Monday, October 10, 2011

...and then there was YOU! ♥ (part two)

Norah's Birth Story: Part-Two

We got home, and my mom, Nana, had everything clean and smelling so nice! Nana Marshall and Nana Freeman made a welcome home sign for Norah Jayne and there were balloons and everything. 

I look a bit loopy in this picture... I was on pain medication. ☺
We introduced Norah to her new room. 
Girl talk...

She was all cheeks when she was first born. ♥

Now comes the less pleasant part of the story...

The point of me sharing any of this is because I desire to be authentic. Confession: I have a bad habit of glossing over things or minimizing experiences that have been painful so that I can more easily sweep them under the rug... and forget they ever happened.  I don't like the mess. I don't like the ugliness. God forbid that anyone KNOW I am not perfect... ha.ha.

But this story of Norah's birth and the things that I (a new momma) have experienced this first year are important and I don't want to write words here that paint a picture that isn’t accurate to what really happened or how I was really feeling. 

I just keep thinking that Norah will some day, by God's grace, have children of her own; she may struggle with some of the things I struggled with- I HOPE and PRAY not, but you never know.  My hope is that she will know my story and know that she is not alone. Perhaps someone reading this needs to know they are not alone.

The gut honest truth is- we all want to know that we aren't alone. There is tremendous comfort in that knowledge. 

So here goes...
The first week home with Norah I think I was in a fog. Every little cry sent me reeling with indecision. Should I pick her up, should I not? Should I rock her, should I not? Was she hungry? Was she in pain? I was exhausted, but I couldn't rest because I was totally on edge and full of worry. 

We were trying the Babywise method and I was torn because my instincts were to run to her whenever she cried; yet, I felt like if I did that I would "ruin" what we wanted to accomplish through using the Babywise method. My sister was such a big help during those times of confusion. She helped me navigate those murky waters.

Note: The Babywise method is a great tool, and though by no means is it the Holy Grail of child rearing technique, it does work. 

Second Note: It is best to throw the schedule out the window the first couple of weeks and just roll with it. 

Speaking of being helpful, my mother stayed with us the week before I gave birth and the week after. She was a big help around the house doing laundry and cooking and cleaning. I don't know what we would have done without her help. 

My husband joked that before a dirty towel could hit the laundry basket, mom had it washed and folded! That's just mom.
I have to confess... during my first week home I was tired, sore and I was having a lot of trouble breastfeeding which led to mucho frustration. To put it mildly, I was hormonal and not very pleasant to be around. But mom stuck it out and for that she should be commended.

L.O.N.G. before that first week was out it was becoming all too clear that life WAS in transition. Things WERE changing. Life would NEVER be the  same. 

There are few things that those who know me well - or too well - know about me. However, you may not know these things, so I'll just put 'em out there.

  • I don't deal with change very well.
  • I tend to be a pessimist, downer, killjoy, and prophetess of doom all rolled into one major party pooper.
  • I like to feel like (or at least THINK) I have control.
  • I have major body image issues.
  • I struggle with never feeling good enough.
As you can probably imagine, having just given birth to my first born, I was faced with all of these "issues" at one time and I was NOT coping well.

Here are a few words that kind of sum up the next few months...

Panic Attacks
Postpartum Depression
Weight gain

Each of these words has a story. Some too painful to think about, let alone write out in excruciating detail. So I won't. I don't think I need to. I think you get it.

Please do not misunderstand- I never for one moment wished Norah away. 


I did question my capability to be a good mother.
I did doubt that God knew what He was doing.
I did fear that I would somehow mess Norah up.
I did have uncertainty as to how we would be able to financially "make it."
I did wonder if I would ever feel normal again.
I did struggle with the changes in my body.
I did feel like a total failure on most days.

The negative self-talk and negative thoughts were overwhelming! 
I had so much "noise" in my mind- it was constant. Deafening.  Like a staticky radio station going at full volume. It was hard to think rationally let alone pray. 
I just held Norah and cried- A LOT.

I was a mess.

God saw and had compassion on me.
One way that I was able to find help was by seeking professional, Christian counsel
It *just so happens* that my husband works for a school that offers free/ low cost counseling for employees and their families. Of course, I was intimidated and embarrassed to talk to a counselor. I felt stigmatized. 
However,  I was desperate so I made the call and set up an appointment. Let me say this: of any of the benefits that GBS has to offer its employees, this is by far the greatest. 

Another way God showed his compassion for me was  by leading me across the blog of Marianne Brown who *just happened* to  be sharing about her recent struggles and victories. She mentioned that she was using a program by Jim Berg, called "Quieting a Noisy Soul"  and after asking her a few questions and talking to Kirk, I decided to purchase it. I am so glad that I did. 

The two major truths I (re)learned from this program were (taken straight from the book)-

God is always good- always. 
Which means:
  • He will always meet my genuine needs- always!
  • He will always forgive my sin- always!
  • He is always up to something good in my life- always!
  • He will always love me personally- always!
  • He will always give me the grace I need- always!

God is always great- always.
Which means:
  • He is always in control of ALL things- always!
  • He is always present with me- always!
  • He is always the same- always!
  • He is always trustworthy- always!
  • He is always wise in what He does- always!
The program also gives Scriptures for you to memorize that back up each of these truths. 
Never a bad idea to memorize scripture, right? 
The objective is to know these truths so well that you are able to test every "stray thought" by them. Remember all the noise in my mind that I spoke of earlier?
Having the Truth as a filter for all my thoughts (aka: noise) sure made things a lot quieter.
I could think clearly. It was easier spot the lies and the irrational thinking. God's Word is powerful.

Even today... 
When I wonder, "What is God thinking giving me this little person to raise?"  
I remember that God is always up to something good in my life- always! And, He is always wise in what He does- always!

When I am paralyzed by fear or struggle with panic, I remember: He will always meet my genuine needs- always! He will always give me the grace I need- always! He is always in control of ALL things- always!

Truly, Norah is a blessing! 
Sure she brought dreaded "change" into my life, her arrival stirred the pot of my stagnant existence. Her arrival was the impetus that forced me to admit that I can not - try as I may - control everything in my glossy *good and perfect* world. 
Folks, that may seem like a small thing, but the compulsive need to control can lead to some terrifying places. 

And so here I am a year later. 
Still haven't lost the baby weight. 
Still mourning the loss of my glorious shoe collection due to a whole shoe size increase. 
Still me. 
But I am thankful. I am finding joy in midst.
It isn't that I've got it all figured out. I definitely do not.
It has been a YEAR and there are still a lot of  issues I am working through... 
The difference between now and before is that I AM working on them. 
I am striving to be authentic.  
I am working on replacing negative core beliefs with positive core beliefs.
I am no longer sweeping the "uglies" under the rug and pretending that everything is fine.
I am learning that God is GOOD no matter what and that I am good enough. 
I am learning that ALL things come from His hand and in EVERYTHING I am compelled to give thanks. 

I am not just working on me for... me. I am doing it for Norah too. Why?

Little Eyes Upon You

There are little eyes upon you
and they're watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly
take in every word you say.
There are little hands all eager
to do anything you do;
And a little girl who's dreaming
of the day she'll be like you.

You're the little angel's idol,
you're the wisest of the wise.
In her little mind about you
no suspicions ever rise.
She believes in you devoutly,
holds all you say and do;
She will say and do, in your way
when she's grown up just like you.

There's a wide-eyed little girl
who believes you're always right;
and her eyes are always opened,
and she watches day and night.
You are setting an example
every day in all you do;
For the little girl who's waiting
to grow up to be like you.

Author Unknown
...I can't afford NOT to.


skier1998 said...

Jodi - beautifully written and so true. Every word of it I can relate to. The babywise... the first few weeks ... the breastfeeding. And all your points about you - me, me, me, and me. Motherhood is a wonderful wild ride but it stripped away all my facades to just God and me - and that's all that matters in the end anyway. Yea - I look different on the outside but hopefully I look different on the inside as well. I just purchased Jim Berg's stuff this summer and have started going through it. Thanks for sharing.

Making Memories 1999 said...

Thank you, Jodi, for sharing! That was helpful. And the words of that song/poem... WOW... so challenging!! Again, thank you!!

sarahmfry said...

Jodi, your last 2 posts have had me laughing out loud and crying. I think you and your realness are both very beautiful.

I wish I hadn't seen Babywise until my second baby - or at least until my first was past her undiscovered problem with milk and the constant screaming. Oh, the stress I could have avoided if I would have just trusted my instincts. I think it took my nerves years to heal.

A friend and I were just talking about how these little creatures bring us face to face with our Selves. It is a gift. A painful gift.

Sending you love and smiles.

Bethany Blubaugh said...

What a beautiful little child God has given you! So proud of the mother you are and are becoming! It is the scariest thing ever. You come home with a PERSON with a SOUL, and are expected to not only take care of this little person physically, but as Christians, we know that the far greater challenge will be ensuring that little soul goes to heaven someday. It's overwhelming.

It makes me sad you were going through all these things, and felt like you were alone at times. There are so many many mothers (myself included) who have had some of the same struggles and who could have reassured you, but at the time, it's so hard to reach out.

I didn't have any problems after Max's birth, but after Grant's birth, I had HORRIBLE Post Partum Anxiety. Not so much the blues part, but I would just be doing some mundane task, and have a panic attack. The only what I can describe it is that suddenly, it was like a huge surge of adrenaline, and I felt like I was being chased by a lion or something. Weird! When I started having about 4 of these a day, I called my doctor who immediately put me on Celexa (wonderful! And 4 bucks a month!). Within days, the world stopped spinning.

Depression and Anxiety carries such a stigma, and I wish it didn't. It is a PHYSICAL problem, just like any other illness. Nothing you can control! The doctor who gave me my medicine is a Christian and told me that we were not designed to live in a fallen world, and that most people could benefit from some drugs.:) :)

Keep on keeping on. You're doing a great job. I've figured out over these last years that I may not do everything perfectly for my children, but as long as it's motivated by LOVE, your mistakes won't cause too much damage. :) I certainly have made some...but at the end of the day, I love my babies, I love my husband, and I strive to do what God has told me to do with all of them. That is all that really matters!

Thanks for sharing!!!!

Key Words said...


You wrote that so well. Thank you for baring your soul! I smiled and I teared up reading this.

I had postpartum depression with Lily...this reminded me so much of myself I couldn't stop from tearing up!! The breastfeeding, the babywise, the depression....all of it.

And your list
-I don't deal with change very well.
-I tend to be a pessimist, downer, killjoy, and prophetess of doom all rolled into one major party pooper.
-I like to feel like (or at least THINK) I have control.
-I have major body image issues.
-I struggle with never feeling good enough. ....I think you stole this from my diary! ;)

Again, thank you for sharing I feel a tiny bit less lonely!! :)

Liz said...

Oh, Jodi! Such wonderfulness for all of us girls to know we're not alone. I love the journey that motherhood has taken me on - I'm more authentic and truer blue than I ever have been. And I think that might have been part of God's glorious purpose in the journey...which I'm still on ;)

The experience you describe is so nearly what I experienced, but over my first two children - they were pretty close. Anyway, I relate.

Thanks for sharing. Its healing to speak and write the truth.

P.S. I will be up north at the end of this month and beginning of Nov - would love to see you and sweet Norah. ;)

Karon Willoughby said...

So beautifully written Jodi. I too laughed and cried while reading this. Thank you for sharing.
I always enjoy reading your blog. You do such a beautiful job capturing precious moments with Norah and ur family. You are one talented lady. Love ya!

Keith and Crystal said...

Your posts were lovely, Jodi. I think all mommas can relate. I know I sure can. :) It's not a walk in the park making this change in our life and raising these little people.

I smiled when I read what Kirk said about your mom washing the towel - my mom is the same way. Aren't moms great??

Thanks for the encouragement! You are doing a great job! :)

Janella Thompson said...

Don't know you but found your blog thruugh a mutural friend. (Also you might know my brother Brandon Hilligoss?) Anyhow I wept as a read your blog, went through alot of the same things and feelings with my first. I am now pregnant with my 2nd and still have that fear I will face some things I am scared to face when Baby 2 comes home. But I know I have a Heavenly Father above that will be watching out for me...and I am aware of certain triggers that cause some anxious feelings. It's scary being a parent...but so worth it. Best wishes as you walk on through the wonderful world of parenting. Praying for all new and old mothers as we raise the next generations for years to come.

Kris Davolt said...

Wow! Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing! Obviously there are many out there that need to know they are not alone! You have a great talent for expressing yourself through writing!!!!!!!

Share It:

Pin It button on image hover