The words came out like venom. And in that moment, I meant each one. It’s not even just the way my body looks. No, it’s the way it feels. It’s the persistent bloat that presses tightly against even my sized-up jeans. An ever expanding pressure; a ticking time bomb. It’s the searing, twisting cramps that creep slowly through my entire abdomen as we head back home instead of going to small group. It’s the feelings of failure as I hear my baby cry and can’t run to him. Or the pain of his weight on my stomach while nursing him during a flare. It’s the wrestling with God over withheld healing. It’s the frustration of missing out on another family walk.
It’s the fact that I can’t even capture all the things it does to me in words. It feels like a prison—a place where pain reigns. …
Unordered thinking can creep in oh so quickly. If we’re not careful to take thoughts captive and discern if they have any truth to them, we will fall prey to the serpent’s lies. And it seems like women who are walking through the postpartum season are vulnerable targets for the enemy.
I’ve always been naturally thin. Girls in high school spread gossip that I had an eating disorder, though that has never been true. I love food. A little too much at times (which I guess can be a different type of a disordered eating). So when I found thoughts like “I’m so hungry, but I shouldn’t eat more spaghetti.” or “These cookies are why I’m still fat.” running through my head, it startled me. This isn’t who I am. I’ve never once in my entire life thought of myself as “fat.”
I’ve been scared to share this since being thin seems to disqualify you from being “allowed” to struggle with your postpartum body.…
Every morning I wake up hoping that today will be the day I can walk again. I slowly try to lift myself only to feel paralyzed by pain. The once simple task of rolling over to get out of bed has become one that I dread every single sunrise. Once I finally make it out of bed and steady myself with a walker borrowed from a friend, I make the long, excruciating trip to the bathroom. My days are spent missing out on life from the couch or bed and not knowing when it will get better.
If you didn’t know, when our sweet William was born I suffered a birth injury. They tell me it could be weeks or months before my pain is gone. These days are real and raw and wearisome. I’ve heard the bootstrap theology—those who plead self-sufficiency and stoicism over their suffering.
Three days equaled two hours of sleep. It’s the place where brain fog and emotions are high. I’ve been staring out the window, I need to water the cucumbers.
I sit in the chaise lounge, Nursing through blood, sweat, and tears. Latching sometimes takes hours, So I can’t water the cucumbers.
My husband holds the baby, My firstborn looks at me and, I see the struggle with the change in the tears that roll down his cheeks. I hold him as we cry together in the kitchen. There are more important things than watering the cucumbers.
Holding onto the wall I walk down the hallway, Pain lighting up my back, hip, and leg. I fall to the ground and it’s there I sit a while. I can barely walk. I can’t water the cucumbers.
There they sit, Leaves wilted and browning. Their importance to me is bizarre. I glance out the window and my eyes meet rain, God watered my cucumbers.…
Years ago, on a whim, I grabbed a bag of zinnia seeds and scattered its contents into the empty earth of my flower bed. A few weeks later, after I’d just lost our first baby at 9 weeks, they began to bloom.
The tall sea of flowers became a sort of oasis for me. Bright corals, deep reds, and unique pinks sprung up before my eyes singing songs of life at a time when death felt so close—so, within me. I cherished these blooms, clipped and gathered them to my heart like I would’ve the little one we lost. I stared at them for long moments, savoring the gifts God was giving me through them. Gifts like perseverance, remembrance, and abiding joy.
That was six years ago and each year since I’ve anticipated the last Ohio frost so I can push tiny seeds into the earth and watch God work.…
It looms heavy over my head and heart, making me feel paralyzed. It wraps its arms around my lungs and squeezes so tightly my breathing becomes labored. It reaches into my entire being and makes me tremble with fear.
I’m always surprised at how quickly I can go from being completely fine to spiraling into wishing for relief from the weight of it all—the weight of this life.
This life, with all its beauty and joy drowned out by the screaming voice in my head that fights for my full attention like my toddler when my focus is elsewhere. It throws a tantrum in my brain and leaves me depleted of energy to fight.
And I wish I was easily comforted by the simple command to “trust God.” I know all the right truths and yet I find they aren’t magically taking it all away. Why won’t you take it away, Lord?…