I’ll be honest. Yesterday was tough! It was the first time since giving birth to my 19-day-old that I cried.
Up until two days ago, I had been feeling good. Tired but not extreme exhaustion. Holding a contented newborn. Maintaining a decently clean house. Keeping abreast of business stuff. Generally doing well with recovery and life.
Yesterday it came crashing around me. It’s not that anything was horribly major — like someone dying or a terminal illness or a house burning down. It was all those “little” things that add up and when you are exhausted, make you feel like nothing is going right.
I get about 5 1/2 hours of sleep at most per night. I know some can survive with that few hours of sleep, but I start to feel like a zombie or overly emotional after awhile if I am not getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night. We know how it goes with a newborn, sleep just doesn’t happen much — especially when you have four other children too.
With three of them in school, I have to awaken them at 6:30 a.m. and help them madly scramble to dress, eat, pack their lunch boxes in the backpacks, find gloves and hats (always by their back packs), take vitamins, pray with them, and then send them on their way with hugs and kisses by 7:00 a.m. In the mad scramble, the boys often are too noisy and to my horror — yes horror, manage to awaken their 2-year-old sister at 6:30 a.m. also. That means that Mommy’s day has begun — whether ready or not. Of course, there is a newborn to be fed every two hours in there, and the feeding takes 30-45 minutes total. This also involves a partial outfit change as the poor little guy spits up a lot.
So, I begin my day with sleep deprivation which means everything is “amplified” — the stresses and hopefully the joys too.
Did I also mention that my two-year-old has decided that naps are a thing of the past?
On top of that, I had to spend my day talking with banks, auto mechanics, sales’ representatives, the hospital where I gave birth, the Social Security office, health insurance representatives, doctors, etc… Why all of this?
Because… our van is in the shop — thanks to a bad repair job that should have cost us around $100 but is now going to cost us at least $2000! As a result, I’ve been without a vehicle for a week, and it will be another half a week ’til I have a vehicle again.
My husband and I had lots of decisions, research, and phone calls to make to decide on whether or not we wanted to invest more money into a high mileage vehicle or take our losses. We had to consider what type of vehicle we would buy in its place and how we would pay for it. So many decisions and many phone calls and research!
No vehicle means I am house-bound and have been for weeks. Thankfully, my sister and mom have been available to pick my Kindergartner from school, or we would be in trouble.
Then, there are all the insurance issues. My husband changed jobs — a good thing — less than a month from Baby’s due date. The new insurance plan offered would have meant we would have had to pay completely for the cost of the birth so we elected to go with Cobra, our only other option available at the time. I did more research and found that once Baby was born, we could then switch to a cheaper plan. I’ll spare you the details, but to get the best deal, it meant we had to go with Cobra for October, my husband’s new insurance plan for November, and then I needed to apply for a third plan for December, that we hope to keep ’til the following December. All these insurance changes meant time — time with a capital “T”! I had to call doctor’s offices to get information. I had to keep reentering information on our online application as it wouldn’t save prior information. Lots of time involved! I had to submit applications for Cobra and make more phone calls. I haven’t even gotten to resubmitting bills yet. That will come.
Then, there is the issue with our newborn’s birth certificate and social security card. They have the wrong name. So, I had to call the hospital, fill out paperwork, resubmit the form for a corrected birth certificate, try to reach the Social Security office to no avail, and now we have to wait for the new certificate before applying for a new social security card.
Of course, Christmas is fast approaching. This is a season and holiday I love, but it means more work. I have Christmas gifts to make and order, letters to write, and shopping to do. This is not meant to be a burden, but add it with everything else, and I started to feel overwhelmed.
Boring you yet? Probably an under-statement…
Yesterday when I started to cry, it wasn’t because of all of the previously mentioned challenges. It was because my baby wasn’t acting like his usually contented self. He would cry from hunger, I would attempt to nurse him, and he would turn up his nose at me. There is nothing like holding her own crying and unhappy baby that will more quickly reduce a mother to tears. I couldn’t satisfy him at the moment and help him, and that was “ripping my heart out.”
Thankfully, in the midst of my exhaustion and emotional stress, I remembered the necessity of prayer and began to pray for God to help my baby and I. I attempted to nurse him again, and that time, he began to suck. I still held him with tears rolling down my cheeks, but I didn’t feel like such a huge failure afterall. There is something about when you breastfeed your baby that makes you particularly vulnerable to a sense of success or failure, based on how your child takes to breastfeeding. This, of course, isn’t true; but somehow, it feels like it.
That evening, I also needed/wanted to finish the week’s Bible study on the life of David, directed by the Beth Moore devotionals. I didn’t know if I would be able to meet with the other ladies the following day, but I wanted to stay on schedule. As I began to read more of the lessons, I began to “hear” what God was trying to teach me through His Word. It’s amazing how the Lord always brings exactly into our lives what we need to hear and when we need to hear it! His timing is perfect!
I began to be reminded by reading David’s life story how God had time and time again shown a desire to be loved, to reveal the immeasurable greatness of His own love, and to have a close, intimate friendship with David. I was then reminded of the many ways that God has worked in my own life and the truth of Who He is. I was reminded to praise God for Who He is and what He is doing! This was such a good reminder for me — something I needed to read that very day. I was feeling so tired, so completely worn out, and overwhelmed. God reminded me of how much He loves me and of how He has and is working on my behalf!
I may be a sleep-deprived Mommy of five. My house may not be perfect. My vehicle may not be running and may empty a good portion of our savings to fix it. Christmas gifts may not be timely this year. One thing I do know is that I am loved, protected, and desired by a God Who is Merciful, Gracious, Just, and Loving! I can and will survive, and I can do it even victoriously!