Not What I Expected PT 1

A long time ago in a land far away (ie 2003 in another state) I was nearing the end of classes for my Associate’s. And as I sat in the business class I just had this thought come to me, “I won’t be doing this as a profession, it’s going to be more important to have a family.” The type of photography I wanted to do at the time was photojournalism of some sort. And I knew that in that type of work it would be really hard to start and mother a family. At least for me, I’m not that great at distance relationships. Always going places for assignment, or being out shooting all the time so I could get a few freelance jobs. There wouldn’t  be enough time for me to also devote to my family.

Do know what makes this really crazy?! I wasn’t even dating anyone at the time. What?! But I knew how important it would be for me to have a family, so I started trying to think of what else I could do in life. I really struggled, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought from age 16 that I would do some type of photography for my work. I freaked out inside a lot of days, my personality likes to plan and I couldn’t plan anything since I had no idea what else really interested me. So when I suddenly found myself engaged a few months later I had a huge sigh of relief. I knew what my future was to an extent and I didn’t need to worry anymore about any of that growing up nonsense. I would get married, we’d work and have fun, and eventually have kids. So I was set for the next 10-15 years at least right? I would be a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) and I would think about what I want to be when I grow up later.

It took some time and emotional toll, but eventually we had a baby. And he was beautiful! At the time I worked part time as a crossing guard. And I continued this until just before the birth of our second son. And then I knew I needed to stay home full time with them. And so I did. And it wasn’t anything like I expected. My days weren’t that full, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled, my friends worked so I had no one to hang out with during the day. The second pregnancy and birth threw off my hormones a lot too, our second car died right around that time. So I found myself, stuck at home, lonely, nothing to do, no one to do it with, and even if there would have been something I would still have no way to get there to do it. And I was depressed. I mean all that is depressing enough on it’s own, but I had depression as well.

Parent Expectations

Credit: Pict one,  Pict two

I’ve struggled over the years. I liked being a SAHM, but it was also lonely, and somewhat unfulfilling. Seriously, kids don’t thank you for all your hard work, and it started seeming as if nothing I did really mattered. And the few times I was with other adults, ha, my contribution to the convo was how I’d seen a Curious George episode about that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Curious George, but he’s not really adult kind of talk.

A few weeks ago I found this post on Facebook. And it really got me thinking about my experiences as a SAHM. It’s called 10 Dark Parenting Truths. #4 and 5 really struck me.

4. You might give up pieces of yourself that you once loved

No one has it all. No mother. No father. No person. All of life involves sacrifice, and parenting always demands its share of it.

It’s like those friends who stay, or return, or never come back at all. Some dreams and passions and loves stay even after the babies are born. Some return. Others don’t.

 

As a SAHM struggling with depression and other fun stuff, I had lost some of my identity. One day I realized I didn’t know who I was besides a Mom. I didn’t know what I liked anymore. Mothering and depression had taken over and I lost all other identity. It was overwhelming! I prayed a lot, and cried a lot. Then I started to write some. What I liked about myself (I love my long hair). Things I used to like. Things I felt I still liked. Things that interested me, things I wanted to do some day. Things others saw in me. It’s taken some time, and I’m still not fully there, but over the past 5-6 years I’ve been piecing me together again, and seeing who I am today. Finding that I am a mom, and a wife, but also so much more. Getting help with the depression made a HUGE difference in this.

5. You might find parenting unfulfilling

In fact, I would argue that parenting is not completely fulfilling for anyone—nor should it be. Our children’s lives cannot and should not consume our own (much as they might devour our time and attention). Our children are not and should not be viewed as extensions of ourselves.

Parenting can fill one with love and wonder and joy. But it cannot take the place of all the other possible loves and wonders and joys in the world.

Reading about these two things has helped put all the past crap I went through into perspective, and also taught me I’m not alone or abnormal in these feelings. Being a SAHM wasn’t what I thought it would be, but I’m still so glad that I did it. Not much in life ever happens the way we think it will, or feel the way we thought/want. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, in fact somewhere along the way we find out a little bit more about ourselves, life, and those we love. And it’s great! Different than we though, but great!

 

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Now What?

I started this blog helping me get through some tough emotions/situations. Then some more stuff came up, that I didn’t really blog about. I just couldn’t bring myself to share it, even in my anonymity. I still sometimes struggle with this last trial, mostly how to reconcile my feelings and to know the truth from the lies in those feelings. I still deal with occasional depression (it is a life time issue, even if you don’t have to deal with it as much at times). Sometimes seeing super cute little girls still makes me sad. But mostly when it comes to this blog I keep asking the question, now what?

I haven’t written much other than my Thankful Thursday posts. And in honesty, I may not have written anything if I hadn’t set myself that weekly task. I’m glad I set it though. It has helped me think about the good in my life a little more often. And it has kept me writing. But I haven’t been sure where to go from here. What to do next with this blog. Yes I can and will still have posts helping me deal with situations, yes I’ll still have Thankful Thursday’s, but there seems to need to be more. I mean I want to post more than just the TT and I’m sure you’d like to see more than that. And since the other posts are coming few and far between right now I need something else to be able to blog about. That and I don’t want it just to be a blog about me getting through tough times. I want it to be about good stuff too.

So I’m going to try and share some of my photographs. I’ve already put a couple up, but I’m going to do some photo specific posts. And who knows, maybe that’ll get me to get through the long queue of them on my desktop that need fixing and weeding before finally getting to their final destination on the PC.

So I’d like to know, what types of photos speak to you? What do you love to see? I’d like some ideas to get me out shooting again for fun (which usually only happens right now on family trips).

TT: Back on Track

Thankful Thursday Logo bToday I’m getting back on track with the blog. I am grateful for the help it has been to me thus far. And I know that It will continue to be a good thing for me. And hopefully it also helps others too.

I fully believe that blogging through my trials has helped me to better deal with them. It helped me be okay about our secondary infertility much sooner than if I wasn’t blogging through it. It has helped me be more confident in life. In fact I have now been able to tell my best-y, M, about this blog. I’m thinking I might be able to share it here or there with a few other people in my life. And that’s a nice feeling.

I hope that you are all able to have a great day!

TT: A Day Late

Thankful Thursday Logo bPlease excuse my tardiness, travel and seeing people made it difficult to post yesterday. I hope you can forgive and allow a Thankful Th—Friday.

Today I found out that my friend, A, was pregnant, and just today is miscarrying. This was the friend that I had a hard time emotionally dealing with her trying to have another. Today, though, I feel her pain! I know what it is like to have an early miscarriage, and I certainly know the disappointment of trying and not receiving another child. There is no “yes, I’m not alone” in me. I could never ever wish some one else to have to feel even a portion of this kind of heartache. It’s funny because I don’t want to feel alone in it, but never want any one else to deal with it either.

But it makes me grateful for the many blessings I have. And it makes me grateful that I can use my pain and trials to help someone else having to go through something somewhat similar. I am so grateful that we all have experiences to help us grow, but that can also be used to help others feel better. We can’t solve anyone’s problems, but we can let them know how much we love them, that they aren’t alone, that we’ve been there, that we understand. We can tell them what helped us, and maybe some of it will help them to not have to feel as lost in it as we did. I’m so very thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who allows us to help each other and ourselves. I can’t hug her physically right now, but I was able to emotionally from afar. Sometimes a hug is worth more than words. I challenge you all to go out and hug someone today. Share your love, and lift a spirit. And in doing so, you will lift your own.

The Beauty from the Past

Perusing the blogs I follow I stumbled upon this post from Young&Twenty. In the post she talks about learning life lessons from Disney movies, and the top one caught my eye.

1. Peter Pan taught us to let go of our pasts and the familiar we’ve lived to know. It taught us the gain in growing up and growing vulnerable. There’s beauty in the future as long as we keep the beauty of our past.

And my first thought was What is the beauty from my past? Dealing with secondary infertility, depression and anxiety it is hard most days to see the beauty and good now, let alone even conceiving of thinking about it in the past. But I have a goal to be more positive in my life, and this post was great for making me think about the positive and beauty not just now but in the past as well. I also believe that beauty can even come from not so positive events, many times great beauty comes from tragedy. And let’s face it, most of us would rather remember the good from the past instead of the bad.

Of course I won’t write about everything in this post, but will write more in others under this title. So let’s start with the awkward teenage years, High School. I am extremely glad not to have married my high school boyfriend. But back when he broke up with me (a week before Prom Sr. year) I was broken hearted. I knew it was coming, I could tell. He was nice enough to still take me to Prom, saying that he knew I already had my dress, and that it was too late for anyone else to ask me. That was one of the most painful dates in my life. My “pity prom.” But the beauty from that time is something that has had an effect on choices later in life (up to today even). He had talked about wanting his future wife to stay home with the kids to raise them.

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE

This was not a new concept to me. Our church encourages SAHM-ing because of the good it can have in families and teaching kids. But I had never before thought about it. Not in a it’s not even a thought of course I am going to … or not going to. But I had never actually thought about it before, and his saying this got me to think about it for the first time. Did I want to be a SAHM?

And I found that I did. This beauty has made our lives what they are today. We made sacrifices to make it happen, but I am so glad that I spent this time at home with my boys! And even more grateful for it now that they are both in school.

TT: DrH

Thankful Thursday Logo bI cried all night Friday. And I cried and panicked all morning Saturday. I had to get out! I needed to escape. Not just the house, my life, my surroundings. I felt that at any moment I would burst.

This week has been a bit more rollercoaster-y. Last Friday my best friend here, A, told me that they were going to try for another child. This was a big blow to me, and to date the hardest news to take in this subject. She has gone back and forth over the last year about having another but seemed to finally settle on being done. So even though all this has been hard to take, I had one friend moving on in life with me. One friend who wasn’t going to get pregnant either. My world came crashing down. And I was more alone than ever.

DrH, the most incredible man alive, came to my rescue as always. He is dealing with his own issues, and struggles. He is watched, scrutinized and tested 100% of his time in rotations. This is very hard for anyone to take, but especially an introvert. And then of course when he gets home there are kids, and homework. (Not to mention a wife who rollercoasters through much emotional need) But despite all of his trials, he always comes to my rescue.

He comforts me, takes care of me, loves me even in my crazy times. And he made sure we got out of the house and out of the state Saturday. I can never fully express how grateful I am to him, for him, and that he is mine forever! I am so thankful for his hard work to take care of this family, both at home and out in the world. I am thankful for his integrity and selflessness. I am thankful for his respect, his character and his loyalty. I am grateful for his faith in Jesus Christ. I am grateful for all that he does and all that he is. And my one wish for him would be that he didn’t have to deal with the struggles he has. Ok one more wish is that he didn’t have to deal with me dealing with my struggles either.

I would love to shout it from the rooftops, I’m sorry ladies, but the BEST MAN in the WOLRD is taken! He’s mine and I am his, and I love him!

Forgiveness and Healing

Today I am struggling to forgive a complete stranger for a difference of opinion. It is hard not to allow their words to effect me. Underneath it all I know they mean no harm in what they say, just stating what they think. But it is hurtful to me in my situation. And they have written it in response to my words.

Oh Facebook, you make me laugh at silly message threads and let me see what’s going on with my family. Sometime you are the only way I know what is going on with them. But you also bring me down for a number of other reasons. This is sometimes one of them.

But I know that without forgiveness I cannot heal. I’m grateful that forgiveness does not equate condoning. It is simply letting go of something that you don’t need to hold onto. It is allowing that we all make mistakes. It is moving on.

Forgiveness is not for you. It is for me. It is so I can heal and not cling to things that hurt me, that make me sad. So I forgive you for that part of your comment that hurt me. Maybe one day you more intimately know why it hurt. But I hope not. I only hope that one day you can see things from another point and be more kind in what/how you say things.

There is no peace in reflecting on the pain of old wounds. There is peace only in repentance and forgiveness. This is the sweet peace of the Christ, who said, “blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Pres. Gordon B Hinkley

There will be many dandilions along my path. And I must decide if my energy is better spent trying to keep them whole, or to make a wish and blow it out of my life.