Thursday, December 1, 2011

Peace for an anxious heart

We had a less than ideal Thanksgiving. We drove around 660 miles to South Florida only to spend the majority of the time sick. Ella and Andrew were spared, so the only silver lining was that Ella had a glorious time playing with her cousin, aunt and uncle, and grandparents. Both Jacob and Audrey had something called hand, foot, and mouth disease...it's not really a disease, but a childhood virus that leaves you covered in blisters and a rash that make it painful to swallow. As if that wasn't enough agony, I woke up feeling miserable the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving with a fever of 101.5, sore throat, and body aches. I should have known since the day before I kept having these weird dizzy spells, which I blamed on simply being tired and stressed from dealing with sick babies. The evening before Thanksgiving, I found myself with white spots all over my throat. The diagnosis was some sort of bacterial infection in my throat (not strep) and an ear infection...although, I am pretty sure this was my bodies way of saying "I am stressed out!!"

By Friday, the day before we made our 13 hour (miserable traffic!) drive home, we managed to all perk up enough that we could spend the morning together at the beach. It was crazy windy, but I managed to snap a few wind-blown pictures of Ella enjoying dancing barefoot in the sand. My attempts at a family photo were sort of a fail, but I thought these of Ella's long hair blowing in the wind were simply beautiful.

Ella helping Jacob walk

Loved watching this father-daughter moment

Eskimo kisses

Sweet moments
This week has been back to the normal chaos. Three baby appointments a week seem to be my new normal. I try my best to schedule things the mornings that Ella is at preschool, but I can't always work it out that way. She is pretty content to go anywhere these days. I am thankful she is at an age that she is usually up for an adventure and taking afternoon naps aren't a necessity anymore for her. Irregardless, I find myself feeling so anxious these days...to the point I almost feel like I need medication...seriously. I know it doesn't probably seem like a big deal...you just take things one day at a time, right? I was good at that for awhile. I played the "I've got it all together" card really well for awhile. But, I'm tired. Mentally and physically tired, worn-out, worried of the unknowns. 

And I don't feel like anyone can really understand. It's easy to say "don't worry" when you aren't the mother. In fact, it just makes me feel more anxious when someone says not to be anxious...it sort of belittles my feelings. So, I find myself just not talking to anyone about my life because it usually just makes me feel worse...which makes me feel lonely...which makes me feel even worse. Are you catching this cycle I have myself in?

Why anxious? Where do I begin? Waiting to sell our house, not being able to build our new house, trying to keep this house clean with unexpected, last minute people who want to come see it...etc, etc. in regards to the whole selling a house fiasco. Watching our very hard earned savings account dwindle down to nothing just to pay this mortgage that we can no longer afford with me staying at home and Andrew making 40 percent less than his old job. And although I know our families will help keep us afloat until we can sell, it doesn't change the fact that we saved so much...only to be able to pay bills. I know people say we should feel lucky that we had that money. We do feel lucky. But it feels like a punishment to be good with our money in our 20's so that we can retire at decent ages, only to feel like we are starting over again in our mid-30's.

And then I am anxious about Audrey. I can't really explain what it is like to be waiting to see if your child can do certain things and the stress that makes a mommies heart feel unless you have walked in these shoes. I waver between moments of peace and moments of just wanting to scream "why can't you just crawl!! Just do it." It is a very helpless feeling. And I know it could be way worse. I know I should be thankful. But, I can't help but feel anxious and just yearning for normalcy.

And I worry that I don't spend enough quality time with Ella. I feel like I am given times where I could do something special with her while the babies nap or something, but sometimes I just don't feel like playing dolls or puzzles...sometimes I just want to sit and look at a magazine. I feel major guilt about that. I like to play with her...I LOVE being with her...but, I can only do that for so long before I just need 15 minutes to feel like an adult...you know, and play on pinterest or something else mindless. Guilt...oh the guilt I feel for that. I think being infertile for so long makes people think I should be super-mom. But, I'm still normal. I may have been through an ordeal to have children, but I still have normal mommy feelings. I still have days where I don't embrace this time. But, I hate it when people shove the whole "you should just be thankful you have children" card in my face. Because I am so very, very thankful...they are very, very loved and wanted. They make me smile and laugh and I feel so blessed. But, I am still human. I'm a very tired mommy. A mommy who could use full time help, but doesn't have that luxury. A mommy who could use a lunch break just like someone who works outside the home.

It's a hard season of life. It's a season I should be embracing. But, it's easy for someone on the outside to say that. Sometimes you just want someone to say "I understand", even if they really don't. Sometimes you don't want a Bible verse thrown at you...lord knows, I have guilt over not relying on God to calm my heart. It's kind of like telling someone who just experienced the death of a loved one that "at least they are in a better place." It still hurts in the moment. It still is hard. Sometimes being a stay at home mother is very isolating and lonely, even when you are constantly surrounded by people and noise. I know it's a privilege to stay at home. It's hard to enjoy being at home when your family needs the money and you feel like you should be contributing. This isn't exactly how I imagined being a stay at home mom.


So, for now, during this season of my life, I find myself seeking peace in the little moments.  I am thankful that God opens my eyes to the little things...like watching Ella pull out a piece of her hair because she said she needed a piece of dental floss. Or when she sticks a baby doll down her shirt and pretends to be pregnant. She is so funny.

I'm not unhappy. I just have a heart that has been filled with heavy stress for over a year now and I am feeling burned out. I am simply seeking peace for this anxious heart of mine, so that I am not wishing the long days away. Because I know they "grow up so fast." And I don't want to spend these precious years with a stressed and anxious heart. I just haven't quite figured out how to do that yet.

10 comments:

Lauren said...

I am sorry you're so stressed:( While I'm not walking in your shoes, I can imagine how stressed I would be if I was. And I have been stressed to the point of needing medication in the past. I couldn't sleep, I had too much anxiety. Medication really helped, and I definitely think it's worth looking into if things are too overwhelming.

And I understand the feeling-guilty-for-not-loving-every-single-second thing.

You'll be in my prayers.

PhaseThreeOfLife said...

Oh, Sarah. There is no way I would ever tell you to NOT be anxious or worry... we all do that as moms, don't we? I only have one, I don't care for him all day long, and he is healthy (for the most part)... and I worry constantly! And am stressed out beyond belief at times. I have definitely been there, feeling stretched thin, exhausted, and just wanting 10 minutes alone... that is so, so, so very normal, especially with everything you have dealt with in the past year. Try to be easier on yourself. It's ok to read that magazine for 15 minutes! You need a break, you deserve a break, and it does NOT mean you don't love your kids enough. The love pours right out of you for all to see. Your kids love you and they want a happy, healthy mama. And they can play on their own now and then while you recharge - besides, it teaches them independence, right?? ;)

Hang in there. You're doing great.

Shawn said...

oh, sarah - i will be lifting you up in prayer. you're not alone. we've all had seasons like these. you're not alone. i myself, struggle with anxiety. when i feel overwhelmed, i grasp to simple mediations like ..
"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

blessings!

Amy said...

oh how i wish we could meet for coffee (And i don't even drink coffee!) ;-)
i have been having so many of the same struggles, different, yet the same. i don't like having a heavy heart...

Jenny H said...

Praying for you sweet Sarah. It's hard, so very hard to balance all those things and feel like you still have your "normalcy" left. It's almost as if it was all squeezed out a year ago and gone for good. Transitions are hard, but I have learned it is during those times that I grow the most and learn the most about myself. Some things I don't like learning about myself and it's hard to live past the guilt. I get you, I totally get you. Although my shoes are a different color, all that you have expressed are completely normal. Be sure to take the 15 min for yourself to look at a magazine to feel like you know what's going on in the world outside your world and not feel guilty. You are an incredible mom and wife. You put your heart and soul into them, it's only normal to burn out. As the other ladies have said... your not alone. Praying for a refreshing as you sleep tonight. Praying that something gives and light begins to shine at the end of your tunnel. Hang in there, you are one strong women! Cling to that which is true and the Rock of your soul.
Prayers to you and your precious family,
Jenny H

Jenny H said...

Praying for you sweet Sarah. It's hard, so very hard to balance all those things and feel like you still have your "normalcy" left. It's almost as if it was all squeezed out a year ago and gone for good. Transitions are hard, but I have learned it is during those times that I grow the most and learn the most about myself. Some things I don't like learning about myself and it's hard to live past the guilt. I get you, I totally get you. Although my shoes are a different color, all that you have expressed are completely normal. Be sure to take the 15 min for yourself to look at a magazine to feel like you know what's going on in the world outside your world and not feel guilty. You are an incredible mom and wife. You put your heart and soul into them, it's only normal to burn out. As the other ladies have said... your not alone. Praying for a refreshing as you sleep tonight. Praying that something gives and light begins to shine at the end of your tunnel. Hang in there, you are one strong women! Cling to that which is true and the Rock of your soul.
Prayers to you and your precious family,
Jenny H

Elsa said...

{{{Hugs}}}

Megan and Drew said...

I love you - and I miss you! I know that December is crazy, but we have to make it a priority to get together next month.

Megan and Drew said...

I love you - and I miss you! I know that December is crazy- but we need to make it a priority to get together next month!

Sara said...

Sarah, I love how honest you are! Just remember that you are more normal than you think. The people that tell you not to be anxious are anxious themselves. What you are feeling is normal. Don't forget that. And some times normal stinks! :)