I am amazed by the response to my post this morning. I really didnt figure anyone would take the time to read it. I have been inundated with facebook comments and emails and texts from women who have been there. Its just so relieving to know and see tangible evidence that you are not alone. So thank you all for being willing to share and open up about your experiences and for committing to prayer for me and my family.
For those of you who know me personally, you know that I have this ridiculous desire to fix everyone and everything. My whole life I have taken on the responsibility of ensuring the well being of everyone else. This trait is both a blessing and a curse. I really do have a genuine heart for caring for others and making sure their needs are met. Thats what makes me a good nurse. But, when someone doesnt want to be fixed, it takes me on a path of worry and anxiety on their behalf. Thats where the curse sets in. It not my job to change people. I am learning, quite painfully I might add, that my job is simply to offer the information, education and tools and then leave that person to make the decision for themselves.
As a young woman I made it my life goal to ensure the stability of my family. I fought tooth and nail with my brother to make sure he behaved. I listened for hour as my mom talked about how unhappy he was with my dad. I took on interests that i knew would please my dad. As my family has crumbled around me, I have suffered greatly, working endlessly and tirelessly to pick up the pieces and try to save any semblance of familiarity. In doing so, I have lost sight of myself. I have exhausted myself. Its not healthy. The doctor told me he suspects the miscarriages to be caused by low progesterone levels from too must stress over a long period of time. I have made myself sick trying to make everyone else happy.
When I was still living at home, things were rough. The fighting was constant, between all the family members. I was torn between trying to hold together that mess and try to build my own life. It damaged me deeply. Very soon after I got married, it crumbled for good. I felt so responsible. If I hadnt left, would this have happened? So much guilt. It consumed me. I spent most of my time trying to micromanage from afar and make sure that everyone was ok. In the midst of that was nursing school and a very physically difficult pregnancy. Both my parents went through a sort of downward spiral. Mom struggled greatly with anxiety and all the unpleasant things that accompany that, dad went into a deep depression and even lived with us for a time. So here I am, new husband, new house, nursing school, working part time, baby on the way, two parents in crisis and two younger brothers still at home, whom I felt very responsible for. I tried and tried to keep things under control. My husband begged me to just forget them all and focus on him and our coming child and our family. The bible says to leave and cleave, he would say. he didnt understand, I couldnt. How can you just turn your back on loved ones? He had no idea how to support me and I was angry at him and hurt because of it. On the surface, we continued to love each other as best we could and just take life a day at a time. Deep down, feelings festered.
Eva came and she was a blessing to all. Such a good baby. She has been a special being since day one. So capable of keeping me grounded with her kind and sweet heart. Eva was a “patch” for a time, everyone focused on the baby and not the circumstances. Darren and I had “fixed” things, we thought. The family situation was still terrible and a daily struggle, but we tried to hide it, for the sake of the baby. But it didnt last long. As the divorce proceeded, the stress grew. I was in the middle. Two parents, two stories and constantly being asked to take a side. Always mediating, although unsuccessfully. Extended family would call all hours of the day looking for the latest gossip or just to vent about the situation. Exhausting. I wasnt happy. I was overwhelmed. I decided I needed another baby. Surely a baby would make things better, like it had before. Levi, his birth was engulfed by the turmoil. So hard to be happy and joyous when there is a battle going on outside the hospital room, when the tension is so high its tangible. Levi was a difficult baby. Sick often. Managing his high level of needs, another child my husband a full time job and my family, too much. I started to work to make some changes. I was determined to get through this, determined to be ok. Things werent good. I struggled. On the surface, all looked good. I was excelling at my job and my career, I was growing a beautiful family, I had a nice home and a husband who loved me. But I wasnt joyful. In an attempt to save my sanity, I pushed out most of the family. I couldnt handle being always in the middle. Always discussing and defending. I put up walls to guard my heart. The family drama followed us to our church, and we no longer felt welcome there. My dad was building a life with his girl friend, my mom was dating and too busy, my brothers distant. My husband had become distant. There I was alone. No one.
I often wondered if everyone would be better off without me. I didnt want to die, but running away sounded pretty nice. I never could leave my kids, but i wondered often, what starting a new life would be like. I felt like I was holding everyone back.
Babies always make Darren and I happy. We love babies. So, we decided to have another. Babies make everything better. While I was pregnant with Emma iI did some serious soul searching, we had found a new church and some support of caring people. Healing had started. I felt happy, I felt like I was picking up the pieces. I was beginning to be excited about things again, I knew when I had Emma, that I wanted and needed more out of life. It was time to take life by the reigns. I quit my full time job and took a part time one so I would be a mostly stay at home mom. The job is hard, but blessed. It really has allowed me time to think, heal and process. I thought I was better. I thought I had let go of the past. Life has been good and I felt as whole as I have in a very long time.
Then the miscarriages happen. After the first, I needed to be held and comforted. Darren was half there, at best. It became very obvious to both of us, that while we remained happy together doing life and raising children, we had completely lost sight of OUR relationship. Long discussions where the past came flooding back, an understanding that God might have taken this child from us because we needed to fix what we had before adding to the chaos. we made a strong effort to re-kindle that love. When we got pregnant again, it seemed like Gods hand was clear in it. We had been trying to prevent pregnancy, per the doctors order but due to some “faulty equipment” we got pregnant anyways. The baby was due in July, just like the other kids. Darren and I were on a good path, It just felt right. I was sure that this time, I was in good standing and deserved this baby. But then we lost it. It left me confused. Why God? I felt like God was teasing me! What lesson am I not learning here God!?! What do I have to DO to deserve this? And then it hit me.
Do. Deserve. I dont deserve any of it. God, doesnt want to be pleased, He wants a relationship with me. I have no idea how that works, I havent had a real relationship with anyone, maybe ever! I have always worked to keep people at arms length so they couldnt hurt me too badly. This is where I try to look for the positives. Gosh its hard today. But, I am choosing to understand how amazingly beautiful grace it. “My Grace is sufficient for you” He says His grace is ENOUGH. Enough…enough…i just let that word resonate. I have always thought I grasped grace. I dont this now, I ever have. Not this clearly. I dont have to DO anything. I dont have to work to be enough. Christ’s gift of salvation is ENOUGH. Im going to have to sit and chew on that for a while. I have spent my whole life trying to be enough. Im not sure how to stop and let go. Just give it up…sounds so easy. I wish it were! But, I am going to make a conscious choice to let go every day. One of the first ways I can do that is to acknowledge the issue, which is what Im attempting to do here. Process and allow change.