Monday, July 11, 2016

Until tomorrow

Dear Little One,

Tomorrow, if all goes well, you will come into this world. I'm so looking forward to seeing you and holding you. Smelling your baby smell, hearing your baby noises, seeing your squashy cheeks. Ahh.... some of the sweetest moments of motherhood.

You are baby number three in our family. I was also baby number three, as was your Grandpa Dean. I had two older brothers who, when I was born, were almost the exact ages that Nathan and Eva are right now. You have some powerhouse siblings. Your brother loves telling jokes, making Eva giggle, learning about cars and anything that goes, imagining he's a deep-sea explorer, and giving hugs and kind words at just the right moment. Your sister loves to snuggle soft toys, especially her bunny, and say "Awww!" while she give them a hug. She loves singing and joins in on the last word of each phrase of the songs she knows. She's starting to understand that other people have wants and needs and she loves asking about them. Like today when she asked if my crackers were all gone, and then asked, "Mommy, more crackers?" wondering if I wanted more. Oh, and of course she loves food. It's probably her true passion.

Though Eva is a little too young to understand that you're coming, Nathaniel understands quite well, and he can't wait. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him that tomorrow, Daddy and I would be going to the hospital where the doctor would help you be born. He ran right over to Grandma Kimi and excitedly told her the good news, which of course, she already knew!

This pregnancy has gone by so slowly and so quickly all at once. I think about you every day, and I feel a calm assurance that you're coming to our family and coming at this time by design. This pregnancy has been hard on me, and yet, I feel so deeply that you are worth all I've been through and overflowingly more.

I wanted you before I even new you were coming. A week or two before I found out I was pregnant with you, I attended a conference all about families in Salt Lake City. I thought so much about my own family and felt such gratitude for the shape our family had already taken. And I was already looking forward to the day when we'd have another child in our home. Wouldn't it be fun, I thought, if I was pregnant with that baby right now? Well, it turns out, I was pregnant with you. Right then. I just didn't know it.

And tomorrow morning, at 6am, we're to be at the hospital where they'll start the induction process. And then a few or many hours later, I hope to be holding you in my very own arms and kissing your very little cheeks.

Until tomorrow, then. I'll see you soon.


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lessons from today's anxiety

This afternoon I was floundering in a sea anxiety. I've had depression/anxiety for long enough now that I'm a lot better at identifying when I'm feeling actual anxiety or sadness that needs to be taken care of in a normal way, and when it's emotion brought on by whatever hormonal/chemical/psychological imbalance that is ppd. This afternoon's episode was definitely the second type. One warning sign for me is I'll find myself irrationally impatient with my kids. Entirely unable to roll with their toddler quirks. It's a weakness I have confidence can be overcome, but let's be honest, I'm not there yet. Thankfully Chris was around to help take some of the parenting pressure off of me. His help enabled me to have the mental faculties to really learn from today's anxiety episode.

I was hoping, when I realized what was happening, that the rush of irrational anxiety was brought on because baby was coming asap. That maybe my body was sending out all kinds of "get ready for labor" hormones and that's why I felt so terrible. Baby hasn't come yet, nor do we seem to be immediately heading in that direction, so I'll have to wait and see if that hypothesis will hold true.

But regardless, my emotions peaked, and for about 20 minutes or so, I just sat and felt the feelings. Some of the time I held on to the couch, turned so I could hug the back cushion for support. I felt like I was shaking, though I'm not sure it would have been noticeable to someone else. And I felt worry, distress, frustration, inadeqacy, weariness, uncertainty, all banging around in me. None of those feelings had a clear focus, like, "I'm worried about x, y and z" which is another clear sign for me that it's a hormonal episode, not a rational one. It was just a general cacophony of those emotions nobody enjoys feeling. A blech-y mess of feels that I'd probably never choose if the choice were mine.

And almost imperceptibly, the episode faded out. I helped my children again, changed a stinky diaper, even made dinner for the family. And I felt like me again. Still tired, still very pregant, but somehow, still moving forward and meeting the challenges of the evening.

The ability to survive such episodes without seeking to block them out, without trying to numb the discomfort, comes only through the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The power to keep moving forward afterwards and do what has to be done in daily life is the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The incresed acceptance and peace that I feel about the future comes because of the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

This is a gift that He extends to everyone. In Isaiah, the Lord asks, "is my hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem, or have I no power to deliver?" And the answer, "Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make their rivers a wilderness and their fish to stink because the waters are dried up, and they die because of thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering." (Is. 50: 2-3)

Trust in that hand. It is not shortened. Trust in that power. It is not diminished. If ppd has taught me anything, it's taught me to trust more in that hand and power. I invite you to join me on that journey. Come, and we'll keep moving towards more perfect trust and faith and hope and together.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Done any good?

A couple days ago, I took the kids shopping at the grocery store. At the checkout a twenty-something-year-old gal, who was standing behind me in line, asked if I'd like her to help me bag while the cashier was checking out our food. I readily accepted. It was such a small thing really, and yet it meant so much to me. She saw a woman about her own age, with two toddlers and a swelling belly, saw a way she might help, and simply offered. God bless that girl. She did good in the world that day. And I want to emulate her example.

(We filmed this my sophomore year of college. You can find me at about 1:00)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Speaking of which...

So you know how my last blog post I mentioned not being able to choose the time and place of your meltdown? 

Yeah. That happened today. 

During the closing song of sacrament meeting, I totally broke down crying, almost sobbing. And right afterwards I was supposed to go teach singing to the primary kids. And likely about half the ladies at church thought I was having a nervous breakdown. It seems kind of funny now, but in the moment it was kind of dramatic. 

I'm exceedingly grateful for all my friends who reached out in word and deed. A hug, tissues, an understanding smile, a word of encouragement. I'm surrounded by good friends and family.

P.S. Oh yeah, and I found out on Friday that I have gestational diabetes. Failed my 1-hr glucose test with flying colors. Nice.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What depression looks like right now.

I can feel it coming. It's this gradual build-up of negative emotions: frustration, tiredness, and sadness, mostly. They pile up within me and I start to notice I have less ability to roll with the punches of life. I'm impatient with my children, going from simple direction to loud demands in almost an instant when their compliance seems unlikely. I'm harder on myself. I have less willingness to do any of the numerous household tasks that pile up, and then am berating myself for not doing better. And other times, an apathy towards all commitments seeps in. Life seems so daunting. I just want to hide for awhile and not have to face things.

The build-up can't last though. Eventually the dam bursts. Tears flood and then I can pick up and keep going. But the flood doesn't really come at a time of my choosing. And the longer it builds, the more painful it is when the breakthrough finally does happen. I wish I could figure out how to let it out on my own timing. Then I'd just have a good cry once the kids were in bed. No one would get hurt in the downpour. But because I haven't found, or may not be able to find a release switch, pain and frustration and sorrow build until I want to grab the nearest person's face in my hands and cry out, "I am NOT okay!!"

My friends and family don't need to have that weight flung at them at its heaviest. And I don't want them to have to put up with my increasing anxiety, lack of connection, and impatience until the dam finally bursts.

I will continue to try and deal with this healthily. Tonight, I just need for someone else to see this burden. I'm not asking you to take it away. All I'm asking is for you to say:

I see you. I see your burden. And I love you anyways.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Eva Words

Eva says so many words. She has over 50 now, and I even heard her put two of them together in a pseudo-sentence a couple of days ago. Here's a list of some of my favorites:

"DAH-doo" = water
"beesh" = brush (as in brush her teeth)
"tar(s)" = car(s)
"MI-mi" = bunny (she LOVES her stuffed bunny)
"boss" = blocks
"BEH-ee" = belly
"byoo" = blue
"BAH-bist" = breakfast
"lush" = lunch
"TUH-tee"= cookie
"CHEY-oh-uh" = chair
"piz-OH" = puzzle
"bup" = book
"sauce" = socks
"sah" = song
"has" = I want that
"tyoo" = me too!
"hud" = hug
"bed" = blanket
"chees" = cheeks
"ah yoo" = I love you

Momma loves you too, my little sugar plum.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Ten Minutes

It's hard for me to want to spend time outside. I can't quite figure out why. I like the indoors, and not so much the outdoors. Tonight, Chris took the kids out to the back yard to help Nathan learn to ride his bike and to play ball with the kids. I found myself wanting to go with them, and at the same time wanting to just sit inside and look at my phone (the pull of the screen is stronger than I'd like it to be). This day, I took the better path and went outside. I set a timer for 10 minutes and told myself, "You can sit not touching your phone or reading a book or doing anything but watching and interacting with your family outside for 10 minutes. You don't have to do more than that right now, but if you don't do at least that much, you'll regret it."

I'm glad I went. And I even stayed longer than ten minutes.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Focus on what you can do

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are asked to serve and extended specific callings from our leaders. In October three new apostles were called by the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, to serve as special witnesses of Christ. Over the last couple months I have enjoyed repeatedly returning to listen to their messages. Each expressed in word and through their countenance a feeling of humility (almost a degree of shock in some cases). And then each bore powerful witnesses of Jesus Christ that have been sent to all the world. 

Elder Stevenson described his call and then shared this impression he received as he agonized over his inadequacies: "focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do."

"focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do."
When we receive a new call (and sometimes when we've had a calling for a while), it's easy to run over and over in our minds the things we can't do. We feel unqualified because we lack certain abilities. Our calling may take a lot of time and we miss the things we used to do during that time. Maybe we miss the close association we had with other members in our previous calling. Maybe we miss attending a meeting that we no longer go to. 

I've felt all of these things at one time or other. Tonight, as I listened again to Elder Stevenson's counsel, I feel a renewed desire to change my focus. Focus on what I can do. I think that's the way to greater happiness and faith.

Want to join me? 

As a Primary Music Leader:
  • I can sing my favorite Primary songs
  • I can teach small children and older children (and even adults too, though sometimes they don't realize they're being included in the lesson ;)
  • I can see bright smiles on young faces as we sing and move and joyfully discuss gospel principles
  • I can help set a tone that will invite the Holy Ghost to Primary
  • I can get to know many families in our ward through their children
  • I can be all of the children's teacher
  • I can hear them as they call out "Hi! Sis. Machado!" each Sunday
  • I can encourage other adults as they teach children
  • I can seek the Holy Ghost to be my constant companion
  • I can sing songs with the children that they will remember for the rest of their lives
  • I can hone my teaching skills
  • I can bear witness of Jesus Christ
  • I can bear witness of Heavenly Father's love for us
  • I can feel the Holy Ghost when we sing eternal truths (which comes so readily to the call of these small-bodied, spiritual giants)