I wrote these words this past spring and they did not make it up on this blog then. I would like to share them with you now.
For three and a half years, I slaved away at Denver Seminary working towards my Master of Divinity degree. The last nine moths of those years I was pregnant with Jack. During my pregnancy with him, I traveled to an Indian Reservation in South Dakota for a cross-cultural immersion course, I studied Hebrew, brief counseling, preaching and prayer, and I mentored a group of freshmen seminary students. While I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy, my brain was completely focused on school. I did not nest. I had no time and no energy to do that. My nesting energy went completely towards finishing seminary well.
The day after I finished my final assignment we went in to the hospital for an external version to attempt to flip our breach baby boy. Hours later, we were told I needed to have an “emergency” c-section because my amniotic fluid was low. 45 minutes later, Jack was born.
To say I was in shock is an understatement. Sleep deprived, energy depleted, I was looking forward to at least 6 more days pf pregnancy. To be told the baby is coming now without going into labor, without a sign of a problem, without any normal notice threw me.
To go from an exciting world of academia to a crash course in motherhood was debilitating for me.
I believe I had post-partum depression from the moment Jack was born. It was not caught by a doctor or a nurse, my mother, or myself. My husband knew something was wrong, but did not know what to do. I felt like a different person. A stranger in my own life. For the next several months I struggled to get through each day. I doubted my ability to mother this baby who was in my care. I wept over the darkness I felt during those sleepless nights breastfeeding and the loneliness I experienced having left my seminary community. I physically and emotionally ached as I gave every drop of energy to my colicky, hungry child.
When I remember the hopeless thoughts I had at the time, I am heartbroken that I could not enjoy my son’s first year.
And then I stumbled upon the pictures you saw above.
Because I finished school in December, I did not walk until May when Jack was 5 months old. My parents flew out to be with us and my mom took care of Jack in the lobby during the ceremony. After the ceremony, Jack was the first person I saw and somehow, in the sea of caps and robes, he found me. His mommy! His face expressed such happiness, such joy that I was there – and such hilarity for the costume I was wearing! I felt that though I had just received honors for some of the hardest work of my life, that all slipped into the background and I was given the most joy that day from just being his mama.
I could not imagine graduating without him waiting for me on the other side of the stage. There was no greater gift that day than his love for me.
During a time of darkness, this was a moment of light. A time of hope and love. I cling to those moments. Because darkness cannot survive in light.
On Tuesday, my Jack graduated from preschool. The mini-ceremony was perfect. We grinned foolishly as he and his class sang the months of the year song. We cheered for him silently while he recited that “G is for Gorilla.” And we laughed joyfully while he danced his way down from the stage. I know he was proud of himself. I know it was one of his great life events. I’m grateful to be on the other side of the stage for him.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1:5 NLT
Side Note: Tomorrow Jack starts kindergarten! I sort of can’t believe it. 🙂