I had a grand idea about how it would be to actually become a parent. I believed most things would be easy and that really nothing would make me rethink that decision. I had idealized the idea of being a mom and believed that I really could do it all on my own. What in the world was I thinking? There is no possible way to do it all by myself…well and stay somewhat sane. Parenting is hard. My little boy is 8 months old, and is the most amazing, kind hearted, little squishy cuddle bug you could ever imagine. He brings joy to my life every single day and I absolutely would not change him for one minute. What I would change is the lack of sleep, the worry, the chaos, the debilitating depression and most recently, the contagious illness that he so generously shared with the whole family. Of course, I knew that these things were part of the package, but I assumed it would be easy to breeze through these problems because I loved my baby. I learned early on that in order for me to be the mom that I need to be and the wife that I want to be, I had to ask for help. I had to ask my mom to come stay with us those first weeks because I absolutely needed to get more than 20 minutes of sleep. I had to ask my husband to cook and clean up because I could barely get out of bed. When the postpartum depression, anxiety and paranoia hit me like a freight train, I had to ask everyone for help with everything because I just couldn’t anything anymore. The hardest things for me in my parenting journey so far have been giving up control, changing my supermom expectations and asking for help for everything. There have been days when the only thing I could do was lay on the couch and nurse and change my son. Even that required energy that I didn’t have, but I did that much.
One thing about me is that I hate accepting help because I don’t want anyone to think that I am weak, or worse, just lazy. When the postpartum depression kicked in and then worsened even with treatment and I asked for help, people were suspicious because they couldn’t “see” anything wrong with me. This is why I don’t often ask for help. I have an autoimmune disorder that creates disabling pain and exhaustion. The things that debilitate and disable me are not visible to the outside viewer, so most people don’t believe that there is anything wrong with you. People like to tell you to just “snap out of it,” or my favorite, “go exercise, that’s all you need.” That disorder coupled with the depression more or less rendered me non-functioning. I had no other healthy choice but to ask for help. Fortunately for me, there were many people who are able to come alongside me and help when I have nothing left to give.
There are so many aspects of parenting that makes it the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. But in all reality, being a parent is the absolutely most important thing I will ever do as well. It is my and my husband’s job to raise a child who is kind, loving, wise and full of Christ’s love. That in and of itself is a daunting task. But when you add that we are newly married, had a devastating house fire when our baby was 3 months old, and we are both imperfect human beings, that task requires so much more. Parenting requires humility, grace, and being in a constant state of willingness to learn and grow when you screw up. Because you will make mistakes. But when you build your foundation on Christ, and you keep seeking Him in every aspect of your parenting decisions, grace and mercy are abundant. Parenting may be hard, but doing it with my husband and with both of us accepting help and providing grace to each other, parenting will be the most rewarding thing we ever do.