August 6, 2014
I find myself writing you your “hospital letter” several weeks later than our stay at the hospital. It is not so much the birth story I ever expected to write you. Instead, I feel impressed to write you the letter that you will need one day, despite what I had originally intended to write. I hope it finds you at a time when you need it most.
My hospital bag was packed weeks before your arrival. It was carefully packed and filled with many things including paper, my camera, and my computer. I had big plans to write you a letter the day you were born, take plenty of pictures, finish a pregnancy book of pictures I had taken of the 9 months you were in my belly, and even finish a video of your birth. Little did I expect, the following weeks were going to be the toughest and longest days of my life. So long and tough that I feel I can barely force my hands to hold this pen and write you a letter now (about a month later). And, of course unable to finish the video or book or take plenty of pictures like I had looked forward so long to do.
Currently, I sit here, full of emotions—gratitude, peace, longing, sadness, frustration, and one of the strongest, anxiety. I have always wanted to be a mom, your mom, and the choice to have you now was only made after a special experience your Dad and I shared in the Temple. The timing felt oh so right, yet a little too soon at the same time. I finally couldn’t deny what I had felt for months about the decision being right and it being the right timing. I could also feel your sweet spirit. But, these past weeks have left me questioning my desire to be a mom and uncertain if I can really be, well mom. Each day is an incredibly tough battle – thoughts uncontrollably come into my mind and I have to constantly talk myself through them, plead and pray for help, often times cry out, yell out, and ultimately just hope that “better days” are truly up ahead. I have to hope that this really is a moment in time and that this will pass as many priesthood blessings and prayers have promised. I have tried almost everything I can—getting out, praying, priesthood blessings, vitamins, eating healthy, exercising, foot zoning, talking, counseling, medication, getting help from family, researching about depression and anxiety, attempting a to nap, sleeping over at Nannie & Papa’s—but ultimately it comes down to my Heavenly Father providing the peace I so desperately yearn for through the Savior’s Atonement. I know He is real Lydia. I know now more than I ever have that He’s real. The Savior has felt what we feel. He not only knows, but can and will and does help us. Isaiah 53:5 has never hit so close to home, “ . . . a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Our Savior knows depression and anxiety more deeply than we do. That thought breaks my heart and almost makes me want to suffer it so He didn’t have to. But, we know He has already taken care of it because He loves us so much and didn’t want us to have to. That thought humbles me and makes me so grateful and anxious to not let Him down. So I won’t. As difficult as the trials we are called to bear are, it is through them that we can prove to be true disciples of our Savior. It is through them that we draw more strength and power.
I went through a similar, yet different, experience as this when your Dad and I were just engaged. The thought of getting married was an extremely daunting one for me—How could I be certain I was making the right decision? I went through a daily battle of uncertain thoughts. I found myself stuck, de-habilitated, and lost. After at least a month and a half, I was able to pull out of it with the help of my Heavenly Father—but this time, with more strength, a stronger love and testimony of our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ, and certain knowledge that your Dad loved me. I knew your Dad and I could make it through anything that would come our way and that he would unconditionally love me as he had shown as I was incredibly difficult to love that month and a half. Oh your sweet Dad! He was so patient, extremely diligent and faithful that everything would work out. He is such a rock and I hope you come to look up to him as much as I do.
I’ve often reflected on that experience. Perhaps I went through it to come to know without a doubt that your Dad loves me and will continue to love me through the good and the bad. As I’ve reflected a little on the experience I am having now, the thought that perhaps I am experiencing it to help others comes to my mind. Even more personal and close to home, perhaps for you my sweet little Lydia. Even before you were born into this world I felt your sweet spirit. I’ve felt for some time that that spirit of yours may be just liked me—a go-er, always up and moving trying to get every last bit done. In these past short weeks since I’ve met you, I already see that in you. You are very alert, you like to be held and rocked and even swung around (I’m sure you’re probably used to it all from the womb!). Perhaps you are a thinker—constantly critiquing yourself and planning ahead. Perhaps you will not like change—crying when you’re engaged because you have to give up “single”, then crying when you’re married because you have to give up “engaged”, then crying when you become “Mom” because it’s not longer just the two of you, etc. etc. (my list goes on!) All these can be and will be great benefits to you in your life; however, they can and probably will at one time or another become (more easily than you’d like) your biggest weaknesses and heartaches. When they do, you can learn great lessons—remember, we are given weaknesses that we may be humble and come to know our Savior more.
August 17, 2014
Today, I am here to tell you it does get better. I am finally feeling a little more hopeful, a little more joy, and a lot more like “Allie’s back home.” There were some really dark moments though, Lydia. Had I known there would be harder moments than I had ever imagined when I began writing you this letter, I would have been extremely doubtful on my ability to carry on. There have been times these last few weeks where I have lost sight of hope, of my ability to actually go on being “Mom”—but I felt stuck, so stuck because I knew I had to, I just didn’t know how I could. But, I promise you, these times don’t last. They really are but “ . . . a season in time” and through them you will come to grasp the eternal perspective of this life. There have been more tender mercies than I can count in the midst of it all. Despite the severe loneliness I felt since no matter what anyone said or did I still had to bear it, I felt comfort and peace knowing my Savior was there and he would lift that burden because he already Atoned for me. One night as your Dad held me in his arms, he said, “Don’t give up on me or Lydi because we won’t give up on you.” It has stuck with me and the same is for you, our sweet Lydia, we love you more than you’ll ever know and pray that you’ll never give up. I have learned so much in these last 6 weeks. I have seen my love for you grow immensely and I know it will continue to grow. I am willing to do whatever it takes to be the best mom for you—even if it was to go through an experience like this again. I hope you come to know and love your Savior. And, in the hard times you’ll be called to bear, I hope you turn to Him, turn to us, and remember you’re stronger than you know.
I love you more than infinity “Lydi bug!” 🙂