First, I was really sick at the beginning of this pregnancy, so I basically did nothing for over 10 weeks, and it was kind of miserable honestly.
Then, when the sickness lifted some, I got really depressed and discouraged. I felt like my life was literally in ruins, and it was all my fault. I felt so guilty for all the days that I had let my daughter watch TV while I laid in bed trying to survive the constant vomiting. I felt completely overwhelmed at how far behind I was in EVERY part of my life. I felt the weight of not being able to work out or get out in the sunshine or be productive doing good things, things that usually help lift my spirits. I felt alone, like there was no one I could tell about how awful I was feeling, especially because I'm pregnant and should be so happy and thankful for this blessing (which I am, but that doesn't take away the difficulties).
When I finally opened up to my husband, I told him that I felt myself essentially giving up. I didn't care anymore, and I couldn't find a way out of this dark hole. I didn't know how to try to lift myself up, because I was so tired and so deeply buried in darkness that it seemed like there was no way out. It really seemed like there was nothing that could help me. I felt beyond reach and beyond hope, which is not exactly my favorite place to be. Everything I did or tried to do seemed to distance myself more from where I wanted to be, and I continued to feel that my mind and my spirit were giving up. I thought I had given all I had to give, and yet, the struggle continued with little relief.
As I was now spending hours of every day crying and feeling so much weight and darkness, I began to feel some bitterness creeping into my heart. Why, if I did the right thing by getting pregnant even when that was a very hard decision for me, why was it so hard now? Why didn't God give me an easy pregnancy as a reward for having so much faith to go off medication, to go forward with our infertility doctor, and to eventually get pregnant when things already felt so hard? I thought I had done all the right things, and yet, here I was struggling now more than ever-- emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
I was clearly not in a good place and not in a place of finding joy at all through this struggle. I was exhausted and was sure that there was nothing left for me to do but pray that God would take all of this away. It seemed like too much to handle, and definitely more than my weak body and spirit were capable of enduring.
So I prayed. I prayed hard. I prayed for lots of things that I knew in my heart wouldn't be answered, but I said them anyway. I knew deep down that things weren't going to get better right away, that asking God to take away all the struggle or to take me away from all of this pain was not going to happen, and I knew that giving up was not an option, as it never is. But I was beyond the point of praying for strength to get through this struggle, because I felt I had already gone too far, and nothing small or simple could make this better.
As I continued praying every day for the "wrong" things, something happened.
One day, I was feeling so so discouraged about being a mom, and I distinctly felt to reach out to two people. I didn't know why those two people, but my heart sure hoped that they could offer some peace and comfort to my brokenness. It turned out those two people knew exactly what my heart needed to hear, one of whom was feeling discouraged herself about similar things, and helping me rise above my discouragement helped her as well.
A few days later, something similar happened. I was feeling great concern and heaviness about some other things, and a thought came to my mind of who to ask for help. Once again, I was able to get a little bit more help, and some hope started to return to my heart.
Then, I had the thought to return to writing in a tender mercy journal about all the ways that I see God's hand in my life. As discouraged as I was, I couldn't commit to lots of writing, so I committed to write down just one thing every day. My mind could handle that simple task, and slowly my spirit began to soften again as I realized all the little ways that God was blessing me and my family.
One evening, as my husband and I were talking, we decided to start getting up early to read scriptures together again since I wasn't throwing up all morning anymore. This was something that was impossible to do on my own, but with him at my side, I could do it, and I started to feel little bits of light returning to my life.
One weekend, I went to a baptism for my cousins and was asked to play the piano. I didn't know beforehand, but they also wanted me to play in the middle while the boys were getting dressed. As I began to play some arrangements I had written a long time ago, I felt the Spirit for the first time in months, and I knew that I still had so much to offer, even when I felt so broken.
After several weeks of experiencing a series of little miracles, God helped me realize something that I hadn't thought about in too long. I am stronger than I know. Each of us are. We are asked to go through some really difficult things, things that seem impossible to handle, and sometimes they are impossible to handle on our own. But God sees us for who we can become, and He knows how to help us. He sees how much we are really capable of handling, and He sees how our growing pains lead us to become someone new, someone we were content with not becoming because of all the pain it would take to get there, but someone that God knows without a doubt that we can become.
I look back at the last couple of years, and I see so much change in myself. Some of that change is heartbreaking as I realize that I am not carefree or energetic or motivated or happy all the time like I used to be. But some of the change is breathtaking. I see how God has taken my broken heart and made it into something greater than what it was-- much more compassionate and loving and caring, much more responsive to the heartaches of others, much stronger and more capable of handling the heartaches that sometimes accompany this life. And I hope that the breathtaking changes outweigh the heartbreaking ones.
I used to pray that God wouldn't give me any more struggle, because these continuing emotional struggles seem hard enough, but I have come to realize that praying for less struggles just causes me to feel bitter and upset when the additional struggles come. So instead, I have returned to asking to find and recognize the glimmers of joy through the struggles that are sure to come, because that leads my heart to God and His love instead of away. Doing this has reaffirmed to my heart that I am stronger than I've ever been able to imagine or see in myself, and that it is far better to feel heartache to become someone better than who I once was than to be content with staying the way I am.