It’s birthday week this week – Our little Squish is one. I know, I’m finding it hard to believe it myself. Where did the last year go? What did we do? Since when was it October again? Like always, I reminisced on the last year of our lives since Aracely was born, and the only phrase swirling around in my mind, shouting louder than anything else, was, “We survived.”
And Oh, I felt awful for thinking that…but all truth be told, we survived and that is exactly how I felt about the last year. Not to say that it wasn’t beautiful and magnificent and a joy and a delight…it was all that, but it was more. It was rough, it was horribly sleep deprived, emotional, hard, draining, it was lonely…it was everything I never imagined it to be and everything I hoped it wouldn’t be.
And while I stand on the other side, well and alive and full of hope and strength and joy, I can’t brush off everything that happened. I can’t push it aside and forget it, because too many others are out there going through the same thing I just came through, and too many others are doing it ALONE.
But there is a reason there is a well-known saying from ages old that states, “It takes a village.” Not just to raise well to do children, but to rise up a Mother, a warrior, a unique individual that will soar above everything Motherhood brings. It takes a village…of support, of love, of trustworthy humans who stand beside, and if nothing else, listen, smile with them, cry with them, console them, hold them up and then, pull them up and equip them to use all that they have been through as steps to further herself and her family…
For me the first part of the last year was endless days of crippling anxiety that would taunt me almost daily. It was week after week of barely being able to function normally, of being a wreck consistently in front of my husband and children. It was gathering up every bit of anything I had within me to go to church on a Sunday and keep myself together because I was too afraid I would be seen as unfit to be a Mother. It was one time driving down the highway, hoping I could crash and go into a coma so I didn’t have to endure the constant swirling in my mind. It was wanting desperately to escape, and wanting desperately to stay. It was countless times of driving around in the car trying to conjure up something within me to walk into the hospital and ask for help, but backing out every time, for fear that our children would be taken off me. It was considering how to adopt out our baby girl at 3am in the morning after months and months of no sleep because, I couldn’t see a way we would get through as everything continued. It was feeling fine for days – even weeks – alternating with feeling completely overridden. One night I went in to my other children’s bedroom while they slept, to say one last goodbye because I didn’t think I had the strength to make it, and honestly, I thought that they would be better off without me.
Now I know that reading this sounds so dramatic and out there and crazy and many other things. Call it what you will, but it was my reality for a large part of our third baby’s first year of life. It was savage post natal depression and anxiety, and it was all that too many other Mother’s experience, and experience alone. And they experience it alone because as much as we don’t want to be alone in it, it’s so very hard to bowl up to someone and say everything I just wrote.
It takes a village.
When I started my blog page – Wonderlands of Grace – it was my distraction, my outlet that let me put my thoughts on paper, to refocus on the greatness in my life, it was even somewhat healing. All along I thought that I needed more grace to parent our children, to deal with the ins and outs of the day. Until I realized, it wasn’t them, it was me. It was me who needed that grace, it was me walking through my own wonderland of Grace that I didn’t even realize until later through the year. It was a year of discovering, uncovering, and keeping my whole self planted in what I knew to be truth, while the waves tried to consume me. It was being peeled back to utter rawness, and exposing the night season to eliminate its power over me. And I won. Not because I fought, but because I learnt to rest, and let go and trust, in my God who I knew was roaring over me – even when I felt like He wasn’t. It was a year of seeing beauty in the ashes, of living from a place of abandonment and intimacy on my Father’s lap, close to His heart. It was a year I am grateful for, and year that I will use as a step to my future.
So here is something I have wanted to start since not long after our baby girl was born. Something small – an interactive support page for all Mother’s in their fourth trimester and beyond. It is a page where you can go and blurt and other’s can encourage. A page free of judgement. A page of mother’s banding together to support each other so that No one ever has to stand alone in this season of Motherhood. A page where you can meet and greet and swap contacts and stand beside other like-minded mother’s, whether you’re in a rough season or a great season. Where you can jump on at 4am after being up all night with a screaming baby and know someone will answer you because they’ve been up too. Where you can vent your frustrations because you’ve been stuck on the lounge feeding your newborn ALL DAY and you’re so numb, you’re not sure if you can do it anymore. Also, any older Mother’s who have been here and done this, please jump on! We would love to have you on board to equip and encourage. I will also begin to release a fortnightly podcast in the coming weeks (but please be patient, I’m extremely un-technological here!). This is in the hope that for anyone who was in the same position as I was this year, will have the opportunity to find support and encouragement and not for one moment feel alone, because we are created to be Joyful Mothers of children.
Follow this link to find out more! https://www.facebook.com/4thtrimestersupportandbeyond
So here’s to our little Squish. Our beautiful, brilliant little baby daughter. I love everything about her – her crinkled ear, her amazing, enourmous smile, her infectious laugh, and the way her nose wrinkles up when she grins, but most of all I love her heart and the way she loves people. She has taught me so much in her first year of life and I love living life as her Mumma.
Love and Blessings all!