I was told that after childbirth, your body changes. Like your actual DNA shifts to produce differences beyond the size and shape of your tummy. I think that’s really remarkable.
You literally will not be the same after having a baby.
One of the first things I noticed post-birth was my hair color had darkened. I have always been blonde as can be, never once colored my hair, but after D was born, it seemed my roots were growing brown. But that white-blonde stripe in my hair? That stayed the exact same. So rather than follow the path childbirth had set for my hair, which was headed toward that of Cruella De Vil, I decided to place the fate of my hair into the hands of blonde highlights and an excellent stylist.
Before childbirth, I also used to cry the average, healthy amount. A few months after D’s delivery, I began to think I had cried myself dry. Those first few months, I cried so so many tears, for no obvious reason, and then suddenly…cue Ariana Grande because I had no tears left to cry.
There were times I craved a good cry – I needed it – but try as I might, my body refused.
I teared up here and there. I fogged up during an episode of This Is Us. I shed happy tears when I heard my niece was born with Down syndrome and when our Unified basketball team played their first game. But I hadn’t sad sobbed – you know, like cried until my nose was stuffy, eyes were puffy – since late June. My body couldn’t do it. Instead, it seemed what I lacked in tears, I made up for in sweat. And I am not kidding…SO much sweat.
Then the other night happened. I cried, and I cried hard. For the first time in 8 months. It was one of those cries where you can’t stop, you can’t catch your breath, and you begin to spiral away from the cause of your tears into every other sad thought you’ve ever had – my China baby for whom my heart aches to be reunited, my best friend who has impending surgery and who I miss so dearly, the fact that most of my friends live in other states, the way I have to pull my pants up and over the remaining baby pouch that exists on my stomach, the fact that this blog was not nearly the success I envisioned, the reality that I wanted my brother right with me to give me a hug, the abortion laws that are breaking my heart, the gosh darn snow and clouds that will not leave, the shock of crying for the first time in months, the foolish feelings of crying over something so seemingly trivial when there are people who don’t have parents, or food, or homes, or Jesus, or anything, and why can’t that change? – all of it rushed into my mind, and I couldn’t break free. Finally, when the sobs faded into sniffles and I was done, I breathed in some Raven (seriously, this stuff is straight magic) until my nose cleared up, and I felt better.
“Better” is an interesting word to me. I tend to assume “better” means good (“that’s much better,” “the better recipe”), and I think sometimes it does, depending on where the subject started from. But I wasn’t starting from a place of “okay.” I didn’t feel good. I wasn’t fine. Sadness still held the overwhelming victory. For me, in this case, “better” simply meant improved. Healthier.
My tears cleansed the ache and washed the dirt out of the wound – allowing all of it to spill out onto my pillow and my husband’s chest.
And when it was over, my soul rejoiced that 1) I am human and CAN indeed cry – alleluia! and 2) it is well – even when it sucks and it hurts and it doesn’t make sense.
The cause of my tears? A house. Lucas and I have been house hunting for almost a year. It began as casual, just getting a feel for homes in the area, as we were discerning God’s timing for a move to China. Then, once the Lord had suggested we stay put for a time, we began to look more aggressively. This started in late September. We have seen, I am sure, over 40 homes in our town, placed 4 different offers, and we are still kickin’ it in our little apartment. Last night, we were waiting to hear back about an offer we put in on a house we thought could be “the one.” It had everything we wanted, but it wasn’t grandiose in the slightest. Cosmetically, it was far from perfect, but we had an eye for what it could be. We were careful not to get our hopes up again, but it didn’t work – we wanted it so bad. The yard was huge, with a playground, and I could see our D having so much fun running around back there. The home was cozy but not cramped, and I longed for a home where D had more room to play than one side of our living room; where we could have a second child, as we legally cannot have 4 people living in our two-bedroom apartment.
At 10:00pm a few nights ago, we received news that our offer had been beat out. Again. The reality stung – with this market and our financial position, we may not be in a house for a while. A long while at that. We simply can’t afford a decent home in a competitive market where there are other buyers who can offer far more than we are able.
Anger reared its ugly head –
if these buyers can afford a more expensive home, then why don’t they do that? Leave these lesser homes to those of us for whom it’s the best we can do. And why can’t we afford a house? Our jobs don’t pay us enough; we made the wrong career choices. I should have gone back full-time. Teachers deserve to be paid more, gosh darnit. D deserves better. Why can’t we do better for him? If God wants us here, then why doesn’t He make it more obvious? I pulled an Anne Shirley and turned my nose up at God, giving Him the cold shoulder, as I wailed at the tease this whole journey has been.
And although the following morning I woke with a pit in my stomach reminding me of the hope that was dashed the night before, I felt okay.
Better. Climbing ever so slowly back up to a place of “good.”
I was thankful for the roof over our heads and that we have all that we need where we are right now. I was thankful for the fact that D doesn’t even care about the space he has in our apartment. He is just happy to be where we are. And Lord knows, after 8 months, I was ever so relieved and thankful for tears that eroded my sharp edges and surfaced my pain.
We can’t afford a house, but I can cry.
All isn’t good or fine. It is better, though. And the tears help.