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Thursday, July 18, 2013

words.

 
word of the day: words \ˈwərd\ something that is said

As someone who prides myself with the ability to put words together, I have had surprisingly few in the past year.

At least, I have put surprisingly few down on 'paper.' Truth is, I've had more words spinning around in my head this past year than I've known what to do with.

There's quite a bit of pressure that goes along with being a new mom. It's self-inflicted and primarily irrational, but it's pressure nonetheless that makes your words suddenly all the more vulnerable.

And so I let my words spin. They tossed and turned inside my mind, and I hardly allowed myself to put them in order. But here I sit. The tap, tap of the keyboard calls to me as it generally does. It whispers its calming effect and makes me wonder why I haven't been processing this way all along.

People describe childbirth as a euphoric experience.

"It's the hardest thing you'll ever do, but it's so worth it when you see your baby's face."

"She’ll teach you what love really feels like."

"You'll immediately forget about all the pain because of how much joy your baby brings you."

This was my expectation. I anxiously awaited the emotion that would engulf me the first moment I laid eyes on my baby. The joy, the love, the magic of it all.

Lily Jean made her grand entrance on May 28 at 1:35 a.m. She decided in quick fashion that she'd had enough in vitro and ten days before she was scheduled to arrive, she made her way into our world.  I had anticipated that moment longer than I’d even known about her existence.  I anticipated the joy and the instant connection that I would feel. 
Instead she felt a stranger to me.  She was ours and we loved her, of course, but she was a person nonetheless and one I found myself knowing very little about.  I was surprised to find that the feelings of joy I felt were overshadowed by feelings of inadequacy, fear, frustration.  And because of the inadequacy, fear, and frustration, I generally succumbed to an overall feeling of guilt.
And nobody warned me about the guilt. 
It was just as the guilt set in that everybody I met exclaimed, “Don’t you just love being a mom?”  And, in turn, I would smile and nod because that’s what you’re supposed to say when, in reality, I didn’t really. The honest answer was, “No.” 
I had been entrusted with the task of keeping a small and very fragile person alive. I was in survival mode and generally focused on both of us living through another day.

It's perhaps the most humbling experience I have ever gone through.  But like any experience, it has begun to shape and refine me.  It has begun to teach me a better understanding of God’s love.
People prepare you for that one too.
“When you first look into your baby’s eyes, you’ll start to understand how much God loves you.”
 It wasn’t, however, the joy of the moment that showed me God’s love.  Instead, it was at the height of my frustration—a crying spell that I couldn’t seem to fix when Lily looked up at me completely helpless.  It was in that moment that I realized her complete dependence on me.  I’m the one at this moment in time who can meet all her physical needs.  She cannot survive alone.    
And it was in those moments that my heart began to change.  That I began to embrace the role of “mom” and this baby who so greatly needs me.   

It was in those moments that I was reminded of what Paul says in Philippians:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me (4:11-13).

I often use the phrase 'the new normal' as Jake and I continually enter new phases in our marriage. Just like anything new in life, this one took and is taking some getting used to.

But I'm comforted by the fact that that's ok.  That I’m not the first person to feel this way and, most certainly, not the last.  That in my lowest moments, the ones where I am completely helpless,  I can look to God and He meets my needs.  I cannot survive alone. 

I now, as ee cummings said far more eloquently than I ever could, carry Lily's heart with me. This fierce little blue eyed lady has changed my world.  She has given me a new perspective on love and reliance, and for that I am so very thankful.  For that, the words feel worth sharing.



 

3 comments:

krude said...

Mollie, I was flooded with memories as I read your heartfelt and honest reflection of your last of your last month with Lily. The comments you quoted were comments frequently shared by me to new moms...Trust me, eventually, you, too will make the same comments because somehow in God's miraculous grace, you will remember these days will a full and joyful heart. But, how I wish I had journaled this time in our lives because your descriptions of fear, inadequacy, and the guilt you feel are sooooo real and valid and I can't imagine any mom, especially first time mom who hasn't felt this. It doesn't diminish your joy, but it sure makes it hard to see and feel during a crying jag. I hope that all recently new moms read your words or hear them from some other wise mom and gain reassurance about their momming experience and more importantly, the spiritual insight that you have gained as a result....You are going to gain a whole new audience and ministry. :)

Aimee said...

First off: Hurray, you're writing! I've been not-so-patiently waiting. Alright, alright.. I guess you've had a worthy distraction or two. =)

Second: I am soooo thankful that you shared your heart. As someone, who IS NOT pregnant yet, but is getting closer to that point in the next couple years, I appreciate it immensely. Right now, I look at pregnancy/having a child with an incredible amount of fear and trepidation, and it is wonderful to know that I won't have been the only one with those feelings.

Lastly: You write so beautifully. Just love it.

Anna Schweers said...

Happy birthday mrs. Flinkman!!!!
Anna schweers:)