If I had to sum 2018 up with one word, that word would be change. It was a year full of ups and downs - wonderful highs and gut-wrenching lows.
In January I found out I was pregnant.
In March I got the call that my grandfather had passed away. Not even a month after that my other grandfather was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
In May we moved out of the apartment we loved and knew as home for four years.
In July Eddie switched careers.
In September Christopher came into our lives and destroyed mine in the most beautiful ways I never knew possible.
Now it’s the end of December, but I feel as though I’ve been stuck in one long September. A year that felt like I was running through a jungle at lightning speed whilst getting struck in the face by branches but also experiencing a refreshing rain shower here and there suddenly came to screeching halt and then continued as though I was in a fog. I spent a lot of the last quarter of the year in a dark mental space - and not because of any of the reasons people warn you about. I’m very task-oriented so I will go through all the motions required of me by my infant no problem. The internet warned me I’d be sleep deprived but physical exhaustion felt like the least of my problems. Nothing prepared me for the mental and emotional struggle that would come about. During the worst of it I would sit in the car and cry imagining I would disappear and someone more naturally maternal would come into Eddie and Christopher’s lives and my son would grow up with the mom he deserved. I would cry silently in bed at night wondering if I would have felt more connected to this tiny human if I had chosen to breastfed or was getting up with him constantly at night instead of letting Eddie help out. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it because I thought that if I heard someone tell me it was normal or just a phase I would scream. I knew it was probably normal and if anything that made it worse. I felt like I had no right to complain when there are moms who have it worse or harder, or when there were people who couldn’t have kids who would give anything to be going through all of this.
Before I move on I want to clarify that things have improved mentally and include all of that only because I wish I had read more of it when I was looking for what to expect or what was “normal” for new moms. When I reflect on those dark moments I’m able to identify the root of what I was feeling as being fear of failure - my absolute biggest fear. I have a habit of not finishing so many thing because it’s safer for me to decide to give up than to see it through only to find I didn’t succeed - which if we’re being real what does that even mean? But now I found myself thrust into this role of “mom” that was scary and unfamiliar and that I knew I would fail at over and over again, and the fear was crippling.
However, this tiny human who revealed so many ugly parts of myself to me also revealed something that I had forgotten — that where there is failure, there is also grace. Around every dark corner of this year and all the years before, God’s grace has always been there with open arms even if I didn’t realize it at the time. There was grace interwoven with all of this years joys and sorrows. And next year when I make more mom and wife fails or when I fail to keep a positive outlook while walking through valleys, I can find peace in knowing that grace will be waiting for me.
Something I promised myself when I found out I was pregnant is that my son would not become an excuse for me to not do things out of fear disguised as selflessness (which with anxiety would be so very easy for me to hide behind). If anything, he would be a reason for me to live life on purpose and with purpose. Because my son may never be able to say that his mom never failed, but he will be able to say that she saw things through. And even if she didn’t , at least there would be grace.
Images by Meghann VanVliet Photography
P.S. (can you have a p.s. on a blog post?) If I seem rusty it’s because I am. I stopped writing here in July, claiming I didn’t have the time but really just afraid that people wouldn’t read what I wrote and if they did they would roll their eyes. But writing on here is something I really enjoy, and for crying out loud this post is literally on a page titled “Diary” so even if no one reads it at least I feel better writing it. I never crave or ask for engagement on anything I post, but if you read this and see this would you just let me know that you read it? A like, comment, private message, anything would be appreciated! Even better if you are able to, please let me know what sort of things you enjoy reading on blogs - I can’t promise to cover it all here but going along with this post is the fact that I want to be intentional about writing more and having ideas on what to write about could be helpful in making sure I see that goal through. Thank you so much for reading if you’ve made it this far and I hope that you have a magical New Year full of more ups than downs, more love than hate, and a whole lot of grace!