I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but haven’t been able to really organize my thoughts. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I haven’t really wanted to organize my thoughts. My typical defense mechanism is to ignore what’s going on, shove it aside, and live in survival mode until I finally deal with it or it blows up in my face. And while there have been bursts here and there along the way, there hasn’t been a huge explosion yet. I hope, by addressing this now, there won’t be. Perhaps I actually am learning something.
This last week leading up to Mother’s Day was very different from the one two years ago. Then, I was starting on a cycle of fertility drugs, going a little crazy, stressed, anxious, and sad, though still hopeful. Now, I’m celebrating my first as a mom, with less than 6 months to go before we welcome a second into our family. Oh, yeah, and there’s a pandemic going on.
This time last year I thought there was still over a month to go before we’d get to meet Evelyn (there was really only a couple weeks as she came over 3 weeks early). I don’t remember being incredibly stressed. I just remember having huge feet, not being able to put on shoes and socks without feeling winded, and feeling the kicks and hiccups from the little one inside, reminding me she was there. I was amazed at what was going on inside me. Amazed at a Creator who designed this process so flawlessly. And yet…
I don’t know exactly when it happened. Probably a little bit as we struggled with infertility. And a little more as we saw a specialist with no results. I had begun to withdraw from the God I loved.
I was thankful, am completely thankful, for the precious gift He’s given us in Evie. But throughout that pregnancy I was still skeptical of the outcome. Worried she’d be taken from us too soon. Not letting myself get attached in preparation in case that happened. And then she was here. And what started out happy enough with this sweet little girl turned into two weeks of hell. We were scared DCPP was going to take her from us (all because I ate a poppyseed bagel 4 hours before I went into labor and tested positive for opioids on a drug test I took when I was admitted to the hospital). That complete ordeal lasted two plus months, but there was nothing that shook us both as much as those first couple days. Days we should have been rejoicing in the new life we’d been blessed with, not fearing that she’d be snatched away, this blessing we longed for so much.
Then there was the figuring out how to be a mom. How often should she eat? Sleep? What if she seems like she’s hungry but she just finished nursing? Is she crying because she’s hungry or because she just wants to be held? Along with the seemingly innocent questions and comments, “You’re feeding her again?” “She sure does eat a lot.” (Please do not ever say these things to a new mom. While you may think they are just observational and offhand, they can be taken very much as judgement of what she is doing…as if she isn’t already questioning herself & her competency enough.)
Just about the time the whole poppyseed ordeal was clearing up I found out that Evie wasn’t getting enough to eat (despite me feeling like I fed her all the time). For not the first time and not the last I felt I had failed her.
Insecure about my “motherness”, my body, my choice to stay home, I looked to distract myself from all of that (I’m really not so good at facing things head on). I turned to entertainment, social media, ridiculous time consuming games on my phone. All from which I gained absolutely nothing, besides what I wanted. Distraction. And during this all I distanced myself from my God. And I distanced myself from my daughter. I learned how selfish I can be; not wanting to relinquish my time to care for her. I thought this was all what I wanted. Be a stay at home mom. Take care of my baby. Teach her and watch her grow. Take care or our home. Cook delicious meals. Host dinner for our friends. Why was I not finding joy in this?
I had forgotten where my joy was found. More likely, I didn’t want to look for it there. There, in the place it always was and always has been. There, in my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ. I had fallen into, I don’t know, a hole, a rut, a pattern of behavior? And while I didn’t want to be there, while I desired to draw close to the Lord, I had settled into where I was. I was comfortable.
Oh, there were times I had been rather distraught. Times of breakdowns and ugly crying. Times of knowing I wasn’t doing what I should. And maybe I’d change for a day or two. I’d rally myself and try to do better. But you know what? I’m not so strong on my own. I look back at all the things I have done/gone through in the past; moving to Alaska, major surgery, finding a husband, finishing a half marathon. They all have one thing in common. I did not rely on my own strength. So why am I trying to do that now?
Maybe in this season of feeling so out of control I want to feel like I can control something (though this started long before the current pandemic crisis). Maybe I want to prove something. To the world. To myself. To those around me. And yet I think about that and it seems so silly. I have the knowledge of where true strength comes from. I have knowledge of where true joy comes from. And yet I lack wisdom to put that knowledge to use.
And then yesterday, Mother’s Day, my first Mother’s Day, we joined our church’s livestream from home. Our pastor spoke of his mom, who went home to be with the Lord only a few weeks ago. He spoke of one of his fondest memories; seeing her enjoying her morning coffee and time in the Word and sharing with him what God had been sharing with her through it. Sharing with his sons the same as they grew. Her strength and joy found in her Lord though her life was far from easy, far from pain-free. The deep impact that has had on his life.
And I remembered why I so desired to be a mom in the first place. I remembered a desire that had lain somewhat dormant for some time. I remembered the desire to share the knowledge and the truth of the Lord I love with the child(ren) I hoped to have. It is to this end that I strive. Not for my own reknown or acknowledgement, but so that in this I may honor & glorify my Lord.
Is it really that easy? Hearing a sermon and deciding to change? No, I know it won’t be. I know there will be days where my selfishness will take over. Days when I insist on working through my own strength. Days when my confidence in the process will falter because things are constantly changing. Days when schedules and best laid plans fly out the window (especially when her sister enters the mix). But I have been reminded of this great endeavor I have been blessed to have. Evie is almost a year old. Time goes by so quickly and I don’t want to waste it anymore.
If you made it this far, friends, congratulations! Forgive me for the twisting, winding thoughts. I hope they’ve made at least a little sense. This was much more for me to find my way through it all. To make sense of this last year. Thanks for muddling through with me.
If you feel stuck in a place, you’re not alone. This is not an easy road. I’m traveling it, too. More importantly, Christ is here, too. With Him it may not necessarily be easier, but it will be possible. I write this so I may remember it as well.
Love & Blessings,