This needs said.

This needs said.

So, there’s been a tragedy in my community and its raised a lot of opinions and voices and emotions, but I’m not seeing what we should be seeing. So I’m going to share my story.

April 2013 – A few days after finding out my husband and I were expecting our first baby, we found out we were no longer expecting that baby. I had miscarried. Anxiety set in, BIG time. Not just “Oh, I’m nervous about such-and-such” but the big anxiety that causes paranoia, damages relationships, and challenges faith. I’m unaware of a problem, but my husband sees it.

May 2013 – We learned we were expecting our son and anxiety went into overdrive! I mean, I’d be driving down the road imagining every possible scenario of how I would wreck and then realize I didn’t remember the drive home. The marriage is taking a hit, as well as other relationships. Its so consuming, but I still don’t see a problem.

Early to Mid 2014 – Our son is born, I’m completely in love and overjoyed! Post-partum depression sneaks in. I battle emotions I’ve never felt before for months, yes months, before I’m willing to admit that there might be something going on. Might be. I would like to say here that never once did I think about or imagine or want to hurt my son. Never. I wanted to hurt myself. Sometimes I did. I woke up one morning with a bruise on my forehead from smacking myself. I often thought this world would be better off without me, but I didn’t follow through with suicide because I didn’t want someone else raising my son. I turned away from God. I told Him I hated Him and He wasn’t real.

December 2014 – Sobbing, I say to my husband “I think something is wrong with me.” (He later tells me that he suspected all along but was scared to bring it up.) I called my midwives’ office and told the secretary, while crying, that I needed to talk about some issues. I was seen that afternoon. I was also seen by a therapist. I was given a prescription for an antidepressant and scheduled my next therapy session. I left the office that day feeling hopeful for the first time in over a year.

January 2015 – Over the next few weeks I continue seeing my therapist and gaining insight on where all my feelings are stemming from. At one point y’all, we even did the typical “its your mother’s fault” routine! I’m beginning to feel better, but there’s still an evil lurking in the shadows.

Summer 2015 – I woke up one morning, crying over I-can’t-remember-what, and told my husband “I’m tired of this. I can’t do this anymore. I’m done.” (That sounds bad, I meant I was done letting this evil have control over me.) That morning was a Sunday, and at church I asked the women to lay hands on and pray for me. In that instant, I felt months of agony lift off of me! It was gone! I was so light, it was amazing. The thing I had been begging of God for months was finally done, all because I simply…let go. At this point all I realized I had was depression, and that’s what was gone. I never finished that prescription. (Not recommended, discuss it with your doctor!!)

December 2016 – I’m a month out from expecting my little girl and the midwives bring up the topic of starting antidepressants as a precaution. “Just in case.” I decided to wait and talk it over with my husband, because I certainly felt fine! That week was eye-opening. God showed me exactly what I needed to make a decision. I realized at this point that anxiety was holding on with its nasty claws dug in. At my next appointment I told the midwives I was ready to start the Zoloft. Within a couple of weeks, the anxiety was managed! I was stunned! I still didn’t know it had crept in after the miscarriage, but I felt like my old self again.

August 2017 – I’m on my last bottle of Zoloft and feeling pretty good, so I decide to start weaning off. Instead of cold turkey, I decide to try an every-other-day method. Well, it sucked. The anxiety reared its ugly head. I hated, abso-freakin-lutely HATED, to request an extension for the pills, but it was better than the alternative. I don’t want to be on these pills for the rest of my life, and I don’t believe I will be, but I know I need them for now. My anxiety is managed and I’m happy. I’m able to function like I should and care for my kids. My marriage is amazing, we’re closer than we ever were before. Some people might say “Why don’t you just give it to God like before?” Well, I don’t know. I do know that my faith is stronger than it ever was and my relationship with God is on the right track.

I believe with my whole heart that we go through things for a reason. I had it confirmed so many times. My miscarriage was used to help someone else heal and find peace. Would I have chosen that? Nope, but I find peace in knowing there was a purpose. I’ve already seen reason for my battle with depression, and it makes the battle worth it. I would have never chosen that path, but now I have that tool to help someone else.

So, all this to say, if you feel demons sneaking in, telling you horrible things, making you feel horrible things…GET HELP. There is no shame in having mental health issues. There is no shame in getting help. There is help out there, and if you don’t know where to turn, ask a friend, relative, doctor, Google, anyone! Just say “I need help.” Society shames mental health issues and its time for that to stop. These problems are real, and they need addressed. The more people speak up, the more the stigma goes away. Also, if you suspect someone is suffering, tell them. Say “I’m worried about you, is something going on?” Be persistent. Get help or give help before its too late.

I’m going to put some numbers and websites below, use them.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 (always available)

MentalHealth.gov – Loads of resources on how and where to find help.

Or you can call your primary care physician or even the number on the back of your health insurance card.

Advertisements
Stand.

Stand.

The sixth chapter of Ephesians describes to us the armour of God. There’s a belt of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation, and a sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. What are we to do with it? Stand. Verse 11 tells us to put on the whole armour of God so we can “stand against the wiles of the devil.” Verse 13 tells us to put on the whole armour of God so we are able to “withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” God wants us to put on this suit of armour, to stand.

I discovered a song not too long ago by Bradley Walker and Joey Feek called “In the time that you gave me.” A part that Joey sings goes like this:

In the time that you gave me, did I face the devil down?
Did I make him turn away every time I stood my ground?
If today is the day you should decide to take me,
Did I do all I could do, in the time that you gave me?

When I heard that song, I got the chills. For a while I had been mulling over that chapter in Ephesians and what God wanted from me. What did He want me to stand for? Of course, I am to stand for God, but I felt like there was something more and when I heard this song it confirmed in me that there is something more to stand for and I need to figure it out. I want to be sure that when its my time to go, I have done all I could do to stand.

Now, if you know me, you know I’m a wife, and a mother, and a sister, and a daughter, but I’m also an aunt. I’m an aunt to the most amazing little niece. She’s got the brightest blue eyes, the cutest little laugh, the craziest cow-licked hair, and a complete set of designer genes. Nope, not a typo. Miss H has Down Syndrome. Now, when she was born, it was a complete shock. There was suspicion and we’d have to wait for genetic testing to confirm or deny the diagnosis. It confirmed it. Through all the emotions that followed, I just kept thinking, I had prayed for my sister to have a full-term, healthy baby and that is exactly what God delivered! She was perfect!

Now, what in the world do the bible, a country song, and my niece have in common? God. God works in ways that are beyond our comprehension, and He speaks to us in more ways than one. I wholeheartedly believe that God has spoken to me, told me to stand for something, and told me that something is Down Syndrome.

Since DS was so new to our family, I took it upon myself to research a bit online. One thing I learned was that the most dangerous place for a child with DS is inside his mother’s belly. Why? Because, depending upon the country, up to 98%  of babies with a prenatal diagnosis of DS don’t make it out alive. Not because they get sick and die, not because their bodies stop working, but because their parents decide they suddenly don’t love their child anymore and murder him through abortion. I was shocked and saddened to learn this. Had my sister known her daughter would have DS, it wouldn’t have changed a thing. I’d still be Miss H’s aunt. Honestly, I was scared for her. Scared of the unknown, scared of what could go wrong, scared of bullies. As I’ve watched my niece grow, I’ve watched her develop at her own rate, but develop nonetheless. She has taught me that there’s really nothing to be scared of, that its okay to have Down Syndrome. Its okay to be different.

Now, that last sentence is what gets me. All I see in America these days is fighting. Fighting for everyone’s rights to be who they are, to be different. If a man wants to be a woman, that’s okay. If a woman wants to be a man, that’s okay. If I want to color my hair purple and identify as some mystical creature, I’m to be celebrated for it. And if a woman wants to abort her baby because her baby has a such-and-such chance of having Down Syndrome, that’s okay too.

Except its not.

CBS has published an article about the extremely high ‘termination’ rate of babies in Iceland believed to have DS in utero. Like, nearly 100% of them. They’re killed. For being different. That’s not okay. Its not okay for even 1 baby to be aborted for having DS. God tells us in Jeremiah “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;”. God knows each and every baby that He puts in each and every belly.

I don’t know why these babies are being killed. I don’t know how any woman can allow her child to die. But what I do know, after reading so many comments on Facebook, is that so many people have such an ignorant view of Down Syndrome, and its resulting in tragedy. We should be outraged! We should be fighting for these innocent babies! But God just wants us to stand. I’m just one woman from a small town in a state that most people don’t realize is a state. But I’ve got God on my side, and with God all things are possible. So I’m going to stand. I’m going to stand for education about Down Syndrome. I’m going to stand for life. I’m going to stand for awareness. I’m going to stand for acceptance. I’m going to stand for my niece. I’m going to stand for every baby who can’t stand because they didn’t make it out alive.

Being a Mom, Not Just a Mom.

Being a Mom, Not Just a Mom.

One of the biggest decisions my husband and I have made is for me to be a stay-at-home mom. That’s right, WE made that decision. It took action and sacrifice from both of us. It meant my husband had to get a job that pays enough and has good benefits (insurance, retirement, etc.) so we would be able to afford living on one income. My husband loves carpentry work, but building houses wasn’t going to pay our bills. So, he got a job at a plant, and even though its not his most favorite way to pass the workday, it allows us the lifestyle we prefer. And two months before our first child was due, I retired.

DSCN0951
A gift from my husband!

After Big B was born and I’d meet someone new, I found myself having this conversation quite a bit:

Them: “So, what do you do?”
Me: “I don’t work, I’m a mom!” (Said in a rather ecstatic voice!)
Them: “Oh, but you do work!”/”There’s no job more important!”/”That’s better than any paycheck!”

Stop already. The tone of your voice could not *be* more condescending.

I get it, you want to make me feel valued, like my life still holds importance even though I don’t financially contribute to my family. Guess what? I already know that. I’m very proud to be a stay-at-home mom. Not because I think I’m better than working moms, but because my one main goal in life is to be a mom. I don’t need strangers reminding me that I matter. I know I matter. I also know that every mother who chooses to work, matters. I know that every mother who makes decisions every day in order to care for her children the best way she can, matters.

On the other hand, ladies who stay home, stop saying “I’m just a mom.” That takes so much value out of what you do. Do people say “I’m just a doctor” or “I’m just a judge” or “I’m just a teacher”? No. Being a mom is not something to be ashamed of. Own it!!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you lovely moms out there. If you work or if you stay home, you matter! Just look into the face of your child if you need more proof!

I Learned Something About Myself

I Learned Something About Myself

I have a stack of books on my nightstand. Its worth noting that my nightstand is not a nightstand at all. It’s a vintage sewing machine that is pulling double-duty, or, more accurately, acting as a stand in since it does not currently function as a sewing machine. (The belt broke.)

Back to the stack:

untitled.png
That’s a lot of readin’!

I recently decided to tidy up my corner of the bedroom. After dusting off the basket of books in the floor (yes, really) and gathering my newest additions from the kitchen table, I stacked the yet-to-be-read books on the sewing machine. As I looked at the books I longed to read, I had a major awakening. I seem to gravitate toward autobiographies. This may be a “so what?” moment to you, but it really shocked me! I have never really been interested in them before. I usually enjoy fiction, mostly of the Nicolas Sparks variety. (I set reminders for when the next one is set to be released!) I like to escape into fantasy worlds that have a happy, predictable ending. What can I say?

Let’s explore my nightstand!

Good Talk, Dad by Bill and Willie Geist – My husband got me hooked on the Today Show, and we both fell in love with Willie. He seems so down-to-earth with a splash of humor thrown in for good measure. When the show did a special segment about the book he co-wrote with his father, I thought “Hmm, interesting…”. I’m about a third of the way through this book and have confirmed, its freakin’ hilarious!

My Story by Elizabeth Smart (with Chris Stewart) – I remember the abduction of, search for, and ultimate recovery of Elizabeth Smart. I was in high school at the time and when I saw her book in the store I thought twice about purchasing it. I knew some of her story from the news and wasn’t sure I wanted to read about it more in-depth. Ultimately I decided to give it a try. Time will tell on that one.

This Live I Live by Rory Feek – I had heard of Joey and Rory Feek’s music and began following Rory’s blog when Joey became sick. I would read his updates and ball my eyes out as I put my toddler to bed at night. I still follow his updates, but I’ll only read this book once I stock up on tissues!

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller – I found this little gem at a book sale a few months back. Honestly, I only bought it because I knew it was a classic and I’d never read it. Don’t gasp too hard, but I’ve never even seen the movie! Plus, I liked the cover. (Definitely one of those people!)

Diary of a Player by Brad Paisley and David Wild – There is only one reason I bought this book. Brad is from West Virginia. I am from West Virginia. West Virginians support West Virginians. Period. (I have at least 4 books I’ve bought solely because the author or illustrator is from West Virginia.)

The Last Summer (Of you & Me) by Ann Brashares – Remember how I said I usually like to read fiction? Ann Brashares is the lovely woman behind the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I LOVED that series. I found this at the aforementioned book sale and did a little happy dance inside. 🙂

Since taking this photo, I’ve added even more books to my list (because what mom doesn’t have all the free time in the world to read???) I ran across an article about Bunmi Laditan and how she declared her kid done with homework. Upon further investigation, I discovered this funny lady was releasing a new book in a few days titled Confessions of a Domestic Failure. This seemed right up my alley! But wait, a new book? This must mean she’s written previous books. A quick search confirmed she was the author of a book I’ve always been curious about: Toddlers are A**holes. So there’s two more added to the stack!

What’s on your reading list?

Welcome to Ramblings!

Welcome to Ramblings!

Hey there! I’m very new to this blogging world so you’ll have to overlook and forgive any mishaps on my part. I’m a 30ish-year-old wife and mom of 2 kids, Big B and Little S. We’ll pretend those stand for Big Brother and Little Sister. 😉 I live in a rural area about 5 minutes from a small town and 15 minutes from a bigger one – read: it has a Wal-Mart. Most of my neighbors are family-by-law, friends by choice. We have a small flock of chickens and some community dogs that make the rounds daily.

One thing I’m going to be up front about is something that is extremely important to me. My faith. I am a Christian. If you don’t want to hear the truth of God’s Word, stop reading now. I will not apologize for my faith and will not sugar-coat my beliefs. If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine, but this blog is not intended to start debates. As the title suggests, I intend to ramble on about my rural life as a housewife. Hopefully someone finds it as amusing as I do!

I’ve never really enjoyed ‘introducing’ myself; I never know exactly what people want to hear. So, I’ll just list some random interests and maybe the internet world will see me a little more clearly. Some things I like: crafting, crossword puzzles, trivia shows, gardening, reading, and laughing. The most important thing to me (besides God) is my family. I live to be a wife and mother. There is nothing in this world I would rather do. Sure, I went to college, obtained a degree in early childhood, and really enjoyed teaching preschoolers. But now my focus is family. Maybe one day I’ll go back to teaching, but the future is too fuzzy to worry about right now!

If all my ramblings have intrigued you, go ahead and sign up for my email list to be notified when I get around to publishing a new post! See you soon 🙂