10.10.2014

The Dark Side of the Newborn Days

I am always duped by the first four or five days after a baby is born.  My emotions are high.  I am in love all over again.  Each time with a new man.  And even more in love with my main man. 

Then after a few weeks of sleep deprivation and extreme hormone shifts, I start to feel the bleakness of my reality.  I am never going to sleep again.  The baby cries so much.  I don’t always know how to calm him.  Nursing is a commitment like none other.  It feels like that’s all I am doing with my entire life is nurse, change, and rock the [sweet] baby.  My hands are never free.  I cry anytime I feel anything…regardless of the type of emotion I feel…happy, sad, frustrated, overwhelmed, in love…all produce tears.

With my first baby, I thought for sure this would be the way my life would be for the rest of my life.  That I would always feel this overwhelmed and desperate.  That I would never find myself again.  I did find myself again.  I did find my footing.  After my second son, I remember just the normal “baby blues”…weepiness for a while, but not desperate.  Overwhelmed but not as though I had disappeared. 

This time I feel shocked.  Surprised that these old dark feelings are creeping in and feel more extreme than I expected.  This time, though, I will not hide them like I did with my first.  I will fight against the lies that come with these feelings.  The lies that hauntingly say, “If you struggle like this, you are not a very good mom” and “these feelings of sadness are going to ruin your child” and “because you are on edge you won’t bond with your baby.”

In so many ways, I let these lies rule my reality with my first son for so long.  It was years later that I felt release and freedom and truth and healing in my heart in regard to those lies that had set up camp for way too long.  Lies that were condemning and guilt-filled.  Lies that wanted me to believe them so I’d already feel sunk from the beginning of motherhood.

This time as I feel the emotions and exhaustion creep in and become intertwined with disheartening lies, I find myself fighting back.  I am talking about what I am feeling with my trusted people.  My husband is truly with me in this, offering all the support he can both practically and emotionally…always my best friend.  And I am asking Jesus to help me during this season.  Asking Him to give insight and healing.  I feel Him pouring truth onto my heart. 

Truth that tells me to take hold of my thoughts and give them to Him.  To recognize that as I feel overwhelmed in my heart, He can illuminate what in my thoughts and feelings that I should hold onto and what I need to release.  To stop and see what is good.  To see how far we’ve already come as a family in the last four weeks. 

I feel Him reminding me to slow down.  To not get in over my head in what I plan for a day.  To prioritize what actually matters and to release the rest.  I feel Him reminding me to lean on the supports I do have.  To keep my heart light and refreshed even in small ways…like reading light fiction during middle of the night feedings and taking a shower each morning to start the day fresh and making a point to get outside every day. 

And to understand that I just don’t handle hormone shifts well, nor do I handle sleep deprivation well.  And that is okay.  It is really okay.  I am not “less” because of it.  

Of course, sharing all of this is so vulnerable.  However, not only is it good for my heart…to be honest and real about where I am and who I am, it is also important because I know there are others of you out there reading this who have struggled or are struggling with similar feelings.  Feelings of sadness, inadequacy, frustration, loneliness, or being overwhelmed with the reality of a new baby in your life.  So I share this as a way to process for myself, but also in an effort to encourage you.  We are not alone.  This part is hard.  There is hope.  It will not be like this forever.


For those of you who have struggled with an extended season of “baby blues” or even post-partum depression, what is your story?  What helped you come out on the other side?  I would love to hear about your experience.   Please do share. 

10.06.2014

Three

Solomon,

I just love you.  I delight in you every day and am so happy you are my son.  Who you are brings so much joy and delight to those around you.  You are comfortable in your own skin.  Like a laid back grown man but in a three-year-old’s body. 

It’s hard to believe that you’re just now turning three.  You’ve already possessed a maturity far above a three year old level for quite a while now.  You express yourself so well, with words that encompass your exact feeling and meaning.  You are incredibly engaging when you communicate, putting much heart behind your words, powerfully using intonation and facial expressions to get across all that you are communicating.  You captive almost every audience. 

You are a snuggler with a such a tender heart.  I love these things about you.

You are also incredibly tough.  So, so tough.  You can tackle your older brother with no problem at all.  You are a solid kid who plays hard.  These rough and tough traits are also things I love about you.

You love to sing and dance, too.  And you’ve got some serious style in the songs you create and the dance moves you make.   I am amazed at how much rhythm you already possess at three. 

You love gogurts and peanut butter and ice cream and chips. 

You also truly enjoy being “with” those you love.  Almost every day you ask both dad and I if we will “play lightning cars” with you.  You long to have someone else engage in your experiences, to be connected to your reality. 

You love to share things that are special to you…especially special food treats.  It is so awesome to watch your eyes light up at that thought of sharing a treat or experience with someone else. 

Your heart amazes me all the time.  At three years old, you already powerfully possess and express such incredible generosity, tenderness, and life.

I love you so much and am so grateful that we get to know each other!

Love,

Mama

9.23.2014

Silas, C-Section, and Letting Go

Events and circumstances are often used as catalysts for the freedom, change, wholeness, or transformation God is trying to work out in our lives.  I’ve been learning all year about how I cannot and do not hold everything together.  God has been showing me so clearly this year that I cannot even hold myself together, I cannot get everything right and perfected every time.  I cannot hold my children’s world together.  I cannot hold my husband’s world together.  I cannot control or determine their feelings or actions. 

I have been learning freedom in the truth that while I cannot and do not hold all things together, I do follow the only One who does.  I know that in Jesus all things are held together (Colossians 1:17), and as I follow Him and listen to His Spirit, I am able to be held together.  As I listen to Him for how I parent, how I run my home, how I love my husband, then I can step into His freedom and peace and rest in my every day life…because He is the one holding it all together…not me. 

I thought I had been learning all of this pretty well.  And maybe I had.  This pregnancy was definitely the hardest of any of my pregnancies, and through the exhaustion in it, I had already been learning to let go of so many things.  However, it seems that there are even deeper levels to this release and rest that God wanted me to know. 

Over two weeks ago now, I was already getting a sense that something was “off” with the end of Silas’ pregnancy.  Labor wasn’t coming the way it had with my other two.  Five days past my due date, I woke up in the middle of the night with a sense that something just wasn’t right.  After being induced later that next day, things didn’t progress the way they had in my previous births.  Thankfully, because of all of this…because of what I had sensed…I was not exactly surprised when the surgeon and my doctor walked in to tell me that I would need to have a C-section.  We had already exhausted every other option.  While nervous, I had peace.  This was right.

It was very apparent to me that not only had God allowed the C-section as an act of grace to get my sweet Baby Silas out into the world with me, He had also allowed it for me to learn deeper levels of letting go of all of my efforts to hold things together.  Nothing quite “stills” you like being on pain medication, not being able to lift anything heavier than your 8 lb. newborn, and not being able to drive for two full weeks.  Everything weighs more than 8 lbs.  These new restrictions brought to the surface how much I still try to hold things together.  For the first time since becoming a wife and a mom, I literally could not hold anything together. 

That first day home, I didn’t even leave my bedroom.  Just Baby Silas and I hanging out all day in my bed up in the master suite. My super amazing stud of a husband did not even bat an eye at the new weight he would be carrying.  From the moment we came home, he has been committed to giving me a solid recovery time so that I would heal well.  He has done everything for our little family…literally everything.  As I observe him, I see God giving him the energy and the heart to care for me, our home, our big boys, to go grocery shopping, to plan and cook meals…to carry us right now.  It is humbling to be cared for like this.  The love my husband has for me is so full and amazing.

Yet, twice now, I’ve already overdone it.  It’s like I won’t learn.  It’s like I can’t accept grace, love, and rest.  I find so much satisfaction and worth in doing and accomplishing…in holding things together, that already at least twice in the last week, I’ve found myself pushing ahead of where I am right now.  Instead of trusting my husband to run the plan, I’ve stuck my hands in his plan, trying to also accomplish my agenda…and ultimately find satisfaction in accomplishing things.  Last night, in tears I was sharing with my husband that I’ve really got some issues when I have been given every resource and reason to rest and I still won’t rest.

My father-in-law has been hear since last Friday and is staying until my mom gets here this Friday.  We have help and support.  And yet, I push past the very obvious gift of being able to rest.  I push past the work God wants to do in my soul in regard to rest.  I push past the truth that I don’t actually hold everything together, but He does.  It is time take a good hard look at how much I tie my value and worth to accomplishing and achieving.  This is the moment to ask Jesus to transform my very heart to these deeper levels of trust, freedom, rest, and peace. 

How all this will look past this season is still unknown to me.  I will have to return to carrying some family responsibilities again very soon.  But I am hopeful that this time is on purpose to solidify deeper realities of peace in my soul.  I am hopeful that when returning to everyday life, I will be able to integrate a new understanding of peace and rest into my roles and responsibilities. 

So, I am surrendering myself to rest.  I am surrendering myself to this gift.  I am incredibly grateful for a husband who is working hard to let me rest…a husband who wants me to rest right now.  I am beyond thankful to have parents and in-laws who are incredibly willing to help us, to be involved in our lives and love on our kids. 

I am slowly learning to be at rest in my very spirit as I let go of all attempts to hold my little world together.  Because the truth is…I don’t actually hold it together anyway. 


9.05.2014

Still Pregnant

Okay, so while I am definitely not in any way overdue and should totally be able to accept that my not giving birth at this point is completely normal, the last few days of pregnancy are always some of the hardest and really seem like they shouldn’t even be possible.  At this point, just days away from my due date, I always begin to feel like pregnancy might just become a permanent condition.  Like I will never have this baby and will just have to accept living as a “nine-months pregnant” woman forever. 

That said, I am trying to enjoy these days as much as possible…and finding humor helps.  The first ten seconds of this video are awesome and make me feel not so alone in all of this:




Seriously, though.  I do really struggle with waiting.  It’s just something that is hard for me.  I like being on top of things, having life in order, and being ahead of schedule if at all possible.  Some of the things that energize me most in life are completing tasks and maximizing time.  I love efficiency and effectiveness, especially when those two can be combined.  And while those are all great things to love and be about, they don’t exactly help me when it comes to seasons of needing to patiently wait.   I find myself often frustrated in the waiting.

Until.

I come to a place of release.  A place of surrender.  In this particular season of waiting, it is releasing my timeline and my agenda for the birth of this baby.  I won’t be pregnant forever.  That just isn’t possible.  There will be a day when Baby Silas will be born.  I just don’t know yet which day that will be. 

Amazingly, when I actually surrender myself to the “waiting”…truly surrender myself to wait…to allow a Divine plan to take place, I discover an almost eerie peace.  A peace where I can be fully present even in the midst of major unknowns.  Everything on my calendar becomes “possible” instead of “definite,” and I find myself engaging more in the moment because that is all that is certain.  It’s a really great place to be, to live peacefully present in the moment released to whatever happens next. 


So, for now, that’s where you’ll [mostly] find me: released to this present moment and God’s plan for it. 

8.29.2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

I rarely write posts like this.  But.  I am just about 39 weeks pregnant.  And well, there just isn’t much serious, deep, or heavy space in my head and heart.  So.  Just for fun, I thought I share some of my favorite things.  And not one of these brands, stores, artists, writers or organizations have asked me to do this nor am I getting any “kick backs” from any of these products.  These are just things I absolutely love.

Hazelnut Coffee

Every time I grab a mug of hazelnut coffee at Panera, I find myself transported back to a trip my best friend and I took to Texas when I was fifteen.  Her grandma made us hazelnut coffee every morning, and I felt so grown up having a cup of coffee every morning.  Thank you, Panera, for bringing me back to my fifteen year old self every time I drink your hazelnut!






Pretty $2 Composition Books from Pink Light Design

At the speed that I write through a journal, I had to switch to notebooks as journals a long, long time ago.  This past year, I discovered these beautiful composition books that cost about two bucks each and have become my most favorite journal option.  Cheap and beautiful.  Love these.

Anything by Jennie Allen


This is by far my most favorite book that I have read in years.  It came into my hands at a time that I desperately needed not only to re-surrender everything once again to Jesus, but it also came at a time that I was desperate to know that women were writing about more than just being a wife and mom.  This book was the beginning of discovering a whole wave of women who are passionately following Jesus in everything that they are from wife to mom to writer to speaker to artist to friend to counselor to teacher to physician and everything in between.  This book marked a powerful shift in my spiritual life this past year.

Ice Water

Okay.  I know that’s pretty plain.  But seriously.  I cannot seem to get enough ice water this summer.  It is like a momentary vacation every time I drink cold, cold sip of ice water.  This might just be a weird pregnant thing that will quickly pass.  But seriously.  Ice water is amazing!

Phish Food

This has become my other food obsession this summer.  I have been known to run to the gas station down the street at 9 p.m. on multiple occasions to grab a pint of this ice cream.  My love of this item is so extreme that  a good friend got me a gift card to said neighborhood gas station so that I could continue my late night Phish Food runs. 






Ben Howard Pandora Station


You know about Pandora right?  If not, click here.  Okay, now we all know about Pandora.  Do yourself a favor and create a Ben Howard station right now.  So mellow, so melodic, so beautiful.  Some of the most heart-exposing lyrics from the artists who show up on this station.  Just listening to this station puts me in a better mood.



Reef Flip Flops

These are by far the most comfortable flip flops ever.  Every February, I start checking out the flip flop section at Ross, where if I keep my eyes open, I can snag a pair or two for half their cost.  Then I wear them all summer long.  Actually, I wear them as soon as it is reasonably warm enough to wear flip flops and continue to wear them on into the fall.  I love these shoes!






IF: Gathering



I am a total groupie.  I know.  But I seriously love what these ladies are doing.  I have an IF: Table.  I am planning an IF: Pray event.  And am already looking forward to the actually IF: Gathering this coming February.  I know, I know…my obsession with this movement is quite dramatic.  But that’s just it.  This movement is not about being a movement, but about gathering, equipping, and unleashing women to live out their God-given callings right where they are.  Is there anything more amazing than being encouraged to live fully for Jesus right here, right now? 

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Could there be anything more helpful to a mom than a show full of helpful ten second songs that equip her preschool-aged kids to process life in a simple way?!?!  Every single one of us in my little family sings these life-coping songs on a regular basis.  Short little tunes like: “Grown-ups come back” and “There’s time for you and baby, too” and “When you feel so mad that you’re gonna roar, take a deep breath and count to four.”  Seriously, thank you creators of Daniel Tiger. 

Okay, your turn.  What are a few of your favorite things?  Please do share.  I can’t wait to read!  You’ll be helping me keep my mind off the fact that I am still waiting for baby!