The One Thing I would say if I Could Speak to the New-Mama-Me

Yesterday was my son’s 6th birthday and today this beautiful picture my sister made showed up in my Timehop feed:

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I look at my son, my face, the quote, and I feel a surge of emotions. I remember how shortly after this picture was taken I became overwhelmed by Jack’s inability to latch, I remained in a semi-state of shock from an emergency c-section, and I began to feel incapable of mothering my son. A feeling that lasted for months.

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “dear.” And I think to myself, if I had 5 minutes and could tell my new mama self anything, knowing what I know now about myself, about my son, about my marriage, about breastfeeding, about having a c-section… what would I say? Let’s find out…


 

Dear New-Mama-Me,

Congratulations! You hold in your arms the little boy who will steal your heart.

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Right now he is a stranger and it feels odd to hold him, and that’s ok. But in a few short months you will begin to feel that you would die for him without second thought. You will pick him up while he is sleeping because you will miss holding him. You will delight in his contagious laugh and his natural empathy for others. You won’t remember not being his mama and you would never go back.

But between now and then, you are going to struggle. And when I say struggle I mean you are going to scare yourself because of your extreme feelings of fear and pain. This is the hardest thing that is ever going to happen to you. The greatest transition, the greatest task, with the most difficult emotions.

Though you will love your son, at times you will resent him.

Though you will love your son, he will make you cry.

Though you will love your son, his birth just stirred up your hormones and you will be depressed again.

And I know how scary depression is for you.

You feel out of control, terrified of what it could bring, and are at a complete loss for what to do about it.

New-Mama-Me, if I could go back and tell you one thing it would be to seek help. I know you don’t like your OB much and she has the intuition of a gnat. When she says, “Don’t you just love him to pieces?” Answer honestly and say, “No.” You will probably cry. And that’s ok. You need to cry. You need to get help for this thing called Postpartum Depression before you’re looking back at the first year lost to illness.

Don’t worry, even if you don’t tell her the truth, you will be ok. Jack will grow to be a compassionate child. And you will get help for your depression during the middle of a 6 inch blizzard on an October afternoon.

But just in case you can hear me, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Because you’ve never done this before. And it’s hard. It’s hard for every New-Mama. I don’t think it comes naturally to anyone.

Oh! One more thing you need to know: You’re doing the best you can. And that’s good enough. I mean it.

 

New-Mama-Me

I’ll see you soon,

Me


This post is part of the larger Five Minute Friday community found on Kate Motaung’s blog. We write, for five minutes, together. No major edits. No second guesses, just writing to connect, to grow, to be. We would love to see you there.

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What My Two Year Old (And I) Needed Most

Day 29 of 31 Days of Connecting31 days of connecting

My son and I have been butting heads. He’s in the throes of the terrible twos and most of our conversations are conflicts. For example: “Go potty, Ben.” “No!” “Should I pull down your pants or should you pull down your pants?” “I do it.” (Tries, can’t) “Should I help you?” “No!” (I sit there) “You do it!!!” (I start to do it) “No I do it!!!” (he tries) “I can’t!!! You do it!” (I start) “Not the underwear!!!”

And repeat.

I’ve been so stressed about our relationship these days that I find myself wanting to pull away from him in order to avoid more fighting. Fighting. With a 2 year old. Who would have thought parenting amounted to this?

But then yesterday I remembered something I had read about these clashes of interests. About these scream matches and tantrums. When it seems my son wants nothing to do with me, that is when I need to hold him close.

So this morning, even though we had to get ready to go, we sat together. We were still. I don’t remember how he got on my lap, but once he was there, he stayed there. I put my face in his hair, he leaned into my chest, and we just were.

Still.

Silent.

For ten minutes.

In those moments of stillness, of ceasing from running from one activity to the next, of remembering that I am his mama, of noticing that he needs me, of treasuring him, I thanked God.

He is still my son.

Nothing will ever change my love for him.

Not even the terrible twos.

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Look at how good and pleasing it is
    when families live together as one!

Psalm 133:1 CEB


This post is part of the larger Five Minute Friday community found on Kate Motaung’s blog. We write, for five minutes, together. No major edits. No second guesses, just writing to connect, to grow, to be. Today’s writing prompt: Still.

I Turned Towards My Father, Repentant in Front of my Children

As I put my children to bed for the night, apologies were in order. They did not listen well, this is true. They also did not deserve the level of anger and frustration that came their way from their worn mama who was just trying to keep it all together.

As we finished up in the bathroom, I asked my son to pray for me. He repeated his daily plea that he does not know how and stated that I should pray for me.

He was right. I needed to go before my Father, and he needed to witness it.

So I asked for forgiveness. I asked for grace. And as my son climbed into bed, I asked for mercy.

“What’s mercy?”

“Mercy is help in your time of need. It is love from God to get you through. Mercy is goodness and grace and forgiveness… Jack means God is gracious,” I add.

“So, when you’re yelling at me: Jack!!! you’re saying God is gracious?”

The thought lingers. “Yes.”

giggles

“Do you forgive me?”

“Yes.”

“Ben, do you forgive me?”

nods.

I shut out the light, collapse on the couch and as I repeat my cry to God for his forgiveness in the hypocrisy of my life, the blessing from ages past wells up in my heart, tears dampen my eyes. I finally turn and rest in Him.

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May His blessing, His face be turned towards you, tonight.

This post is part of the larger Five Minute Friday community found on Kate Motaung’s blog. We write, for five minutes, together. No major edits. No second guesses, just writing to connect, to grow, to be. Today’s writing prompt: Turn.

Because “because” is such an important word.

Every Friday, Kate Motaung and writers across the web join Five Minute Friday for five minutes of writing on the word of her choice. There are no major edits, no second guesses, just five minutes to write. I join to grow as a writer. Here is this week’s Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt: Because.

“Why?” He asks again.

It doesn’t matter what I’ve said before or what I’ll say after, he’ll continue to ask, “why?”

Some days I just want to respond with, “Just because!”

Or worse, “Because I said so.”

Sometimes I do.

But I try not to. Because because is such an important word.

It’s important to explain to our kids our whys. Even if it’s followed by another why.

“Why can’t I climb the railing?”

“Because it’s not safe.”

And sometimes, there is no real answer other than, “Because you need to trust me.”

I’ve struggled so often to know why God has called me to do certain things or why He has allowed certain things to happen. For years I was angry that He asked us to stay in Colorado when all I wanted to do was move back to Minnesota. Move back to family, and support, and love instead of staying in the middle of the loneliness I had here.

I thought I knew why. But I never asked. I just thought it was what God expected of me.

But awhile back, I truly did ask. I cried and pounded the steering wheel and I asked, Why did you take me away from love?

He said two things, “Why didn’t you ask why before? Because you needed to learn how I love you.”

The because made all of the difference.

A Time to Hold and a Time to Let Go: To Rosie

 315341_10100239460586499_147706896_nThere’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death…
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-6 (The Message)

I remember meeting her for the first time. My mom had seen her on the humane society’s website and asked me to check her out. She just had a feeling Rosie would be a good fit for our family.

They led me into the family room with her and she was so calm, so serene. While other dogs jumped and barked and peed all over the room, she allowed children to pet her. While in the family room, she sighed and placed her head on my knee. In that moment, she won my heart completely. I placed the deposit and called my mom to come get her.

Though I was in college when she joined the family, every time I came home Rosie greeted me as if I had raised her. Her tail would fly and her body would fold in half in my arms as we greeted one another. I thought when we moved to Colorado she would forget me, but no. Every time I came home, she loved me. And I loved her.

I remember her coy looks, her begging my dad for food (who always gave her a little something and trained Jack to as well). I remember her pushing her way under our feet at the table or next to the couch. She would run hard next to my husband whenever he took her out – whether she could manage it or not.

And the cabin – oh the cabin! You could not say the word without her running to jump into the back of the van. As we packed the vehicle, she would beat the suitcases into it, terrified that we might not take her to her heaven. And when we arrived, she tore down that steep hill to the beach. Within moments she was up at the top again, dripping and smelling of fish.

This summer, it was clear her strength was fading. She struggled to stand. She could hardly walk. Yet when we went to the cabin, she still raced to the water. And she faced the consequences. I thought she wasn’t going to last the weekend as she lay in the grass, her chest heaving for lack of breath.

Before flying home, I said goodbye. I knew it was the last goodbye.

Though she was not really my dog, I held her in my heart. She was so so good. The perfect fit for our family.

A girl’s best friend.

Today I say goodbye for good.

And I let go of you, entrusting you to the Lord, who created you.

We love you, Rosie.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

– Jesus (Matthew 10:29 NIV)

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(Confession to my Five Minute Friday friends: this took a little longer than 5 minutes. Rosie deserved it.)

Are You Ready?

Five Minute Friday… on Tuesday. Oh well. 😉 Today’s writing prompt, Ready.

Jack, Ready for Circus Night at Chick-fil-a.

Jack, Ready for Circus Night at Chick-fil-a.

Am I ready? Are you?

I’ve waited and waited to write my book, now that the time has come to actually do it, I’ve wondered, can I? Am I actually able, ready to do this?

We wonder if we’re ready all through life. Are we ready to get married? Are we ready to buy a house? Area we ready to have kids? Are we ready to have a pet? Are we ready to commit? Are we ready to pull away? Are we ready to work? Are we ready to rest?

We – or maybe I should say I, I don’t want to speak for you –  wonder so much about being ready, I often wind up sitting, not doing anything, but waiting when it is time to go. I don’t take the opportunity presented to me, but sit long past the time when God said, “Go!”

So, I’m ready. I’m ready to take the step to write the book. Yes, I’m writing a book. I don’t know the title (are you good at titles? Suggest something! ;)), but here’s what it’s about:

The  biggest struggle of a new mama is not breastfeeding, sleep schedules, or perpetual laundry, it is figuring out how to (re)connect with God in this new stage of life. My book is a devotional reflecting on the truth about God’s unique love for mamas as well as creative ways to meet with Him in the midst our bleary eyes and draining days.

I’m ready. Will you help me? Will you provide feedback? Because I know I need your help. I need your voice. Were you ready to be a mom? Were you ready to connect with God postpartum? Were you able to? What was it like?

Will you be part of my Awesome Mamas Group? Yeah, I’m making a group. It’ll be on Facebook and everything. Watch for it.

Will you follow this blog and provide feedback? Because your words, your experiences are sooooo important. You keep me going. You provide the perspective I need to hear and see, because your unique life can speak into mine and into the others who will one day ready the book.

I’m writing this book. And as we connect, talk, listen, pray, read, be, we mamas are writing it together. Are you ready?

I am.

Let’s go.

 

Let Them Tell You (Or Rather, Start Listening)

Every Friday, Kate Motaung and writers across the web join Five Minute Friday for five minutes of writing on the word of her choice. There are no major edits, no second guesses, just five minutes to write. I join to grow as a writer. Here is this week’s Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt: Tell.

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Has anyone ever told you something and it made you uncomfortable? Perhaps they started crying. Or maybe you started crying. The information was so atrocious. So horrible. So… difficult to swallow and you just wanted them to stop. Maybe they saw your discomfort and they did.

Let them tell you.

We have to start telling one another the truth about our lives. It’s when we don’t tell hat the internal destruction begins to occur. When we don’t tell the truth, we strive to cover up ourselves and begin to tell lies. We pretend our home is picture perfect and spend all of our energy striving to make it that way, when in reality we are dying inside from the truth.

I do it, too.

But when we tell the truth, the lie no longer has power over us. When we tell the truth and allow others to tell the ghastly, uncomfortable truth, then hope and healing can begin to take place, whatever that may look like.

Let them tell the truth.

Let them tell you they are depressed.

Let them tell you they feel like a bad mother.

Let them tell you their husband doesn’t love them.

Let them tell you their children have disabilities.

Let them tell you they hate themselves.

Let them tell you they harm themselves.

Let them tell you they or their spouse views porn.

Let them tell you they are ashamed.

Don’t dismiss it. Don’t try to make the bad feelings go away. Let them tell you.

And then tell them the truth.

They are loved.

They are cherished.

They are children of the God Most High.

They can seek healing. Healing is possible with God.

Others will help them.

Addiction does not have to win.

Depression does not have to win.

Hate does not have to win.

Let them tell you.

Note: I love Five Minute Friday, because it gets my writing juices going. But sometimes it is just not enough. I would have said so much more than just these words in Five Minutes. Please engage me!
What do you think? Why is it so hard to let people speak their hurts and struggles? Why do we feel we need to either comfort them with truisms or change the subject or immediately jump to ourselves?