So, I finally was able to call myself a mother. Other people, and even myself, had told me that I was a mother to two little souls and that counts. But I still felt like an imposter. Now I had this breathtaking, fuzzy little bundle of strawberry hair, blue jean eyes and chubby legs. I really and truly treasured every moment with my little man. But that didn't keep me from experiencing some moderate "baby blues". It started at the hospital when I realized with a jolt of panic that as soon as I got home I would need to finish packing so we could move-IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!!!
I cried a good part of the way home. I was so sore. My eyeballs were sore. I was scared. Here was the child I worked so hard to carry, now what do I do with him? Was he getting any food at all when I nursed? And how was this moving thing going to work anyway? We were moving out of a 2,000 sq ft house (spoiled, I know) with a large back yard and swimming pool, into a 600 sq ft triplex in a strange city in the opposite corner of the state where we literally knew no one.
It was not easy, adjusting to so many things at once. But there were a few things that really helped me get through it. The first tool that comes to mind is flylady.net. I first started the Flylady system when I was expecting Cy. I've been an enthusiastic follower ever since. Her system is wonderful to keep you from getting overwhelmed. Her message "you are not behind, don't try to catch up, just jump in where we are" was just what I needed. It was so freeing to be released from the guilt of trying to be "perfect". 8 years later, I still use many of her principles everyday. They have become a part of who I am. And they have been a key element in keeping me going ever since.
The next thing I learned was how crucial daily exercise is in keeping my emotional equilibrium. It never fails, when I give up on an exercise regimen and rely solely on my "active lifestyle" (ha!) I'm headed for crash-and-burn. It's not enough to count walking the block or dragging toddlers out of trees or raking leaves or running laps through WalMart looking for tahini. I need a period of warming up, moderate intensity strength and aerobic workout and a cooling down period. Five days a week. To accomplish this with minimal expense I use workout videos in my living room. The library is a great resource for this. I'll check and re-check one video until I get tired of it (about a month) and then move on to something else. Every now and then I will buy a video if it seems worth it. Some of my favorites include: The Perfect Postnatal Workout, 10 Minute Solution Series, New York Ballet Workout, The Wedding Workout, Gabrielle Reese's Prenatal Workout and Jillian Michaels 6 Week 6 Pack.
A very critical part of my blues was my spiritual state. It was hard to leave the small, close knit family we worshiped with in Beaver. I really missed our friends, the Knapke's. Our fellowship was warm and unique. They taught me a lot about worshiping from the heart, not following a form. Now, in our new town we were looking for a new church home. (always a painful process...) I felt very distant from God. I tried reading John Piper's seminal book, Desiring God, only to find myself ashamed and discouraged at how little I seemed to desire Him at all. Then I read the next book, When I Don't Desire God. That was a breakthrough! I couldn't tell you what it was that blessed me so. It's been so long, I plan on going back and re-reading it soon. But I do remember that it was like a long, cold drink on a very hot day.
So, life went on. Cy grew. I learned how to be content in a small space, make new friends, plant a new church. There were storm clouds all around me. My dad was dying. His family was tearing all of us apart. But I definitely had some warm, sunny rays to walk in. And really, who could ask for more than that?