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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When Anger Creeps In

There is a grieving process a person goes through when they've been betrayed. A series of emotions take over and finding the healthiest way for you to adjust and move on is a struggle. 

I thank God for His plan in my life and giving me Laurel and having this happen just days before I met my daughter. Had I not been pregnant, I'm not sure if I would be dealing with this in a healthy way. I'm sure I would try but I might end up just as lost as my ex.

I had sadness for a while. Disbelief, numbness, hope, and then just recently anger has reared it's head. Sometimes I don't even have to talk to my ex to become enraged. I can be sitting, holding my daughter and the thought of walking away from her or simply throwing a pretty decent life away makes me want to scream. How does someone do that?

Then I go back and forth between thoughts about how I must have been such a horrible partner, how I didn't try hard enough, or how everything I thought was real was a complete sham. 

Then, I follow up with these thoughts: I gave and loved with everything I had for years, with nothing in return. I invested emotionally, physically, financially, and mentally and was completely drained. My existence and purpose was to make his life easier, I catered to his needs like a wounded dog wanting my master's approval. Setting love aside, a true friendship of 9 years would be worth more than months of cheating and walking away without any explanation. My friendship that I invested was worth closure. 

To those of you going through similar situations, there are so many questions and scenarios that you go over and over in your head. Sometimes you feel like you're drowning in uncertainty about every moment of your past relationship. I found that if you make positive, affirming statements that you know are true about yourself or the past relationship, you can repeat those, revisit them mentally and focus on those instead of letting the unknown eat at you. Those are truth. Some of the questions and thoughts you stay focused on will never go away and the answers will never surface. Here are my statements I revisit. Statements of truth.

1. I've never been happier. 
2. Laurel and I deserve more. We deserve a man of God.
3. The only way he (my ex) will find himself is through Christ.
4. God has prepared my heart and mind for this season in my life. He is also continuing to prepare my heart for something greater. This is all making me a woman of faith.

I have to repeat these to myself because sometimes the anger creeps in and I want to say hurtful things, sit and be angry, or simply shut off. I don't feel the need to get revenge. I've forgiven him (you'll read about that more later), but it doesn't mean that the grieving process goes away with forgiveness. It still appears at some of the most inconvenient times, but it tests my faith, prayer, and grace. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

No Longer Mine

It was midnight, on I-90, heading back to Montana from a weekend in Washington celebrating my nephew's birthday. Laurel, my sister Christy, and Noah were all sleeping in the car. I was so jealous, what I would have given to have a short nap. I had the windows down and radio turned up.

The opening started, the gentle tones coming out of the speakers. Usually my hand moves quickly to a different saved radio channel when I hear the song come on. My throat closes a little, my stomach flips upside down and I move quickly to hear what's on the next saved channel. It's usually country, something twangy and spunky. It helps the mood pass quicker; the "lets hate on cheating men" anthems save my heartache.

I waited a little longer, the first couple of lines were passing through the air. Oh that Sam Smith, can he sing or what? My stomach didn't drop, my heart kept beating, and I didn't want to throw up because I was physically dealing with so many emotions. My memory didn't trigger to that night where I sat sobbing for hours, wondering what I would do because my whole life, everything I knew was gone.

I gripped the steering wheel and sang. I sang with conviction, off tune I'm sure, but with the experience of heart break. I felt free. I sang along and smiled, partially from trying to reach those high notes that only Sam Smith and Baby Jesus could reach, I'm sure. I also smiled because I wasn't restricted, I wasn't controlled by those emotions that came along with the song.

When silence came over the car, after the song ended. I wondered if I would cry. If I would have one of those moments where I realize what I've actually experienced the past 6 months. Would it hit me all at once again? Nothing. The next song came on the radio.

I kept smiling. Sleep deprived, hungry, and slightly sun burnt...I smiled.

Those lyrics used to be me. Used to be my life. Used to explain my heart. But, they were no longer mine. The emotions that came with the song, the memories, the constant struggle to avoid the song...no longer mine.

What was mine? Freedom, empathy for the next person who would avoid the song, happiness, closure, and love.

Moments like these teach me so much. I'm reminded that with every single day, I find a part of me. I find a piece of happiness I didn't have the day before. I'm reminded of my worth. I'm constantly empowered by my decision to take what happened and move on. No looking back, that is no longer my life.

Sam Smith: I'm Not the Only One https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCkpzqqog4k

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dating As a Mom

I'm a mom. I have a daughter. I work full time. I'm a parent.

But, that's not all that there is to me. I have many layers.

I feel as if I'll be writing about this topic for a long time, even after I meet the man I'll call my husband. But, right now, I want to touch base on the overall idea of dating as a mom. I'm a new mom and that will be a topic I'll revisit a little later. Because I went from this idea of "I'm a new mom, I don't have time, I can't date" to "I'm a mom and I am open to dating".

Here are some simple points about me and dating:

1. I do not go out looking for someone to date.
2. My daughter comes first
3. My daughter will not be around the man I'm dating until it's a serious & committed relationship.
4. I want to grow in faith with my spouse.
5. I'm not trying to replace her father.

You see, someday, Laurel may call two men "dad". Her biological father and her step father. Or she may not. I don't really know. What I do know is when I find a man who becomes a part of mine and Laurel's life, he will have to love us both. We are a package deal.

I have friends who are single mothers, I think out of all of us, I have the youngest child. I'm the newbie. But, I love that my friends call me or text me freaking out about dating. It makes me smile; it lets me know I'm not alone and that they trust me enough to share their fears and worries. I also love being a voice of reason because sometimes I feel like I'm the worry wart far too often.

A couple of weeks ago a friend was struggling with dating after a split with her daughters father. I remember the advice I gave her was specifically for her, but after say it, it related to me. Our stories are very similar when it comes to the involvement of our daughters fathers.

"You're a mother and a great one at that. You work full time and raise her on your own, so if you were to date someone that's okay. That's healthy. Forming friendships are healthy. You can't hide away, you would suffer as a person and then your parenting may suffer. You're made to make connections. You don't have to bring her (her daughter) around the man until you're sure it's a serious and committed relationship. A couple hours a week, on a date to dinner isn't going to make you less of a mother."

Now, for those of you who don't know my full story, I was in the same relationship for nearly 9 years. I didn't date growing up. So, I feel like I don't know how or what to do on dates, that's okay! No one does. That's where I remind myself that I'm not out looking to date, people walk into your life and make an impact and if you explore those feelings and relationships, great. On the other hand, I may go through a period of time where I am content being single.

I enjoy being single. For 9 years, I focused on someone else. I lost who I was. I'm a mom now and take care of Laurel but I also don't rely on another person's schedule or have to worry about making their life easier. I worry about mine and Laurel's life. I enjoy the freedom. I enjoy learning about what I do and don't like. I was focused on growing as a couple for 9 years, I lost me. Freedom & self love is amazing.

The most important part to me is finding a man who has a relationship with Christ. I pray for my future husband. I pray for myself and I ask that our hearts and lives comes together in God's timing and that we listen to God when that time comes. I ask that God prepares my heart for a man he's created entirely for me. So in the meantime, I work on the areas in my life that I was left with from my previous relationship that has made me sad, hard, or resistant. God does not want me to be bitter or harsh. So I work on that. Dating does not mean that I can't work on all of that, it means I'm getting to know people. I love that I'm making more friends while dating.

I use this motto "Don't date someone you can't see yourself marrying." That is so relevant and true. I think there are so many different interpretations of dating that it's hard to understand at what point you become dating and what point you're still getting to know someone. Dating is getting to know someone. It's up to you as a person to determine how many layers and levels that includes when it comes to the physical side of things. That's between you and God.

Sex will be another topic I write about later.

Be easy on yourself mommas, dating doesn't make you less than.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What A Year

A year ago today, I found out I was pregnant. I thought I had the flu. I had been away in Washington throwing my sister's baby shower and came home, really sick. I went into the university clinic to see if I needed medication and to get a note for work. As I filled out the paperwork, I counted back the days of my last period. I always hated counting back or trying to remember; I had PCOS, I was never really normal. The last 4 months or so seemed to show a consistent pattern so I felt confident when I realized I should have had my period the entire time I was in Washington and even before I left. Was I too busy and too worried about throwing the best shower for my sister that I wasn't in tune with my body? I chalked the late period up to stress and poor eating choices that week.

Then, this sudden drop in my stomach happened...that gut feeling people warn you about. I decided to leave the clinic and test on my own, because I worked on campus and people knew me at the clinic. I didn't want anyone to start talking, I especially didn't want the judgmental eyes. I ran to the nearest grocery store, bought the cheapest test I could find.

I went back to work and told myself I would take it later, just push through the upset stomach. I had to go to the bathroom so I took one of the two out of the box and decided to just do it. Peeing on a pregnancy test should be required to become an astronaut or engineer. A big fat positive, two lines, bright and within 8 seconds. I stood in that bathroom stall, test in hand, shaking.

A week earlier, I had broken up with my boyfriend. After 8 years, I ended things. I reached a point and I couldn't continue to give and give with nothing in return. I missed him. He was my best friend and all I knew for 8 years. I had thoughts of regret for the decision I made. I knew I would have to tell him. I would have to explain and hope he didn't think I was trying to trap him. I felt trapped. I decided to wait and to tell him in a day or two when I had my head wrapped around the shock.

I called my best friend, Chelsea. I remember the words escaping with tears that followed. Her up beat "Hey, whats up?" slowly faded and she kept saying "Oh Chelsea...it's okay. It's going to be okay." I could hear her heart ache for me. I just cried, I kept repeating "I broke up with him. What do I do?" I knew what I was going to do. After the tears finally slowed, Chelsea broke the silence with "Is it okay to say that I'm so excited!!!" She gave me hope in that moment. In those seconds where the silence filled my soul and my heart searched for answers, she gave me hope. I smiled, and a little excitement grew within me.

My daughter's father found out just a day or two after I did. Oddly enough, he guessed what I needed to talk to him about. During my pregnancy, he came back around, we played house. But again, I ended up being the only one who tried. I was the only one who would work and sacrifice my own happiness for a family for my daughter. I should have walked away when I realized how much I was giving and how unhappy I was. I made excuse after excuse "Dad's don't become fathers until they see their child." I was cheated on during the majority of my pregnancy and it became something that he stopped feeling the need to hide.He walked away just weeks before I gave birth and I thought  my entire world was falling a part and I was going through the deepest kind of heartache.

Three and a half months later, I can say it wasn't the deepest heartache and he wasn't my entire world. I discovered that I'm stronger than I ever thought. People often say "Your kids will give you strength". This is so true, but I'm proud to say I found my strength and worth before my daughter was born. I fought for my joy, peace, and strength before she came. Just days before she entered this world, I became more of who I was before. My sadness became acceptance. My anger became determination. My self doubt became positive affirmations. My broken self esteem was healed by the words God uses to describe me as His child.

In those days leading to her arrival, I prayed for the first time in a long time, for my daughter and for her father. I would rub my stomach each night, calming her active kicking, and pray for them until I fell asleep. That's when I realized that when you go to God with a heart of prayer and a heart of forgiveness, the person your praying for isn't the only one who receives those anointed words. You do.

A year ago today, one of the hardest journeys began. It's a journey I will continue to walk until my last day on earth. It's dasy like today or even just a couple days ago (Father's Day) where some old feelings creep into my head. Most couples have such a happy memory finding out they are pregnant. Most couples celebrate it on the one year anniversary. But it's just me. It's me and Laurel. So instead of feeling sadness that I'm missing out on something; I will celebrate it. Because it was the day I became a mother. It was the day that I began to put someone else's needs in front of mine. It was the day I fell in love. It was the day my entire world formed. The day that created what can be my deepest heart break. If I were to lose the privilege of being Laurel's mother and seeing her grow every single day, that would be my entire world crashing down and the deepest heart break.

A good friend just asked "Overall, are you happy you got pregnant?"

I smiled. My heart skipped a beat and I replied, "Yes, I would go through the heartbreak and sadness a thousand times to have Laurel."

My daughter was wanted, she was loved from this day a year ago. Today, I celebrate my body and God's presence in my life to make every choice I've made.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Introduction & Background

Let me first explain that nothing is off topic on this blog. This will help me with my sanity. It will be my release and most importantly, it will document every struggle and win. 

I was in a long term relationship for nearly 9 years, when my daughter's father and my boyfriend walked out on us three weeks before I gave birth. My entire pregnancy I was being cheated on and fighting to be "enough" and someone he would want. Maybe if I tried harder in different areas, he would see I was worth it and would stop seeing this other woman.

 Now, you will find that I won't bash her father, but I also won't sugar coat or make excuses for his choices and actions. I have found forgiveness by God's love. However, I struggle daily with the sudden emotions that come with what happened. I sometimes get jealous, angry, and even sad that I was put into this situation and that it doesn't seem to bother him. More than anything, my heart breaks for my daughter. But that's where my trust in God comes into play. I do not know what the future has in store. 

I became a mother at 23. More than that, I became a mother two states away from my family and biggest support system. I have amazing friends in Montana and my daughter's father's family is within a hour driving distance, but not being around my mother and nana daily when I'm raising my daughter...it's painful. 

My pregnancy was very rough, I was sick up until the day I had her. My labor was also very long, 62 hours. I was in pradromal labor for 52 hours. After pushing for a couple of hours, a c-section is how I met my daughter. It was the hardest decision to make because it was yet again, another thing I didn't have control over, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

I met Laurel Ruth at 7:19 p.m. weighing 6 lbs 11 ounces and 19 inches long on March 6, 2015. Full head of hair, long fingers and toes, her father's mouth, my nose, and the most beautiful dark blue eyes (these have since changed to brown). When I held her on my chest and saw her move her hand to her mouth...I knew, nothing would stop me from loving and being the woman and mother she deserves. That pain and heart break of everything I knew and loved walking out on me with another woman...it vanished. I truly became a new person in those quick moments with a new life on my chest. I didn't cry. I smiled, I smiled for the first time in months and my heart soured with happiness and completeness. At that moment, I knew God had given her to me to save me.