Early in the year, I was having a conversation with my sister and she said something that stuck with me: “the pain never goes away you just learn to live with it”. Here’s the story of how I learned to live with the pain.
2021 was one of the most pain-filled years of my life; the year that crushed me was also the year that I became a mother to the most amazing girl! I keep telling those around me that I thought that I was going to lose my mind in 2021, and the fact that I am still sane is a testimony in and of itself.
I’ve shared this on social media but not on my blog – so here is a quick summary. In mid-2021, I was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia while I was 25 weeks pregnant, I was admitted to hospital at 26 weeks, and at 27 weeks I gave birth (through emergency C-section) to a miracle baby girl. My baby had to stay in the hospital for almost three months before we were discharged to go home.
During this time, I lost myself. I wasn’t the talkative and positive person that those around me knew me to be, I was sad, depressed, lonely, and angry. But, at the same, I was full of life, because every time I saw my daughter, every time I carried her in my arms, she gave me a reason to keep going!
When my daughter left hospital and came home, I still wasn’t myself. I spent most of my time in our room and hardly left the house. It took me a while before I was able to start taking baby steps towards finding myself, accepting the fact that I had lost some parts of myself forever, and adopting to some new parts of myself.
How did I find myself?
I accepted that I was not okay.
I remember during one of my therapy sessions (did I mention I started therapy so I could cope), my therapist asked me how I was doing, and I told her I was not okay – and I really cried when those words left my mouth. But it was at that point that I accepted the season that I was in; that things were not okay and I was not okay, and I wished that things were better. But as hard as it was, I accepted that I was not okay.
2. I had people in my corner.
This is something I will never take for granted. My husband and I had, and continue to have, an army of people who love and support us. And so, when they were around us, we put our weight on them. My small sister moved in with us during that period, my mother and mother-in-law were almost always at our place, and my close friends offered me refuge when I needed it most.
3. I asked for help.
I never had a baby shower (this is one thing that I was really angry at God for) but during the many showers that I attended, I would hear mothers being advised to ask for help. Well, one thing I was never too shy to do was to ask for help; anyone who seemed willing to, I would surely reach out to and ask for help.
4. I started doing things that I enjoy.
My husband came home one day during lunch break, and he found that I hadn’t showered (I was still on maternity leave); he took our daughter to allow me time to shower, then asked me to eat and write down a list of some things that I enjoy doing. He said that even if I can’t do all of them, I should at least try and do one thing each week. And he held me accountable. Slowly but surely, I started finding a voice again. I started expressing myself again – and I started showering before lunch break.
5. I talked to God from my heart.
While our daughter was in hospital, someone came to visit and gave us some advice that did not sit right with me: They told us not to question God, not to complain and to give thanks. You see, the God that I believe in is sovereign; He is our creator, He knows our thoughts and our heart – therefore, we can’t hide anything from Him! I was grateful to God, because both my daughter and I were alive, but to this day I ask God why we had to go through that. Being honest with God about where I am has helped me. I told Him when I was felt sad, disappointed, and angry… I questioned Him, but I never lost my faith in Him – sometimes it wavered, but it was always there, sometimes it was literally as small as a mustard seed, but it was there. I have always spoken to God from my heart,.
So, in June 2023, I can (finally) confidently say that, by the grace of God, and through being intentional about finding myself again – I am back!
I am not the same, I will never be the same, but I am back!