The last two years were easily the most difficult years of my life. I struggled with being controlling. I struggled with defining my importance based on Who I belong to instead of what I do (or what I don’t do). I struggled with accepting my extraordinary body. I realized I had post partum depression. I sought help. And here we are: nine months after I began treatment for PPD. Here we are embarking on our 10th wedding anniversary on August 12. It is all so surreal.
I am different now than I was a year ago. I am accepting myself and my flaws and my goodness. I am accepting that I can’t change anyone except for myself. I am feeling more confident than ever in my extraordinary body. I am CONTENT. Really. I’m content.
Last year, I wrote about nine things that I hadn’t learned in nine years of marriage. The title and the tone of my post was reminiscent of my mindset at the time. I was having a really hard time. This year is better than the last mostly because I am in a different head space than I was last year. I was still dreading (for lack of a better word) my anniversary because the hubs and I had planned to get a hotel and go out to a really nice dinner…that was before we knew we would have a baby at our year ten mark. I was dreading it because I feel like I am a completely different woman than the woman that Wes married ten years ago. I have my own views (Christian, feminist, Black Lives Matter supporter). I am also at home a lot and I was having a hard time valuing myself. The negative self-talk was:
“What will you talk about all alone with Wes?”
“Will he be bored?”
“Will you be bored?”
“Dinner and an overnight date is a LONNNNG time to force awkward conversations.”
“Maybe we should bring the baby?”
But those things that I was telling myself are all the more reason that we needed to do this. I needed to do this. We will have a nice, fancy dinner… just the two of us. It might be awkward. But I seriously doubt it because Wes and I have been working on cultivating our husband and wife relationship in the last month or so. I’m at a point where I’m not so caught up in my head and my issues that I can’t bring myself to give energy to my marriage as well as motherhood. It’s okay if it’s a little awkward because we are stumbling through this new territory in our relationship. We’ve never been here before. We don’t have any previous experience to pull from. We are flying by the seat of our pants.
So, this year, I’d like to list 10 things I have learned and that I’m in the process of learning. Because I’m feeling optimistic. I’m feeling hopeful for my future. For my and Wes’ future. For our future as a family. I am confident that with work my marriage will get better. I am confident that my husband loves me. I am confident that the only way to go is up since things can’t get worse than they were the first year of parenting. I am different. I am worthy. I am enough.
- Wes is with me for the long haul. If he were going to leave, I think the first year of attempting to co-parent with me would have sealed the deal. But he didn’t leave. He stayed. He supported me in seeking treatment. He doesn’t understand depression but he does support me in receiving help.
- My relationship with Laila Grace is different than Wes’ relationship with Laila Grace. I can’t make up for the areas where I may feel he is deficient in his relationship with our daughter. His relationship with Laila Grace is up to him. It’s his responsibility.
- Marriage is SO different once children enter the picture. This can be good and this can be not-so-good.
- I am in charge of me. I can’t dictate every single thing about Wes. I can’t control him. I don’t think I want a man who can be controlled, either, but I also don’t want him to be so stuck in his mindset that he’s not willing to look at the other side of the argument (which is probably the side that I agree with).
- I am interesting. I used to get down on myself because “I’m not doing anything” but really and truthfully, I am doing what I want to do. I CHOSE to leave my career. I am happy in my position of “mama.”
- There’s no shame in going to marriage counseling. Yep. We’re in marriage counseling and I think it is WONDERFUL! I mean, the counselor tells us “common sense” stuff that we can apply to our marriage but it’s not so common sense that we could’ve thought of it ourselves… I mean, if we could have then we wouldn’t have a need to pay for the counselor.
- I am important. I am important to my family. I am important to my friends. I matter. I cannot listen to the lies of the enemy telling me that I don’t have any value and that I am worthless. I am enough just as I am.
- I cannot let shame dictate my actions. For my Book Club, the book we are reading is called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Brene studies the affects of shame. She defines shame as, “The intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging” (pg. 69). I have changed the way that I express myself because I didn’t want to be judged by my or Wes’ family. I have changed my political beliefs because I didn’t want Wes to feel a certain way about me. But, no more. I express myself freely and I sometimes express myself by choosing to remain silent.
- I don’t need to take myself so seriously. See number nine in my post from last year.
- A good marriage is about falling in love over and over with the person that you’ve committed your life to. A good marriage is about being the best you that you can be so you can be the best spouse and mama/daddy you can be. A good marriage is the constant making of the choice to love your spouse. Sometimes the choice comes easily and, sometimes, the choice takes work.