Emotional Trip

It’s been weeks… one week shy of a month since I last blogged. I had (still have) so many things I’ve wanted to write about, but I just couldn’t. I honestly didn’t have the time. For three weeks, I haven’t had time for myself emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually. I was staying strong for the duration of those weeks, but as each day passed by I began to slowly fall apart. So no, this post isn’t upbeat mommy post or a relationship conversation starter. It’s what I originally started this blog for. A space to be transparent, and release what I’m feeling. While I hope that someone is able to relate, it’s not a necessity. It is vital that I write this post before I move forward with the exciting posts that I hope will follow.

I’ve mentioned before that although I’ve grown immensely and am far more secure with myself, I still struggle with “what will people think of me?” from time to time. My husband goes to work for 14 hours each day, what will he think of me when he comes home to takeout once again rather than a home cooked meal? Piles of clothes unwashed? Dishes piled in the sink? Will my daughter wish she had a better mommy because she came home from school, yet again, to a mother who is short-tempered, tired and doesn’t really want to be bothered? I’ve told everyone, even my social media following that I love being a stay-at-home mom/wife. What would they think of me if they saw what was going on in my life right now? Would they understand? Clearly, this can’t be as hard as I make it seem, right?

But like women, mothers, wives do each and everyday, I sucked it up and put a smile on face saying, “I’m doing just fine” to everyone who asked. I nearly chopped my finger off rushing trying to make a home cooked meal in enough time before it was too late to eat at all. Thank God I stopped the knife before getting deeper than my nail.  I almost broke my toe on a bouncer rushing through the house because I’m always on the move. I think at some point I actually convinced myself I was okay. My schedule was nothing new, it just intensified. I had been trying to embrace change, but change was getting the best of me. Sometimes we convince ourselves that slight changes only need small adjustments, not realizing the willpower it takes to accommodate yourself when change has occurred. For example, if you work in an open cubicle work space, what can be viewed as a simple cube mate change, could change your work life. It takes pure strength not to slap the phone out of your new neighbors hand each time they speak at the top of their lungs. It takes strength not to throw up when you hate the smell of the food your new teammate brings for lunch.

My “slight” change came from a change in my husband’s parking space for his work truck. We only have one car, so I’m the family Uber service. When taking  my husband to and from his truck, it used to take (on a good, no traffic kind of day) approximately 15 minutes from home,  and maybe the same amount of time from our daughter’s school. When there was traffic, let’s say it may have taken 30-40 minutes. You know what, here’s a break down of what my day looks like:

*All night, wake up every 2-2.5 hrs to nurse on demand because my child has a surge of hunger or need for comfort at night.

  • Prayerfully wake up at 6am to get oldest daughter ready for school. But this never happens because I’m either finishing up nursing my youngest OR exhausted from the night. So the time looks more like 7am.
  • Between 8am-8:15am, we must be out of the house to have a chance at getting my daughter to school on time. (She has breakfast on the go). Sometimes my husband is ready, others he’s not so I have to leave him.
  • What should normally take 25 minutes of transit time, takes over 40 minutes due to morning traffic. SO my baby is late again for school.
  • At this point in life, my husband is never ready in time because his sleep is interrupted at night as well, so I make my way back home. The time is now approx. 9:30am.
  • Because my husband takes 2hr long poops and moves at the speed of slug, we aren’t leaving the house for another hour and 45 minutes to two hours. In this time, I’ve had a chance to nurse my youngest child again.
  • Now we’ve made it to my husband’s truck by approx. noon. I immediately turn back around to head home. Once I get there, I have approx. one hour to nurse baby again, eat and then head to my daughter’s school to pick her up by 3:15pm.
  • The girls and I make it home by 4pm. (If my husband is done with work early, it takes an entire hour because of traffic to go straight to him. We get in, oldest child immediately begins homework, gets a snack, and then we check her homework. Usually I’m nursing when I check her homework.
  • I send the oldest child off to take her shower, because it is now a little after 6pm and dinner/bedtime is quickly approaching.
  • This is where it gets tricky. I may give my oldest kid dinner and put her to bed by 8pm, but we’ll most likely be heading back out by 10pm to go pick up my husband. OR as soon as she’s done with her shower, there’s no time for dinner in the house, we leave to go pick up my husband.
  • Come home, of course it’s time to nurse baby again and then proceed to go to bed for the night.

This is my schedule everyday until Saturday when I don’t have to rush to my daughter’s school, but I still have to take my husband to work and pick him up. Sunday is our only off day.  Last week, I remember being in the car on Wednesday from 8am until 8pm. I nursed and ate in the car all day. But this week, my body had enough. Mentally I checked out, my emotions were on level 10, and I cried all day. I felt weak. I felt drained. I felt hopeless and didn’t want to talk to anyone. Every time I thought about my feelings I cried. Every time I tried to talk, I cried. Yesterday, I was able to share a few smiles and hold conversations without crying. But my emotions were still on a constant rollercoaster. I could feel myself being ok and moving in a positive direction, and then immediately feeling a drastic drop in my body. My thinking, my feelings, they all shutdown. While I didn’t cry nonstop, it still didn’t take me but a second to cry when I felt the urge. I talked to my best friend who isn’t a mother and she really helped me to get some things of my chest, while reassuring me that I’m okay. I started to vent a little, and she then went on to add some encouraging words that she got from Jada Pinkett’s “Red Table Talk.” She continued to hear me say, I don’t regret having children or getting married, but I’m tired. I just need a break from it all.

She said, “people shouldn’t make mother’s feel inclined to say, “they don’t regret becoming a mother” just to be honest about how they are feeling. Just because you say you’re tired or don’t feel like doing anything mom-like today doesn’t mean you don’t want to be a mother. It just means you need a break.” She was so right and I REALLYYYY needed to hear those words. (Thank you) I didn’t know how to reach out to my loved ones and say I need help, I need a break, I’m struggling, I’m tired without thinking I was complaining. I didn’t know how to express my need for time by myself with no one around without sounding selfish or irresponsible because I was the one who decided to get married and have children young.

Today, thank God I’m no longer crying nonstop like I was on Monday, however there is still a disconnect. I still feel myself getting extremely irritable and then feeling nothing because I’ve shutdown. When I take time to sort through my thoughts, sometimes I cry. I don’t have the urge to create conversation, but I’m able to have one. It’s been a few days since I’ve had a good laugh. But I’m working on it. This week my mother-in-love has been helping out with taking my oldest baby to school and picking her up for me. Yesterday I drove, but today I let my husband drive himself to work. It’s helping.

I haven’t opened up to my mother about how I’ve been feeling lately because I don’t want to worry her, but I know she knows. A mom knows when something isn’t right with her baby. She’ll be over to stay this weekend. I need it. Hopefully my husband and I can have some alone time this weekend as well. We need it.

I’m in that strange place of “do I have postpartum depression?” again. A part of me thinks I do (the other part thinks I’ve just been overwhelmed and need sleep). For so long, I kept saying, “But I love my baby, I don’t feel distant from her or think of harming her or myself.” I had to remind myself that’s only one symptom. There are others and I don’t have to have each one.

The rest I’ve been able to get from the “slight” changes and help I’ve been receiving has really been refreshing and helping so much.

Keep me in your prayers though.

 

 

Mommy I Can’t See, It’s Black

When I was younger, the thought of having a child used to make me nauseous. I couldn’t fathom the pain that women endured in the process of giving birth, and I couldn’t imagine having something squirming inside my stomach. It would honestly make my stomach turn, and I was fearful of the moment it would happen to me. Nevertheless, I knew that at some point when I was an adult wanted to have at least two children, preferably one boy and one girl. At the time I didn’t think about the health of my unborn children. All I thought about was the fun and adorable times that we would experience. Soon I would learn the gender of the child doesn’t matter one bit. Your ultimate desire is a healthy baby.

I was a young college student away from home and always worrying if I had done something to harm my daughter when I was pregnant the first time. As I grew further along in my pregnancy, it became engrossed with negativity and talks of high risk, so my prayers began to turn into begging God to bless my baby to be healthy. Well God did just that. Blessed me with an 8-pound beautiful, strong and healthy little girl. I wouldn’t have loved my baby any less, but no mother prays for a child that will need visits with specialists or more emergency visits. I thought my child was perfect, although I knew no one was truly perfect.

It was when my daughter was a little over the age of one when I noticed that she still struggled to gain focus with her eyes. During her well-child visits, her pediatrician stated that children are still learning how to use their eyes when they are that young, but if it persisted that I should take to her to an eye doctor. I took her advice, but ultimately knew I would do what I felt was best as her mother. At the time, I wasn’t too bothered. I chalked it up to her having a lazy eye. Then as time went on I grew a little concerned. If you ask any mother about her child, she’ll tell you she knows when something isn’t right with her baby. When I covered my baby’s left eye, she said “Mommy I can’t see, it’s black.” My heart dropped into my stomach.  I responded, “Are you sure baby? Is it black, or is it just fuzzy?” Her response, “No mommy I can’t see, it’s dark.” I called my husband and we scheduled her eye appointment immediately.

The doctor concluded that the optic nerve in her right eye didn’t fully develop, limiting her to only 5% vision in that eye, while her left eye was pretty much perfect. He said that the vision in her right eye would never improve, but it wouldn’t get worse either. We were given a prescription for some glasses that only had little medicine in order to give her a little balance, but for the most part they were vital in order to protect her left eye. At the time we were told that if anything happened to her left eye she would only “feel” like she was blind.

Years passed, and everything remained the same, but me. My daughter was thriving and refused to be viewed as one who was handicapped, but I grew more insecure. I worried about how she would succeed in the classroom, if she would be able to play safely with others, if children would bully her, if she would think she was ugly, and how she would be able to deal with it all. When I looked at my child I saw perfection, but it was tainted with MY insecurity. I suffered for years with my own insecurities and low self-esteem, so I knew I had to get my life together. I didn’t want to pass my negativity onto her, nor did I want her to think that I viewed her as less than.  I began practicing affirmations with her. It started off vocal, and the more she improved her reading and writing skills, I made her write them out. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am smart. I am loved. I am confident. I am enough. I am Taniya Beautiful Gurley.

Between the ages of 5 and 6, she began to take notice of her eye not remaining straight. I would catch her in the mirror trying to force it to look in the same direction as her healthy eye. I would reassure her that her eye was fine, but deep down, it hurt my feelings because I know that she has matured and cares more about her physical appearance. I remain strong and fight the urge to stress and grow insecure again. I did however schedule another visit with her ophthalmologist- pediatric specialist.

The results came back the same, but final. Taniya is legally blind in her right eye. So now if she damages her left eye, she will not feel blind. She will be blind until it heals. The only surgery that can be done is to correct the appearance of the eye. He said if it doesn’t bother her, leave it. But if she wants to change it, he’s available. He also reassured me that she’ll be able to drive, fly an airplane, dance, cheer, swim, gymnastics and more. She will simply struggle with athletics that use a smaller object, such as tennis, hockey and softball.

There was nothing I could do differently throughout my pregnancy to change this outcome. The optic nerve was either going to develop or not. For a while I battled with that. I believed that I was the cause of her blindness. I told myself that I was too inconsistent with my prenatal vitamins. If only I had breastfed her longer, maybe the milk could have fixed it. I am so relieved that it was not my fault, but just the birth mark that God has given my daughter. Today, I am reminded that my daughter is in fact perfect and healthy. My child is blind in one eye but is a first grader who reads on a third-grade level. She reassures me every day that she is okay. I reassure her every day that she is a queen in training. She is smart. She is confident. She is enough. She is Taniya Beautiful Gurley.