Sue. Weekly, Melanie would return to her small group and ask for prayer as she inched her way through depression. When counseling seemed fruitless, Melanie's small group encouraged her to stay the course and prayed for God's continual guidance.
Melanie's woes gradually lessened. Mothering still wasn't something she relished—like her previous academic life. But she accepted it, and she even began to find purpose in it.