Saturday, June 29, 2013

On when to get pregnant again, being angry with God, and finding a Heavenly Mother. And way too many questions.

This is an extremely personal post, and, as these thoughts have been going on for months now, it's taken me awhile to actually decide to share them with anyone. I emailed a friend about it, and I finally sat Adam down and told him how seriously this all was bothering me, and just allowing myself the chance to talk it out has helped. Now I'm ready to be open about it.

Around Axton's 9 month mark I started to get that tiny little inkling of a thought.....I've got to do this all over again. That is also when Axton started sleeping through the night consistently and I think I was still paranoid about my sleep and didn't want to think about the fact that I'd have to give it up again one day. Adam also brought up the subject of baby number two around this time. All of his siblings are 2-3 years apart and are very close, and he wants that for our family as well. I do, too, but I'm struggling so much with this.

After that I went through a phase where I would ask every mother - whether I knew them or not - if they liked the age gap between their kids. How hard it was, what they enjoyed about that I think about it, that's a silly thing to do because it's so personal and is different with every child/sibling/parent combination, but I just was aching to find answers. I've prayed about it, I've searched the scriptures, I've pondered it, and still I am changing my mind every single day. Do it this month, do it in 6 months, do it never (so he'll be an only child! Is that such a bad thing?). I even got up my courage one night and told Adam, "Okay, let's do this!" and last minute backed out and said, "Actually, nope. Not yet."

There are so many emotions and fears and questions I have, and all of them lead to another and they all intertwine and affect each other and me and him and God and who is right and will I be punished or blessings withheld?

I have a hard time because being pregnant is hard. It's tiring and sore and it goes on forever. And then I have to go through labor again, and I swear I must have a bit of PTSD on that or something because I have anxiety just thinking about it. And I have to push that baby out of me again and it's going to be hard - especially because I will go natural again. Maybe you're thinking, "Oh  please. Just get the drugs and shut up. It's not that bad." But, I know me and I know I will have guilt if I do things that way, and I don't want to deal with guilt, either - it's no better. Plus, it's just not a route that I want to take. I don't feel good about it, so I have to deal with another route. And, drugs or not, at the end of the day I will still have a brand new baby to take care of, raging hormones and feelings of loneliness and inadequacies. I will still have leaking boobs and chapped nipples, I will have tired, saggy eyes and a tired, saggy body. And on top of it all, I will have also have Axton to take care of - something I did not have the last time around.

I have a hard time wanting to get pregnant again because I want to do other things, like pursue photography and writing, without having to plan around 3 months of sickness, the last 8 weeks of watermelon mode, and then 3 months postpartum trying to figure it all out again. Sure, these are all selfish reasons but is it so wrong to be selfish? You have to think of yourself sometimes, don't you?

I have a hard time because I'm legitimately afraid of the love. I see how much and how deeply I love my one child and I fear what double that love will feel like - because to love is to risk losing. And I don't know how I would survive if ever I lost this love.

Thinking all these things has gotten me into a major pity mode, and I've started to question why God made things the way He did. Why do women have the 'harder' lot? Why do we have to go through this in order for the population to continue? Why does it have to be so difficult? And once you get me thinking on that, then my brain runs wild - Why is sex designed the way it is? Why does it have to be so intrusive on women? [Sidenote: Adam and I have a very mutually-beneficial and respectful sex life; this is not a commentary on the way he treats me in bed, but just a general feminist running list of questions]. Why are women not granted the respect they so honestly deserve in this world?

.......And I search and I search and my mind keeps returning to Her. A Heavenly Mother. If families on Earth are patterned after families in Heaven, then I know She is there, I know she exists. But why is she never spoken of? Why am I not encouraged to have a relationship with Her? I casually brought this up with Adam one night, not letting on how much it was bothering me, and his reply was : "Seek Her out."

So I did. In the scriptures, hymns, and conference talks. Yes, yes, I know that one hymn that mentions it. But really? Is that all? brought up ONE talk from President Hinckley that says the words "Heavenly Mother." And do you know what he says in that talk?

However, in light of the instruction we have received from the Lord Himself, I regard it as inappropriate for anyone in the Church to pray to our Mother in Heaven.

He goes on to explain that in the scriptures we have always been taught to pray unto the Father, as Christ taught us how. And that "the fact that we do not pray to our Mother in Heaven in no way belittles or denigrates her."

I guess I understand what he's trying to say. But it doesn't bring peace to my mind or answers to my questions. I'm not trying to shake anyone's faith or to condemn the words of a prophet - I don't want to be angry about this or towards God. But occasionally I am. This topic is really hard for me to share, and the reason I hesitated so much to even blog about this. Probably mostly because I feel guilty for questioning something my gospel teaches. But that's not fair, either! God gave us brains to ask and question so why do I feel bad? It's not often that I have these kinds of feelings and I don't like the confusion I feel and the fact that my heart does not line up with what my gospel teaches. I've always felt that our relationship with God is extremely personal, and that you can receive personal revelation from Him so that your life choices line up with you, the church, and His will for you.

....But right now I'm not feeling any of that. I continue to struggle with not having a desire to get pregnant again. I want Axton to have siblings because I have hopes that this would bring him happiness. I want Axton and his siblings to be close in age because my brother and I are four years apart and we hardly ever talk. And I question if this is because of lifestyle differences or is it really the four years?

I feel like there is this stigma in our Church that the more kids you have the happier you will be, because they bring blessings with them. But will I, personally, be happier if I have four kids or than if I only had two? And if that is true, where is the line? Will we become exponentially happier with each child we bear? I don't believe that to be true, there has to be  a line somewhere. But if it is true, how is that fair? And how can we know where that line is to begin with?

I'm struggling to reconcile what I want with the guilt of feelings of selfishness, with trying to know and understand "God's will" for me. When we pray we often say, If it be thy will. But isn't that why we are given free agency? Will I not be blessed if I somehow, perhaps even accidentally, go forward without it lining up with God's will for me? Again I ask, how is that fair?

Some people have said, "You will know when the time is right." I don't believe you. Because right now I don't know - so does that mean it's not the right time?

The bottom line on when to have kids I think will end up being this: I will never again feel prepared, just as I did not feel prepared for the first one. However, it's worse this time around because I do know what it all will be like. I have not forgotten the pain and I never will. I hope, in my heart, that one day a desire will return. But I fear it will just be one of those things that the guilt will become too much, and then I will shrug my shoulders and say, What the hell, let's get this over with. And that kind of makes me sad but I don't know what else to do about it.

Guilt, guilt, guilt. So much guilt. These can't be feelings from my loving Heavenly Father, can they?

Anyone else ever have similar thoughts and fears? On any topic or question I've asked? Getting pregnant again when you know how hard it is? Searching for a Heavenly Mother only to be discouraged from doing so? Any insights would be great - or even just knowing I'm not alone.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What I learned from breastfeeding another human being for 13 months

I said that to Adam last night:

"Can you believe I fed another human being? Like, with my body. My own body made his food. For 13 months? And, like, the first 8 months his entire diet consisted of calories that I made?"

I kept saying it, in circles, trying to wrap my head around the concept.

"How did I do that? How do women's bodies do that?" Again and again.

He shrugged his shoulders. "I have no idea. It's so crazy, though!"

The past two weeks I've been trying to get my right breast to dry up (TMI? Seriously? You know this blog is always TMI, right?). The left one didn't have a problem at all - I had been producing much more milk on my right side for a few months now, but I didn't think it would take two whole weeks. I read a lot of blogs that said by the time they were down to one or two nursing sessions a day, it wasn't hard to completely wean off - that they were dried up within a few days. Not me - not righty, anyway. That milk is holding on for dear life. About a week after stopping nursing, I felt hard lumps and when I applied pressure, liquid would seep out. I tried it (gross, I know. But again - you should know this about me by now) and it was no longer sweet, but salty and well, kind of sour tasting. Huh. Weird.

I kept kind of hoping that Axton would be one of those kids that would "wean himself" - and I realize that had I waited long enough, maybe he would have. But I also felt if I let him decide he'd still be nursing when he was two and there is nothing wrong with that but it just wasn't what I wanted. I just felt...I don't know, like it was time. To stop. To selfishly give my body entirely back to myself. To enjoy an undetermined space and time of just "me" before I get pregnant again.

The last night of breastfeeding Axton, I, of course, forced myself to have this thought, forced myself to feel every word in this sentence, to make sure I was really ready for it: Tonight is the last night you will ever put this child to your breast.

I thought it and felt it and rolled the words around in my brain, I tasted them in my mouth and twirled them with my tongue, and then I swallowed them and forced their way into my heart. And you know what I heard?

I felt a small part of me say: "Oh, sad."
A smaller part of me said: "Hallelujah."
But mostly I just said, "Okay."

It just was. I was so pleasantly surprised that this wasn't going to be an emotional thing for me - I think it was a combination of many things - slowly eliminating nursing sessions over the past 3 months,  as well as learning/realizing breastfeeding is not the only way to bond with your child.

We've been starting to think about when we want to have baby number two (and that dilemma is a whole separate post), but just thinking about having a newborn all over again sends me into a near-anxiety attack. I feel like I will be brand new all over again with the next one. I reread my journal from a few months ago, and read back to when he was first born. At one point I made a list of things I learned about breastfeeding and I wanted to share some of them, as well as add a few more I've learned since then.

1. I will say it again: Breastfeeding is not the only way to bond with your child. Yes, breastmilk is the best thing you can feed your child. There is no denying that - it's a scientific, proven fact. BUT. Having been a breastfeeding mother made me learn there is nothing wrong with not breastfeeding. There is not even a tiny drop of judgement in me for women who do not breastfeed - formula-fed babies are still healthy, happy, strong, etc. In fact, I sometimes found myself jealous of mothers who chose to formula feed - mostly because they can be away from their child for more than 4 hours without their boobs getting rock hard, or because Dad can do a night feeding. Nursing Axton was of course a special time for us to bond - but I also found many other moments with him to be just as special. If I wanted to bond with Axton, I made it happen - with or without my breast, it was beautiful and meaningful.

2. Breastfeeding hurts. I had no idea how painful it was going to be for my  nipples to acclimate to getting sucked on for hours a day. Those first few weeks were like being tortured. Even after just one day, I remember giving my mom the stink eye every time she would say, "Okay, honey. He's ready for you. Time to feed him." I always felt like I just nursed him, and now it was time to whip out the shredded, mangled mess of my nipples to get torn up some more. My nipples bled! They cracked! They burned! I would find myself gripping onto Axton's tiny body for the first 30 seconds while I scrunched up my eyes and face until the pain would subside. Finally, I talked to my sisters-in-law and found out my next lesson --

3. Lanolin will be your best friend. I didn't even know what that stuff was at first, until I googled "Best Nipple Cream." From then on, I put that stuff on constantly - before I nursed, immediately after I nursed, and in-between nursing. Good thing it's safe for infants to consume because I'm sure Axton got a hefty amount of that the first month. It cleared up my bleeding and scabbing and after a few months I didn't need it anymore.

4. You're gonna wanna wear that bra at night. I remember shopping at Target for nursing bras while I was still pregnant and seeing a lot of "Night" versions. I remember thinking, "Psh, I hate wearing bras at night. That's not gonna happen." So I'm sure you can imagine (or maybe you can't) what happened the first night after my milk came in and I wasn't wearing a nursing bra....that's right, I woke up in a sticky, sloppy, wet mess of my own milk. "What the...?" Oh yeah, from then on I wore a nighttime nursing bra to bed - with two cotton pads shoved in each side to prevent that from happening again.

5. Breastfeeding makes you sweat like an overweight horse galloping through a desert in 150 degree weather. While wearing 8 blankets and 16 pairs of socks. And a scarf and hat. Holy Moly I was stinky and sweaty those first three months. No wonder I hardly wore any clothing! It was May, I was still 40 pounds overweight, I was constantly skin-to-skin with this tiny bundle of heat, I was burning over 500 calories a day producing gallons and gallons of milk (not really gallons but it sure felt like it). You know what my very first outing on my own, without baby, was? Going to Walgreens to get extra-strength deodorant. Because the stuff I had wasn't cutting it. I tried a few different kinds, but my favorite is Arm & Hammer Natural Deodorant - no aluminum so no risk to baby!

6. Some women can tell when their milk lets down. Some can't. I can. It's weird. I couldn't tell at first, probably because my milk always seemed to be on "blast the entire atmosphere" mode during the first few months. But after things started to regulate and calm down, and it would take a minute or two for my milk to let down, I could totally feel the sensation. It felt all tingly down my entire breast and to my nipple. It was pressure, too, so not necessarily painful but perhaps uncomfortable.

7. Breastmilk tastes funny. It kinda made me gag the first time I tried my own breastmilk, more from the thought of it than the taste of it. The only way I can describe it is a sweet, almost earthy taste. Maybe I'm just imagining the "earthiness" of it because it came from my body and is therefore the most organic substance possible....either way, it's strange to consume your own bodily fluids (says the girl who encapsulated her placenta).

8. Breastmilk changes from morning to night, and as baby gets older. The design of women and their ability to make such an amazing substance seriously astonishes me. I was reading a book about breastfeeding (or, more likely, it was probably an infographic on Pinterest, but I can't find it if it was), anyway it talked about how milk produced in the morning contains hormones and substances that wake an invigorate baby, while milk produced at night was supposed to help calm baby. And as your baby gets older, your body adapts and makes milk to support their changing needs. It's a tailored diet, specifically for your baby. Nature is so incredible. God is smart.

9. Oxytocin. It's kind of a big deal. I learned a lot about oxytocin when I started reading about breastfeeding. Oxytocin is a hormone that is released during orgasm, when your nipples are stimulated, when you nurse, and during and after childbirth. So, if you remember from my birth story, they put me on a breast pump when my contractions slowed down. That's because nipple stimulation releases oxytocin, which in turn helps your uterus contract. Thus, it is a form of induction. This is also why breastfeeding helps your uterus to shrink back to it's normal size after delivery - the hormone encourages uterine contractions. Also, if you google "What is pitocin?", the online dictionary defines it as....oxytocin. I figured this out when I was at the hospital photographing a birth, and they put the mother on pitocin. I looked at the bag that held the liquid and it was labelled Oxytocin. It totally clicked in my head then - your body naturally produces the hormones necessary for labor, and when an induction is necessary, doctors a synthetic version of that hormone (not quite as nifty as the real deal, but it does get the job done. Usually.)

10. Breastfeeding can help you lose weight. But it can also make you hold onto your weight. So breastfeeding burns tons of calories, right? Like, tons. You may think you're just sitting there on your couch, snuggling your baby, but really your body is in overdrive pumping out the liquids. This means you probably build up quite the appetite, and should be taking in more calories than normal to keep up with it all. This is part of the reason why a lot of women lose weight so quickly after delivering - their bodies are using up more calories than they are taking in. However, on the flip side, some women say they cannot lose the last 5 or 10 pounds until after they stop breastfeeding - I've read this is a survival tactic; so in case of "famine" or other life-threatening situations you still have stored fat to continue on. Interesting, yes?

11. Pressure stops the flow. Man is it awkward when you can feel your boobs starting to leak in public. Even when I thought I was "past that phase" it still continued to happen to me. You gotta carry those stupid nursing pads with you everywhere you go - for at least the first 6 months! Even after things calm down, it can still surprise you. But I did learn that applying pressure helps stop the flow of milk. So if ever I was in public and felt the all-too-familiar tingle, I would simply cross my arms over my chest and secretly apply pressure to the nipple. That would often do the trick, or at least slow it down a bit.

12. I finally learned the lying down position. It is a rare thing when I find a breastfeeding photo that I really like. I don't have anything against them, or anything, I just haven't found many that I particularly love. But today I came across this one, and I think it's the most beautiful one I've seen. (From here)

I just love how she is holding his hand - I remember when my mom was here for the first two days after Axton was born and she told me to do that - to hold Axton's hand just like that to help create that bond. However, I didn't start trying the lying down position until he was probably 4 months or so. I don't know why, I just never figured it out or no one ever told me about it. But it became my favorite position to nurse in during the night (because I could lie down. Duh).

13. It gets easier. Breastfeeding is really not an easy thing. It may be a "natural" thing, but it doesn't come naturally, if that makes sense. It's instinctual, but it still takes some practice, for both momma and baby. And once you both get the hang of it, once your nipples toughen up and your boobs calm down, once you get over nursing in public and have a few bags of pumped milk in the freezer, then really it's quite simple. And it's free!

14. Skin-to-skin. When baby is first born, and while he is still tiny and you both are still getting the hang of things, you will probably nurse skin to skin a lot (meaning baby and you are topless). At least, I know I did. However, as Axton got older and didn't go through as many outfits a day (meaning, 2 outfits a day instead of 5), and as I got braver and ventured out of my house more often, then we nursed skin-to-skin much less often. By the time he was 6 months, we hardly ever did. However, I did make it a point to still do it occasionally - just because this is the only time in his life that I could, would want to, that would be acceptable/appropriate/whatever to do that, to be that intimately close to my son. He's getting older now and the window to do this with him is such a short fraction of his life - so from time to time I would take a bath with him, and then I would wrap us both up in the same towel and we would nurse naked together. For those of you who aren't moms, you might think that's weird. For those of you who are moms, I bet you know what I'm talking about (if you are a mom and you still think it's weird then I say, Meh. To each their own). Having those last few precious skin-to-skin moments with my son were so special and I'm glad I made time for that occasionally before we stopped nursing, because it won't ever happen again now that we are done.

I've heard a lot of women say that, with breastfeeding, you either LOVE it or you HATE it. I disagree. I neither LOVED it nor HATED it (at least not 100% of the time for either one). I think once Axton started eating other foods, too, it helped out a bit, because then I wasn't nursing 24/7. But I can honestly say that overall I enjoyed nursing, and I'm glad I did it. Like I said above, breastfeeding is certainly not the only way you can bond with your child, but it is a major way to do it (any way you feed your child is going to be a bonding experience). I do have some beautiful memories of Axton nursing - the way his hand would sleepily wave and tickle across my chest, find the ends of my then-long hair, and trace his fingers through it. Or when he would stop sucking just to stare at me, my breast still in his mouth. I would smile at him and we would be like teenagers, lost in love and in that moment, obsessed with each other and completely oblivious to the rest of the world.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Half-Marathon Running Playlist

Alannis Morisette:
Head Over Feet
That I Would Be Good
Arthur Lyman
Boy From Laupahoehoe (Dedication to Dad Harrison)
Single Ladies (Dedication to Shelly)
Black Eyed Peas
I Gotta Feeling (Dedication to Tiffany)
Carly Rae Jepson
Call Me Maybe (Dedication to Jeanna)
Cher Loyd
Want U Back (One of my favorites; also, reminded me of Jaclyn)
Christina Perry
Jar of Hearts
Over You (Dedication to Robyn)
Dixie Chicks
Ready to Run (Dedication to Kennedy)
Not Ready to Make Nice
Elton John
Circle of Life (Dedication to Ma Kauwe)
Sweet Dreams
Here Comes the Rain Again
Some Nights (Favorite)
We are Young
Good Charlotte
Motivate Me (Dedication to Samantha)
Donkey Kong Country, Simian Segue (Dedication to Dauphinee Family)
Ingrid Michaelson
The Way I am
You and I
Justin Bieber
Katy Perry
California Girls (favorite)
Ke$ha (Favorites)
Your Love is My Drug (Reminded me of Heather)
Tik Tok
We R Who We R
Lil Mama
Lip Gloss (super annoying)
Mat Kearny
Undeniable (because you can't only have upbeat songs for an entire two hours)
Michele Branch
Tuesday Morning (so gorgeous)
Miley Cyrus
Party in the USA (favorite)
Old Crow Medicine Show
Wagon Wheel (unfortunately reminded me of an ex-boyfriend. But I still like it)
Just Give Me a Reason (favorite)
We are the Champions
I Want to Break Free (remind me of Ally)
We Will Rock You (favorite)
Rascal Flats
Life is a Highway (Dedication to Sheri)
The Rocket Summer
Break It Out
Sean Kingston
Me Love
Beautiful Girls
Sheryl Crow
Strong Enough
Sister Sledge
We are Family (Dedication to Keola)
Stroke 9
Vacuum Bag
Stuck Like Glue
The Summer Obsession
Melt the Sugar
Taylor Swift
Picture to Burn
22 (Favorite)
We are Never Getting Back Together
We the Kings
Just Keep Breathing (Dedication to Gabby)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"He hath made everything beautiful in His time"

I've been reading the book It's All Too Much the last few weeks. It wasn't one I'd pick out for myself, but we're reading it for book club - it's all about organizing your home/life and figuring out why we keep the things we do, our relationship to the stuff we own, excuses for holding onto things, etc. I kind of dreaded starting it, mostly because I knew it would make me feel guilty for all the stuff (crap) in our house (tiny apartment), and organizing and throwing things away is always not just physically exhausting, but emotionally as well.

And that's exactly what happened. I read the excuses, checked them off one by one, said, "Yep, yep, yep...yep, that's me, too." Thus began the journey of organizing my home. I threw out bags and bags of clothes I haven't worn in months (but kept the fat clothes because eventually there will be more kids), I thew out boring baby toys and packed up ones Axton is "too old" for now, I sorted through the closets, under the bed, and the nightstand. I did it all without a second thought.....

Until I hit the bookshelves.

What is it about paper that I find so hard to throw away? I had books on my shelves I've read and didn't really like and therefore would never read again. I had books I'd been saving to read for years, and still haven't touched. I had books full of quotes and "words of wisdom" - and really, when would I sit down to read 100 pages of 1,000 quotes from different people? Um, never. I had my college anthologies, highlighted and thick with my handwritten notes. Oh they were beautiful.

Even worse to confront was the three-foot-wide stack of papers full of words that I wrote. I found the first paper I ever wrote for Brother Williams, which was also the first paper I'd ever written for an "English Major Class," which was the class that became the determining factor in me becoming an English Major. What I'm trying to say was, that paper was important to me. It had been returned to me covered in his green ink and cryptic editing symbols, the most hashed-up paper I'd ever received up to that point. But then at the end, he'd written the words: Your work is very promising. That's when it hit me: my college destiny, if you will, was to be an English Major. To take as many classes from this crazy-Nazi teacher as I could, and to show him that he was right about me, about my writing. I took every class he offered, and prided myself in each and every A he gave me (while peers would gush over a B from him, saying, "Getting a B from Ned is like getting an A in a 'normal' class). I couldn't throw away a single paper I wrote for him.

(The papers I kept)

The rest, I tossed into a bin to be taken to recycling.

(The papers I tossed)

Then I cried.

And I mean, cried. It was not just a few tears streaming down my face; it was full-on, shoulders-shaking-making-strange-gasping-noises-sobbing. I looked at that pile of papers and the hours of work it represented.  I saw the person I was during that time of my life - the freedom and the joy and the pride and accomplishments and compliments I received from it. I cried because it was over, and I would never again be that person and throwing away those papers proved it. I LOVED college. I was good at college - I was excellent at college. I could have gone on to get my graduates degree and my doctoral degree. I had the connections, I had the brains......and now what was I? A stay-at-home mom with mushy brains who hadn't accomplished anything important since December 2010. I had thrown it all away because I was scared and because being a mom was "easier," and now that he was here I would never get the opportunity back.

At least, those were my thoughts, and those were my tears. And yes, I realize I was throwing a pity party for myself. (And then Axton came over and put a green frisbee on my head and laughed and laughed and so I had to laugh a little bit too).

That night I sat down and typed out an email to that Ned Williams, wondering if he would even remember me. I was embarrassed with my sentimentality, my nostalgia; I also found myself embarrassed to tell him that "all" I'd done since graduating was move to Maryland, take a trip to Europe, have a baby, and continue to pursue photography. I thanked him for making me a better writer and student, told him I thoroughly regretted not doing the teaching internship while I had the chance. Then I said Mahalo for the first time in two years and signed off, not expecting a reply.

But, two days later, I received an email for Dr. Ned Williams. His words did my heart some good:

I have wondered what has become of you since you left Laie ...   Now I read that you have been wise in choosing motherhood, European travel, and photography during this season of your life.  Thoreau urges us to "make sure your footsteps are always pointed into the direction of your dreams."  Sounds like your post-Laie path would impress Thoreau. 

Do you see what I first saw when I read those words? During this season of your life. 

Those words soared into my soul: This is the season I am in now, Meghan. This is who you are, and it's okay. You had a season of college, you had a season of travel, and now you are in the season of Motherhood. 

Seasons, seasons, seasons. After I read that, now I see it's being whispered everywhere around me. I read a comment someone left on a blog that read: "Life is about Seasons." Another blog said: "I will allow myself to believe that there is a season for everything, and that opportunities and 'success' will come in time."

And then, of course, the scripture in Ecclesiastes that I had never really read until now:

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die .... A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance ... A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; ... A time to keep silence, and a time to speak....

He hath made everything beautiful in His time"

I think it's starting to sink in now. I was chatting with another photographer on Facebook the other day and I found myself telling her:

I also had to come to terms with the fact that, a lot of the photographers I tend to compare myself to, photography is their full time job. They either don't have kids or put their kids in daycare. I had to learn to be okay with the fact that I'm just not at a point in my life right now where photography can be a full time thing - it can only be a part time hobby. Right now I'm needed for a greater calling so I sometimes have to put photography on the back burner (and remind myself that one day they will be out of the house or in school and I will miss these days...right?  )

I think I was dreading organizing those papers because I knew that by throwing some of them away, I'd really be saying good bye to that season of my life. I had a good cry when I did it, and now I can move on. I'm happy to be in the season of life that I'm in now, and I honestly would not go back to any past "season" of my life if given the opportunity - because they are seasons for a reason! We need certain people, places, circumstances in our lives for different times. Change is good. Change is growth. Everything really is made beautiful in His time - and right now, my time is to be a mother. And it is gloriously beautiful.