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.