The Dark Side

Remember the song, “I am slowly going crazy,”? For a while i was rewriting the lyrics to be a bit more relevant to my current situation.

Something like this:

I see baby every day now

Diapers feeding nap time switch

Now day every baby see I

Nap time feeding diapers switch

ad nauseum

I really thought i was coping well for a while. I had friends coming by pretty regularly, I was listening to all the people telling me to take things slow and “enjoy this stage” and things really weren’t bad at all. (If you’ve met my baby, you’ll probably tell me I have it easy).

And yet… I was waking up with increasingly worse sleep. At some point during Calgary’s coldest, I had not left the apartment for 17 days. I started to feel a sense of, there’s no other word for it, doom. Impending doom. That at some point I would majorly screw up baby out of ignorance or malice, because how could a person like me, with all my flaws, possibly raise an innocent right? And yet every time i broached the subject with someone else, I heard, “You’re doing your best.” So what? What if my best isn’t enough?

My cynicism increased each day, abated by baby’s smiles, only to return full force each time I woke. I began to fear the dark. Sleep brought dreams where I was pushed outside of baby’s room and hands inside locked the door against me. You understand why I don’t share these things, right? They really do sound crazed. But if you understand, then maybe writing this out will be helpful for both of us.

Things reached a turning point when one midmorning, unable to carry on any longer, I texted Jack. “I think something’s wrong with me. Mentally, I mean.” He called from work, worried by the tone, asking me to find someone who could be there with me. I called my parents. At this point I was in tears. My parents had just returned home but they jumped right back into the car to be with me, remembering to grab a can of Campbell’s (they hadn’t had lunch yet). By the time they reached me I was calm.

They talked with me and shared their soup. Mum took baby and Dad took me to the bank (he had errands to run). “You’re right,” he said, eyes fixed on the road. “You can only do your best. That’s all God asks of us.” I would like to say that everything was made right in that moment, but it’s been a couple months and only now does the truth of the statement resound louder every day.

I am a person who, when given a task, becomes concerned with doing the task in an optimal manner. To this end I research, I plan, and I look for feedback before execution. The problem here is that with raising a baby there are all the voices of all the mothers on the internet, whatever plans are out there must be adapted to a brand new person, and feedback consists of cries and babbles (thanks, baby). But if I take a dozen steps back or so, I realize my own life has been a series of doing my (sometimes) best and that God has always been there taking care of the rest. And “the rest” has really been so much more beyond anything I could have possibly planned for or fathomed.

I pray more, now. The funny thing is that this post began simply because I wanted to share more about the #momlife, but there’s something more important I’ve come to realize, and that’s the strength found in prayer. I’ve been praying more and more, because every day I am confronted with the reality that I can only do my best, and it may still not be enough. Yet there is no defeat in my prayers, only peace. Increasingly in this peace I have found so much more joy in motherhood thus far, than in the times where I do not pray. I know God loves my baby more than I do, and with infinitely better results, and this is what brings me rest. So I encourage you to pray, because I am experiencing God’s goodness, and I know that as you pray, you will, too.

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