I've lost myself. That's what this week has taught me.
You'd think with all the wishing hoping and praying for motherhood, I would be thrilled to allow it to fill every nook and cranny of my existence.
Apparently I'm not.
It's HARD feeling left out. It's HARD feeling not needed. It's HARD feeling replaced. It's HARD feeling turmoil inside me. It's HARD feeling apathy--toward my own child. It's HARD. It's just plain hard.
I know the Spirit is working. I feel Him moving, prompting, pushing, challenging ... but I'm just not sure what to do about it. I'm in the thick of it, and can't even find the words to express what's going on.
I love my son--I do I do I do. With all my heart. His smile has the power to melt my soul; his cry pierces my being to the deepest level. His pudgy little body fills me with warmth and his bright blue eyes stop me dead in my tracks.
Then why do I have such desire to be away from him? Why, after spending all Wednesday apart from him, was I literally annoyed to have him in my arms? I expected to miss him ... I didn't. I expected to weep upon my return ... I did, but not because I was rejoicing at our reunion. I wept because I wanted more time away.
I'm not sure I'm ready to be a mom. I'm not ready to give up so much of my former life, of my former "me". Who am I now? Am I still mentor to Sam, Steph, Jess, Jess, Casey and Bethany? Am I still friend to Brittany, Kelly, Katelin and Robbin? Am I still sister to Molly, Michael, Tara? Am I still wife to Erik? Partner in ministry?
Or am I now simply "Joshua's Mom"? Honorable, worthy and exciting for sure--but is that all I am now?
Of course, I know I'm Daughter of the King, Child of God, Cherished by the Lord. I can know all of that intellectually ... but in the daily grind of life, it's HARD to remember. It's HARD to tangibly understand that my identity is not about what I DO, or WHO I am, but about WHOSE I am. I've read some books, done the studies and heard the preaching--I know my identity is in Christ.
I'm so over baby books. Baby theories, sleep schedules, eating time frames, wake activities and experts opinions.
Joshua seemed to finally enjoy the eat-wake-sleep cycle. Life was good.
Enter supposed Growth Spurt combined with First Cold, following First Vacation to Minnesota ...
We now have no schedule. And for a Mommy who can't seem to get her baby to sleep much at night, I was at least proud of his daytime "routine". We were working toward a schedule, and definitely had a routine ... now we don't even have a routine! He wakes, plays, sleeps, eats, sleeps, plays, sleeps, wakes, eat ... my goodness.
Just now, after 30 minutes of nursing (he's 12 weeks old--shouldn't he be faster by now??), he finally seemed finished. I sat him up, he opened one eye, squinted at me, and promptly SCREAMED until I nestled him back against my chest so he could finish his catnap. Slightly annoyed, I tried to relax.
And then, for the first time in a few weeks, I heard his breathing increase, heard the familiar noise of REM panting, and look down to see my beautiful son, smiling in his sleep. I loved watching him do this as a newborn, and haven't seen it as often since we've been working on him napping without my help.
What a precious moment! I love that little dream-smile. And with that, he woke up. He's now content in his swing, staring at his fishy friends and cooing about his perfect little life.
So, he may be totally off the eat-wake-sleep cycle, he may still eat as often as every two hours--24/7 mind you. No nighttime break for this mommy. He may catnap while he nurses, and wake when he's supposed to be napping.
But you know what? He'll be fine. Just fine. And I love him.
At 1:46 pm I glided out my front door for the first time in over 9 months.
My initial thoughts, "Ah--rollerblading is glorious. Positively glorious!" I savored each powerful stroke, and drank in the beautiful sunshine on this Colorado afternoon.
18 minutes later, after battling the Colorado wind and struggling in the high semi-arid heat, my thoughts, "This sucks. Pregnancy killed me. I'll never rollerblade again."
*sigh*--the beautiful process of recovering from the labor and delivery of my precious angel.
The song pumping in my ears as I pushed my way home was, ironically, "Never Going Back to Ok" by The Afters. At least a smile was brought to my face as I sweat my way up the sidewalk, thighs burning and knees aching.
The lyrics? "It's not the end. But it feels like is. I'm waking up, Like I'm back from the dead ... Never going back to ok. Never going back to the way it was, never going back to okay ..."
Rollerblading may never be the way it was before. I'm "never going back to ok". "OK" being the way I was, well, before--in shape, no stretch marks, free as a bird to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted ...
And that's okay with me. :)
Just remind not to roller blade with such gusto again. At least until I'm a little more in shape ....
Here's the deal. I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember. Apparently the conversion day was sometime around age 4, so there's not a single memory I have that doesn't include Jesus. (Okay, that sounds weird and strangely arrogant, but you know what I mean.)
My whole life, I've been a Christian.
My whole life, I've known that Jesus died for me and I've believed it.
My whole life, I've been learning about the Bible, and the history of my faith.
Sunday school, church camps, talks with my parents, private Christian school where Bible class was mandatory and we recited a memorized passage of Scripture each month. Christian friends, youth group nights, boot camp classes, and cheesy plays and musicals. FCA meetings, prayer groups, Sunday morning church and personal devotions. College level Bible courses, Christian roommates, mission trips, hall Bible studies, accountability partners, volunteering and service projects. Long talks with my husband, womens' retreats, more Bible studies, and mentoring youth.
Seriously--my whole life has been learning and hearing how I should (and can) live and how I should (and can) make a difference for Christ. So, at the risk of sounding prideful, I know a lot. I can answer most of the questions my youth throw at me. I can give you advice on how to walk with Christ, how to live for Him, how to impact our world and our culture.
Then why don't I do it?
I'm so sick and tired of knowing all the answers, yet not knowing how to live it out. And I could even tell you how to live it out--but actually doing it is a whole other thing.
Erik's always saying that many Christians operate with a mentality of "an abundance of grace"--meaning, we err too far to the side of grace in our Christian walk. Not that grace isn't important, and not that we should live a life of judgment and rules ... HOWEVER, if we focus too much on the "Well, Jesus will love me no matter what I do!" then that's a problem. And of course, I always agree with him. I always nod my head as if to say, "Well yes, Husband, you are right. Those who live with the abundance of grace mentality and don't listen to the other parts of the Bible that tell us how to live and what to do, they are shorting God. They are living to less of a standard than God has called them to. Those poor poor people. Missing out."
Um HELLO!? I am one of those people! It dawned on me last night! No, I don't get up in the mornings and think specifically, "Well, Jesus will love me whether or not I die to self. Whether or not I read my Bible. Whether or not I serve others. Whether or not I pray without ceasing." No, it's not that obvious. Instead, I just don't do it. I just don't read the Word. I just don't pray without ceasing. I just don't try to eradicate the sin in my life. I can tell you how and why we should do all these things .... but .....
I just don't. I don't live as if Christ has changed my life.
It's just all so normal. All this "Christian" stuff has been a part of my life forever. I've known all these answers for a long time. I've done the studies--I know I can find my identity in Christ; I know I'm a child of the King; I have discovered my spiritual gifts; I understand the power of prayer and the importance of reading the Word ...and at times in my life, I have lived in a way where I was pursuing Christ and loving Him wholeheartedly.
So why is it so hard now? Is it possible to have a spiritual "peak" in one's life? If so, (that's horrifyingly depressing), mine was back in college.
So this is what spewed out of me on the porch with Erik last night. Sometimes I feel like I have no one to talk to about this stuff ... I miss my roommate Cora. Erik's great and everything, but I miss that female spiritual confidante. Maybe I left that behind in college too.
I keep rambling on because I feel like there's no conclusion to this blog. Other than to say, man--it stinks to know all the answers, but be too lazy to put them into practice. And to wonder what the point of it all is anyway.
Goodness sakes ... I still can't figure out how to end this thing without sounding morbid and depressed!
So okay--I'm in a rough spot spiritually. Not questioning God or anything, but questioning the reasoning behind many of the things we do as Christians. And questioning myself. And my walk with Christ.
I know I know ... all you mothers out there are smiling that knowing smile as you read this. You're thinking, "Yep! That's motherhood Kristin--you asked for it!" "Yep! That's motherhood Kristin--we tried to tell you!" "Yep! That's motherhood Kristin--enjoy!"
Well, here's something I wasn't told. And I said it to my sister the other night.
Sometimes, I just want him to go away.
My beautiful boy, my miracle from God, my precious son ... sometimes I just want him to go away.
Not disappear, not cease to exist, not leave never to return ... just go away. For more than a 45 minute nap.
And honestly, I'm to the point now where I don't feel guilty about this feeling. It's not "wrong"; it's not "evil". It's not post-partum or evidence of lack of love.
It just is.
Just like my feelings during infertility were--it just is. Not good, or bad--just true. I love my son, and I really do enjoy him. But many days, those moments of enjoyment are so few and far between, and I feel so run down, and so not myself and so overwhelmed and so alone and so ... dead inside. Not dead like I don't have Christ or I'm not breathing, but dead in the sense of exhaustion. When I do have a moment to sit, I just zone. I space out; I leave my body. Sometimes, I just need a break.
But most times, I'm loving this. It works for me. It's what I dreamed of and when that little guy smiles ... my world lights up. And I remember how much love I have for this little dude, and I'm really glad he doesn't go away.