• brittain sobey

what a difference a year makes

a family tradition we started last year is going to see the detroit zoo lights. last year we went the day after thanksgiving and this year we scheduled to go the sunday after. good thing, because we ended up making a last minute trip out to kansas city, mo from tuesday to saturday for thanksgiving. it worked out quite well!

as the holiday neared, i was conscious of the fact that it had been almost one year since my last depressive episode with anxiety and insomnia. there's something foreboding about that type of anniversary. i acutely remember feeling so distraught walking the path through the zoo the night we saw the lights last year. nighttime is a stressful time when you're dealing with insomnia. i remembered that last year this time we were nearing approval for domestic infant adoption and the chance to be placed on the waiting families list. because of how bad i was feeling, i had thought about asking to just pause the process. i didn't feel capable of pursuing it anymore. i was not excited for the holidays, i just wanted to get through them. i was tired of showing up and trying to appear normal when i felt nothing of the sort. i missed being me.

last year, our first year at the zoo lights, we started off going the wrong direction on the loop. it was great for the first half, just us on the trail. but once we hit all the others coming the opposite way it was a panic attack -- a wall of people we were trying to push through with bina in the stroller. i remember being irritated that we had gone the wrong way and eager to just finish and leave. i was disappointed because when i booked our tickets for the event i was excited about it. but when the event came, i wasn't able to enjoy it much at all. and i hated that! i didn't want to eat. i didn't want to drink hot chocolate for fear it might keep me up. i didn't partake of any treats for that reason. i wanted to be myself again, eating cookies and downing hot chocolate, talking about the lights, sharing the excitement and laughing with bina and david. i wanted to be growing our family, not feeling paralyzed by anxiety, depression, and insomnia. i felt incapable of taking care of myself, let alone other tiny humans. it took a few months for me to fully recover and get my confidence back regarding sleep -- confidence that i could do it. but recover i did. and we were approved in december and placed on the waiting families list.

this year is so incredibly different than last. after that depressive episode in november 2017, i decided not to try to wean off my meds again for the time being. i had tried to do it twice with the result being a spiral into depression, anxiety, and insomnia within a month or two. and it just isn't worth the risk of having that happen again. this year we planned to stay home for thanksgiving but then decided three weeks before to book tickets to kansas city to visit david's brother and his family whom we hadn't seen in two years. david realized he had an extra vacation day to use so we flew out the tuesday before thanksgiving and returned the saturday after. it would also be the last time i would travel before this baby is born. so we did it! and we planned to have saturday afternoon and sunday as family days at home. bina had a blast with her cousins and their toys. it was a sweet time.

saturday we decided to put up our christmas tree. bina was so excited to see it and hang ornaments. i've put all our breakable ones away until the littles aren't so little, so everything is bina friendly. she adorably focused on the bottom section of the tree, and then decorated her tiny tree on the floor next to our big one. these holidays are so much more fun with a little who is into them and the decorating!

sunday as we drove to the zoo lights for the 5:30 showing, i reflected on the fact that i have made it a year without a recurrence of depression. while last year we were waiting to be placed on the waiting families list for adoption, this year i have just entered the third trimester (28 weeks!) pregnant with baby girl number two. it was black friday last year that i joined lifetime canton and i have been working with a personal trainer once a week since then. i am stronger physically than i was last year, even while pregnant. this year, we knew NOT to walk the wrong way around the loop. it was also much less crowded going sunday instead of the friday after thanksgiving. while last year i was distraught and choking back tears, this year david and i talked and laughed together as we strolled through with bina. i had no anxiety. when i saw a food stand with soft pretzels and cheese i jumped at the chance to get one. i drank a whole cup of hot chocolate from our overpriced souvenir cup. and i had a brownie with whipped cream, chocolate and caramel sauce. i had no concern over my ability to sleep sunday evening. bina even slept through the night so i got the best night's rest i've had in awhile! it's incredible the difference a year makes.

as i continue on through this third trimester of pregnancy, i am so very grateful. grateful that my body has been able to conceive and grow a second babe. while i don't particularly enjoy pregnancy -- though i love feeling my little pinball machine bounce around in there! -- i am so conscious of the fact that being pregnant is a privilege that not all women who want to are able to experience. i don't know why god allowed me to grow a baby, but i am thankful for the opportunity. it has been interesting to note the ways this baby seems different than bina. juniper feels settled low in my pelvis whereas bina had her head up in my ribs. i'm hoping juniper stays down and gets into the proper birthing position so i can pursue the vbac i desire -- we'll see! i've nicknamed juniper my little pinball machine because she has crazy rapid movements and kicks out both sides of my belly at once. i called bina my little nudger. with the level of energy bina has, i have to admit i'm quite terrified to meet this little one and all of her boundless energy! ha. even as i type this, juniper is kicking away all around my belly. i am so grateful for her movement, for this little life growing inside of me.

this sunday is our first hypnobirthing class. i thought this stuff was off the wall before. but i'm really looking forward to learning techniques to address my fears and surrender to the process of labor and birth, however it may turn out for me and this babe. prenatal yoga has been great for me to attend, practicing breathing and building endurance. i missed last saturday as we were traveling, but a new session starts up this saturday and i am eager to continue. somehow i feel as if there is more room in my body after completing the series of stretches. and i very much enjoy the camaraderie with other preggo mamas. it is my hope that hypnobirthing and prenatal yoga will both help me to prepare for and embrace this process of birth. i will go into this birth more informed and prepared than i was last time around.

this year sure is so very different from last year. and this pregnancy different from last. and this post partum experience sure to be different from last, no matter how it turns out. suffering through postpartum depression and subsequent struggle with depression, anxiety, and insomnia has made me recognize anew my desperate need for god. for that i am grateful. it keeps me humble, recognizing my own limits. it keeps me reliant on god. it's good for me to look back and remember the darkness of those days and to see how far i've come, by the grace of god. and also to recognize that if they return, god will grant me sustaining grace to get through them again as he has in the past.

i didn't know what my future held this time last year. i didn't know that waiting for domestic infant adoption approval was the easy part, that having profile showings that always resulted in another family getting picked would be a kind of stress and disappointment i hadn't yet experienced. i didn't know i'd come to realize that no matter how you grow a family, it's hard. it's always hard, just for different reasons. i didn't know we would be on the waiting families list for seven months and then find ourselves pregnant after our 10th anniversary. i didn't know that we would end up pausing our adoption process with the prospect of updating our home study and getting back on the waiting families list a year after this babe is born. i didn't know what god was doing. i didn't know that by going through the domestic infant adoption approval process i would learn parenting techniques for children with trauma that would solidify the thoughts i was developing on parenting outside of children with trauma. i had no idea! and yet, here we are.

it made no sense going through it, but we pressed on and in. god closed the door for adoption for right now. but he opened the door to another child by birth. not in my timing. not in my way. but his timing, his ways are so much higher than mine. i trust him. so often i find myself overwhelmed by just how little i have control over. but then i remember he is the one who is ultimately in control. he is sovereign. i am not. i can find my refuge in him alone. as i have learned time and time again, he has a plan even when i can't see it. even when i don't understand. even when i don't want the plan he has. and he is gracious to be patient with me. to give me time to learn and grow. and to keep me close to him.

so yes, what a difference a year makes. and now that hindsight is 20/20, i wouldn't change a thing.

#motherhood #anxiety #depression #holidays #pregnancy #thirdtrimester #thanksgiving #grateful

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