After bringing our little Mary (also referred to as “Marigold,” “Little Darling,” and about 100 other nicknames) home from the hospital the day after she was born, I diligently coached myself not to rush, to take things slowly, and to be patient. This isn’t my first rodeo. I know that having a newborn changes everything. Yet I was secretly hoping, even expecting, that somehow I’d dodge it. Alas, I’m human, and I hit it…the slump.
Let’s consider the perfect storm I have found myself dancing, er, flopping around in. This isn’t complaining, rather, acknowledging reality…
-Hormones. These suckers don’t mess around. One minute I’m fine, and the next I’m crying. Chewing noises cause me to use every stinking ounce of my reserve of self-control so that I don’t scream. In short, my emotions are a bit heightened.
-Physical discomfort. Post delivery pain, soreness from sustaining a hungry newborn and an aching back leave me feeling out of sorts. Ouch.
-Lack of sleep. Lack of sleep. Lack of sleep. Have I mentioned lack of sleep?
-Fuzzy brain. I keep finding myself at a loss for words. I’ll be halfway through a sentence when…blah, blah, blah, I have no idea what I’m trying to say.
-Unpredictability. I can’t even guess what next week, let alone this afternoon will bring. I’m a planner. This kills me.
-It takes time to bond with a baby. Don’t get me wrong, from the moment I embraced Mary, and even before that, I loved her to bits. I’d do anything for her. But I didn’t know her. It takes time to connect.
-Needs. Our home now contains 2 adults, 4 children and 2 dogs. Each has unique needs. EVERY. BLESSED. WAKING. MOMENT. It can be a bit overwhelming.
-Grey days. These equal grey feelings. Meh.
-Funerals for this season. For as long as I can remember, I’ve hoped for 4 children. While I was pregnant, and clothes didn’t fit, and shifting in bed made me feel like a beached whale, I was happy to announce that I never needed to be pregnant again. But now that I’m packing away maternity clothes and moving Mary out of newborn diapers, for the first time I’m not just putting things away for next time…I’m putting them away for good! Cue the tears.
All of these factors completely collided on Sunday. I considered my options:
A – Stuff my feelings. I chose this life. I set myself up for the chaos and fatigue. I have no one to blame but myself. This slump is my doing, and no one else needs to deal with it. Besides, plenty of people are enduring far worse. I have no room to complain.
B – Take it all out on Ben. Just because.
I mostly avoided both of these options after choosing to believe, as my husband encouraged our church family in this past weekend’s message, it’s okay to not be okay…even when it’s because of hormones; even when it’s your own fault; even when, from another’s perspective, your life isn’t that bad. Slumping is a part of life, and rather than avoiding it, we might as well embrace it and do something healthy with it.
And I did. On Monday I asked friends for prayer. I took Ben’s advice to get out of the house. I processed it with Ben, who was incredibly supportive and didn’t tell me I was nuts in spite of the snot and tears plastered all over my face. Funny thing is that by Tuesday morning, I felt like a new woman. Fancy that.
Friends, everybody slumps. Whether you’re smack dab in the middle of a slump today, or the next slump is waiting around the corner, know that, while unavoidable, they don’t have to take you down for the count.
Praying for all of us to find the courage to admit when we’re not okay, the strength to push through and the ability to celebrate making it through another slump.