Monday, January 17, 2011

The struggle of a mother in a feminist world

I have hesitated to write anymore because of one person's criticism, but I'm going to continue because I just well...need to. Is that a bit indulgent? Yes. Alas, I am indeed human, and a young one. So off I go.
This post will be a sad one. Just a warning.
This last year has been the most trying on my self as a mother. There have been the spiritual doubts, those absolutely come up a close second. And there have been the burdens of carrying a church in your heart, and the loneliness of living away from friends and family...but the one thing that has made me want to pack up and head back to Mac, have been the pains of struggling through motherhood alone.
This has been an incredible learning experience for me. Such a hard learned lesson of myself as a human being. When did I get so anxious and overwhelmed? When did I turn into such a tired, angry, nagging woman? Was I always so short tempered and type A? Well...to be fair, I think the answer to all of those is, I have always had those tendencies in my personality. I've always been a bit too short tempered, too type A. Easily overwhelmed and prone to anxiety.I've never slept well or enough and I have always been unrelenting when I want my way. Whoa...am I female or WHAT?! ha ha ha...
But those characteristics were small shadows, whispering demons if you will, that once pressed to capacity became shouting, roaring dragons that threatened me...and my kids..and our ministry (read Johns sanity)
     Back in McMinnville I struggled with being a mother. I was thinking back trying to remember if this all started in Chico, and it did not.
I want to give a quick flash of how young I was when I became a mother, and the crazy  escalation my life has been on. I was eighteen when I got married, nineteen when I had Mailey, and twenty the week I found out I was pregnant with Emry. I found out on a Tuesday, and Friday we were announced as McMinnville's newest outreach directors, that following Monday I began to hemorrhage badly and was told I would lose the baby, I went under and woke up several hours later to hear I was indeed still pregnant and would recover from massive internal bleeding. Seven months later I was being prepped for an emergency C-section. 17 months later we were being announced into Chico and I was just realizing I was pregnant yet again. We moved to Chico and four months later had little Reagan via Cesarean. Three months after that we had our first revival; and that Wednesday I began to miscarry a baby I had not come to terms with yet. The guilt that followed the relief was overwhelming and scary, and I slipped into a depression I didn't realize had engulfed me.
I have known several people who have had miscarriages, my own best friend has had three and my mother as well. I've been an outside observer on the painful process of losing one's baby. But this caught me completely off guard.
I knew I was miscarrying right away, and as awful as it sounds, I was immediately relieved. It was horrifying. I couldn't understand my emotions. I was in shock looking back; but then, I was just so overwhelmed at the thought of being pregnant so soon after our third baby (she was only 12 weeks old) and still postpartum and emotional, and so I at first felt an odd, painful relief. And this relief created an enormous aching confusion and guilt, and as days turned into two weeks of miscarrying I started to shut down. I never cried, rarely spoke about it, just dealt with it all so privately. I didn't even tell my mother until it was completely over. But I felt like I was being crushed under a suffocating weight.
Finally several weeks later, I was driving alone in John's truck, it was night time and I had the windows down and Ingrid Michaelson was booming out of the speakers as loud as I could get it, I remember the bass feeling like my heartbeat it was so tangibly loud. And as Ingrid sang, "someday in the future, you're gonna come back...you're gonna come back to me..." it really hit me. I lost a baby. A baby. It was like that heavy thought triggered this flashback of the last few weeks and it all caught up to me, as if I'd been living a few steps ahead of my emotions, but suddenly they had all caught up and were looking into the mirror with me. I suspect every mother who miscarries has done this, but I began to figure out my due date, and wonder what this child would've been, a boy? a girl? another red head? a dimpled hard headed toddler who could've grown up to change the world? all these thoughts and emotions until finally those wonderful tears came. Just water flowing down my face, I still was absorbing it all...and my heart began to ache and ache and I remember feeling so angry and defeated.
Surely this wasn't God's plan? Had I somehow caused this by my unhappiness at my pregnancy? Had my ugly emotions caused my body to abruptly end this pregnancy? It was all too much, and I remember closing my eyes (I'm driving about 65 down the freeway at this point) and just screaming until my throat ached and all the air went out of my lungs, probably only 10 seconds; but when I couldn't scream any longer, I opened my eyes and lo an behold, I was still in the right lane going in a straight line and I suddenly felt okay. Like I needed to just really deal with it all. And yes, that was scary to scream while flying down the road, but at the time I really didn't care if I crashed, I didn't care if I hit someone, I just had to let that emotion go. And it was as if God showed me something....yes that hurt so much I thought I would die. But I faced it squarely, and I acknowledged its heartbreak, and then even though I closed my eyes and everything became so uncertain for just a short while, and although I thought I would never come out of that depth; as soon as I opened my eyes, the road was straight, I was still headed in the right direction, and with the situation having been placed in its proper context (instead of me avoiding it, thus giving it so much power over me) it diminished mightily. And I could move on.
I will write more later about mothering my present three..but it felt so good to get that off of my heart. phew. big big big sigh of much needed relief.
whoooooooooooo.
more tomorrow.






6 comments:

Kelly Marin said...

wow, you've had a lot to deal with! The fact that you can write about it and process it says a lot about you. You're strong and I admire you for being brave enough to say all that you say.

I love the pictures, and can I say I envy the red hair.... Love it and love your posts.

Danielle said...

oooooo this one broke my heart. Yes we both grieved very differently - but it was still very painful for you. And to go through it all alone. you poor baby. my heart just breaks. NOT OK!!!! you needed your momma thru that one.
You are an amazing young mother & woman of God. I don't think i could do it soph. I really am not sure. Certainly NOT at that age and w/ all the responsibility. I feel like a failure as a mother DAILY and I'm 30 ha! I can't even imagine trying to do all of that at that young age. wow. praying for you more and more each day!

lacy myers said...

I hope in writing these thoughts and feelings down you can continue to heal. You're amazing, and such am encouragement for me (and many others, I'm sure). I'm sorry you were alone. I wish I could have been there for you in a bigger way than just a listening ear and a bit of advice over the phone. This painful, often secret little club of ours is never one I wanted you to join.

I love miss you and those three sweet little monsters!

Naomi Rice said...

Sophie,
I am so sorry about the pain that you had to endure alone... I've never experienced, no, but I am sure it is one of the most horrible things to live through. Your Christmas picture on my fridge reminds me daily to pray for you and your family. You are my hero.
Naomi

aly win said...

dearest soph...man. i miss u girl ... and the girlies. i wish u were here so we could b each others motherly companions.. Im so sorry that you had to go through that .. the only thing i know is no matter how hurtful and hard the things in life we go through God will use them to later help some one who is not strong enough to go through it with out our key help... things that almost killed me i have got to share and help other young girls with .. I love you so very very very much. You are an extreeemly strong and beautiful chick! and like naomi said... YOU ARE MY HERO.. seriously soph. times when no one else in the world was there and times where i was lost and alone and scared u showed up either by text or call or whatever. please realise what a huge thing God is doing with your life... to help women . and lost hurting souls. i love you i love you i love you. wish i could just ride the train down right now and hang out for a few weeks. xoxo love al

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking about that scripture, "She shall be saved in child-bearing . . . " 1 Tim 2:15 A quote I read tonight . . . "The responsibility of raising godly children is great, and mothers have a special relationship with their children that cannot be replaced. Women in the church are on the front lines of leading this fallen world out of sin and into godliness by childbearing and raising their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Who can think that is not a high calling? What are women thinking when they forsake God's design and purpose for something else? Motherhood is a very high calling and requires strength for continuance in the faith; there is no spotlight when you're changing a dirty diaper. No one shows up at my house during the day to congratulate my wife for raising our children well. I sometimes hear, "That was a good sermon," but my wife is in the trenches of mothering our children without any spotlight, and it is imperative for her to see her role as part of God's design, rejoicing in being on the front lines of kingdom work!

If you have a godly mother, oh how you should be thankful! She probably wasn't perfect, but if she taught you the things of God, you should be eternally thankful. What a gift! What a high, holy calling! Praise God that He saves women who are among the fallen children of Adam, who walk in the doomed steps of Eve, and weaves them into the fabric of His redemptive purposes!

Sophie, I commend you . . . you are so much tougher than you think and a wonderful wife and mother! I love you to smithereens . . . .

Janet