Thursday, January 18, 2007

I have a confession to make.

Well, two. The first is that I have a really hard time with anything that smacks of a pity party. I just don't believe in pity parties, and have to check myself, as I often find myself judging people for complaining. It's embarassing to me to imply that my life is anything but priviledged and full of blessings. I mean, I didn't even blog about my sixth month of pregnancy when I got the worst eye infection (it looked like a scuba accident,) a cold, pneumonia and then broke a rib coughing-- although now that I can laugh about it, it's safe enough to mention. So please understand that this feels risky. And that at this moment I am trying to overcome a major pride issue.
My main confession is that I am having a really hard time in life. ( I don't want to speak for Jeff, but it's true that we are in this together.) Amelia has been such a challenge for us. I feel like I had approached parenthood knowing that it would be stretching, but feeling like I was definitely up to the challenge. The journey so far has been way beyond my imagination. Not just the challenges of my pregnancy, or the birth experience I hope to never repeat, but the whole deal up until now. Amelia is almost seven months old, and she is still practically sleeping like a newborn. I have written cheerful things before like "it was tough, but we're all sleeping better now," but they should have read, "Amelia was waking up every forty minutes, but now she wakes up every two to three hours, on a good night." She now sleeps four hours at a stretch on a great night. I am trying to think of a stronger word than "exhausted," but I can't at the moment. However, "cranky" is very accurate, and I feel like I am constantly on the verge of a major social blunder. That thing that has typically kept me from speaking my mind when I shouldn't or that helps me choose nice words in a tricky conversation is all gone. Sleep is not the only issue. Amelia has an incredibly dynamic personality and is almost constantly frustrated by... well, I don't know... maybe physical limitations?.. She rarely cries, but hollers almost constantly, and as Grandpa put it, "spends most of her time and energy trying to do things she can't do yet." On the one hand, I try to take her out every day because she LOVES new people and environments and is incredibly and enjoyably social. On the other hand, she rarely lasts more than an hour and a half being out, so I almost never visit friends or do much outside of the home besides running errands. It feels like I've been under house arrest. And so many other things. The breastfeeding not working out. Making formula every day. Cloth diapers. Weekly trips to Herbie's to see what we else we might try. Chiropractic treatments. I have an appointment with an integrative medicine pediatrician in Newport Beach on Thursday to try to figure out what is going on with little A.
It's really, really tough. I have a hard time admitting it, and feel weak doing so. But recently a few people have challenged me to be more honest about where I am at, and the toll all of this has taken. So there it is. I confess, I'm having a hard time.


Carol said...

hi Ariana,

Confessions are good. Especially when one becomes a mother! I am constantly asking my kids and Nathan for forgiveness AND letting them know when things are getting too much to handle.

Now I know we are in different stages of motherhood, but I can fully empathize with you...and just admire you as well. Yes, I can relate to fussy/vocal children or lack of sleep...I think the one thing that binds women together is an "understanding of motherhood". Sometimes it can feel lonely, right? I feel lonely a lot and am always beating myself up for feeling this way.

Anyway, you are on the right track- seeking help, being honest and letting us know (your family and friends) what you are going through...if you can't be open with people who care for you, it will be a rough ride!

Take care- this sort of thing WILL strengthen you and give you wisdom that some mother won't learn until their kids are teenagers! :)

Megan McMillan said...

Ariana, thank you for sharing your true experience on the blog. Something I've always admired about you is your positivity, your serving heart, and willingness to vigorously pursue change when life is difficult. You're such a great example of courage under fire.

I was right there during that sixth month of pregnancy, living downstairs, and would often just marvel at your ability to take it all in stride. That time you were even game for going camping when you had a broken rib and a cold? Pure steel.

But, the flip side of that kind of courage can be feeling that you can't ever show any weakness. That's a difficult example to keep up when the going gets incredibly tough and you really just need some support, or even more, some actual physical, practical help.

I'm so impressed with your decision to be vulnerable and honest about your struggles. As a friend, it's easy to look at your poise, positive outlook on life, and ability to put others' needs above your own, and think you've got a handle on everything. When you let us know the reality you're facing, it becomes a privilege and a blessing to offer you help or prayer or an empathetic ear. Thank you for giving us that opportunity.

Gretchen said...

Ariana, you are such a wonderful person. You have been such a trooper and I know it has been quite tough! Thank you for your honesty.
I would like to come over and "play" again soon!

annie said...

I think you are doing an amazing job taking care of your Amelia. God knew who He was handing that little firecracker to. And I am not trying to downplay the struggle you've met. I will be praying that your appointment Thursday will be helpful.

p.s If you think the cracked ribs and all that is funny now, just think how much you will both be laughing NEXT year!
I love you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Ariana,

This is the third time I have sit down to comment. I admit to feeling completely overwhelmed with memories of my own struggles as a mother that each time I have been rendered completely inarticulate. I think I will just have to call or write you a long email sometime. There is just too much to fit into a comment here. I just wanted to share the promise that I have clung to over the past few years... "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I have been surprised by how much more amazing God's work has been during the times in my life when I haven't been able to take any of the credit. I think the lack of sleep and demands that Amelia has placed on you might put you in a similar position. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I have been thinking about you a lot these last seven months and that I am praying for you even more now.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Ariana! I am the sister of one of Luke's friends' wives. I've been stalking you and your very beautiful baby, and I just wanted to say that I totally hear where you are coming from, and it sucks!! My little guy is now 15 months and still getting up 4-5x a night. I don't know if that will make you relieved or cry, but from one tired mommy to another, you have my sympathies and prayers!

He and Amelia seem to have similar personalities. Once Rand was able to start moving around on his own the hollering (perfect word!) really toned down. Although today he was pushing his walker around and started yelling whenever he got stuck on something (read: every 3 seconds), so I may have to take it back.

I do sometimes wonder what amazing things I could have accomplished if I had gotten 8 hours of sleep. =)


Erin said...

Hi Ariana, I am so sorry to hear what a struggle you are having. You are doing an amazing job raising Amelia, from sacrificing for her good to making her special formula and even doing cloth diapers on top of all of the rest of the struggles! I just want you to know that I admire your determination, stamina, and positive outlook over these past 7 months, and that you're doing a fabulous job being a great mom to Amelia. I am also praying for you, and will be praying that the doctors can help you figure out an answer/solution that will help Amelia.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ariana,My eyes are a little blurry as I write this-partly from reading your confession and partly from readingthe comments.Thanks for being so transparent.I do pray this new Dr. will be able to give you some help! Did you get a full nights sleep at Aunt Robin's guest room? Of course thats temporary.We can help again soon for small respit and pray. Love and prayers.

Melissavina said...

I am very proud of you and the way you so clearly opened up and shared with us your current state of mind. So many new mothers that I've known have failed to cry out when they are struggling. It's as if they are admitting that they can't handle something they think they should be fully equipped to manage. I am terrified of motherhood because I know how hard it can be. I'm not sure I've got what it takes, but I applaud you for taking it head-on and being strong enough to lean on others for support, it's what "others" were made for. You give me courage.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ariana,

I have been updating myself on beautiful Amelia and your new life as a wife and mother (on your blog), as I myself am in the same life stage.

I just want to encourage you and say that you are doing what is right with Amelia. Moms know best for their children. You probably already know that, though.

Every child is different, and every mother has to start all over again sort of speak in her mothering and find out how to care for each child individually.

You are doing a wonderful job, Ariana! I'll pray you can get some more sleep (a miracle, huh!), and that things get easier somehow, or that the Lord will show you his purpose in this! Find me "Lisa" on the Faith myspace site.

-An old friend,
Lisa Kelly (formerly known as Lisa Taylor from Faith)