Category Archives: hope

Soothe Your Soul

Back when Patrice was just a few weeks old and my brain was on hyperdrive due to the postpartum depression by hubby took the girls and me to a park that I had never visited.  I immediately fell in love.  I felt calm and at peace for the first time since we brought our third baby home.

I went back as often as possible.  I still do, no matter what the weather.  It is my healing place.

The last few weeks have been…odd.  There have been some mania type issues.  There have been some struggles with depression.  I have reached out for help and am looking forward to getting this all sorted out.  It’s not an impossible place to live, just not comfortable.

But yesterday…

We went to my park.

Frazier and I walked and walked.

All three of the girls caught fish.

The girls fished with daddy.

And this place right here is my favorite place anywhere.  It just invites me forward, asks me to run or walk.

I think we all came home a little refreshed, a little healthier.

Confusion of the Heart

Everyday I see injustice and hurt in my Facebook newsfeed.

Today it was a man who died while being arrested for, of all things, selling untaxed cigarettes.  Good reason to use a choke hold on someone, don’t you think?  I hope and pray the family gets justice.  The track record of our nation for finding fairly for those who are not white, is not exactly stellar.

Over the last few weeks we have also seen Israel lambasted for defending itself against the Hamas, a civilian plane shot down over Ukrainian airspace, people screaming because some companies will not be required to pay, as part of company offered healthcare plans,  for a few birth control options that are considered most likely to cause an abortion, the tragedy of Miriam, in Sudan, being forced to give birth to her baby in prison while under a sentence to death, 200+ Nigerian girls being kidnapped by Muslim Terrorists, and recently, Christians being forced, by Muslim Extremists in Iraq, to flee the city of Mosul, pay a fine or be massacred.

Each and every story breaks the heart.

I want to shut it all out.

But I can’t.

Where does that leave me?

How do I help?

I share status updates from people who know more than I.  I sign petitions to demand change.

My heart is just broken.

I know the Bible says there is no peace without Jesus, but I have Jesus in me, so how do I spread the peace that surpasses all understanding that only He gives?

How do I help those being robbed of their belongings and driven from their homes in Mosul and Sudan?  How do I help those being destroyed by the Missiles in the Gaza Strip?

I believe strongly the admonition the Bible gives when it says there is a special blessing on those who are friends of Israel.  I know through all the years of it’s existence, God has had a special, enduring love for His children, the children of Israel.  I desire to come alongside these beloveds of God.

My desire is to understand, the persecution here in America is very light for the Christian’s.  We are blessed to have many liberties and protections.  I understand we very much need to be vigilant against encroachments on our liberties, but I think our freedom and protection is also to be used for the benefit of others.  For those in America and abroad.  For those who have no hope.  Who have no voice.

How do you help the oppressed?  How do you help those beyond the American borders?  I would love to hear your heart.

School is Canceled!!!!!!!!!!

We started our morning with homemade waffles, and a leisurely time chatting while we ate.  Then the girls scattered for a few, waiting me to call them to start their schoolwork.  Instead, I walked into the room they were in and yelled, “School’s Canceled.  We’re going to the zoo!”

Their faces were priceless, especially Caitlyn’s I wish I had thought to have my camera ready.  Then the “Yay!!!  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you” broke out.

They got dressed quick.  And headed to play outside while I figured out what we needed.  Once I got organized, Sue came in and started making sandwiches while I got myself around.

Caitlyn stayed outside with Patrice, who had climbed in the car and refused to get out.  SHE was GOING to the zoo.

As we were getting ready, I noticed my mood was better, then it was worse, then it was better.  It was changing so quickly I couldn’t keep up.  I told a friend who walks this road and she said, “yes honey, you are rapid cycling.”  We discussed a couple options to help and I chose one.

We finished getting ready and headed to the zoo.

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We had fun.  Thankfully hubby texted me to warn me there was torrential rain coming so we got into a building just in time.  Turns out we even practiced place values in numbers looking at a board of donors.  The rain cleared quickly and off we headed again.

And I realized my mind was quiet.  The thing with either the depression or the mania, my brain is loud.  My thoughts are disjointed and difficult to manage and I am never fully present.  I realized today was different, it was quiet.  I was really with my kids.  I was really at the zoo.  I was really here, for the first time in a month.

That thought was bliss.

We spent 4 1/2 hours at the zoo.  And it was great. I didn’t yell, there was minimal whining from the girls.  It was great!!!

And I learned something very valuable today.  It is important to reach out and say exactly what a symptom is.  Truly, I thought the confused, tumultuous, incoherent thoughts were just my imagination, a product of me obsessing too much.  And the rapid mood changes I was having, I thought, there is no way this is happening.  No way.  I must be going crazy, maybe I just crave attention.  But I asked, and found out it is normal, and there was an answer to help both.

You cannot even imagine how happy that knowledge, and ability to be present, makes me.

If you are living with mental illness, speak up, tell people what is really going on, including the things  you consider stupid.  You may find they are not only stupid, they are fixable!!  Fixable…how long have I suffered not knowing it was fixable.  Do yourself a favor, learn from my experience and get the help you need.

The animals were active

My Life Painting

I have these three beautiful girls and an amazing hubby.  They truly rule my heart.

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Any wonder why?  Being the wife and mama takes my breathe away.

When I was working outside of the home, I absolutely could not justify additional time away from my family.  I was away from them a lot of hours, I reasoned, that must fulfill my needs for me.

Then I came home to roost.  And my mind didn’t know how to balance me and them and us.  I knew there was this concept, self-care, taking time to invest in the heart and soul through whatever activities or ideas feed your life, out there.  I knew people who espoused it.  I respected those who did.  I just felt lost.

I began to look around…and wonder what self-care was really all about.  And as often happens, my heart was drawn to a fellow mama.

My friend A’Driane does an amazing job of seeking and embracing self care. I watch her carve out the time and I am jealous. Not in the petty, she gets self care and I don’t, but in awe that she values herself enough to do so.

I grew up with women who saw surrendering of themselves to their children as admirable.  One of my strongest role model did just that.  She was so involved in her kid’s life and she made it look so easy, watching her invest herself so heavily seemed like a wonderful model of motherhood.  She was, and is, an amazing mother.  I dreamed of being such a mom. *

I also grew up under Biblical teachings often twisted to prove women should lose themselves in their vocation as wife and mother–or be able to do it ALLLL!!! (Proverbs 31 Woman).  So, I threw myself into doing it all.

But this idea of self-care nagged at me.  Was there something to it?  Should it be part of my life?  Could I still be considered a good mom if I indulged myself in this idea?

Truly, when I heard about self-care for the first time in ‪#‎ppdchat‬,** the idea was so foreign to me that I brushed it aside as something I didn’t need.  I was stronger than that, than those who “needed” time away.

But my beautiful A’Driane challenged my misguided notions just by living intentionally.  I saw her with her beautiful family of three boys and a great hubby.  I saw her making time to eat well, I saw her making time to exercise, I saw her making time to paint and write and love herself.

And I knew how strong she was.  There was no way I could construe her need of self-care as indulgence or a sign of weakness.  The woman chases after three boys, keeping up with demanding schedules with honesty and grace.

I began to wonder if the truth wasn’t that I loved my girls too much to take the time for self-care, but rather I didn’t love me enough to invest in who I am, in who I want to become.  I realized I haven’t arrived at at the final destination of who I am just because I love being a wife and mother.  I haven’t completed my journey of growth, I am still a changing, emerging, me.

Sometimes being me means I am all mom, or all wife, all family, sometimes maybe it means something more.  Maybe it means embracing where I’ve been, where I am and where I want to be.

It’s time to blend it all, to create my own life painting.

Today, I’m here to invest in myself. I’m here to take baby steps.

I’m here to re-embrace my lifelong love of reading. I’m here to let the authors words wash my soul, feed my soul, rebirth my soul.

I’m here to embrace me and all that it means.

 

*That amazing role model in my life?  I have watched her grow and rebirth as her motherhood journey has continued and she IS an amazing mother, friend, woman.  She has strength and drive to spare for all of those around her.

**Please, if you are working through a postpartum mood disorder, check out the hashtag #ppdchat on twitter to get an army of women who are right there in the journey with love and strength for you.  You will find resources and help, love and compassion that you never dreamed possible.

Working out the Struggle

I know you’ve heard the truth that God has set you free

But you think you’re the one that grace could never reach

So you just keep asking, Oh, what everybody’s asking

[Chorus] Am I more than flesh and bone?

Am I really something beautiful?

Yeah, I want to believe,

I want to believe that I’m not just some wandering soul

That you don’t see and you don’t know Yeah,

I want to believe,

Jesus help me believe

That I am someone worth dying for

From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/m/mikeschair-lyrics/someone-worth-dying-for-lyrics.html

This song was “dedicated” to me by a college friend after I wrote this post  about  being worth fighting the depression for, but admitting I wasn’t sure  Christ came to die for me.

It is aptly named “Someone Worth Dying For”  I love the truth of this song, but must admit I am still grappling with it; I am also working through a lot of other aspects of my faith and personality.

I’ve put a lot of my struggle out here on my blog, but at the same time, there is much I cannot verbalize or express.  It’s hard to have all the words, btu this I know to be true…

God is okay with my struggle.  He knew, before my mother found out she was expecting a baby, what my path would lead to.  He knew about the Multiple Sclerosis, depression and other issues that have arisen.  And, glory to God, He knows the outcome, though I do not.

In what areas are you struggling?  Where is your faith in the struggle?  How can I pray for you today, and in the future?

Love to Heaven and Back

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl.  I never got to meet you and hold you this side of Heaven.  But know, I, along, with your mommy and daddy, love you and wish you were here.  You are loved sweet girl.  I count it a privilege and honor to know your parents and love you along with them.

Please love on those in your life who have loved and lost a child, through miscarriage, stillbirth, illness or tragedy.

What I Miss Most

I often hear mamas talk about how they miss time to themselves, sleep, their pre-baby body, sleep, going out with friends, sleep…and I totally understand.  I do.  But those are not the things I miss from my life before motherhood.  Nope.  What I miss is confidence.

You go through all this preparation to have a baby or bring home a baby.  They give you your precious child with one hand and take your confidence with the other.  And nobody tells you about this slight of hand.  Until you are alone with the baby.  Suddenly you realize, you don’t know anything.

In your former life, you might have been very accomplished in your career, even had lots of childcare experience that gives you practical wisdom, but it’s different now. This is YOUR child.  She is your responsibility.  You are the one who needs to make sure she is fed, clothed, taught.  And the crushing truth is, you don’t even know how to tighten the straps on the carseat, how are you going to do the rest?

Slowly, bit by bit, you put together some knowledge.  You get a little more comfortable with your new role.  You find the people you can turn to for advice that you find helpful and figure out who’s advice to tune out.  Life feels good.  For a couple days.  Then the bottom falls out.  Baby changes.  And this stage, has all new questions and challenges.

So goes the cycle.

I will admit, there is a little more confidence with each child you have.  You find your family rhythm and groove a little more easily, but searching and learning is still involved.  This new baby is not the same as it’s siblings.  No matter how hard you try to get them in the mold and patterns, there are differences.  Some big, some small.

But that is not the only confidence I miss.  With the birth of Patrice, I lost a confidence I held even more dearly, my emotional confidence.

This time, along with Patrice, I was handed my journey through postpartum depression and anxiety.  Adapting to life with a third baby was nice in that I knew what to expect in many of the baby care areas.  I knew my parenting style, what to expect sleep and nursing wise.  What I didn’t know how to navigate were the postpartum emotions.

Emotionally I was all over the map.  I was filled with awe and joy over this new baby.  I loved the fun ages Caitlyn and Sue were in.  But I was also filled with tears and anxiety.  My emotions and energy ran too high.  I could not get control of them.

Over the last year, I have been through many hills and valleys.  I am definitely seeing an overall improvement in my moods and emotions.  And then a bad day will hit.  It feels like the bottom is dropping out.  Or something will make me nervous, and the panic that ensues feels overwhelming.  And I feel like I am back where I was a year ago, lost in my emotions and reactions.

Yesterday was one of those days.  Caitlyn is starting school next week.  I have a lot of fears and feelings about that, none of them positive.  I cried all day yesterday.  I was a ball of nerves all day.  It was difficult to focus at work, my words came too fast and my thoughts were going faster.

I am worried about getting Caitlyn to school and the other two to daycare, and myself to work.  I am worried about not knowing where to drop Caitlyn off.  I don’t want her away from me all day.  I am afraid I won’t pack her the right snacks or lunch.  What if I pack peanut butter and there is a kid in her class deathly allergic?  What if she doesn’t have enough time at lunch to eat what she wants and needs?

You get the idea.

And as my thoughts spun and the tears fell, I became more and more concerned that I hadn’t made progress against the postpartum depression and anxiety, that I wasn’t getting better.

Thankfully I had a mental health check appointment with my midwife today.  I dumped it all out there.  How I missed trusting my emotions, how I reacted to a mama in my support network going into the hospital, reading about a mama struggling with postpartum depression killing her baby, all my fears about Caitlyn going to school.

It felt good to get it all out there.  It felt even better to hear her say she felt the same way about sending her kids to school, how she doesn’t look forward to them being away from her,

Oh the relief I felt to hear her say she understood my feelings, how they seemed appropriate to her.  It gave me hope.  Hope that the postpartum depression and anxiety is losing it’s grip on me.  That my emotional reactions are in line.

It gave me hope that I will one day have my emotional confidence back.  That is a good thing.  Because that is what I miss most.

Welcome to the Roller Coaster

A year.  A year.  Up.  Down.  Round the bend.  Round the next bend. Up.  Down.

Praying it’s just baby blues.

It gets a little better.

Then the darkness comes.

Start a medication.

Get a little relief.

Try an additional dose.

All relief disappears.

End up sobbing at the midwife’s office.

Find yourself in a psychiatric hospital.  Away from your family, away from all you know and trust.

Come home more despondent and hurting than you started.

Get the hope of a postpartum depression specialist.

Ahhh, the right combination of medication.

Some sweet relief.

Up.

Down.

Up.

Down.

Find other mamas on twitter @ppdchat.

Understanding.

Acceptance.

Medication stops working.

Discover new depths of dispair.

Try Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

A bit of relief.

Hope.

Down.

Down.

Down.

Wonder if there is any hope left.

Bite the bullet.  Ask for more help.

See the light again.

Support another mama.

See her make the hard, necessary choice to go to the hospital.

Memories rush in.

Down.

Get support.

Up.

Up.

Up.

*Please excuse the absence of Snapshot Saturdays.  Please head over and pray for Ali.

*Linking up with Thought Provoking Thursday.

Snapping…what are my kids snapping

We got the girls kid cameras for Christmas. I think Caitlyn is in love. She is forever taking pictures and playing the games. I cannot believe how many pictures I have been in since she got it. But her favorite part is deleting pictures that do not turn out the way she wants them to. She is a little bit of a perfectionist. And she has been her whole 4 years. I think that is why she crawled “late”, walked on the “late” side of “normal.” She doesn’t try anything until she can do it easily.

I keep forgetting that such is the case, so I find myself worrying.  I worried when she was not trying to pedal her bike.  I worried when she was not picking out letters and naming them.  It’s not until she is able to do something, and does it very well that I remember, ah yes, this is my child who must be able to do it just right before we will even see her try.

Once she figured out crawling, that same weekend she started pulling herself to a stand on the furniture.  Two weeks after she took her first step she was running all over the birthing center, when she came to visit her new sister.

And yet, I still worrry.  Does it do any good?  No.  Wait, I think Jesus said something about that.  “You cannot add any time to your life.” Luke 12:25 and Peter said “Give all your worries to Him because He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Now to remember that for all the years ahead of us.  We have a lot of learning to do.  There is much we will teach Caitlyn and even more she will teach us.  Prepare us oh Lord.  Keep our minds staid on you and not on charts or percentiles or expectations.

It Might Be Hope–Multitude Mondays–27-30

My sister shared the above video with me after reading my post, Very Dark Woods.  It communicates where I live right now, perfectly.

And for that I am thankful.

28.  For people who care, even when we think we are alone
29.  For the outlet of writing, whether in a journal, a blog or twitter 🙂

30.  People who reach out, go above and beyond, in short, allow themselves to be used by God in our lives.

And I am not alone in my thankfulness.  Please see what others are comtemplating today at A Holy Experience.