Struggles of Growing a Family

Trying for a baby is hard. Well, it can be especially when it does not come as soon as you hope. I am not complaining. I know there are people out there who have a whole lot harder time then we do or harder time then we can have and some who can’t at all.

I am happy for all my friends that are having babies but those emotions I had the first time around of not getting pregnant are starting to sneak up on me again. The first was exactly 2 years after we started trying when we found out we were having a baby. I don’t know why the child took so long to come. During those two years, Mother’s Day was awful, I hated it. It was just another reminder that I wanted a child and it was not coming. Going to church and getting that gift was hard. Yeah, I was a woman and a wife but it reminded me I had no child. Every time someone asked “When you guys going to have kids?”  I wanted to go find a hole and hide. For awhile, I tried to avoid people I liked to talk to because I did not know how to answer the Daunting question, “when you going to have kids?” I finally came up with an answer “All in the Lord’s time,” or “When the Lord says it’s time.” It was the only way I knew how to say we trying, it is not happening; it’s hard to talk about but at the same time being polite. There was a time that every time I saw someone pregnant or heard that they were having a baby, I wanted to be happy for them but it would take me time. I had to and still do sometimes talk to myself and say that’s so nice for them. I bet they are excited. One of these days it will happen, just trust the Lord.  I longed for a child, month after month and test after test. After a year we started testing to see why we had no luck. The tests lead to nowhere. We ended up slowing down the tests because of the stress of a clinical and finals. In the middle of testing and the start of my last semester of nursing school, exactly two years after we started trying, we finally had the good news of our First baby coming.

We got pregnant with our second child about 8 months after we had our first and that caused a whole set of other emotional feelings for me. I was not ready to be pregnant again and felt I had just barely recovered from my c-section with the first child. Looking back I wish I would have been happier about getting pregnant so easily. I was trying so hard to be happy but it took a couple months, or felt like months it was probably just weeks or days, before I was excited about being pregnant again. I love my 2nd child; I was just so worried about not being able to have a VBAC.  This was the biggest reason I was not ready to be pregnant again. Having a VBAC was important to me. With the first, we fought really hard not to have a c-section but it happened in the end and was the right choice in the end with our first child. (You can read more about my birth stories here.) I was afraid I would not find a doctor that would let me do a VBAC the odds were against me to have a VBAC. Instead of 18months after the c-sections I was only 8 months and the way the first came I knew doctors would tell me that they didn’t think I could have a VBAC. My first doctor told me this right after I had my first child. I realize now, with the area I am in, that I needed that 2nd  birth to come quickly to give me a fighting chance of having a VBAC for the rest of my children’s births. I had the right home birth midwife that helped me understand what I needed to do better to get that VBAC. I know my Heavenly Father knew what was going to happen in our life and blessed us with our 2nd  child quickly, to give us that chance.

Now trying for a third is taking longer than we had hoped. It has been almost a year and nothing. However, this time around instead of just longing for another child and the deep sadness that can come over me. I start to beat myself up over feeling so bad about getting pregnant so quickly with the 2nd child. So I have the longing for a child and feeling upset because yet again it is taking a long time and then what enters my head is you should have been happy the 2nd came fast. You should have trusted Heavenly Father more and not been so upset. You should not be so hard on yourself and learn to go with the flow better. This statement usually brings me back around to realizing that it will be ok. I know it will happen in the Lord’s time and all will be ok. My fears of what care provider to choose will be answered when I need them too. As my husband and I talk we will figure out if a home birth or going back to the hospital will be the best choice. Hospital scare me all those protocols that could get in the way of having another successful VBAC. A homebirth worries me because I am now about 30 min from a hospital with labor and delivery unit instead of the comfortable 10min, if something goes wrong. I know that with the right midwife we should have plenty of time to get there and that homebirth’s are usually safer than a hospital but the what if scares me. I may have to do some fighting to get another VBAC again but I guess that is why heavenly Father blessed me with a strong personality. It may be harder for us to get pregnant, but I know now that it will happen when it is supposed to. I may not know why it is so hard, at times, for us to have a baby but I do know I will trust in the Lord’s timing and trust in him no matter what happens. That is one thing I have learned about having kids, they come in their own time and in their own way. Sometimes these emotions sneak up on me but I know now to try and focus on the positive. I have two beautiful children so far and the rest will come when they are supposed to and how they are supposed to come. I should feel lucky. So just be patient, kids don’t always come when we think they should or how we think they should. If we would have had my first right away then I would have been in the middle of nursing school and instead I had her after I graduated. This worked out better, since I had a c-section, got an infection around my incision and it took awhile for me to get all my strength back. I know I need to thank my Heavenly Father more and not focus on the negative.

Thank you, for my kids, my life and my family. Thank you.

It may be hard for me at times to get pregnant but at least I can and I need to focus on being the mother I should be and love the children I have. I need to trust the Lord’s plan for me. I need to find peace in that plan and find my part in His plan for me. I love my family and I love my life. I love my church and I love my Savior. I will start saying thank you more for all the above things and thank you for the trial of babies coming slow some times. Through the trials we can truly understand what the Lord needs us to learn.

By: Sapphire

My Toolbox

I wanted to share a few things that helped me during my journey and they are still things I use today. They are in no particular order.

1. I made this box; inside of the box I put good pictures, items that reminded me of why I liked myself, comics that gave me a good laugh, and a letter to myself about how awesome I am. I used this when I had low days, days that were extra sensitive and needed a boost. The purpose was to remind myself that as low as I was then, it was not my whole life or future. Tomorrow could be better.

2. Friends. I’m still learning about how important it is to have connections. We are wired to need and depend on other human beings. This means for me as a mom, that I need to make a phone call or get out to do something. I’m not talking about friends that are superficial where you generally talk about your day, I mean friends that you can be vulnerable with. I have two outside of my husband at the top of my list but I’m working on widening that circle. I just spent a weekend with a couple of friends a few weeks ago and I purposefully went with the mindset that I was going to open up. At the end of the weekend I actually felt refreshed. Even though I had started the weekend with a little mom guilt about being away from my son, at the end I was ready to plan another trip.

3. Books! I’ve been reading different books to find ways to keep helping myself. Here are some of the authors/titles that I’ve really enjoyed (if you have a recommendation please tell me!)

Melodie Beattie

Brene Brown

Greg Baer(Real Love in Marriage)

Gary D. Chapman(5 love languages)

Sue Johnson(Hold Me Tight & Love Sense)

Sue Patton Thoele(The Courage to be Yourself)

Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

Stephen Covey

 

These are only the ones I’ve actually gone through the books, I do have a wish list of books I haven’t read yet. I’m a busy mom and as much as I would love to just sit down and read a book, I usually listen to it by audio while doing the housework or walking to the park again.

4. Counseling. I went for the first time about 5 years ago now and went off and on until last July 2015. I’ve been going once a week since then, either with my husband, by myself or he goes by himself, whichever works for our schedule. This began 4.5 year ago when I was telling someone about a traumatic event in my life and I was still in hysterics sharing it which mortified me. I’m not one to cry in front of people (I’m an avoidant for those who have read or want to read ‘Attached’). Then she told me, I think this is something you need to work through, have you thought about talking to someone? I panicked thinking that there was something wrong with me. What I learned is that there wasn’t anything wrong with me but I did lack coping skills and a healthy attachment. I never saw myself as suffering from depression and anxiety but I did. Now I can recognize my triggers and take care of myself. I’m not perfect at it, I still have low days but they are nothing like they were. My marriage has improved, not only did we learn fair fighting rules, better ways to communicate, but we learned to drop below the content and share what’s really going on emotionally for us. That last part is so difficult! It requires risk and vulnerability and if you reach out there is still a chance your partner won’t reach back which is scary! We’re still learning and have plenty of room for improvement.

5. Music. I started making a choice about 5 years ago to stop listening to the popular news station. Have you been listening to what seemed like a great song only to realize what the lyrics actually were?? The main station I used to listen to had a lot of segments where they caught men cheating, shared terrible dates, etc. I kid you not, my mindset then was so negative about men! If my husband (then boyfriend) did something I didn’t like I ended up telling myself, “Of course he did this, ugh what a jerk!” I’m reflecting now and I just have this feeling of being bogged down weighing on my shoulders, I was so negative.

I listened to news talk radio for several years, but now my 3 year old wants music in the car. For almost a year now we’ve been listening to the Christian rock music station. I love when I randomly catch P playing and singing the lyrics to these songs! I usually like to keep myself busy but there are moments in my day where my mind isn’t working, like when I do the laundry or dishes and I’ll be thinking of random things and these songs will jump into my head. It’s incredibly uplifting.

6. Self-Talk. I’m a little embarrassed about this but I’m sure this is the norm for a lot of people, we just don’t usually share/talk about it. For a long time, I’d make a mistake and these are just some of the thoughts that would go through my head:

Wow, how could you mess that up?

That was so simple and you got it wrong.

Why can’t you think this through?

I’m not (pretty, smart, capable, etc.) enough.

I shouldn’t even try, I’d just fail at that too.

I could definitely keep going, but I’m stopping there. I had to change the way I felt about myself or no tool could really help me. It all had to start within me. I think this one has been the most beneficial. I’ve taken a lot more risks for myself the past couple of years and my confidence is boosted and I feel great. How did I change the self-talk? First I had to rewrite what I was saying to myself. Now when I begin with the negative talk I turn it around to say things like:

Mistakes suck! Okay, let’s try this again.

I’m really struggling with this maybe I should just take a break and talk to someone.

I’m not good at this yet, with time and practice I know I can.

Aside from rewriting those negative sentences, I started reminding myself of the things I liked about myself and even giving myself compliments.

These last parts may seem a little weird but it works! When I had a negative visual come to mind I’d pretend I was scribbling over it with a crayon (in my head) and I rewrite the negative. I’ve also said my positive affirmations out loud. If you know what an affirmation is then you’ve heard of people saying them in front of the mirror, oh I know I’ll share this link, the little girl is adorable. I don’t do that, what I do is when I really can’t  think my positive thoughts I say them out loud to myself. The shower is a great time for this!

I know that there are several more things I can share but these things are what I have been purposeful in doing to change my life. I’m not going to get what I want by accident; I know the person I want to be and I’m working towards it.

Now I want to know, what do you do to take care of yourself? What helps you keep happiness as a state of mind and not a destination?

 

Next week I’m having a friend share her story and I asked that she write a short bio to introduce herself and give all of you a sneak peek!

My name is Sapphire. I am married to a great man who supports me in every way he can. I graduated college with an ADN. I am currently a stay at home mom with two beautiful kids that truly are blessings. Our home is on a one acre lot, which we are currently remodeling. This is the 2nd home we are fixing up, while living in it. It is kind of our thing. We have a goal to live on a large enough farm to be able to raise most of our own food and to be self-sufficient. This one acre lot is are stepping stone to that dream. We love the outdoors, camping, fishing, or just working or playing outside. I love to do crafting, sewing, playing music and I am trying to learn the piano better and keep up with my other instruments, when I get the chance.  I love sports and played almost everything my schools had to offer but don’t get the chance to play much anymore. We are very busy in our church callings. We are in a small branch and are excited to be in a branch. We love visiting our extended family and try to see them as much as possible; family is important to us. I will be sharing about our struggles of starting and growing our family.

 

*If you’re interested in sharing your story email me at happywithimperfect@gmail.com

My Imperfect Story

To share my story I want to start after I left high school. I could go over before that but I feel like where I need to share is when I began my adulthood. At 18 I hadn’t been given much trust, or ability to really get out into the world and learn. I was really naïve when I look back, this isn’t to give an excuse but to share my mindset. I had made a mistake then, I felt deep shame from this mistake. I despised myself and my support system instead of lifting me up they put me down further, they taught me that I shouldn’t ever mess up; it was better to do it right the first time than to make a mistake and fix it. The pressure I felt from that was so overwhelming, I didn’t know how to handle it. I spent the next 2 years unhealthily coping with my shame.

After 2 years I decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore so I made some changes to my life. I had been taught about the atonement but from my family I had learned a conflicting message, which was more ingrained in me, when you make a mistake you have to struggle to get forgiveness if you get any at all. Despite how difficult that seemed, I was ready for the task.

When I started making better choices for myself and getting closer to Christ (Love the quote ‘when you choose Christ you choose to change’, I have seen this in my life) I had this vision for my future. For those who aren’t LDS I’ll paint the Mormon fairytale. When we are young we are taught that the perfect marriage for us is to be sealed in the temple, to marry a return missionary and start having babies right away. This is not doctrine of the LDS faith, this is the culture of the people. I think even those from other faiths can relate to something similar to this; there is some sort of expectation that is ideal. For those who do this, it’s wonderful and I am very happy for you. For those who have a civil ceremony then get sealed in the temple later, it’s almost like a secondhand wedding. It’s all usually hush, hush. My friends who have done this, they’re almost ashamed to tell anyone they’re getting married. How unfortunate is that?

I knew when I started dating my husband at the time we would probably get a civil ceremony, there were several factors included in this but I knew this was the man I should marry. I was torn because it meant no temple marriage and he wasn’t a return missionary; I could see the intentions of his heart and that was enough for me.

I had a civil ceremony, I was happy and enjoyed my big day. I knew I would be sealed to my husband a year later (that was tradition if you had a wedding outside of the temple). Only when the year came we wouldn’t be able to get sealed, in fact we still haven’t been sealed 4 years later. The first year I mourned that loss of what I had planned to happen, my expectation. I was upset that my story isn’t the way I had wanted it to be and it was so different than what the ‘fairytale’ should be.

During the first year of our marriage I also had to mourn that I wasn’t going to have children right away. This may seem silly to you but I was taught that one of the greatest blessings of marriage is to have children and be a mother. I still believe that now, but back then I let it define me and what I was doing. I felt lost. My husband did not want to have children until we were sealed in the temple for several reasons which I won’t get into. It took a lot of discussion, prayer, and patience for us to finally have our daughter.

When I was finally pregnant at 18 weeks we were told that there was something wrong with her and if it was what they thought it was, then it was fatal. Those were almost their exact words. I barely finished and hung up the phone when I bawled. We did genetic testing and had no answers. We had to wait until she was born to figure this out. When she came into this world she was completely healthy, the only issue was her arms. Her shoulders were rounded and her arms were straight with bent wrists. She was given the diagnosis Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita in her upper extremities type Amyoplasia.

That whole first year I was always worried about if what I was doing was right for her, I mourned things that would be difficult for her, and if her treatment was good enough. After that I stopped fretting and realized if I stayed in tune with my Heavenly Father then I would know his plan for her. It’s been great, we chose a different place for therapy which has led to meeting some great people and fantastic opportunities for her.

Since then we had another child, my little boy. My daughter P’s type of AMC is not genetic, so my son A was a typical baby. I feel like my challenges now are am I listening to the spirit? Heavenly Father has certain opportunities that he wants me to take and I’ve done the best I can.

I share this with you because if you really take a look at my life and wrote a pro/con list just based upon events then it would appear there has been more negative than positive. You wouldn’t see how much effort my husband puts into building our connection, the confidence I have in myself for knowing I can do hard things, the joy in seeing P accomplish new goals and the cuddles that little A gives me. These are just a few of the small moments that have made a great life. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

I’m sharing this because I wanted those who are working on this to have hope. For those who haven’t begun, know it isn’t too late to start. And for those whose stories are similar– don’t hide.

You’re Invited!

Who:

I’m Danielle. I’m in my late 20’s, I live in Arizona (originally raised in Missouri) with my husband Eric and our two children. I have a daughter who is 3 and a son who is 1. I’ve been married for a little over 5 years and currently I stay at home with my children. I do have a part time business on the side and am active with a calling in our ward. I love to crochet, listen to music, organize my home, read books (mostly sci fi or fantasy), and take trips. This is just part of what makes me, me.

What:

This is for those who are happy with their imperfect lives and for those who want to find the happiness in imperfection. Daily challenges/trials can be overwhelming to everyone; this is a place for you to not feel alone.

When:

This is my commitment; I will have something new here every week. I will share every Saturday morning. Once a month I’m also inviting a guest writer to share. I know I’m not the only one with something to say. I may also share things I’ve read, something that’s uplifted me on occasion.

Where:

Book mark this page! happywithimperfect.wordpress.com I say to bookmark this because there is website very similar and I don’t want you lost! We need you here to read and share of yourself as well.

Why:

In life we are met with challenges and trials and we face them either well or not so much. It can be difficult to confront these challenges and feel prepared; it can also be difficult to make a mistake or do something we think is wrong and want to hide. This is what I want this place to be; somewhere to help realize that challenges are hard and mistakes are meant to be made (how else do we learn?). I want to be here to help inspire and help you learn to be happy with your life. We can be happy even in the chaos of what we call life.

I’m happy in my imperfect life.

Please say hi in the comments, I want to get to know you! Also, I would love to hear from those who are ready and want to share their story, give themselves a voice. Contact me, let’s talk, happywithimperfect@gmail.com