I think its safe to say that we live in a time of immediacy. Immediate gratification, immediate results, even immediate prayers. We pray for a person to be healed and we can lose hope (or interest) if things don’t happen within weeks. Years? Even harder. If we want to lose weight, we tend to choose the fastest option. We like our food fast, our internet faster, and our lives much the same way.
There are some areas of my life where I prefer to savor and slow down, but I’m guilty of desiring immediate results in the areas of my life that need work. I will tell any new mom in the world, whether it is her first or her fifth, to let a year go by before you put pressure on yourself. It takes 9 months physically to get that baby here, and studies have shown that it takes an entire year or more (That’s just one article!) before a woman is totally healed from birth. I don’t believe it’s any different for a fostering or adoptive mom, and from what I know of the families who have taken on that ministry, it’s often much, much longer than a year.
I feel like there is this immense pressure for us as humans to prove to everyone around us how okay we are. We can say things are hard, but delving into the details of our personal struggles often proves to be too intense for most people. We can pray for healing, and once the person passes the worst of the battle, it becomes too much work for most people to continue along the healing journey with them. One of my friends recently got very, very sick, and we prayed for weeks for her. While she is still in the process of healing physically, her battle is so much greater than she lets on. She often is quiet about her struggle because she feels like everyone expects her to be okay already. But it’s okay to not be okay. I’m saying this because I’ve been guilty of forgetting the daily struggle she faces because I forget that healing doesn’t follow a linear path.
I forget that the same is true for myself. I confessed a few weeks ago about my struggle with postpartum depression, and because I was feeling so much better at the time, I keep assuming I should have my act together. The truth is so far from that. Ironically enough, the days that someone asks me if things are okay, things are most often feeling pretty good at the moment. When the days are tough, I feel like I can’t say anything because it’s been 15 weeks and I’m supposed to have my act together. Shouldn’t I have my routine down by now? Shouldn’t I be able to keep a house clean, meal plan, grocery shop, stay on top of the laundry, make doctor appointments, call the tax office, pay the bills on time, and get kids where they need to be every day? Also, shouldn’t I be wanting to be more womanly and focus on romance? I need to lose the weight, both baby-initiated and not. I should stop drinking Cokes, stop eating out, plan meals that everyone likes and is easy to prepare when the baby is grouchy. I also need to find time to shop for new clothes for all three kids and also myself, since the old clothes don’t fit anymore. I’m supposed to be exchanging one breastfeeding session with a bottle session so I can give the baby a bottle and get out of the house, so I need to find time to pump every day. The baby needs tummy time every day. I need to read to the kids, practice Dean Bean’s speech, and practice spelling words with Bluebelle. I need to work out. The list goes on.
There are days, even weeks, that I yell and I feel the guilt overwhelm me. There is no family nearby who can drop in, so help comes in the form of me gathering the courage and asking and making plans for someone to make the drive. Even then, sometimes that blows up in my face and becomes a disaster.
I’ve digressed a little, but the point is this: I feel pressure to be okay, but sometimes I’m not okay, and I’m trying to remember that it’s okay to not be okay.
I need to stop looking at the moms who look like they have it all together and stop panicking because I feel like they’re doing it right and I’m not. Lest you think that somehow I am one of those moms, let me assure you that I am most definitely not.
It’s time to gather up two of the kids to pick up one, so I will end this post here. Some days are good, some days are bad, and some days it’s all I can do to keep everyone alive. But that’s okay.