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When Reality Overwhelms


Yes, I’m still here!

I think of writing a blog post every day. I have ideas and creative bursts of what I want to write about. I have mounds of pictures stocked up on my phone and on my computer from the past two months, since I last posted. I have content beyond belief. Halloween, trips to the beach and mountains, pregnancy updates, toddler updates, Thanksgiving, gender reveal of our baby, teething, play dates, Christmas and the list goes on…

I feel guilty and somewhat a failure that I haven’t posted in forever. I want to and I miss it.

But a few words define my reality in the past few months:

Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Burned out.

Not that I am not thankful or filled with gratitude and praise for all the blessings we have had in the last few months of 2016. But I have had a lot of difficulty just keeping up with…everything. Trying to meet my expectations and standards of wife and mother, especially in light of our growing family, has been hard. And totally unnecessary. I know there is a breaking point where Mom’s – stay at home and working alike – just need to let go and not let standards and expectations get to them. I’m working on that. The reality shift of being a stay at home mom and not just putting a career and autonomy on hold – but basically sacrificing any moment of privacy, alone time or independence – was amplified knowing I would have two babies to juggle, and one is already a very demanding toddler, and one will be a completely dependent on infant. And Mom will be the the common denominator in the equation, whether or not she is tired or spent.

It has just been a hard reality to wrap my mind around. Especially with hormone influxes, pregnancy brain, mood swings, and just the general intensity of the pregnancy experience. 

So while my precious blog had to take its place on the back burner, there were other areas that I felt needed my attention in the meantime (Not in any order):

1) My Marriage. I have a great partner and a great marriage. But there are areas that I know both of us can improve. Especially moving into this new stage of our growing family. I am a perfectionist especially when it comes to my relationships. I always feel like we can always perform better and improve on things. I began to worry about the quality of our time spent together and how we are going to maintain our relationship and intimate bonds once we double our family. I attended a marriage panel a few months back during my Mom2Mom weekly Bible Study, and one thing struck me so strongly: the need to pray for my husband. One of the husbands on the panel emphasized how much they (husbands) need their wives’ prayers. I realized I was worrying too much about things I couldn’t handle and not spending enough time on my knees before God, praying for our marriage and my husband. So I have spent a lot of free time in the past two months, praying for John and for our marriage. And God is good, and He has shown His faithfulness beyond measure. Our marriage has strengthened in this time, and every minute spent in meditation and prayer has been worth it.

2) Managing Pregnancy Blues. I was honestly worried for awhile that I was experiencing a depression during pregnancy. It was scary because I didn’t have that with my first. But the factors present during this pregnancy were not issues in the first. I didn’t feel a deep depression, but I definitely felt the  buzz of anxiety and blues constant in the background. I felt on the verge of tears and edge and totally burned out. I felt guilt toward my toddler, that I wasn’t myself and not able to give him my all – my energy, my milk, my physical ability to run around and roll around – because of pregnancy. And I felt guilty for my baby in my belly because I couldn’t give the detailed attention and care I gave my son during my first pregnancy. I just didn’t feel like I was “enough” I felt inadequate, ugly, and enormous. I felt worry for my marriage, and I felt worry for my sanity. I spoke to my midwife about it at my last prenatal check up, and just voicing it alone and making it real, made me feel better. My husband was sensitive to my feelings and supported me through. And while I didn’t share it with many friends, I do feel like the support and village of friends and moms alike, was enough to help uplift my spirits. I am feeling better these days, but it is definitely a point that I need to keep my eye on.

3) Self-Care, Alone time, Girl Time. In relation to pregnancy blues, my husband and I both agreed that I needed more of the above. I started back at a prenatal power yoga class and it felt so good to have that space to practice yoga again. John encouraged me to also take advantage of our YMCA family membership and just take time for myself every day while the childcare takes care of John Fredrick. He is doing so well now playing on his own and making friends during child care that I don’t have to worry. But the guilt sets in when I leave him for 1.5 hours a day. Is this a common SAHM thing?? And finally some girl time, working on friendships I have been building here, has been so fruitful. I am so, so, SO thankful for the women I know here and whose hearts have been open to friendship with me. 

4) Exercise. Part of self care but still a point to be made on its own. Regular exercise has been so important to me for the past 10 years. I can’t go more than 3 days without doing some sort of form of physical exercise. I have needed to obviously shift my perception and goals of exercise during this time, but I try to make a point to get to the gym 2-3 times a week in addition to yoga and leisurely walks.

5) Prayer, studying the Bible and meditating on God’s purpose and calling. This is the hardest one. And inarguably the most important one. Submitting to God and asking for His direction should always come first. I’m working on this. He knows my heart and I fail every day. But throughout it all, He is also my peace. The only source of peace. And I can only know that and discover that more by studying His Word and getting to know him.

These were just a few things happening in the past few months. I am not good at juggling a million things at a time and I know the Lord knows that. I need to focus on certain aspects in concentrated bursts in order to feel balanced. I need simplicity and minimalism. I need and want to focus on my family and my relationships and my health. As much as I love my blog and getting back to writing, I just felt too overwhelmed. I needed space. I always think of how in prenatal yoga, the teacher emphasizes that we can still do so many poses and movements as long as we allow ample space for our bellies and our babies, which in turn may limit or restrict our movements and ability, in the traditional sense. It truly resonates with me. This is a season of slowing down and making space for what is needed and necessary. And eliminating what is taking up too much space or causing my movements to be hazardous to my health and wellbeing. I have been making space for me, for my health, for my faith, for my husband, my son, my daughter, my family.

So while I am sorry to not have been updating much in the past few months, it was not for lack of trying, effort or passion. It was for necessary adjustments both in my heart and in my mind. And I think I might be ready to get back on track. 

Thanks for listening. Even through radio silence. 

xx

Jill

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