State of Affairs

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Some of my days go like this: I wake up and have time to fix my hair. I'm not thinking about the next time I'll get to sleep while walking downstairs. I accomplish things during the day. I clean up the kitchen after breakfast, start dinner before Christian gets home, and throw diapers away in the trash can. I start loads of laundry. I make plans about exercising again someday, maybe. I'm patient with my children and listen when they talk to me. I give reasonable consequences and make interesting lunches. We play games. We laugh together. We go on outings to the library and Target. I enjoy their lingering babyhood. These are the good days.

On the bad days, I feel like I'm moving under water. I'm moving in slow motion and I struggle to catch up to reality. My children are blurs of movement, and when they talk to me it takes three or four repetitions before I understand what they're saying. I get frustrated easily, I yell, I feel guilty and end up crying in a corner of the kitchen, or in the bathroom, or just on the couch with my hands over my face. I check Instagram constantly in an attempt to connect with other adults, but the happy moments of other people's lives hit me too hard, like sunlight in the eyes of someone walking out of a dark room. The TV stays on all day and I accomplish nothing. I see tasks that need doing around the house and feel unable to do anything about them. When Christian comes home, I ask him what his plan is for dinner and ask to take a nap.

There's no pattern to when the bad days happen. Sometimes the trigger is clear: a night full of nursing Leo and empty of sleep, a fight with Christian or with my mom, a headache that refuses to go away. Really, I think the culprit is just boring old postpartum depression. I've come to realize over the past few months that mild depression is a familiar condition; it's come before when I've moved to a new town for college, or when my life takes a turn I didn't expect, or when I haven't been able to get pregnant, or when I have more babies than my brain can handle. I've talked to my husband and my doctor and my bishop, and we're working on it.

Most of the time, I enjoy my life. I enjoy spending time at home with my family. I love my family like crazy, and most of the time, most of my frustration and hard feelings are normal, and just stem from parenting three intense toddlers and a baby all day. I guess what I'm saying is, postpartum depression isn't the worst thing in the world.

Things will get easier. Time will pass, my children will grow older, my day-to-day workload will decrease and I will finally have time to accomplish all of the everything I dream about now. And yet... I can't type those words without wanting to cry. "These are the glory days," my in-laws keep telling me. "These are the days you'll look back on and say, those were the days." And I can feel it. I can feel it, and feel the passage of time fighting against these moments we have together almost tangibly. I see it in the length of their fingernails, and the budding freckles on their cheeks, and their laughs, and their words, and their faces.

I know none of these feelings are anything new. In fact, this entire post reminds me of this {much better} one. But just in case anyone was wondering, I'm still here, feeling all the feelings and changing all the diapers.


Here Comes Another One

You may have heard, our little baby Leo was born seven and a half weeks ago. He is gorgeous and sweet and growing fatter every day.

This pregnancy was a tough one for me. It wasn't as difficult physically as my first {although I did end up going to physical therapy for both shoulder and back pain - it turns out being pregnant for almost three years straight will mess your body up}, but emotionally I couldn't deal. The whole time I felt either exhausted or defeated or just incredibly stressed because of everything I couldn't get done.

When I went past my due date I thought I would explode with frustration. And the more short-tempered I was with my family, the more inadequate I felt. WHY, I said to myself, was I being given another baby when I couldn't even take care of the ones I already had?

I did experience a few golden moments while I was pregnant with Leo, when Christian was playing with our children and they were all laughing hysterically, and I could see past the haze of my own discomfort and it would come to me: this is why Leo wants to join our family. He wants to be a part of this.

I went eight days past my due date before I was induced. I delivered Leo without an epidural as a test of my own strength, to prove to myself that I could. If you were wondering why I look exhausted in the pictures above, that's why. I was so tired I couldn't even open my eyes to look at him when the nurse placed him in my arms. I was shaking with shock and pain, and I could only just hold onto him.

Since Leo's birth, life has been incredible. Not all aspects, not always {trying to get enough food and sleep is an uphill battle, my older kids watch TV all day, and none of my clothes fit}, but having him here brings peace to my heart. I don't know if our family is complete, but whatever hunger that's been pushing me to have ALL THE BABIES is gone. I feel like I've finished running a marathon and I'm now allowed to rest {metaphorically, I mean} and focus on raising these four. It's good. It's a good feeling.

P.S. Read about when Maggie and Max were born, when they were in the hospital, here are a couple posts from when Lucy was born, and here is her birth story.