Thursday, December 26, 2013

Letter to My Children: Part 1

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I've had a lot on my mind lately. Mostly because this year has been so heavy for our family. Don't get me wrong, we have indeed seen blessings this year, very beautiful blessings and I am very aware of them. At the same time, we have seen a lot of heartache. A lot of trusting our great creator, knowing He has a plan that is greater than any plan our simple human minds could ever dream up. Praying for grace, for strength, for determination because it all can easily feel like too much and it many times has.

To my dear children,

I feel like I want to write this letter because we all need to know that we are not alone and I fear that someday you will have a year like the year we have just had and you will feel scared and lost and broken. You need to know that this is normal and that just like anything in life there are ups and downs. In the same way that the tide waxes and wanes, so will your life, your faith, your love, your determination, your strength and so on. These are the moments when we remind ourselves that in everything we need Him. He will sustain us, get us through, pick us up, push us kicking and screaming until we make it to the other end where we will look back and realize that there was no way we could have ever done that alone.

As you read through this book of blog posts from your childhood, you will realize how scarce this year has been. There weren't many posts, there were few moments to write and there were few moments where I felt inspired to write. Most of the time, when the inspiration came, my head was already on the pillow pleading for sleep and incapable of thought.

My sweet son Knox, you came into this world with a bang. You missed your first Christmas because you were in the NICU and you came home exactly a year ago today. That makes today a very special day for your parents. You have grown into quite the one year old. You are large and in charge, weighing in at just under 30 lbs. and off the charts for height, weight, head circumference. You are strong as an ox. You aren't quite walking yet, but that doesn't stop you from getting around almost as fast as your two and a half year old sister. You are funny and giggly and joyous. You are happy and content (unless of course you are hungry). You are a great sleeper, a great eater and just an absolute pleasure of a baby. Praise the Lord for blessings like these.

All of that aside, acclimating to a family of four was really hard. Unexpectedly hard. After much prayer, your father and I decided he wouldn't go back on the road this year. He couldn't bear the thought of leaving his family and I couldn't bear the thought of him leaving us. We felt like God was making it abundantly clear to us that he was supposed to stay in Ventura. So without any plan (besides the fact that we trusted the Lord and knew he would provide), your dad quit his job. We some how made it through, we stayed fed and we paid our rent. We had warm clothes and happy hearts. I couldn't tell you how, its just one of those things where God provided and there was always just enough.

Sofia, you sweet girl. You had such a hard time with me being in the hospital for almost a week, just as things started to get back to normal you came down with a horrible lung infection. You could barely move. You wouldn't eat or drink. You had a fever of 104 for days. Finally, with the help of antibiotics you came out of it. We watched so much Mickey Mouse Club House I thought I might loose my mind, but it kept you calm and happy so we kept watching it.

Sweet friends brought us food. Oh, did they bring us food. And groceries. And coffee. And prayer. We continued to fight terrible colds for most of the spring. The thing about having more than one child is that if one gets sick, you can pretty much plan on the others getting sick. We played "tag your it" with some pretty nasty colds for quite a while.

Around this time, I fell pretty deep into Postpartum Depression. I kept sinking lower, your father didn't understand how I could be so sad. I kept telling him, "I can write a list a mile long of all the reasons I have to be happy, I want to be happy and yet I am so deeply sad." This was a really difficult and rocky time for our marriage. He had just found a new job and it was paying the bills, but he was very unhappy. I was at home with no idea of how to juggle two children and all the while struggling with depression. Dad was working from 4AM to 8PM at times. We were dealing with the stress of situations with extended family members, having to make hard decisions and stand up for what we believed in, all the while trying to hold our own family together. We were living in a tiny condo, your father was sleeping on the couch because Knox was in the room with me and dad had to get up at 4am to go to work. Knox, you were not even close to sleeping through the night.... not even close buddy. Add sleep deprivation to the basket.

Finally, after many tears, a lot of fighting and a lot of inner turmoil (and with the help of a close friends and mentors) I made my way back into counseling. I would not say that counseling "fixed" the problem. This isn't the first time I've battled depression, but it was the first time I battled postpartum depression. I don't think that postpartum is something that can be worked through the way that regular depression can. At least it wasn't the same for me. I think that postpartum is 100% hormonal and I think that is the hardest part. You are at the whim of your hormones. However, having someone to talk to once a week (that wasn't in my inner circle) did work wonders for me. I could go and let all of my emotions out, cry and rant and dwell, and then I could leave it in that room for the most part. Slowly, after a couple of months,  I started to feel better and I started to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel. Praise God for that light, because when your depressed even a pin-prick of light seems like armfuls of joy. It gives you an anchor in the depths, a rope to cling to until your find the strength to start climbing again.

To be continued.....

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