There’s a lot to be said about spending the majority of your time with a person who is unable to communicate verbally. Actually, there’s not. Its pretty quiet.
As I approach month 4 of motherhood, I’m very grateful that the tearful moments are becoming less and the joyful moments are more. I’m enjoying all of the new skills Emerson is acquiring–slobbering, eating her fists, grabbing onto her paci lamb, trying to laugh, holding her head up, etc. It seems there’s a newness to every day in the Green household.
Our latest breakthrough: sleeping through the night. I am hesitant to share this news with anyone for fear that I will jinx myself into waking up at 12 and 2 and 4 all over again. But for the past week, we have had nights of 9-5 sleep. And then 5-7:30. I can’t decide if the exhaustion I still feel is from the two months of night duty before or the shock of too much sleep to my system. Either way, I’m waking up a happy mama. And I’m learning how to function without sleep, when necessary–I’m almost back up to full speed.
This is not to say that I am normal. I don’t know if I will every be the person I was before E. I have spent many hours mourning the loss of that person, that schedule. I really, really miss my friends and I am keenly aware of a shift in dynamic that I can’t fix. That makes me sad.
I’ve tried walking it off and I’ve tried running it off. I just can’t shake my anxiety. Which makes me feel guilty. Which gives me anxiety. I can’t breathe.
And then I get to play with a sweet, chunky, smiley girl and it makes it almost all better.
The transition back to work has gone well so far. Matt has been excellent at his new post as dad-on-duty and my mom has helped a ton. We are very lucky that we do not have to drop Mowgs off with strangers or germy kids. While I would rather stay at home and play all day, I have been happy to be back at work with my friends and the kids.
There is a lot of work to be done, though, to make up for all of the work that I didn’t do last year. My pregnancy brain took over my life and between buying a house, getting married, and having a baby, I don’t remember much else about last year besides floating around at work and not being very good at any one thing. I was okay at a lot of things, but not great. So, I’ve got a lot of work to do to redeem myself. Anxiety.
All of the anxiety squeezing at my lungs has made me a bit more prayerful this summer. When we brought Emerson home from the hospital, I prayed that she wouldn’t stop breathing, that she would sleep, and that maybe I could sleep, too. And my prayers transitioned as she started to grow and we got more comfortable. I prayed for her to eat well, to take a nap, to smile at me when I was feeling sad, to grow into a good person, to know that I am trying my hardest to be a good mom. I pray that when we go on walks in the afternoon that we both feel fulfilled afterwards. I pray that she is comfortable in our home. I pray that she is a daddy’s girl. And I still pray for sleep.
“We forget that joy, like rest, is a basic requirement~we need joy in our lives. We think that it really isn’t necessary, that most of life is meant to be endured, not enjoyed. And yet we are God’s children, and He desires that we be happy. Joy and rest are intimately linked. Resting helps us unclench and let go of all we need to do, so that we can open our hands to receive.”
As I’ve been praying, I’ve been reading. While my brain has only been able to process written word in small amounts and very slowly for the past 3 months, I’ve been given several tools that have played a key role in my poor readership. One of them is a book called Champagne for the Soul by Mike Mason. Constant reminders that joy in life takes work, is necessary, and can only be found if you look the right way.
Joy changes how we define happiness. Happiness is not always feeling wonderful. It might be doing the best I can in a tough situation, or being confident I can overcome anything, or giving myself a break, or letting God’s grace release any pressure to perform.
“IT TAKES WILLINGNESS TO BE HAPPY. WHEN CORNERED, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT ALL THE OPTIONS AND FIND THE WAY OUT. WE HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO OUTWIT THE HEEBIE-JEEBIES, HOW TO THINK FASTER THAN OUR BLACKEST THOUGHT. WE MUST BE ABLE TO SLIP THE NOOSES OF CONDEMNATION, LETHARGY, SELF-PITY, CONFUSION.”
How to think faster than our blackest thought. Give yourself a break. No pressure. Its okay to be not okay.
I am praying that the difficulty I am having and the heartbrokenness I feel are only preparing me for the challenges ahead. Because I know that this is not the most difficult part of parenthood. It is the most beautiful.
Every day, every moment, provides possibilities for joy. In no situation is it impossible to turn to the light.
“AN UNHAPPY PERSON CANNOT MAKE ANYONE ELSE HAPPY. THE ONLY WAY TO BLESS OTHERS IS TO BE JOYFUL ONESELF.”
Constantly amazed--rarely unimpressed. Trying to maintain positive when negative is always easier. Over-thinker and master procrastinator. Planning is hard, spontaneous is stressful. 5 minutes late unless its pretty important, and even then I can't promise. Confused as hell but happier than I've been in a long time. And the only time I can sort it all out in my head is when I'm running.