in the wake of a breakdown

I wrote this post last Sunday…

This morning as I nursed her, in the rocking chair in her nursery, in the dim light of the morning sun, her little fingers wrapped around my thumb ever so gently. I felt a wave of peace wash over me and a tide of gratitude rise within me. I felt a sense of calm after the storm that was this week.

This week was hard. The sleep deprivation, from the last nine weeks, seemed to compile and press against my skin from the inside. Clay had law school midterms, and Noelle seemed to fight sleep like never before. And well, even with my mom here helping, somehow I cracked.

I had a complete emotional breakdown.

I felt depleted, defeated, and at the end of myself. I felt hopeless to get a decent stretch of sleep. I felt stuck in the thick of a really hard season, storm clouds overhead and thick brush surrounding me.

The newborn stage is hard. The sleep deprivation is truly trying. And if I’m being completely honest with you, it has tested our marriage.

It feels like since the week of her birth we have been in a pressure cooker—a new baby and the start of law school—and well, it’s been a lot. Seemingly too much at times.

In the past when I’ve felt exhausted and overwhelmed, I’ve slept much of it off in a 14 hour stretch. But in this season my longest stretch is maybe 4.

It’s hard.

It’s hard not to have the same ability to recover. It’s hard to feel that constant fog behind my eyes. It’s hard to be recovering physically from delivery and yet answering the very demanding call of physically caring for a newborn.

It’s hard.

It’s hard and yet it’s good. It’s so good. This morning as I sat there in the nursery with her, with those sweet little fingers wrapped around mine, I was filled with near euphoria.

It’s funny how it can be both.

I’m obsessed with her. Her smell is intoxicating to me. Her snuggles are like fuel for my soul. Her smiles bring joy from the pit of darkness and despair in my heart to light at the surface.

The newborn stage is beyond beautiful. But the newborn stage is hard. Mama, have you, too, had a breakdown? (I hear we’re in good company–more so than we might think. I think a lot of mamas just don’t go broadcasting their breakdowns. But I want to talk about mine so that other mamas know just that–that they are not alone.)

In the wake of it, all I can say is that I think it’s okay. It think it’s good to let it out. I think it’s good for my husband to see just how hard and real it is. It doesn’t mean I am failing. I think it means I am human. And I think it’s difficult for husbands to truly understand what it’s like–physically, mentally, and emotionally. And well, sometimes it just might take a breakdown for them to see us a bit more clearly.

Also, I was able to better communicate all I was feeling (after the emotion had settled.) There were things I didn’t realize Clay didn’t know. There were things I guess I hadn’t told him. And sometimes in the wake of a breakdown, I am better able to communicate all that brought it on.

And Clay was able to communicate his own thoughts, feelings and perspective. There were things I didn’t know coming from Clay’s side of things. The breakdown brought to light some really great communication for our marriage.

Ultimately I feel closer to him than ever because of it. I feel understood. I feel supported. I feel loved. I can see little changes already in the way we communicate, in the way I see him see me, and in the way we operate our lives and schedules. And well, that’s definitely a win.

I am certain that any breakdown–messy and yuck as it may be–can be a catalyst for healing in our hearts and our marriages in this season. Especially when we keep Christ at the center and invite in the Holy Spirit.

These days I’m reminding myself of what my mom reminded me: the newborn stage—in the grand scheme of life—is but a blip. When you’re in the thick of it, it can surely feel like an eternity, and yet I know it will pass by all too quickly.

It already is. I already miss her tiny baby body. Don’t get me wrong—I love her chunky self. But it’s all happening so quickly. And with the good comes the bad. With the euphoria comes the sleep deprivation. And so I will resolve to take it all in, to feel it all—deeply and fully. To be so very tired but so very grateful.

I glanced up from where I sat with her this morning to see that onesie hanging in her closet—the one intended for her siblings that they never got to wear. The one she will quickly grow into. And I was reminded that while this season is incredibly hard, it’s one I longed for, prayed for, and fought for.

And so I am grateful.

I’m grateful for the sleep deprivation. And I’m even grateful for the breakdown. For all the reasons above, and because it means she’s here. It means I’m a mama. It means I finally have a baby. And not just any baby—the sweet little girl that God ordained for us to have. And I could not. Be. More. Grateful.

“When waters rose and hope had flown, O my soul.
Ever faithful, ever true, You are known. You never let go…
Joy and pain and sun and rain; You’re the same. You never let go.”
– David Crowder Band

I’m so thankful that our God never lets us go, even when it feels like we are barely hanging on.

📷: Apple Rose Photography

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