Motherhood is filled with hard choices. Lately, I’m constantly deciding which of my children comes first.
Maaaaamaaaaaa! Jacob hollers, banging his hands on the sides of his crib insistently with all the power and energy of a two-year-old.
Wake-up time!!!!!!! he calls, as though there was any chance I could have slept through his yelling. Nouk! Bum! Peatut burr!!!!” His way of demanding his daily breakfast: milk, banana, and peanut butter.
I glance at the clock, bleary-eyed. 6:34. At least it’s later than yesterday. I’m nursing his baby sister in my bedroom, hoping that she’ll get a halfway decent feed. The day before I’d gotten them out of bed together and she was distracted by his antics as he danced around with his milk while I tried to nurse her. I’d chosen to feed them together.
This morning, I’m choosing her. He has to wait. Continue reading
This winter, feeling tired and overwhelmed paved an easy road for hopelessness.
How’s it going? A friend would ask.
Oh, pretty well, I’d reply. It’s hard, but things are fine. You know, it’s just a different way of life now. A thin smile. We’re finding a way to make it work.
But the thing is, things were not fine, and things were definitely not working.
However, I’ve gotten really good at powering through. It’s easy for me to keep on doing and going and “yes, I’m fine”-ing (as I wrote last time). To keep showing up for meetings and attending church and getting myself and the kids dressed and out of the house.
So that’s exactly what I was doing, this fall. I just kept going and smiling and doing.
But I knew I wasn’t fine, inside. And my husband knew I wasn’t fine. And after a little more time, my kids knew I wasn’t fine. Continue reading
Last time I promised that I’d write about what depression is like for me in this season of life. It’s no cakewalk, but it’s not Hollywood either.
I don’t spend days in bed crying, forgetting to eat and unable to take care of myself. I also don’t have dramatic breakdowns resulting in hospitalization. (Although, admittedly, on my worst days I have wished that was the case.)
In fact, all outward appearances probably look pretty good most of the time – certainly this time around. (Helps to have cute kids, right?)
When depression rears its ugly head in my life, it’s not always the same – certainly there have been times in the past of poor self-care, insomnia, extreme hopelessness and bouts of crying – but I mostly left that permutation behind in college. And there have been many periods of gray, when I’ve fought, every single day, to go through the motions, to take care of whatever job or child or spouse or friend or piece of music or writing I needed to do, because everything felt futile.
This time hasn’t been any of those things, exactly. Continue reading
Remember how I wrote about figuring out what’s necessary in life?
Well, I’ll tell you how that’s going in a bit.
These days, I’m teaching my son to breathe. When he gets upset and I can’t talk any sense into him or get him to stop crying long enough to look me in the eyes or answer a question, I try to breathe with him.
In and out, in and out, in and out.
It often takes a long time until he can join me. But the minutes that I spend sitting with him, inhaling deeply and slowly and then exhaling fully –
those minutes are good practice for me, too.
Because I’ve been holding my breath for awhile now. Wondering what kinds of feelings each day will bring. Wondering if I’ll make it one, two, three hours before hopelessness starts to replace hopefulness. Wondering if I’ll start to know – and really feel, not just know in my head – that God is real. Wondering if it’s too early in the day to start drinking.
It’s been hard, the past few months. Continue reading