Treading Water

The words “I’m not ready” march through my brain every time I come to this place. This place that is familiar but has become a bit foreign. I don’t know if I can count the number of times I have sat in this chair in my home office and began to type, but then deleted my words and walked away. I have kept going back and forth in my head, and still doing so now as I type, about whether or not I should write. See, I have this problem. Whenever I write, I write the truth. It’s usually a good thing. It’s especially good for my fiction. Believe it or not, fiction isn’t about lying, per se. If I wrote about what I didn’t know, I would be a liar. A fake.

What makes me come back to this place and share my heart is a realization that maybe, just maybe, my writing is helping others. I have received so many emails from other moms, eager to share their birth stories and their struggles as mommas, telling me that my honesty about my experiences as a new mom helps them pull through. It helps them feel less lonely. And I’m completely humbled. I want you wonderful mothers to know that your emails and messages have helped me tremendously. I have come to learn that motherhood, though always full and loud and busy, is a lonely business. It’s an all-consuming job. So hearing from you has helped me keep my chin up on the hard days.

Because of you I am here and willing to be honest.

I feel like I’m drowning in motherhood.

And it’s not a feeling of losing myself or having trouble finding pleasure in my new role. I think I’m just tired, emotionally. I started planning Emelia’s first birthday, and as much as 4.3.14 was one of the best days of my life, it was also one that shook me. I put it away, and now the trauma is stuck in my brain. It won’t budge. And the emotional hurdles that I’m having to jump over lately have made it difficult to pull through the days that Emi is needy or sick. When she cries, I cry. I cry because I don’t always feel like I’m cut out for this. I feel guilty about everything. What if I’m not doing a good job? What if she can sense that I’m emotionally unstable? I feel selfish, because thinking about her birthday makes me feel excited but also scared and anxious and angry. I feel like a horrible mother. I’m trying to cling to the party planning. I’m planning out every detail. Maybe it’s because I feel like if I put on a great party for her, I can hide.

This past week might have been the hardest week I’ve had as a mother. Emelia had a double ear infection and I was quite weepy. One morning as I walked around and around the dining room table while she screamed and squirmed, fighting sleep, in pain despite the pain medication I gave her, I began to cry. I asked God why he would give me a child if I couldn’t even handle a sick day. Emi stopped crying and stared into my eyes. She slowly lifted her hands to my face and patted my cheek and lips. We both calmed down and it’s when I realized that God does indeed give us more than we can handle, but it’s what makes us turn to and cling to Him. And that’s the meaning of joy – finding strength and peace in my Heavenly Father. Nothing else in the world makes me feel as content.

So I hold onto the strength that my God continues to give me. I keep telling myself that it’s okay to be hurting after such a traumatic event. It’s okay to be angry when I look at pictures taken at the hospital on the day that Emelia was born and realize I don’t remember much of it because of the shock and the strong medication I was on. It’s okay to want a re-do. It’s okay to finally let myself feel what I would’ve felt immediately after surgery and during my first few months with my newborn if I had let myself.

I’m choosing to let myself go there emotionally. It’s hard, but it’s necessary. I think it will be a long journey to full recovery, but I want to fight to be the best momma and wife I can be.

Motherhood is especially hard right now, but the overwhelming love I have for my little girl keeps me moving, treading water, keeping my head above the surface and my eyes on Jesus.

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