It’s been almost a year since I’ve graced the pages of this blog. And even before that post, it had been close to 6 months. Why do I keep neglecting one of the outlets that keep me sane, something I love?
Let’s be honest, Life Is Hard! I know that’s not the pretty answer that you were probably hoping to read. I’m sure you’d probably love to just see pictures of my cute kid and the yummy food and move on, but that’s not life for me right now, and putting it out there makes me admit it!
My husband kept asking why I haven’t been blogging, and I just kept giving him the same answer, “I don’t know”. But deep down, I did know. It just took me a year and a half to admit it.
I don’t think I have one neat answer all wrapped up in a box, and I don’t think that by writing this one blog that everything will go back to normal. I think the blog is just a matter of saying it out loud, telling a little piece of my story, and just being honest.
So, in order to be honest, I want to give a few things that have been going on with me. Like I said, I don’t have all the answers figured out, but I think, even writing this blog is proof that I am getting to the other side, out of the sinking darkness that felt like I was drowning in.
1) I had a baby – In case you didn’t know (maybe you’ve never read this blog before, but I doubt it, because only my husband, my mom and my friends read this! Ha), I had a baby in December 2012. That in and of itself, was quite the adjustment. I mean, everyone knows that having a baby is an adjustment, and I feel like I mentally prepared for it before hand, but it still always takes you by surprise at how much will change, how little sleep you will get, and how much of your world will now revolve around this little being.
2) This baby had an unexpected stay in the NICU – After Luke was born, he had several different health scares, including difficulty breathing and a low oxygen level which resulted in a stay in the NICU. I work with children with special needs, I did a fieldwork experience in the NICU, I frequently give support to families who are exactly going through what we did…. but nothing can prepare you for seeing your newborn child hooked up to machines just to breathe. For 2 straight days, I wasn’t even allowed to talk to him – much less touch him or hold him. They were worried that the sound of my voice or the smell of me would make him work hard to try to be near me, and all of that resulting in increased heart rate and breathing. This isn’t exactly the experience you anticipate. You are worried beyond belief, but you also miss out on the initial bonding that is supposed to happen between mother and child. Both for me and for him.
3) He was one of the most difficult babies… EVER! – I might be exaggerating, but man, he was sure difficult. From the 2 week mark (only a few days after bringing him home from the hospital) to 10 1/2 months, he screamed at almost every feeding. It would take me upwards of at least an hour to nurse him or feed him a bottle. It didn’t matter how many positions I tried, which bottle I tried, what specialist I went to, what the pediatrician said… he screamed no matter what! Feeling the weight of knowing you needed to sustain your child, coupled with a screaming/flailing baby on you every 3 hours was emotionally exhausting! There were days when I just cried because it was time to nurse again. I remember several times calling my mom and just crying, and I know she couldn’t hear a word I was saying because Luke was crying so hard in the background.
Because Luke didn’t want to eat much (although you couldn’t tell by the looks of him – he has always been quite large! ha), he also did not sleep well. Until he was a year, Luke never took a nap that was a minute over 45 minutes. Most days it was 35 minutes. And then he would scream! Once again, I tried EVERYTHING- we swaddled, we didn’t swaddle, we slept upright because if was probably reflux, we paci’d, we unpaci’d, we “woke to sleep”, we went to sleep earlier, we went to sleep later, we went to sleep in the swing, the stroller, and in the baby wrap. I can count on one hand how many times he slept longer than that. Even to this day, my child takes one nap which lasts approximately an hour to an hour and a half. EXHAUSTING! So much for “sleep when your baby sleeps”.
4) I felt like God had abandoned me – I have never ever felt more alone than in the last year and a half. Of course I have had my husband, my friends, my parents, even my baby. But my relationship with God has been so different. When I’ve prayed, I’ve felt nothing. When I read Scripture, the lines blur. It felt like the harder I tried, the farther away God felt. This one is probably the hardest to admit. Even writing this is a bit scary. Telling your husband that you’re not really sure you trust God right now (and he’s the music pastor at a church) is a little scary. I have had to FIGHT for this! Protecting my heart has been crucial, and it can often be a daily struggle.
5) Relationships became hard work – It has felt like every ounce of energy i’ve had has been needed for just taking care of my son, my husband, keeping up with work, and then maybe keeping my head on straight. I’m naturally an introvert, so it is often easier for me to isolate myself and become a hermit! When it was just me, I avoided people. I took forever to respond to emails and texts, skirted out of get togethers other than the mandatory ones, and only kept things surface level. I told myself that nobody wants to hear how miserable my life is. It’s easier to bury it down and not let anyone know.
A few months ago, I finally shared a little bit about what was going on with a few ladies. Did any of them have the answer that was the “cure” for the state of my life? No! But did it help to just get it out and share it? Yes! It made it real! They were able to empathize with me, ask me meaningful questions about why and when I started feeling this way, and help move me on the path of feeling real again.
Like I mentioned above, I don’t have it all figured out. Life is still hard, but I’m sure you know that. I know that I’m not the first to feel this way, and I know it won’t be the last time in my life that I feel this way. But admitting it and seeking wisdom and support was absolutely necessary to move on.
I’ve also learned that my husband is amazing and supportive, and my son is, although a challenge, one of the ways I see God in the everyday. He surely did not abandon me when this beautiful boy is smiling back at me or sleeping in my arms!
So, here’s to new beginnings. To more frequent blog posts in the future. And most importantly, permission to be real, honest, and accepting that real life is not always pretty!
Now on to yummy looking pictures of delicious food!
Chocolate Mint Patties (adapted from momontimeout.com)
1/3 cup light corn syrup
5 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. mint extract
1/2 tsp salt
green food coloring
4 cups powdered sugar
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1. Combine the corn syrup, softened butter, mint extract, salt and a few drops of green food coloring in a small bowl. Stir until well combined.
2. Stir in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until mixture becomes stiff and difficult to stir.
3. Add a bit more of the powdered sugar, and mix, using your hands (or the bread dough attachment on a stand mixer), adding additional powdered sugar as necessary until the dough is a consistency that no longer sticks to your hands.
4. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten the balls with the bottom of a cup to make small discs.
5. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals until fully melted.
6. Dip the candies into the melted chocolate using two forks and tap on the edge to release any extra chocolate.
7. Place back on the parchment paper and place in refrigerator until the chocolate is set.