Isn’t it fun when God slaps you in the face and you fall down, and then he kicks you, and then he offers to help you up and then says SIKE! And you fall again? And you lay there for a few minutes and you think, wow God, harsh. And then you ask Him for help and he scoops you up. And THEN you say thank you???
No, it isn’t fun.
But I am so glad that it happens! I was talking to a friend last night and as we were chatting I realized what an emotional roller-coaster I have been on for the past two months. This week has been a turning point for me that I really didn’t know I needed. Last week, I think I would have told you that I was fine. Tired, but fine. And I think I would have been telling the truth as far as I knew it. But in the past few days, I have been so much more than fine that I get how much the past couple months have really taught me.
So I had a C-Section. That sucked. They say you don’t bond as well with your baby and you are at a higher risk of Postpartum Depression and have a lower chance of breastfeeding successfully. I was bound and determined to keep this from happening. I accepted the fact that it happened for a reason and told myself to move on. Looking back, I don’t think I ever grieved the fact that I didn’t get the birth I wanted. Sometimes I don’t even think I “gave birth” because I didn’t actually pass a baby. I didn’t get the moment when they handed Oscar to me screaming and gooey or to be able to be the one that calmed him down for the very first time in his life. I didn’t even think to breastfeed him the first time I held him. Everyone was gone by that time and we were both exhausted. This fact didn’t even occur to me until days later. That in itself was a disappointment. And I think I carried that feeling of loss with me for weeks.
I didn’t want to leave the hospital because I was so nervous about how to do all of this. I know that is normal for any mom but I really really liked the security of all those nurses. We came home and of course I was elated to have my baby boy. But I felt really shallow as a mom. This wasn’t fun. It was hard, and painful, and maddening. I had little (if any) patience and what joy I could find in each day was quickly drowned out by exhaustion. I took pictures and dressed Oscar in cute clothes and tried to find some kind of normal. I can honestly say that there are some very happy moments that I treasure from my first two months of mommyhood. But, I also think I was in a very dark place. A place swarming with doubt, fear, anxiety and a little bit of depression. I wouldn’t have admitted it if you asked me because I don’t think I knew. But as this week rolled around I feel like the dust has settled and someone sprayed Windex on the rear-view mirror. What a mess back there!
Now what then? I think I am learning. And that makes me happy. I think part of my adjustment to being a Mother is that I had very skewed expectations. I felt that I had a right to enjoy it. And when I wasn’t enjoying every moment, I felt jipped and even sad. And then I felt like a failure which lead to guilt. Something that dawned on me is that my whole life has been about what I can enjoy. Everything I have done has been to serve one purpose, and that is to make my life happier, better, and more enjoyable. Even marriage, while sacrificial, has served me. I love Jerry so that he will love me. I respect him so that he will respect me and so on. But parenting isn’t like that. At least not at first, and it shouldn’t be.
It is the brilliance of God that got me to this place. How I managed to remain so completely selfish all these years is amazing. But having a child is a different kind of sacrifice. It is constant giving. It is true love and yes, it is rewarding. More so each day. How humbling it is that God entrusted us with an amazing boy in Oscar. How can I grumble when he wakes up an hour early just because it isn’t what I planned? How can I not have seen this so plainly 2 months ago?
Because I am a work in progress. I am still rough around the edges and I hope that I can still be formed into the woman, the wife and the mother I am supposed to be. I need hard things. I welcome hard things. It’s these times that God shines a spotlight on what I can change, and reminds me of the abundance of love He has already shown me. Without it, I cannot love the way I am supposed to. And there is nothing more important than truly loving. So I do thank God, for loving me enough to knock me down and pick me back up again. I am sure it won’t be the last time.