Tag Archives: Hope

Impatiently Waiting

Sometimes I wish I could rid myself of worry.  I know that worrying is unproductive and even harmful to my pregnancy.  As my doctor said, “if you convince yourself something is impending, it will certainly happen.”  So I am trying to take this day by day and celebrate little things: 1) sickness; 2) back, hip, and breast pain; and 3) exhaustion.

[I realize celebrating these things might sound silly, and completely contrary to how most pregnant women feel, but I might as well see these as good indicators rather than frustrating aspects of growing a fetus.]

However, my memories recall feeling sickness and pain and exhaustion and things not continuing like I hoped.  Even worse, the sickness did not increase like it did with Emily and Andrew, my only healthy pregnancies, and so I worry about NOT feeling sick or the sickness not getting worse.

It’s this constant game of telling myself to breathe and think optimistically while holding on to that fear and having the anxiety settle within my stomach.  Deep inside, I want to fast forward 20 weeks where I could feel relatively safe.  Yet I know that is impossible and that I should enjoy the next unfolding weeks.

How can I be so patient with my kids yet so impatient with this pregnancy and myself?

Writing is my only release as tension builds up.  How can I convince my head things will be all right?  I WANT to feel that.   Somewhere in my heart I think it, I’m just having trouble convincing my mind.  And, by golly, even if it doesn’t, I want to make this a terrific ride.

Will you help me?  I challenge you to throw all the positive thinking you can my way.

Ready, set, GO!

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Filed under Pregnancy

A Nap Time Lesson

The kids are in their cribs supposedly napping.  Instead, I hear Emily yelling “Hi!” and Andrew giggling. I can picture them.  Emily is pressing her face against the mesh walls of her Pac N’ play while Andrew, on his hands and knees, stares at her through his own mesh surface.  Their faces are lit up with unadulterated joy.

They are best friends.

When in our living room,  Andrew is not too interested in me.  His eyes are stuck on his sister.  They follow her everywhere.  He smiles as she runs from room to room, creating havoc.  He babbles when she starts singing.  He laughs, really laughs, when his sister twirls, hops, and jigs to unheard music.

I look at them and remember.

The horrific pregnancies.  The long nights.  The colic. The postpartum depression.

The easy births.  Our first moments together. Their first smiles.  Their first laughs.

The good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the frustrating, the fun, the painful, the joy–mixed together in life’s blender, a combination of bitter and sweet, to be drunk daily.   And I do.  Every last drop.  Because it’s worth it.

Right now, I listen to their silly noises and I feel at peace.

One day I will have another baby.  I will feel their movements inside me.  We will grow together for nine months.  We will meet and I will cry tears of immense joy.

That sweet baby will have instant best friends.  Soon  I will hear her or him laughing and playing with their siblings during nap time, and I will remember today.  I may even read these words again.  My heart will swell–for a second time–with feelings of great gratitude.

A tender mercy that I will not forget, but will embrace.  Fully.

40 Comments

Filed under lessons from a rocking chair

Sudden Loss

I had a suspicion that I was pregnant.  Familiar symptoms began plaguing my body: nausea, sleeplessness, moodiness, and back pains.  I was excited.

A couple weeks later the symptoms stopped.  I took a few pregnancy tests, all of which came back negative.  I was worried.

Then the bleeding started.

At first I thought that maybe I had been wrong.  But I knew my body and this bleeding was very different from a normal period.

I have cried with many friends who have miscarried.  I have comforted them, held their hand, or, if I couldn’t be there, offered understanding in comments and e-mails.

But when I experienced my own miscarriage, I couldn’t talk about it.  Besides Ben, I shared the news with only a couple other people.

I was scared.

The comments well intentioned people would say held me back.  I didn’t want to hear–

You’re young, you’ll bounce back.

You do have two little ones.  Enjoy them.

Maybe it was for the best.

You weren’t trying, were you?

Frankly, it’s none of your business if we were trying. I also don’t care if it was for the best, that I have two babies, or that I have youth on my side.  My heart was–is–still breaking.

That baby I was growing was real to me.  I was visualizing her little hands, his first smile, her itty bitty nose, and the smell of his newborn skin.  I wasn’t sure how I would handle three little ones under three, but I was going to try!

Still, my fear held me back from fully mourning.

The impact didn’t fully hit me until a month afterward.

It was then that I cried into Ben’s shoulder.  He understood.  He continues to comfort me each month when I am greeted by an unwelcome visitor.  He is compassionate even when I am horribly angry for those first two days.

I am my worst critic.

When my period arrives, I begin asking the questions.

Am I not worthy?

Is it because I am a horrible mother?

What am I supposed to learn?

What about the feelings I had?  Did I misunderstand?

Why?

After the questions end, I start berating myself. The thoughts are dark, depressing, and leave me feeling worthless.

The pain increases, the emptiness I feel in my heart grows bigger.  I feel alone.

Yet I am becoming stronger.

I am learning to shut off my inner critic.  I feel my depression ebbing away.

I am letting myself grieve.

Now, will you please pass the tissue?

54 Comments

Filed under keeping the faith

Becoming the Mother I Want to Be

When I had Andrew, something happened.

I was tired, I was lonely, I was stressed, and I was overwhelmed.  Ben was working, attending school, studying for the MCAT, and trying his best to be there for me and the kids.

My little boy was fussy, very fussy.  He cried and cried, I cried and cried, Emily cried and cried.  I pushed joy away so I could have room for misery.

Emily was growing, maturing, turning into a toddler.  I wasn’t ready.  I wanted her to help me, but I didn’t want her to be adventurous or seek autonomy.  I wanted–I needed–her to sit down next to me, playing quietly.  Not running from mess to mess, taking advantage of me nursing to get into everything.

I was unrealistic.

I found myself turning into an awful mother. I went from using calm tones to relying on harsh tones; being happy and engaging to being angry and distant; patient to impatient.

My husband’s busyness and my loneliness excused me from improving my behaviors.

Until one day I really looked at my daughter.  What I saw was not a little monster trying to ruin my life, but a little girl, a toddler, who was discovering her little world, begging for me to help her.

How I viewed motherhood changed.

In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, the leaders of my church remind mothers (and fathers) that we are to nurture our children.

Nurture: to feed and protect; to support and encourage, as during a period of training or development.  (Source: Dictionary.com.)

I do feed and protect my children every day, but do I support and encourage? More importantly, do I support and encourage my toddler as she discovers her world?

I am not ignorant.

I knew what I could do to temper her melt downs or aide in her autonomy seeking behavior.  That is what my degree is in. Yet I was neglectful and I took the easy way out.

I have had several impressions reminding me to use my education to help me parent.  I ignored them.  Silly, really, considering I am often moaning to Ben that I can’t use my degree.

I am thankful that God is patient with me.

I can change and I will change.  These changes will not happen immediately, it will take time for me adjust my behaviors.

I feel powerful, I know that I can do this.

How have you grown/changed as a parent?

This post is (now) part of  “I’m Finding the Bigger Picture” event.  Click on over to see more events!

Bigger Picture Moment

27 Comments

Filed under keeping the faith

A Big Slobbery Thank You

It just so happens that I forgot to mention one major culprit in my emotional drama of last week: Miss Flow.  While I am grateful for this physical reminder of my fertility, I can’t exactly gush about how she messes up my emotions.  Everything seems much more dramatic when she visits.

I recovered a bit of my spice over the weekend.  Your comments were a gigantic help in reminding me of the support group I have.   As much as days like those suck, it feels less overwhelming when I know that other people can relate.  Reading your comments while drinking Diet Dr. Pepper certainly alleviated much of the sadness I felt.

In case I forget how incredibly lucky I am, let me list a few things that made me smile this weekend.

Watching this little girl canter and twirl around our living room.

Feeling her sweet, slobbery kisses on my cheek.

Smiling as she sings little songs about me, Ben, and her little brother.

Tickling his numerous rolls.

Listening to his little baby noises.

Feeling like the greatest mom in the world as he smiles and laughs when I walk into the room.

Finally, all of you.  Your kind words of support.  Your wise suggestions.  Your digital hugs.  I really am a lucky gal.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

20 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Dear 23-Year-Old Self,

Yes, I am finally back online.  It will take me forever to get caught up but so life goes.  While disconnected, I was thinking about this blog and realized I did not write myself a birthday letter; thus, this post’s inception.

Remember those goals you wrote when you were 12?  The sheet was short and simple–something like this (in no particular order).

  • Marry a worthy returned missionary in the temple.
  • Graduate from college.
  • Become a mom.

The goal you hoped most to achieve was motherhood.  You had no idea when that would come to pass and marriage seemed like a fleeting fancy, something that happened to those who were beautiful and witty, characteristics you (falsely) believed you lacked.

Yet, here you are at 23.  You have achieved those goals.  You are a college graduate–the first in your immediate family. You have married an incredible man who is everything you hoped he would be and more.  You have two beautiful children that bring unsolicited smiles frequently.

Motherhood was harder than you expected.  With school, you knew what was needed to receive that “A.”  With parenting, there is no syllabus with its accompanying assignment sheet.  You can’t check Blackboard for your grades.  There is no professor to explain difficult concepts.  So, the next time you envision that imaginary audience who groans and shakes their heads at your mistakes, remember that there is no imaginary audience.  When you make a mistake, it is okay.  Grow from your mistakes, don’t dwell on them.  When you do have a question, ask your friends.  You are surrounded by experienced parents who would not think you are a failure for asking.

Please forsake those insecurities that tie you down.  You are not the awkward teenager who once lived in her older sister’s shadow.  You are beautiful, vivacious, and benevolent.  You have a husband who would slay dragons for you.  You have a daughter and son who instantly forgive your shortcomings.  You have accomplished all the goals you once set for yourself.

People do not look down on you because of your choice to become a stay-at-home mom.  Stop using your education as a snobby reminder that you could have done more with your life.  This is your dream!  Even if someone thinks less of you, it is your choice to believe it or ignore it.   Instead of “if onlys” become the best mom you can possibly be.

Replace your doubt with trust.  You know what is best for you and your family.

Above all, trust your husband.  Trust your friends.  Trust your parents.  Trust your Savior.  Embrace forgiveness–of others and of self.  Hold fast to the truth that has constantly guided you.

Love always,

Me

15 Comments

Filed under Letters, Reflections

Please Keep Me and the Baby Safe

The following is a real account and happened to me last week. In an effort to expand my writing, I decided to turn it into a short story.

Her husband quietly woke her up, expressing his regret that it was already time to leave.  She quickly dressed and brushed her teeth.  After dropping her keys and wallet into her purse, she buckled her 6-month-old son into his carseat.   She kissed her sleeping daughter’s cheek, grateful that her friend agreed to watch her.

In the car, she and her husband were quiet.  It was much too early for substantial conversation, so they stuck to general chit chat to keep them both awake.

Before long the airport was in view.  With anxiety building, she parked in the space reserved for drop-offs and hopped out.  She hugged her husband tight and kissed his ready lips.  A second later he was walking away and she was back in the car, pulling away from the curb.

Her mind was swirling with emotions.  The trip was to be short, yet her heart still ached.  She watched as water dropped sporadically on her windshield, teasing the tears out of her eyes.

Her brain, on a constant watch,  alerted her to the potential danger.

“Oh crap,” she muttered.

Thoughts of her broken windshield wiper sprang to her mind.   In the high speeds of the freeway, the passenger’s side wiper would often get thrown off its set rhythm and hit the driver’s side wiper causing it to overextend itself off the window.   This could prove dangerous when the rain was intensely pouring and it was dark.

A little prayer began working itself up from her anxious stomach.

“Please keep me and the baby safe.”

She intently watched the road, hoping the rain would continue to sprinkle.  Her vision was horrid in the dark and only worse in bad weather.  If the rain turned more unfavorable, she would be in a lot of trouble.

A few minutes later, the rain started coming down in droves.  Prayers erupted out of her mouth, overlapping each other so that when one ended another began.

“Please keep the windshield wiper working. ”

“Please help me to see.”

“If the wiper is to go out, please help it to go out where I can safely stop.”

As she started descending from the point of the mountain, she saw the wiper struggling.  She knew she only had a few minutes before it would stop working.  She looked around her and realized that cars were behind, ahead, and to the side of her. The next exit was 5 miles away.  She was trapped.

Her prayers returned to the original one.

“Please keep me and the baby safe.”

Like a surreal dream, she watched in slow motion as her windshield wiper overextended itself.  The rain instantly covered her window and all visibility disappeared.

She screamed.

In an eery dichotomy, “Heavenly Father” and “Holy s@$&” escaped her mouth.

Vivid images raced through her mind.

Giving birth to her daughter.

Finding out she was pregnant with her son.

Watching her daughter walk for the first time.

Making love to her husband.

Walking to the duck pond with her kids and husband.

Saying good-bye to her husband.

“I’m going to die.  I can’t see.  I will either hit the car next to me or hit the barrier,” she thought.

A sudden calm enveloped her. Not knowing where the car next to her was, she pulled into that lane, slowing down as she went, and drove into the emergency pullout lane parking within centimeters of the barrier.

She willed herself to not cry.  She waited until all the cars had passed before opening up the door and fixing the windshield wiper. Her legs were shaking, her breathing heavy, and her chest tight by the time she sat back in her seat.

Take the next exit that will allow you to take the back roads home,” the Voice said.

She pulled back on the freeway and took an exit ten miles down the road, following the Voice’s advice.   Thirty minutes later she pulled into her cul-de-sac.  She finally allowed herself to weep.

“Thank you, Heavenly Father, thank you.”

With a grateful heart, she unstrapped her son, shut the van door, and went inside.

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Filed under Uncategorized