This is exactly what I needed today. God always knows exactly what we need. Sorry I have been absent lately, things have been super crazy. My dad had a temporary lapse of sanity, the whole family has been sick, etc. But I’m still around. Catch up with you soon, blogosphere.
This is related to anxiety, and I know many mothers deal with it to some extent. I have lived with it most of my life. Here’s an example of what an anxiety attack with catastrophic thinking looks like for me.
I have a migraine. If I am stuck alone with the children, I sincerely do not know if I can keep them safe, change the baby, feed them when they’re hungry… I really don’t think I can take care of these kids today. But I can’t ask my husband to stay home from work because we need the money desperately, and he will think I’m just not trying hard enough because other people go to work with migraines, and he will leave me. He’ll take the children and the baby will be in day care. She’ll scream for me at night.
And that’s as vulnerable as I can manage right now. There you have it folks, and when this is happening in my brain it does not sound ridiculous, it sounds totally credible and awful. After an attack I regain perspective, but during it feels like drowning.
On days like today, I feel like I’m just not cut out to be a mother. I know that’s not true, and tomorrow will be better, but today is one of those days in the trenches of motherhood for me. I know many mothers feel this way from time to time, especially with small children or teenagers. Do you? I could really use some honest mommy commiseration.
I have been struggling lately. Health problems seem unending. Money is tight. Familial relationships are strained. Menopause makes me feel like a weepy fool. There is a set point in the future when things should get better for our family, but it feels so far away. It’s easy to lose sight of, or to feel like it is out of reach. What-ifs wash over me and try to drag my hope with them. I am completely overwhelmed, but my God is not. He has met every need out of His great abundance, and I have faith He will continue to do so. Would you pray for me? For my family? And if I can do the same for you, please let me know.
I try to focus on enjoying making memories with the children, on moving forward to get our family into a better situation, when I am able. Which seems to never be enough of the time. But that is a thought I can’t focus on, because it becomes a cyclone of depression. No, better to just hold onto this train for dear life and try to keep my eyes on the pin dot of light ahead.
I was snuggling my youngest on the couch, savoring her sweetness, drinking in the moment. They are only little for such a short while, and I can feel her babyhood beginning to slip away. I stroked her pudgy little cheek, her downy hair, breathed in that little bit of baby scent that still clings to her. And for a moment, that painful longing seeped into my heart for another.
If everything had been different, my husband and I would be considering the next baby right now. If I could care for the ones we have. If my own body hadn’t turned against me and stolen from us this choice. If only.
It’s difficult to express, because I don’t want another, not really. Pregnancy was terrible for me, it broke my body in ways that only God can heal. As much as I love nursing, I long for some autonomy. I’m ready to wean my last one and move on to the next stage of our life as a family. But oh, to cherish the fantasy, just for a minute, of nuzzling a soft, fuzzy newborn again. Seeing that first smile, sharing the first laugh, those darling first steps… I feel something strange, something like grief, anger at my body. I feel chastised because then that seems like anger at God for putting me in this body, but that’s not it, not really, I don’t think. This is all so confusing, so conflicting, I just want to sweep it under the rug and paint on a smile, but that has never worked out well for me. So head-first into these feelings I go. Here they are in their imperfection and rawness. Do you understand them?
I went grocery shopping by myself today. Pushed a full cart up and down the aisles. It seems like such a little thing, an ordinary, any day kind of thing. But for me, today, it was special. A little taste of normal. I felt like me. Trying to strike that delicate balance between healthy and affordable, just like old times. I bought a few simple staples and daydreamed about making regular meals for my family again. Simple things filled my cart, spaghetti noodles, a carton of OJ, nothing exciting, at least not for you. It feels good to feel just a little bit normal, just for a little while again.
is why I’ve been a little quiet lately. Well, part of the reason anyway. I caught it in the early stages so it is reversible, just have to take it easy on the typing for a while. Recovery from surgery is going well, had a minor setback but really nothing to worry about. Let’s just say dealing with a clingy feverish baby in the middle of the night during night sweats is, um, difficult? Unpleasant? You do the math on that one. But we got through it, and after a few days for Mommy and baby to recover we are all doing OK again. I may be able to return to work part-time soon, covering that decision in prayer and would appreciate any of you joining me. God is doing some great things here, oh how I wish I could tell you more. Please pray. I have learned after many years to recognize the attacks of the Devil, and to know that means we are doing exactly what we are supposed to. Pray no weapon formed against this family would prosper.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that a few months ago my husband lost his job and we lost our house. We moved into a one bedroom apartment with our children and pets. While this is certainly not ideal, we’ve experienced some unexpected benefits. To save space, we bought my son a loft bed that has a bookshelf and play space underneath and put it in the living room. He thinks having his bed in the living room is SO COOL. He’s never been a good sleeper, but he has slept better and slept in his own bed more consistently since we moved than he ever has in his short life. The cats like to sleep on his bed now since it is up high, which has helped them warm up to him and is also super cute. It’s much easier to put him to bed on the nights when he falls asleep on the couch; his bed is only two feet away instead of up a flight of stairs. And all of the children get to enjoy the playspace under his bed freely, since it is in the shared family area. They call it “the cave.”
Some other surprise benefits: our upstairs neighbors got a swingset for the back yard, which our children are free to use any time. They have LOVED it. The upstairs neighbors also have a dog who is good with kids, so they have become best buds. And really, although it is a little cramped and often feels a bit crowded, we’ve been very happy here. The kids don’t seem to mind the small quarters most of the time, usually only when the weather’s been nasty and we’ve been trapped inside a lot. God’s grace has covered us during this lean time, and we are blessed.
This is the song of my heart today. It’s times like these you learn who your true friends and allies are. That has always been a very, very short list for me, at times consisting only of God. I am not proud to say that at times, there has been no list. In one particular dark pit, I found myself pulling away from the only One who could help me, the only One who knew the depth of the valley in which I found myself. I asked Him some hard questions, and when I didn’t like the answers, I pulled deep into myself, letting the darkness wash over me and under me and through me. And there I sat, wallowing in my hurt, slapping God’s hand away from my shoulder each time He reached in. But this time, I am fighting. I cling to the One who has never left my side. I am forcing myself to pry the lies and chains of hurt, mistrust, cynicism, and loneliness from my heart and give them over to the Author of Truth and Lover of My Soul. I am forcing myself to trust my husband, to be real with him and let him into my hurts, despite the strong desire to simply fold into myself again and close the heavy doors. I am reaching, and it’s hard, so hard, to the few who are left on my very short trusted list, a list that seems to shrink with each passing day. And I am sharing my struggle with you. Because no matter what seeds of lies the darkness sows, we are never alone. We are made to love, to connect with one another, imperfect beings sharing in our imperfection. We have to forgive, have to. We have to try again and again and keep reaching, keep giving broken relationships over to the Healer and letting Him restore, trusting that He can and wants to, if both parties will let Him. But right now, today, I just don’t have the strength. I’m trying, Lord knows I’m trying. But today, all I have in me is enough fight to cry out to God and to let my husband in. And for today, that will have to be enough. Looking forward to the end of this trial and a period of healing in my body and soul.
I’m not afraid of death. I know where I’m going, and I look forward to it. But the dying part… that’s a whole nother story. If you’ve never experienced anaphylaxis, let me tell you, it feels like you’re dying every time. Dying from anaphylaxis is one of my greatest fears. It feels something like drowning, you can’t get a breath, but your body has to keep trying, desperately. It hurts. And every time, I am sure, this is it for me. This is how I will go. But recently, God has given me a deep peace that surpasses my own understanding. Somehow, I feel like I should still be terrified, but while I don’t relish the thought… it’s not so scary anymore. The suffering can’t last forever and either we’ll make it to the ER in time and they’ll save me, or I’ll get to go home to my Abba, my Pop, my friends who have gone on before me, and the baby I never got to hold. I won’t suffer anymore there, and I’ll get to spend eternity in worship and fellowship.