Confession #4: Postpartum Fears

Psalm 46:10″ Be still and know that I am God…”

On no less than three occasions in the last month I have lost.my.(emotional) marbles. For no “real” reason. Except for hormones. Legit hormones that are both vague and all too familiar.The postpartum anxiety that plagued me about a week after K was born has manifested itself on a few occasions in depression, and an overwhelming fear of the unknown. My poor husband has been a comfort as best he can in a situation where comfort is basically impossible. I find myself in this pit of worry and losing control given I’m one month from my due date.

In a time where I “should” be enjoying my pregnancy, nesting, and counting down the minutes until I meet our son, I’m overwhelmed and not entirely sure what to expect. My fear is not about pain, labor, or anything health related, rather my fear is how in the world am I going to live my life. What is our new normal going to be. I fluctuate greatly between wanting everyone and their mom in the delivery room to not wanting anyone near or around me, especially in my home for at least a month. Or four. Not until I’ve got it all together enough to be able to shower at least every other day, pull a brush through my hair, and wear an outfit for longer than two hours.

The image I so deeply care to portray is not possible, nor is it a fair amount of pressure to put on myself. Do I expect my girlfriends who have just given birth to welcome me at their door with a plate of fresh baked cookies and a spotless home? Absolutely not. The unspoken expectations that I’ve placed all on myself by no pressure from anyone around me shows just how inordinately weak and truly in need of my Savior I am. I worry how I’ll ever be able to share the Gospel with another human being or have a life that shows my commitment to the Lord when waking before 8AM seems crazy and going to bed after 9 PM kind of makes me want to cry a little bit. How am I supposed to follow through with 1 Corinthians 11:1 :And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ? Where’s the action to back my belief claim? If I’m not in my Bible daily what good am I doing at advancing the Kingdom, much less pouring into my family or myself? Though this err’s eerily close to legalism as my salvation is not based on works, I do know from experience that if I’m not intimately walking with the Lord and dying to myself on a minute to minute basis I come to the end of my Elizabeth rope within  nanoseconds. My patience is minimal and my ability to move out the of the way and do for others is a figment of my imagination.

I consistently forget that my children aren’t even really mine rather gifts from God to steward, train, and raise up instilling the Truth in them. After all, Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go,And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Let’s be honest and take a moment to point out that I was “trained up” in the church and for several years greatly departed from it. My deepest desire is for my children to love the Lord with a reckless abandon and believe the Gospel because they have  a solid foundation to do so, not because we’ve beat them over the head with what we view is right. I want my children to be logical, independent thinkers who hear a story and cross check it without being naive as their mother tends to be. I want them to have compassion for others and not follow hard after political lines.  I want them to write “thank you” cards when they receive a gift or pay for the items for a stranger behind them for no reason at all but to show love.

These dreams I have for my littles are my own and whether they buy a man Starbucks or write grandma a card after Christmas isn’t the point. I can’t expect them to do or be anything if I first have this warped sense of who I need to be. The role of “mother” is so varied for me and my deep fear of failure-especially bringing another one into the mix in mere weeks-is bringing me far too close to the point of drowning. The balance between laziness and giving myself grace tends to not exist as I usually lean heavily on one extreme or the other. Discipline is something I lack in many areas and thanks be to God that’s OK. It doesn’t define me and it doesn’t pigeon hole me into that definition forever. Being aware of my weaknesses and dwelling on them bring us back full circle to the issue of conviction vs. condemnation

I can only be were I’m at and today that’s in a hopeful and optimistic space. One where I’m gracious to myself, prioritizing my intentional time with the Lord, and genuinely focused in my one on one time with K. I forget to relish the quiet moments as much as I should as our time as a family of three is much too quickly vanishing. In an effort to re prioritize and take a time out away from the busy (see Tyranny of the Urgent) I committed to Chris and informed those around us that we’re basically off limits for the month of February. My inability to slow down over the past two years has filled my time with more driving and less mommy-ing, with more events and less wife-ing, with more social interactions and less Elizabeth-ing. My sacrificing for others has it’s place, though the balance was missing. Being largely aware that my world is about to get rocked has created this great space where I can say “no,” mean it, and set boundaries that are looking more normal and less porous. 

I am thankful that through this chaos my God remains the same, His love for me doesn’t ebb and flow with the time that I spend pursuing Him, and  hopeful that the days that you come to my home when both kids are in the middle of epic breakdowns you’ll send me out for a latte, hug me, and tell me I don’t need any on make up.

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