Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections on 2009

As I think back to this past year I'm filled with mixed emotions. This year has been one of the hardest for me in a long time. It was filled with much joy, but also a lot of difficult days. When I think about 2009 one word specifically comes to mind: sleep (and a lack of it).

The year started with a pregnancy, which gave us much joy and excitement. It also left me feeling sick pretty much 24-7. On top of feeling sick I had to care for Ethan, who was at his most difficult stage ever (13-18 months). The days were long during this time, but I was still excited that we were adding onto our family.

Once I was 20 weeks along I finally felt relief from the relentless all day sickness. However that is also when the insomnia started, and quite frankly also the beginning of one of the darkest times I've ever experienced. Night after night I would lay there, unable to fall asleep for hours. This would just lead to anxiety, which in turn kept me from sleeping. I would face each day so very tired. Pregnancy in and of itself makes you tired, but add to that a lack of sleep and a very busy and difficult toddler, and you have one very tired mama. A lack of sleep does some crazy things to you. I went through a few months of depression and had a lot of anxiety. I went to counseling and even saw a psychiatrist. I took Ambien for a few months. I think I only made it through that time by the grace of God.

In September we welcomed our sweet baby girl into the world. This was a very joyful time for us and to be honest I was very relieved not to be pregnant anymore. I'd love to say things magically got better, but they really didn't. Thankfully I haven't had any more depression and I've felt a lot more like "me" since having Alayna, but I am not on the other end of my struggles yet.

Alayna is a sweetie pie, but she wasn't the easiest newborn. She pretty much cried non stop unless you were holding her for the first two months. She's gotten much easier, but still does not sleep through the night.

Having a newborn that wouldn't sleep unless she was being held certainty didn't help my sleep issues. For the first two months of her life I slept with her in the easy chair... in the living room. There was not one night during that time I slept in my bed. I was at least able to get chunks of sleep during this time, and that was an improvement believe or not. However I still was not getting the sleep I needed, and always felt tired.

When she was two months old I at least started sleeping in our bed again (with Alayna in the crook of my arm). About three weeks after that I was able to get her to finally sleep for the first half of the night in her own bed. We are making progress :)

I went to acupuncture for a while, and it seemed to help. However it's not something we can afford for me to do on a regular basis, so I haven't been going anymore. I'd love to say that I'm at the other end of my struggles.... but I'm not. Things are getting better and I at least feel like myself again, but I'm still struggling with sleep.

I went to my family doctor just this week to see what he could do to help me. I'm trying something for a few weeks to see if it helps (not a sleep medication, I am done taking those). I've also recently returned to the gym and am really trying to work out regularly. I'm hoping this helps with the anxiety I feel in the evenings, which prevents me from falling asleep. At the very least it feels good to work out again.

As 2010 approaches I feel hopeful I just want to be "me" again.... a happy, healthy mama that is able to get the rest she needs during the night. I am confident that the Lord is not going to leave me in this place forever. While 2009 has been a very hard year, I feel like 2010 will bring relief.

2009 has had many joyful moments and blessings, I don't want to make it seem like nothing good happened. I loved seeing my little boy blossom into a two year old who communicates very well. I adore my sweet little girl and am so glad she is here. She delights us and brings so much joy to our family. My husband has been wonderful, caring, and supportive; and I am grateful for his love and friendship. Our families continue to bless us richly and we are so grateful to have them nearby. I have a lot of joy throughout my days and I thank the Lord for blessing us so richly. I really try not to dwell on my struggles. I strive each day to find my joy in the Lord and look heavenward. This life is only temporary and there will ALWAYS be struggles of some sort. I'm trying to remember that and to make what time here I have count.

My goal for 2010 is to make my time matter. I know I am a busy mama, but I want to do things that are worthwhile. I want to invest in other people and show them the love of Christ. I want to enjoy my children and savor my time with them. I want to be the best mother I can be, and not simply try to "get through" each day. I want to love my husband and enjoy him to the fullest, and be the best wife I can be. I want to make sure to savor all the little things that are so great about each and every day.

Now if I can just get some sleep this year, I will be one happy camper :)

Lastly here is a picture of me last week at Jolene's....
... and then one of me this morning. I got my hair cut yesterday and I love it. You can't tell but it's shorter in the back. It feels good to have a "fresh" look :)

May the Lord bless you abundantly in 2010!!!!

13 comments:

krista said...

it feels go to reflect...i just did on my blog too. more of a summary though. you have had a year of highs & lows...hoping that sleep crosses over the the "high" list rather than the "low" list for you...and soon :) your new haircut is cute. i am chopping mine off next week!

Brigitte said...

Adorable style. I just want to let you know that I have faithfully followed your blog and prayed for you each step of the way. It always amazed me that you could come to church or any activity and be upbeat and happy regardless! You are one amazing person and I hope you find peace this year.

Kelly said...

Enjoyed reading this and can sympathize COMPLETELY with your sleep. I remember all to vividly my months of insomnia. It is something no one can every understand unless they have gone through it. I do hope you are on the up side of things. It seems like things are better than 9 months ago when it started, but I know you still NEED, WANT, and DESERVE it to be back to normal...

Genn said...

Very cute new hair cut! Looks great. I'm hoping your sleep struggles improve greatly in the new year. It's one of the hardest things I think to deal with, especially when you have two little ones depending on you.

I've enjoyed reading your blog throughout '09, so thanks for sharing. Many blessings in the new year,
Genn

Genn said...

PS- Krista, if you read this, can I become a reader on your blog? My email is
jghass2820@sbcglobal.net
I must have missed when you went private and after you left me a comment, I went to your blog to respond and realized that I couldn't! :)

Charlee said...

Jess- I hope things get better for you and that you are able to get the rest you need to be better. I rembmer when Breven finally started sleeping and his reflux healed at age 2 left me not sleeping. I hated ambien it made be feel funny. So I tried a product that is herbal called calms forte they make one for kids we used it with Breven. It worked for both me and him with great results and no side effects and no addiction.

I hope this year finds you rested

Jolene Grace said...

I too love your haircut, and hope you get your well deserved sleep / rest this year. I'm so thankful for our friendship. Love you girl.

Christy said...

Sleep ahhh yes, sleep is good. :) I hope you get lots this year. Happy new year freidn and God Bless your desire to spend your time wisely.

Rhonda said...

Your haircut is so very cute, but you would be cute even if you were bald. I think 2010 is going to be a great year on many levels. I look forward to what God has in store and praying that that includes rest for you!

SSchenkel said...

It's amazing what a haircut can do for your mood. Maybe I'll get one soon... :) So sorry about all your sleep issues. I hope this is a GREAT year for you!

Tawny said...

I think that is great goal, making time matter. I love reading your blog because I think that I can relate and have many of the same emotions about being a mom. It is so interesting to me to think back to our time in school and how much life has changed...we really need to go to Getaway one of these days and get a pitcher for old time's sake :)

Eileen said...

Thank you for your honesty and a window into your soul. Sometimes we see someone with so much going for them, and think they have the "perfect" life. We all have struggles. I praise God for you, your support system, and your beautiful family! You are awesome. The haircut is so cute... but I ditto Rhonda's comment. You are beautiful, inside and out!!!

Crystal said...

I love your candid honesty. I think we don't see it "in" the struggle, but that is when we gain empathy for other people who share our experiences (depression, insomnia, etc). And that is how you're going to share Christ with people, opening your life to them and sharing your struggles (and your joys).

I love "salon hair" that fresh cut feeling :). And yours is adorable :)!