Dear Momma In The Mirror

miror

Dear Momma In The Mirror,

I see you. I see you sizing yourself up against others and yourself  before you brought a human into this world.
I see you poking and prodding a padded body that doesn’t resemble your former self. I see you eyeing stretched places and sagging parts that you thought you’d never have. I know you’re puzzling over them, crying over them and finding ways to hide.
I know the magazines and old clothes speak lies that you have let yourself go. That because you haven’t bounced back in “x” amount of days/weeks you are forever destined to be ugly.
I know you fear the worst. That this strange body of yours that no longer has a cute bump that gave you accolades and an excuse to look a certain way will warrant judgement and rejection from those that love you. From strangers. From yourself. The lie is what if I’m no longer beautiful?
I know it cringes at seeing photographs of yourself and stepping on scales at doctors offices. How did this happen? You know how it happened but it still hurts for some reason. I know you feel ashamed.
Your eyes judge as you pass every reflecting surface and you scramble to hide the changed parts every time you dress.
You see only what was lost or what you lack.
But, what about seeing you though what you have?
You have a body that housed another life and brought it into this world. Those widened hips are curvy, feminine. The softness that is left is perfect for a tiny life to snuggle into. Your body feeds this little life. Your arms are strong from rocking, carrying, snuggling and holding. Your body is stretched like the heart that expanded a thousand times to house the love of a tiny person. Each mark a battle scar. Perhaps a scar lays across your abdomen. You are marked, forever because of another life. Your body sacrificed for another miracle. Another life. Another person.  It’s love. Raw love symbolized in the undergone changes.
So momma, when you see those things that hurt your heart remember they are there because you gave another life.
The truth is you are beautiful. You let yourself love, grow and change. You have grown and changed as you stepped into a new role. Your body is amazing. It made life. Gives life. Each mark, roll, softness and sag is a reminder of this.
After all, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are more than a pant size, a number on a scale, and a figure the world says you have to have.
You are healthy, strong. You are a mom.
Love,
The beautiful Momma you really are

Conquering My Nerves Around a C-Section

***Today is the day we have a scheduled C-Section. It’s at 12:30 MST. If you feel so inclined, we would love your prayers. We appreciate you and can’t wait to introduce her to you. I have a few things scheduled the next week or two to celebrate her and when I am well enough I will hop on and share all kinds of pictures and of course the name 🙂 Thanks for being patient while we get to know our little person and adjust to being a family of three.C-Section
Since scheduling a c-section for our little peanut’s arrival, I have been a somewhat an emotional wreck. It’s a major surgery and it completely wigs me out. I know, I know, it happens everyday (ha! and I having one as you read this). But as my awesome OB says, you don’t know how you are going to react to it so it’s normal for the nerves to be there. Quite frankly, bringing another human being into the world is going to make you nervous. Your body is going through something huge, and there is another person affected by the whole thing to. One you love before you have even seen them face to face. It’s completely normal to feel nervous, anxious and kinda freaked out by the whole thing.
I have managed the experience of my emotions in a couple of ways.
First, I have let myself feel what I feel any given moment without guilt or shame. If I feel upset, disappointed, nervous or just plain scared I take note of it. I feel it. I am not good at suppressing emotion. I don’t particularly think it’s healthy or helpful. I have friends who are able to be extremely optimistic. Perhaps they are able to deal with their emotions in a different way, but I have to acknowledge the emotion, process it either in writing or verbally and then let the emotion pass.
Second, I have processed these emotions and the roots of them with trusted people. God has majorly provided me with an awesome support system in general. Different people have walked different parts of my journey in different ways with me. He did not make us to do things alone. Community is so important and needed and there is a reason we are called to community and are made to be known. I am so thankful for people who have been there, who understand the many emotions that come with giving birth via c-section and understand the importance of just listening. I have come to peace with giving birth via c-section largely because of God’s provision of people in just the right moments who have been patient enough to just hear my fears out.
Third, I have a counselor who has helped me resource for the day itself. I am a HUGE believer in counseling. It’s something that has radically changed my life and something I know will be a part of my life on and off probably for all of my life. I think everyone should have a counselor in their lifetime. There is something sacred about the counseling space where you can be laid bare to a certain degree and heal. Truly, God is the ultimate Counselor and I am very aware the ways that he moves through my sessions and does the work. The counselor is truly a vessel of his healing when done right.
My counselor does a technique called EMDR for processing trauma. If you are stuck in a “loop” of trauma, meaning that you cannot move through the emotion or experience of something, there is a technique that integrates your experiences and stores them in your brain properly. I have found major major healing/success in pursuing EMDR. (more on that in a later post). Now you aren’t supposed to do EMDR when pregnant unless it’s approved by a doctor. Mostly because you don’t want to have trauma responses when pregnant. You want to keep your body and system as calm as possible for baby. But you can do a certain type of EMDR called positive templating without risking baby experiencing a trauma response. With the okay from my doctor, I found this experience very very helpful. Positive templating is all about walking through the day and processing how it could go, how you want it to go, and how you would respond to things that are unexpected. What I find sacred about these spaces is how God meets me in them. When I did EMDR last week, our Heavenly Father showed me how he is with me and will be with me through the whole surgery. He was very tangible, showing me the ways he has prepared and provided through staff at the hospital, the team of doctors performing the surgery, and then just his actual presence. He also comforted me in my pain and loss of the birth I had expected. I was able to see that much of my panic was coming from a fear that he wouldn’t be there with me. I know that sounds absurd, but I think when you are responding to something with previous experiences where you felt abandoned and rejected (no matter if that isn’t the case) it’s easy to in the depths of your heart fear that you are doing it all alone and that somehow God won’t be in the midst of it with you. To experience the Holy Spirit reminding you that he is in fact always with you and showing you that he will be there is very comforting.
Fourth, prayer has played a huge role. I had a sweet prayer session with some people who are dear to my heart. It was funny because the day before she called me up to pray with me, God told me that I needed to pray with this particular person. So had she not beat me to the punch, I would have reached out to her. The prayer session addressed so many of the things that I needed to remember are true. One of these things was the reality that God’s plan for a baby to come into the world is always the best plan. It’s easy to feel like this is the second best plan. But if she arrives via C-section, this is his best. There is almost an idol of natural child birth in my generation, especially living in Colorado, where there is a high value of all natural everything. While natural (as God created things are good) he also moves through so many things. He created a c-section that has saved countless women and babies lives. Remembering that He is in this and that this isn’t a rejection of me or a personal failure was hugely important. Another thing we prayed about was walking in the freedom of Christ and that she reminded me that fear isn’t my inheritance. She got this beautiful picture that I am learning how to walk through valley’s where darkness seems to be all around, but that I am actually clothed in victory. I can be confident in Christ no matter how over my head I feel, and he will be with me. The work on the cross has happened. It is finished and now I can walk fully in what he has done.
Finally, renewing my mind in scripture has also been very important. I need to remember what God says is true. This morning I was reading in the Psalms. I found a great deal of comfort in a a few particular verses. I will be repeating these to myself during surgery. “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”  Psalm 34:4-5. He has delivered me from all my fears. He is lifting my head and holding my heart reminding me that he is for me; even in things that are hard, unexpected, disappointing and scary.I have nothing to be ashamed of.
He is bringing new life into the world. It’s worth celebrating!

When God Surprises You

Early on in my pregnancy, I was grieving over not having a traditional nursery for our daughter to come home to. My parents basement is a huge blessing, but doesn’t have a second bedroom to turn into a nursery. She will be sleeping in our room in some sort of bed for the duration that we live with them. Even though I know she won’t know the difference, I was struggling with this cultural expectation as desire that was going to be unmet. This was directly connected to being in a season where things were not going according to plan and that I had always dreamed that we would have a place of our own when we would reach the milestone of adding to our family. Somewhere along the way I had adapted the cultural idea that the correct progression of life stages went along the lines of graduating college, going to graduate school, getting married, having an awesome career, buying a house and then starting a family. Let’s just say that this “model” of living was shattered and I came face to face with the reality that life is a lot more complex. Life actually doesn’t look like Pinterest, and doesn’t have to in order to be beautiful. Also, God doesn’t really work in models. He is creative and committed to cultivating character in us that often comes through enduring seasons that are far from our expectation.
I allowed myself to grieve this, however, because I knew that without stepping into the reality that things were not what I wanted or expected, bitterness could grow towards my Heavenly Father who knows best.
For a while, my grieving looked like avoiding stores where baby bedding, cribs and adorable nursery decor was sold. I didn’t participate in pregnancy forums where they were discussing how their nursery was coming together. Instead I researched pack n’ plays and looked into alternative bed options.
One day in one of my therapeutic mall wanderings (where I go to the mall alone and just look at things and enjoy a simple cup of coffee and check out the latest fashion and things but buy nothing), I ventured into Pottery Barn Kids. The expensive mecca of children’s nursery goods was filled with the latest things to beautify a space and I just let myself dream. I found this adorable set that I let myself love for a moment, and pondered what it would look like in a space my husband and I created. I decided that when we had our own place I would come back and pick cute things out for her, no matter how old she was. I would give her a nursery in his timing. Even if it was a year after she was born or longer. My heart whispered to God, I love this, but it’s not important for me to have for her arrival or even ever. But I do love it. I told him and then walked out before the tears started to flow. I cried on my way home letting the grief flow out that I couldn’t give her a room, but I could give her arms that would hold her and promised to love her no matter how many things we had.
I never told anyone about this set. Not even my husband. It seemed frivolous and inconsequential given our circumstances. Truthfully, I let it go and set about preparing for her to come in other ways. The occasional times I found myself in the mall again I would venture in and look at it and dream and then walk out and let it go again.
One day, my sister texted me a craigslist find. I call her the craigslist queen because the girl can find a deal like no one else. I am not particularly good at bargain hunting, something I could really learn from her. I haven’t cultivated the patience of combing through pages of used things that people are selling to find a treasure. My sister had been looking for a pack n’ play for me but recently had planted the idea of putting a crib in our room. She found a $75 crib on craigslist that was adorable. It needed to be refinished but really was in fairly good condition. I hadn’t pulled the trigger because I couldn’t wrap my brain around buying bedding for it. I opened the link she had sent me and discovered it was the very set that I had fallen in love with at Pottery Barn Kids. The entire set (normally around $300) for $40. It looked like it was in good condition, and had everything except for a bed skirt. I couldn’t believe it. I told her to see if it was still available and when she said it was, I cried.
We could afford it and it was my hearts desire and no one knew expect God. He had made it happen unbeknownst to the person selling it, and my sister finding it and picking it up. She picked up the crib for us as well and in a matter of three days we had a complete bed set with the bedding my heart had longed for.He surprised me with something that I had deemed impossible because he knew it would delight me.
Recently, my mom refinished the crib and helped me set it up in our room. We have an alcove that was meant to be a closet and the crib fits perfectly inside. I am delighted. I look at it still marveling at his provision. We turned half of our room into a nursery space, while the other half remains ours.
Baby Girl's Crib
I am completely in awe of how God took something that seemed impossible and honestly unnecessary and made it happen. It’s just a testimony of his goodness, his kindness and his love. He sees us. Even the desires we think are worth overlooking.
He really is the God Who Sees.
I’d love to hear your story of how God has surprised you recently.