Independence Day

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July 4, 2014

 

Dear Lydia (our Independence Day baby),

 

July 4, 2014—I can still remember the tender feelings I had so keenly. That Independence Day was different than any other 4th of July Holiday. The feelings were surreal, everything was so new and it kind of felt like a dream. You were born that morning at 1:17am and between our yawns of exhaustion we laughed that the one day I did not want you to come on (my thoughts were why combine your celebrations when you can have two full days of it!?), you made your appearance, a whole week late at that! Instead of hustling around all day trying to take full advantage of every festivities going on (the 4th of July has always been a favorite holiday!), we walked down the quiet hospital maternal floor that night to a set of large windows and watched fireworks from all over the area as we ate dinner. The view was amazing (sorry we had to leave you back at the nursery!) and the night seemed perfect.IMG_9502 IMG_0134_2 IMG_0135_2

Now, a couple months later, the name “Independence Day” has never hit more home. That day, every American celebrated our nation’s independence. Now, we will forever celebrate it as your very own Independence Day and entrance into our lives. In retrospect, the name Independence is exactly what was gained, not just for our nation, but for me particularly. It seemed not long after we left the hospital and walked in the door of our home, that…

 

the feelings came.

 

Feelings I had never felt before (or at least that intense). The only way to describe it was the feeling of being stuck. Stuck in a situation I couldn’t escape. Stuck in feelings I couldn’t seem to overcome. Feelings of sadness, depression, anger, hopelessness, loneliness, and the most overwhelming, anxiety, took over and I felt my freedom had been stripped right from me. Yet, I still felt stuck because there was no way of getting out of it, only going directly through it (as much as I wanted (oh please forgive me in my unhealthy mind!), I knew putting you up for adoption was not going to happen (your Dad just wouldn’t let me! thankfully!), and though I look back and laugh, it was real in the moment). I had frantically tried anything and everything I could to simply get back to my normal happy self, but despite my attempts it just seemed like “Allie wasn’t home” and still, I just felt…

 

stuck.

 

I was trying to keep a balance between allowing myself some room since it could be the post-partum hormones and also a little nudge to force myself to adjust since it could be just me (I do NOT do good with change). Either way, it was how I felt and I couldn’t seem to get out on top. Day after day was an unbearable battle. Prayer, family, and the Lord’s tender mercies saved me, literally (and I will forever be grateful for them). Some days that little 10-minute feeling of hope was the only light I seemed to see. I remember my sister making the comment, not by mere coincidence,

 

“Allie, what if she is your freedom?”

 

And one day (August 11, 2014), the freedom finally came! The freedom from the hell I had been stuck in for nearly 5 weeks. The freedom from an over-anxious mind that wouldn’t stop thinking and simply just feel. The freedom of looking in your eyes and seeing worlds without end. It didn’t seem like I did anything different, but I was just able to keep on top instead of drowned in the emotions that consumed me. It came and I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the miracle He provided me this summer and…

 

the freedom he gave me with you.

 

So, Independence Day it is and I couldn’t be more happy! Heavenly Father works in wondrous ways and I’ll forever be grateful for Him, my Savior, my family and friends, and that amazing, patient, unconditionally-loving Dad of your, well ours.

 

After much thought and pondering, I have felt that perhaps I experienced what I did for others; and, even more close to home…

 

perhaps you.

 

I hurt for you to think you may ever have to experience it; but then again I remember the big picture and know that through such difficulty comes strength and testimonies beyond our own.

In my case, some may label it as “Post-Partum Depression” and blame it on hormones. Others do not believe in such and may consider it a difficulty adjusting. I have realized, whatever it is truly is does not matter. You feel it and it is real. If it is something you will draw closer to God with, can we not consider it a divine design in our creation, whether hormone- or personality-induced. You will spend more time arguing with yourself about what it is than ever come to a conclusion. It could be both (as I do not discount hormones and adjustment difficulties definitely play big parts in our life experiences). But, I do know that…

 

it is real.

 

Just as you can’t change the weather, you cannot always change the way you feel. But…

 

you are entitled to peace.

 

And remember that, it will save you as it did for me. You keep trying. You keep your head up for “better days to come” because…

 

they come.

 

“Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “An High Priest of Good Things to Come”).

 

 

————————————-

Just in case anyone out there is suffering from anything similar or even completely different, these helped me immensely:

 

  • First and foremost prayer, constant prayer. I truly believe I was “healed” because a loving Heavenly Father provided a miracle and it was made conditional upon my asking. And, I found a lot of healing in having some of those prayers be prayers of gratitude, asking nothing (as difficult as that was since I felt like I needed everything).

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others the blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional upon our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” (King James Version Bible Dictionary, “Prayer”)

  • Scriptures and talks of church leaders, really studying them and likening them to what I was feeling and going through.
    • Alma 5:6-16
      • Verse 7: “He awakened them out of a deep sleep.”
      • Verse 7: “they were in the midst of darkness.”
      • Verse 9: “and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.”
      • Verse 12: “And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart.” (a change of heart is what I pleaded for. I felt like there was nothing short of a miracle that could help my heart change from not even wanting to want to change)
      • Verse 13: “and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.”
    • Alma 32:26-36
      • Verse 27: “if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” (even if I could no more than desire to desire)
      • Verse 28: “if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts… it beginneth to be delicious to me.” (I had to nurture what I was kicking against—embracing motherhood)
    • Ether 2-6
      • Chapter 2: Verse 16: “and they were light upon the water.”
      • Verse 17: “they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish.”
      • Verse 23: “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?”
      • Verse 24: “ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea.”
      • Verse 25: “for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come.”
      • Chapter 6: Verse 6: “And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.”
      • Verse 7: “And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish.”
      • Verse 8: “And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters.”
      • Verse 12: “And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.”
    • D&C 98:1-3
      • Verse 2: “the Lord of Sabaoth” (Sabaoth = hosts of heaven)
    • “Like a Broken Vessel” –Elder Holland
    • “The Bitter Cup and Bloody Baptism” – Elder Holland
    • Podcast: http://media2.ldscdn.org/assets/mormon-channel/mormon-channel-daily-2016/2016-05-1027-satans-attacks-on-women-64k-eng.mp3
  • Counseling with my husband, family, friends, church leaders, and professional counselors. They have many good insights and skills they can provide you. Also, for me it was easier if everyone knew so when I was “failing” to do so much they still knew I really was doing my best but Allie just “wasn’t home.” I’m amazed at how many people reached out and even though it still hurt so bad, it made it a tiny bit better knowing so many people loved, cared, and were praying.
    • Stop-thought – come up with something you see all the time and each time you come across it, use a:
      • Positive command
      • Relax face and shoulders
      • Deep, cleansing breathe
    • Figure out your “humility cycle”
    • Reframe. This is something that has really stuck with me the most. I like to think of a doorframe that is crooked. When we have changes in our life or simply just over time, we find our mortal selves misaligned with our spirits. These are times that call for a “reframe” so we can find happiness (unless our mortal selves are in correspondence with our spirits (our true selves), we cannot be happy)Reframe
  • Learning and accepting patience
    • Dictionary Definitions: bearing pain or sorrow calmly or without complaint; not being hasty or impetuous; being steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.
    • Greek & Latin: Patiens
      • Pati=Suffer
      • Ens=Being
    • Paciencia (Portuguese)=Peace (Heavenly Father will grant us peace through our patience)
  • Spend 10 minutes with just Lydia (or whatever you’re struggling with)
  • Serve: I adopted an elderly lady in my ward and visited her once a week
  • Distract yourself with things (for me, that was keeping myself busy despite not wanting to do anything)
  • Realize you’re not alone. The Lord, if nobody else, knows exactly what you’re going through (and has even felt it deeper). Don’t compare, just do what you can.
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