Wednesday, January 30, 2013

responsibility & realization

I love this picture because it shows that even though I was about to enter a dark time I was at first, very excited and very full of love for my Love Bugs.
When the girls were first born I had postpartum depression.  I hesitated for the longest time calling it that because I felt like it wasn't the kind of pd that you hear about on the news.  But it was bad. for me. I would cry waking up in the morning dreading another day. I ignored friends phone calls because I didn't want to make petty conversations and didn't want to hear their cheerful voices.  I wanted to be alone and felt alone.  It was dark. I told Hubs we needed to prepare ourselves if this was the "new me". I was concerned that this would be the "mother Joanna"... always anxious, scared and weepy.  I cried every day for the first five months of the girls lives.  Every. Day.  And that is not an exaggeration. I cried every day.  My thought life went wild with crazy thoughts and I have lingering moments that can still can take me down a bad place if I'm not careful. 

Mostly my feelings related to wanting to run away and imagine "what if" things had been different.  I could rationalize away my desire to run away with the thought that if I were gone, Hubs would find a better wife.  Sounds crazy, doesn't it? And yet, I fantasized those thoughts all the time.

One of the hardest things about motherhood was the realization that I was totally responsible for two very little lives.  I wasn't able to separate the decisions of feeding and napping and swaddling or not from the decisions to homeschool, potty train, spank, let them drive a car, have cell phones, etc.  All the decisions I would be making came swooping in on me all at once and I was very overwhelmed (and very tired).

Two little lives and little faces stared at me. Sometimes they were silently wondering up at me and sometimes they were screaming or squirming.  I didn't know what they wanted and I didn't know how to give them whatever that was that they wanted.  I felt so much love for them and yet so much fear for screwing them up.  One of my closest friends and fellow twins mama JK told me, "You can not screw them up." and I literally thought of cross-stitching that on a pillow somewhere where I could see it every day.  If I hadn't been sleep deprived and living in a constant fog of "what the heck is happening" I may have actually done it.

With time and sleep has come the ability to realize that I need to face only the day that is before me and not to worry about what may or may not come.  The decision to potty train (and how), to homeschool (or not), to spank, drive, cell phones, dating (oh Lord, be near), etc. etc. etc.  ALL those decisions will come later in life and I will receive the grace when time is needed.

One of my friends once said that God doesn't give us grace for imagined fears.... and what she meant by that was, God isn't going to give me the grace to face the fears of having teenage twin daughters NOW because that is not what God is asking me to walk through TODAY.  He is giving me grace for today.

And boy, did I need it today.  The Love Bugs were in a mood this morning.  The only way to describe the mood is to italicize it.  It was a mood.  I guess bold doesn't hurt either!! And the feelings of running away came creeping up on me.  Being a mother has been one of the hardest journeys God has asked me to walk and yet, one of the greatest.  Don't get me wrong, I love my Love Bugs and I wouldn't trade all the lessons I am learning but they are difficult.

So when I am overwhelmed with responsibility I am reminded that all things are ultimately in God's hand and He was faithful to see me through the first year of the Love Bugs' life so I know He can see me through anything.

I wanted to write this to encourage you that God will see you through whatever it is you are facing.  Even when we don't feel like we are able to be faithful to God... when the road is dark and the way seems impossible. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.  It's God's very character to be faithful.  Trust and rely on Him.  He will not let you down or disappoint you.

There are days when I want to give in to the thoughts and just give up because it seems easier.  But then I do the things that "recharge my batteries" and I am able to face the moment.  If only that moment. I'd like to keep talking about this because it's one of the reasons I haven't blogged recently.  I have these little voices that tell me you all don't want to hear about this season of my life... and you know what, it's okay if you don't but it's also good for those who have been there and may be there someday. Life is good but life can be hard and when it gets tough its good to know you are not alone.  Not only does God give us His people who have gone through similar circumstances but He has also given us His Spirit who comforts us in our times.


Mikey said...

I'm proud of you.

The Foster Family said...

Hey Joanna,
Thanks for sharing this. It is hard to be open and honest about our struggles. I am confident that the Lord will use that dark time in your life to be able to minister and help many others. Praying that much fruit will come as a result. I also struggle very often with getting ahead of myself and worrying about all manner of decisions to be made. "Do not worry about tomorrow..." is very often something I have to remind myself of. Here's to do this whole mommy thing one day at a time! :)

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing this. i experience it every day for the last 10 years, but i didn't have a child. jesus is withholding his joy from me for some reason. i know it's scary and dark and lonely.

Joshua Ray said...


You're exactly right about God giving us the grace that we need for TODAY. It's hard with so much looming out there on the horizon sometimes, but He asks us to let HIM worry about everything else and for us to just think about today.

I've always loved Psalm 118:24: "This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

He made today to be today. Yes, he COULD have made today so many different things. We could be living in China or on the MOON or be dinosaurs!!! (...ok, maaaaybe not. but He totally COULD have-he's God!! :). Aaaaanyways, the point is that, in his sovereignty, God's made today today. And that-simply the fact that He made it as it is- is enough to make us rejoice and be glad in it :)

I love your family and love reading updates too, by the way!! Thank you for sharing the journey with those of us a few steps behind on the path.

Rachel Farley said...

Oh dear sister, you are not alone. Thank you for sharing and being so honest. I cannot tell you how much I can relate to you and I don't even have kids. This was really encouraging to me. Praying for continued healing and strength.

Abbie said...

I've never had post-partum depression, but I have ongoing clinical depression that comes in waves during various seasons in my life. I choose to fight it with the Word and not drugs but I don't have any judgment or shame on those who choose to medicate. It is a scary place to be and extremely lonely. And unspoken of by many. Thanks for giving a very real voice to something many remain silent about. Hugs, Jo.