Oct 4, 2018 | Shez
Let’s be honest. We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Having 3 kids in less than 4 years. It sounds like fun… like,
“Woah that could get a little crazy for a while but what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
We could lose our freaking minds, that’s what could happen.
I’m not talking like,
“Ohhhh man that was a bad day. Here’s to hoping tomorrow’s a better one!”
I’m talking like, sobbing in the shower because you literally haven’t slept in 3 years. Sleep deprivation, they say, can be methodically used as torture. Yes. Absolutely. I totally get that. It can break your heart and mind in ways that nothing else could.
You’re totally coping, everyone’s fed, there’s clean clothes in the drawers (win!), the kids are happy, the baby smiles every time someone looks at him, the fridge is full, you’re managing to speak kindly to your kids and your husband most of the time. You’re thinking about everyone’s wellbeing and being super intentional to be the best mother/wife/sister/daughter/friend you can be. It’s fine – I’ve totally got this. I can do it.
Then everyone gets conjunctivitis and sinusitis. The 6 month old baby’s up every hour again instead of every 2 hours and now he can’t go to sleep without being held or holding your hand.
Aaaaaaand I’m out.
Post-baby adrenaline tank hits empty and it’s like the whole world goes dark. Like I’ve literally lost myself into a thick, black, despair. Almost overnight.
Can we just take a moment y’all, and talk about how freaking hard this parenthood gig is? Far OUT. We get given these precious little treasures to hold and nurture and call our own and in the midst of that mind-blowing gift, somehow we find ourselves in these moments of utter despair thinking things like “I just want to be alone for 10 years”.
Some days there’s something absolutely terrifying about being a primary carer to 3 small humans. This mama’s introvert goes deep and the concept of being on call pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year in, year out, is just mind boggling. Minus a couple of hours at a cafe, grocery shopping, or having a nap, thanks to my amazing husband who is always there to lovingly pick up the pieces.
I have a vivid memory of sitting on the front lawn with Ross when I was 36 weeks pregnant with our first child. I got teary, expressing how scared I felt when I thought about a small human needing and asking more of me than I could give. Let’s just say I’m grateful I had no idea how real this would become to me in my everyday life just 4 years later.
And yet everyone says,
“Cherish it – it’ll be gone in the blink of an eye”.
Yeah. I know. Just to add some guilt to the mix so that I know how much I will look back and regret not treasuring the joy of my precious small children.
How do we do this guys? How do we be those amazing, super-human joy-filled, invincible parents that we dream to be? How do we get through these dark days without growing sad and hopeless roots deep into our souls?
When our #3 baby was born, we got a verse from James 1. In a very reluctant (and pretty devastating) kind of way, we knew it would be the theme of our next chapter.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete. Needing nothing.”
It was kind of bitter-sweet realizing that this passage would sum up our new season with 3 small kids. It wasn’t just going to be troubles. It was going to be long, drawn-out, marathon kind of troubles. We knew there was no sprinting through this one.
Our 2nd baby girl needed surgery for a life-threatening airway disorder at 11 weeks of age. We hoped and prayed that we had closed the door on that experience and would have a “normal” 3rd baby to heal the wounds.
It was a deep grief to come to terms with a 2-week old little boy having the same airway disorder. Tears and tears and tears I tell ya.
Why? Why? Why? I asked the Lord.
James 1:2. That’s why. That was the answer I got. Oh man.
Sometimes I feel like it’s almost easier not to get an answer… when the answer is “It’s time for the long hard slog of difficulty, to really see what you’re really made of, to try out all your new theology and see how it fits. To become mature.”
Thanks James. Thanks a lot.
Despite the risks, surgery with Eden was an easy out in a strange kind of way, within weeks we were free from the turmoil of our baby girl struggling for breath and health. That season was breaking the fear of suffering. This season? Apparently breaking the fear of long-suffering (or at least long-er suffering).
6 months down that track and we’re still pushing forward, still battling bad feeding/sleeping/breathing/reflux, but no surgery yet – and unlikely to need it, thanks be to our good God. We have good days and bad days. Days where we’ve got this, this is good. These kids light up our days and our hearts. They love each other. They’re healthy and happy, making this world a better place and enjoying the ride as they go.
Other days, not so bright. And I’m learning how important those days are. The deep, dark valleys…where our God stays the same. Where even in those shadows we fear that no evil will overcome us. No darkness will be too dark to snuff out the light in our souls.
Even though I may wonder,
“Will I make it today? Will I make it through this sleepless night? Will my child become their best in my care? Am I really sufficient for this job?”
And the answer is surprisingly always yes. Sometimes not in the way that I want. Or the way I hoped it would be. But it’s still yes.
To the mum out there who can’t remember the last full, restful sleep she had…
To the mum who isn’t sure the dark cloud will ever lift…
To the mum who doesn’t know how to hope for change, or respite, or freedom from being needed all the time…
From me to you – well done mama. You are doing an incredible world-changing job of loving humans at the cost of your own life. You’re being the very hands and feet of Jesus mostly without even knowing it. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to do all the things (you know what I’m talking about, cloth nappies, organic fruit, essential oils, making raw cacao snacks for your family, hey – even cooking dinner).
All the things are good, but only at the right time, and only when you’ve found your feet. So give yourself a break.
Until then, let’s hang in there and see how many times we can laugh with our kids this day. Let’s make ourselves a sticker chart and put up a sticker for every time we choose to show up and not to give up.
Let’s do this.