Cierra Fortner is a 21-year-old mother of one who suffers from depression, anxiety, and is a two-time suicide survivor. Parenting isn’t easy for anyone, let alone someone who suffers from mental health disorders.
So when a Walmart employee recently complimented her on her son’s behavior, Fortner wanted to explain the issue she faces, but couldn’t find the words. Instead, she took to Facebook where her post has acquired more than 160,000 likes and 92,000 shares.
“Today I was at Walmart doing my weekly Friday shopping when the cashier says to me “I see you in here all the time, your kids are always dressed cute, behaving and you just seem to have it all together” at the time I just thanked her and giggled because that’s far from the truth but as I drove home there was more I wanted her to know about me.”
Fortner explained to the Kansas City Star that she has been battling depression since her mother died in 2010. And that a month after she gave birth to her son, Jayce, postpartum depression led her to attempt suicide. A few years later, she was diagnosed with a personality disorder.
“I want her to know I battle a personality disorder everyday with anxiety and depression mixed and I’m a two times suicide survivor.”
“I want her to know that I can’t always get myself up off the couch to feed them anything more than frozen pizza and cereal.”
The Walmart employee made the comment on a bad day for Fortner. The compliment rang hollow, and Fortner decided to let her thoughts known when she got home.
“I want her to know that my son is late for school 3 out of 4 days because I regularly forget what day and time it is, despite the toddler size calendar in my kitchen.”
“I want her to know I have those “I’m losing my shit” moments when I have to lock myself in the bathroom and cry.”
“I want her to know I wasn’t always the most active mom because I use to work 80 hours a week and go to school full time and Jayce spent many days and nights with his grandparents.”
“I want her to know that I hadn’t washed my hair in 3 days and my kids hadn’t had a bath in 2.”
But then, the post started going viral. Fortner says she’s been contacted by people around the world who are going through the same thing. The one line that clicked with other moms: her confession about locking herself in the bathroom to cry.
“I want her to know that I was trying to hurry out of there because I had forgot the diaper bag at home and Brenton was hungry.”
“I want her to know that once we got to the parking lot the “well behaved” child decided to stand up in the cart and I wasn’t paying attention and barely caught him as he almost hit the concrete.”
“But most importantly I want her to know I don’t have it together and may never have it all together. I don’t know a mother out there that has it all together but everything we do is done with love for our children and that right there makes you the perfect mom and in our children’s eyes we most definitely have it all together.”
“From one exhausted mom to another, you’re doing great, have that melt down, let your kids eat the crap out of that cereal and take care of yourself always.”
Fortner explained further:
“Mommies feel it a lot,” she said, “like they have to keep it together. Like if we don’t keep it together we’re failures. But it’s OK to have your moments to break.”
And yes, when she finished writing, she put the groceries away.