Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An honest confession from a new mom

Ever have one of those days?

I did yesterday and Sunday and ......  Since little Bennett has come into my life I have had more days filled with joy and frustration than ever before.  If I am being honest, which I usually am, sometimes too honest, I would say yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life.  I cried.  I cussed.  I screamed.  I begged.  I prayed.  I questioned.  I hoped.  I doubted.  What I did very little of was smile or laugh or rejoice.  As many of you know I have been journaling ten things per day that I am thankful for and I blog them weekly.  Yesterday during the midst of the storm I thought I am not journaling tonight, because I don't feel thankful, I feel miserable.  Last night, I sat down on my bed, opened my journal and began to write.  God placed before me ten things to be thankful for.  Honestly, I could have written more than ten.  

This morning I was reminded of 1 Chronicles 16: 8-36:

8 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
       make known among the nations what he has done.

 9 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
       tell of all his wonderful acts.
 10 Glory in his holy name;
       let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
 11 Look to the LORD and his strength;
       seek his face always.

 12 Remember the wonders he has done,
       his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
 13 O descendants of Israel his servant,
       O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.
 14 He is the LORD our God;
       his judgments are in all the earth.
 15 He remembers [b] his covenant forever,
       the word he commanded, for a thousand generations,
 16 the covenant he made with Abraham,
       the oath he swore to Isaac.
 17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
       to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
 18 "To you I will give the land of Canaan
       as the portion you will inherit."
 19 When they were but few in number,
       few indeed, and strangers in it,
 20 they [c] wandered from nation to nation,
       from one kingdom to another.
 21 He allowed no man to oppress them;
       for their sake he rebuked kings:
 22 "Do not touch my anointed ones;
       do my prophets no harm."
 23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth;
       proclaim his salvation day after day.

 24 Declare his glory among the nations,
       his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
 25 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
       he is to be feared above all gods.
 26 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
       but the LORD made the heavens.
 27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
       strength and joy in his dwelling place.

 28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
       ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,
 29 ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name.
       Bring an offering and come before him;
       worship the LORD in the splendor of his [d] holiness.
 30 Tremble before him, all the earth!
       The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
 31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
       let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"
 32 Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
       let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
 33 Then the trees of the forest will sing,
       they will sing for joy before the LORD,
       for he comes to judge the earth.
 34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
       his love endures forever.

 35 Cry out, "Save us, O God our Savior;
       gather us and deliver us from the nations,
       that we may give thanks to your holy name,
       that we may glory in your praise."

 36 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
       from everlasting to everlasting.
      Then all the people said "Amen" and "Praise the LORD."

I was also reminded of James 3:10:

10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 

Oh how God teaches us, especially in our times of despair.  Today I have smiled.  I have laughed.  I have rejoiced.  I have learned all of the things I did or didn't do, yesterday, are a part of being a new mother and a part God's plan to mold and shape me into the woman He desires me to be.   Such clarity today, but what will tomorrow bring???

why is it that so few people are brutally honest about the early stages of motherhood?  I know you can't prepare for the challenges and you don't want to scare any mother to be, but let's be honest the hard times are UNBELIEVABLY HARD (unless you are fortunate to have an angel baby).  I am writing to say it is okay to be a Christian and still despise being a mother at times.  It is okay to admit that your baby is driving you crazy.  It does not mean you do not love them.  It does not mean you are a terrible person.  It does not mean you are a failure.  It does not mean that the God of the universe loves you any less.  It only means you are human.  I spent too much time yesterday fighting guilt and the feelings of failure.  A portion of that I brought on myself, but a larger portion is brought on by this idea that a "good" wife and mother has it all under control.  Well, I don't!!  Currently, I feel great and I thank Jesus, but tomorrow I may be cursing again.  I hope not, but there in no guarantee.  Like I always say, "I am glad life is a journey and not a destination."  

Here are a few quotes from friends who have encouraged me through their motherhood experiences (and they all love Jesus):

"Amber, my heart hurts for you because I KNOW, KNOW, KNOW what you're going through. I know the heartache of feeling like a failure, being angry at your baby, and wanting to give up. I know the utter exhaustion of not getting the much needed sleep your body yearns for. I know the feeling of guilt and frustration."

"just wanted to encourage you girl. it will get better. you just have to find a way to laugh in the in betweens.... today she was crying( all day or it seemed) under my breath i was like shut up shut up.... I said God are you sure you chose the right woman again(LOL) 'cause He's got a great sense of humor. I said forgive me i'm not good with babies!! he reassured me and i picked her up as usual this time i realize he needed to show me something. her smile. just when you know the answers they change the questions....bottom line amber God chose you. it is hard but who said motherhood wasn't a trial. give youself more credit. God IS. you are not alone. i know what you are feeling."

"I'm not going to didn't get easier for me until about 6-7 months and even then it seemed like once I got the hang of something she would throw me a curveball and mix me up! I don't think it gets easier...just more manageable!"

"I promise it gets easier. Right now by the time you get the hang of one thing, everything changes....but with experience, you gain wisdom."

"It will get easier I promise. Being a mommy is the hardest and most rewarding task on Earth. It gets better, and just when you think you have it down, another comes along and you start all over. lol"

"there are always new challenges throughout raising a kid. The encouraging thing is all the joys in between and having a peace with how you're raising him. There will be easier times=).... I know you're doing a great job Amber..."

"These stories seem to be the ones you don't hear when you're bringing a new baby home (probably b/c they would scare us WAY too much!). And everyone has different experiences. Mine have ALL been tough babies (but like a couple people said...they have been GREAT toddlers!). I have been stretched in this role more than any other in my life! But the rewards are beautiful, and I know I will someday look back on these days with joy. Little Bennett is so blessed to have you as his mommy, and I promise you will feel like yourself again (hopefully sooner than you think!). Call me anytime you want to cry or laugh (sometimes you just have to do the latter!)"

"Funny how we just can't wait for our babies to be born, and then after they are finally here you sometimes just wish you could put him back in there for a few days!!! It WILL get easier. Just remember to give thanks in ALL circumstances (1 Thes 5:18), remembering that we are so very blessed to have these little gifts entrusted to us even when they ..."


Mama Smors said...

Amber, hang in there and it will get easier (or maybe I should say different)! Being a mommy is constant problem solving. Once you figure out the answer to the first issue another one comes rolling in... that is still the story of my life with an almost 3 year old! Now I am trying to manage a BIG attitude instead of too much spit up or awake time in the middle of the night! Know that all other mommies have been there :) Continue to give it to God, I have to do this daily! Thankfully He (and Ivy) forgives me when I make bad mommy choices!

Us said...

FYI're totally normal.

Carolina said...

Thanks for your transparency! I loved the bible verses too. hope little Bennet comes to a turnaround point soon! :)

katy said...

Girl, I really appreciate this encouraging post in the midst of your trial as a new mom. It is SO HARD being a new mom. In fact, I am still struggling.
I haven't blogged in a while because I am a) too tired, and b) don't want to sugar-coat life right now. Kendra is having a ROUGH TIME. The only thing I could really count on was her sleep and yesterday she only napped 1 hour all day for me, we had a meeting late at church, were up painting until 11:30 last night, Kendra was up from 2-5 in the middle of the night, and I had to get the both of us up today at 7 to go to my 30 week docs appt.
Sometimes I swear the stage Kendra is in is harder than when she was a newborn, but I remember being exhausted back then too. In many ways, I am terrified of what life is going to bring us with a new one in August.
BUT - the Lord promises to be our strength in our weakness, and sometimes all I can do is pray for his strength, patience, energy, self-control all day long.
The good news about the toddler stage is that with the tantrums comes more independence. I try to remind myself how nice it is that Kendra will play in her room by herself for 30 minutes at a time and how much I longed for those days when she was a baby.
I really think that nothing is harder than being a parrent, and God uses our experiences to humble us and remind us why we need him so much! Hang in there, girl! Sorry I just wrote a novel. :)

Brittany said...

Amber, I have no experience with this, but it sounds like you are doing great. It will get better. And, God is going to use this for good - and, already is, in the way you're encouraging others through your blog...and in other ways too, I'm sure. Thanks for writing this - it was encouraging. Love, Brittany

Josh Kleinfeld said...

Thanks for posting this Amber. We dads have days (and nights) like this too. And in those days scriptures like these are comfortingly incisive or incisively comforting...bearing the reminder of God's presence and my deep need.