…and the meaning behind this blogs name. See, Ive started blogs before. And quit them all. I never felt like I was ready to really share my heart. And if you aren’t sharing your heart…then what are you really sharing? So let me share my heart with you and tell you the story of a bird.
A few months ago, I noticed a little wren building her nest in one of my flower pots on my porch. I watched her day after day build her home, making it strong, safe, and meticulously placing bits of decoration into it. She built and built until it was just right. I would always peek inside after coming home from the grocery store or watering my flowers to find her sitting there, still and quiet, resting in the home she had so lovingly built.
One day, upon returning home from a rather hectic grocery store trip and after fumbling for my keys and struggling with bags and babies to get inside, I walked back out to take a look inside. I found her gone, and 5 tiny eggs had taken her place! I was very excited to have eggs waiting to hatch right on the porch so that I could show them to my children and we could watch them grow together. You see, the discovery of the eggs had been a bright spot in a very dark couple of weeks for me. I had been feeling the wrath of trying to keep up with life while running a home and a business, running around after a strong willed & energetic (at the time) 2 year old, as well as taking care of a (at the time) 3 month old who was still waking up two or three times a night.
With no help from family, (because they are 8 hours away) I was feeling isolated and weary. I was truly exhausted. I started to withdraw from friends and was not enjoying my days as I once had. The days began feeling like such a chore. Emptiness had set in where joy had once abounded. I felt as though I was in a sad, dark hole and had no idea how to climb out. I had been through the ringer before in my life and always found my own way out to the brighter side, but this was different. I could see no light at the end of this tunnel. It just got darker, and more narrow. When I found myself crying often for no reason, I wrote it off as just my hormones trying to level out after the baby or just being tired. Thoughts like “things will get easier once our work slows down a bit and Adams home more,” and “this is just a difficult time,” were what went through my head most often. But things did not get better. In fact, they got worse.
I was so tired, but could not sleep. I was hungry, but didn’t want to eat. I wanted to be with people but didn’t want to bother getting dressed to leave my house. How could I even be feeling like this? I have the most incredible husband who does everything he can when he is home to lighten my load and two of the funniest, most beautiful children I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. How could I be so sad all the time? I finally decided it was time to seek answers and help when my daughter awoke from nap to find me laying on our stairs, silently sobbing, asking me, “Mommy, why are your eyes wet? You cryin?” I tried for so long to hide my feelings from her, and everyone else for that matter, but it was no longer possible and I couldn’t allow myself to deny any longer that something wasn’t right.
I sobbed as I told my midwife what was going on, while she took the screaming baby to rock for me and helped me clean up the Chik-fil-a fries that Olivia had dumped all over the floor. After a few more questions and a lot of encouragement that this was actually quite a common scene, she told me that I most certainly was suffering from post partum depression. Although on one hand, I wasn’t surprised, on the other I was shocked about how I had even gotten to this point. After all, Ive always been the most positive person I know. I came home that day glad to have an answer, but almost feeling worse than when I had went in. I am not one to ask for help, and most certainly not one to find it in the form of medication, but I wanted out of that hole. And I couldn’t continue on the way I was.
After we got home, I laid the kids down for nap and went outside to get some fresh air and try to clear my head. I peeked into that birds nest once again and this time I found the eggs had hatched and all 5 babies were alive and well, mouths open, waiting to be fed. “Five babies!” I thought, “how exciting!!” Immediately followed by “how exhausting!” Over the next few weeks I continued my treatment, worried if I would ever come off of the medication or if this was something Id live with forever, and watching that Momma bird tirelessly care for her babies. The only time she was ever “home” was when she was returning to feed a hungry mouth and then leaving again to find more food. But no matter how relentless her work was…she sang. She had to be exhausted. She had to be worried if what she was doing was enough. But she sang. Her babies grew so big that there was no longer room for her in the nest, and so she slept in the dirt of my flower pot. But every morning, the sun came up and she came alive with song, happily setting about her long day of work. And she inspired me. When I felt like I was too tired to go on that day, I heard her song, and continued on. Just doing the next thing, until the next thing and the next thing made up a whole day. And I was inspired to try do my work with joy. To find the smallest bit of triumph in doing the next thing, and getting to the next day. She helped me to remember that no matter what the day brings, or even if you have to sleep in the dirt through the night, to rise with joy and give it all up to God to provide.
So that’s what I did. And things began to brighten. The fog began to clear and the darkness started to lift. I began making sure I made time to things that brought me joy and fulfillment, outside of motherhood, my marriage and just surviving the day. I began making time to divulge in my creativity and I felt my mind open up and my heart seemed lighter. I made sure to eat right and started running again which was more time for my mind to be quiet and process through any negativity. My heart and soul began to feel fulfilled and revived. I found my happiness again and was better able to enjoy my days. The monotony, the laundry,the 3am feedings,the diapers, the time outs, and all the craziness that went along with them. I could see myself becoming a better mom, wife and friend.
One evening, about two months later, I checked the nest like I so often did…to find nothing. No babies. No momma. Empty. My heart ached a little bit to realize that they were no longer with me & I immediately missed them. I was a little sad for the momma wren, who had worked day in and day out, only for her babies to grow up and leave so quickly. But I was proud of her too, and the work she had done, and to know that this season of her life was done and she was surely continuing on, and her babies were as well. They were on to bigger and brighter things. They were out there, spreading their wings and taking flight, conquering whatever fears and uncertainties Im sure they had.
I ended my treatment that day. I felt, like those baby birds, I was ready to fly solo and venture out to the world with new eyes. I had found my joy. I had truly found it. Not because the treatment made me happier, or because some blogger mom told me I should be finding happiness in every little piece of motherhood, but because I had REALLY found it. I realized how short the seasons are. I realized how all of us are growing, changing, evolving, fighting our own battles, learning our own lessons…every single day. I learned to let go and let God. My heart and my mind were given new life from that journey, and they are REVIVED! Because of what I went through, I am able to find true, heart wrenching, glorious joy, even in in the exhausting and frustrating times. And I found that light at the end of my tunnel.
That Carolina wren was a guardian angel. She was sent to me in my darkest hour to remind me to find my joy. That it is there. I just had to look for it and truly find it. She reminded me what a good mother with a happy heart really looked like. Whenever I see one now, I am reminded of the journey my heart went on to find that joy and Im reminded of the mother I want to be. I am reminded of what I overcame to get to where I am now. My heart has never been so full. My home has never been happier, and my song will forever be a happy one.
If you are feeling similar distress or want to learn more, please click on the link provided. I know its hard to ask for help, but its harder to live in the tunnel. I am personally writing this blog as a “scrapbook” for our family, and as a journal of my journey, but I hope that if someone needs it, they are able to also find encouragement here. Thank you all for allowing me to share my truth with you, as I feel like being able to speak openly about a hardship or struggle is the last step in healing from it. Maybe next time you’ll look twice at that little wren on the fence and be inspired by her song!