the antidote for your frustration
on april 26 i received a enneathought for the day email from a list a signed up for as an enneagram type 1, the perfectionist/reformer. it read, "as a one, you are part of the frustration-based group. ones are frustrated that the world is not more sensible and orderly. the antidote for your frustration is acceptance of reality. (understanding the enneagram, 318)" and i was just like. DANG.
the antidote for your frustration is acceptance of reality. DANG.
sounds a lot like my "surrender to the process" lesson god has been teaching me. that quote rang so true for me. i wrote an instagram post about it:
the antidote to your frustration is acceptance of reality. this. all day long. all day every day. while we were going through the domestic infant adoption process, god started speaking to me about surrendering to the process. and as the adoption process lengthened i struggled so hard against that. when i started to surrender i realized that message was for all of life not just adoption. surrender to toddlers up for hours in the night. surrender your goals for the day when you just need to snuggle up to your kid. surrender to the refusal to eat vegetables, fruit, or anything but macaroni and cheese. keep trying with healthy foods, but surrender to the reality that you cannot make your child eat a damn thing. surrender expectations when they aren’t met. surrender the past and the reality that you wish this post partum experience could have been your experience for both children. surrender strict schedules. surrender being on time. surrender the desire to dress your older child the way you want to. surrender and get her a fancy dress for each day of the week. surrender and get those character toys you said you’d never get because you wanted wooden and montessori toys but your child plays with the paw patrol crap for hours and hours and it’s totally worth it. surrender the age gap you wanted. the reality you got is so. much. better. surrender it all. because it’s not yours to control anyways. and when you let got, it’s serene. it’s better than you could have ever imagined. and you enjoy the hell out of it. even the hard moments. sing with your threenager at the top of both your lungs — let it GO.
its funny because before starting this post i was doing just that -- screaming with my threenager at the top of my and her lungs -- let it GO. she asked for the song and i obliged her. "hey google, play let it go." google proceeded to bring up the french version because. i have no idea. so i pulled it up on my phone and turned the volume all the way up and she and i danced around the kitchen belting the words. of course we then settled on the movie frozen for her eye sticker time that she is participating in right now as i wear the baby in a wrap and bounce with the laptop on the kitchen counter as a makeshift standing desk. my sink clean for the first time in days because my dad was so kind as to do some of my dishes while he was here watching bina as i was at bible study fellowship's sharing day with juniper this morning. i've been practicing "let it go" hard on the domestic front. it drives me up a wall, but it is what it is. my children are alive. win.
[warning: birth photography coming up so if you don't want to see my vagina and nipples in the setting of childbirth, because i'm not sharing them in any other context, stop reading now]
juniper turned three months old yesterday. we have officially survived the fourth trimester. i am still on the healing journey physically and i am okay with that. yesterday was my first trip to the gym with both girls in tow and it went great. as in, i didn't get called to the childcare center during my one hour personal training session and we were able to grab a bite to eat at the cafe after without any major meltdowns. i have a childcare spot reserved for juniper on wednesday at 4pm. we shall see how that one goes. if it's a success, i plan to make that my new routine. one monday morning workout at 11am and one wednesday or thursday afternoon workout at 4pm (because the childcare center is closed from 1-4pm and i have other activities in the mornings). if that doesn't pan out, then i'll be going alternate wednesday and thursday mornings when i don't have counseling or my mothers of preschoolers (MOPS) group. acceptance of reality looks like trial and error with my new gym routine. i loved going at 1pm but that is no longer possible with the childcare center hours for infants. so we adjust and adapt until we figure out what works. and i'm sure what generally works won't work every week. i'll take the wins as they come and weather the hard days.
yesterday i received all of the edited photos from our birth photographer, marcie, of pink moon photography. i used all of juniper's naps to construct a photo book using mixbook. so naturally my house is a disaster but my photo book is ordered and i cannot stop previewing it online and i absolutely cannot wait for it to arrive. i will cherish these images for the rest of my life. my birth experience was not what i expected because that is the reality of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. and lets be real, all of life. again -- the antidote for my frustration is acceptance of reality. i DID get my vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) i had hoped for, but it was not without complications like an epidural that only worked on my right side, a fever in labor that led to me and baby needing to be on antibiotics, an additional 48 hour stay at the hospital and me not being able to have my placenta encapsulated, and the big prize -- third degree tearing. now that i'm almost 13 weeks post, i can still feel some pressure in my pelvic floor when i walk and stand a lot. any way you come to motherhood, be it by birth, vaginal or cesarean, or adoption -- it. is. hard. it's just hard for different reasons. my physical recovery period has been long and uncomfortable but my mental and emotional state through it all has been drastically different from my first go at motherhood. and i think that has made all the difference to me. that, and the fact that juniper is little miss chill baby. sleeps and eats like a rockstar. basically didn't cry for the first two weeks. who is this baby? i mean, we're still sleep deprived and the adjustment to two kids is challenging. it just would have been a LOT more challenging if we had ended up with bina version two, a.k.a. little miss intense baby, instead of little miss chill baby juniper. so praise god for his grace (unmerited favor) and kindness in giving me a chill baby round two. i know that is not everyone's experience. i'm incredibly thankful that it has been mine this time!
having rachel mackay as our doula was an invaluable part of the birth experience. i loved sharing the experience with david and it was also special to have another woman with us to attend to me and support him as he supported me. near the end i found myself turning to her as each surge washed over me. i knew she knew what i was going through and it brought me comfort.
yesterday bina and i were talking about her and juniper's birth as we read the what's in there? book. the book references both types of birth, cesarean and vaginal. i asked if she wanted to see juniper being born and she said yes. i showed her the photos and i also showed her my scar where she came out of me, poopy butt first. upon seeing the crowning photos (i left them out here, i'm not quite that brave at the moment, ha) and baby as she first was being birthed, bina noted that she was "dirty." why yes, she IS dirty! birth is dirty business. blood and sweat and vernix and amniotic fluid. torn tissue, mangled pelvic floor. birth is also incredibly BEAUTIFUL. breathtaking. my yoga instructor said it can be orgasmic. i thought she was crazy but when i had juniper placed on my chest immediately after i birthed her from my vagina, i felt pure euphoria. oh, my baby! oh, my baby! i said over and over again. we did it! we. did. it. and then i had to have the placenta delivered and my third degree tearing all stitched up and that kind of dampened the euphoria. but still. that whole 21 hour journey was such an exercise in surrendering to the process and acceptance of reality. i could have been completely upset about my tearing. i was just ecstatic that my baby came out of my vagina instead of my abdomen. we would make do with the recovery. and hey, almost 13 weeks later, physically i'm doing lightyears better than right after that birth and the days and weeks following.
today at bible study fellowship i was able to share how bsf has been an anchor for my soul keeping me wrestling with the word of god these last three years. not just reading -- interacting. wrestling with the content and applying it to my life. my first year in bsf i wrestled with anxiety, depression, and insomnia triggered in the midst of the stress of trying to control the desire to become pregnant and grow our family. my second year in bsf i wrestled with anxiety, depression, and insomnia triggered in the midst of the stress of trying to control the domestic infant adoption process so we could grow our family. god spoke to me about surrendering to the process. not just in domestic infant adoption but in all of life.
let go, brittain. release the control you think you have because it is an illusion. accept the reality that for whatever reason, this is not god's plan for your family. this is not his timing. accept the reality that your eldest daughter is an explosion of you and david -- your emotional intensity and david's energy. she cannot be controlled, nor do you want to control her when you are in a healthy frame of mind. sabina is pure joy. she was an intense baby and has been an intense toddler. her passion and empathy are contagious. sabina is a force to be reckoned with and that girl is going to change the world someday. as her mom, i have been entrusted with her care. my goal as a mother is to give her the tools to manage her emotions so that she can grow into the fullness of whatever she is to be. to show her what it means to make mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and do the next right thing. to show her that no matter what, i will always love her. i will love her with an imperfect love because i am human, but god loves her with his perfect love and i will always point her to him.
let go, brittain. you don't have to decide today whether or not to go back on the waiting families list. you don't have to decide today how you're going to homeschool. you don't have to do all the things. you only have to do the things god has given you to do today. TODAY. the house may be messy. the dishes unwashed, the laundry in the dirty hampers or clean in a pile on the bed, the dog hair rolling like tumbleweeds across the wood floors. it won't always be this way. heck, it may be clean next week. tomorrow. but today it's just not happening because you set a goal to write two blog posts a month and today is the day you are prioritizing that and yesterday you prioritized that photo book for juniper's birth and so here we are with a mess of a house and it. is. o.k. the antidote for your frustration is acceptance of reality. do what you can. do your part. and let the rest go. it's all going to get done one way or another, it just doesn't have to get done right now, today.
my whole pregnancy and even through the end of the birth i held my desire for a VBAC loosely, not knowing how it would turn out and realizing that a repeat c-section was a definite possibility for me. one that i repeatedly thought might be my fate during the birth process. i did what i could to give that VBAC a good chance of success, and my reality was a successful VBAC and, so far, a post partum experience without depression. if i hold my control loosely, knowing that it's not really mine anyways, i am able to have hope that things will go as i would like and also the grace to face them if they do not. because life is messy. birth is messy (and beautiful!). motherhood is messy. it's all messy. and i wouldn't have it any other way.