It’s been a hard year. I’ve dealt with several major life changes (moving overseas, losing faith, having a change in my very worldview, and having a baby) along with extreme psychological and emotional strains (Seasonal Affect Disorder, Postpartum Depression, and coming out to my family feeling a total void of support from them). Allow me to collect my thoughts and present some order to the chaos as I briefly sort it out.
- Our overseas missions assignment was changed on us multiple times, so we were nowhere near what we were told we were going to be doing when we left to go there.
- Nutrition was a big problem for me (being pregnant), and there were many nights I went to sleep hungry.
- I desperately needed friends so we started attending a local church. We finally connected with the local people and made friends there — a light in the difficulty of my life, but then we were told we couldn’t be a part of that church because it wasn’t the right denomination. That broke me, for I felt like everything good in that experience was taken away.
- We finally decided to come home when medically it was unsafe for me to give birth to our baby girl overseas.
- Third trimester being pregnant was tough. I finally admitted my unbelief in God to myself, and I was terrified about how we would raise this baby girl I carried because of it. As long as we remained closeted, we would either be lying to her as well or teaching her to lie for us. Both were unthinkable to me, especially since we value authenticity so highly.
- The months turned cold, and I found less and less community here and thus more and more lonely because I couldn’t be genuine with anyone.
- The shining light in this dark year was the love of my life, our darling little girl emerging into this world. Her birth went perfectly. She came quickly, naturally, and beautifully. No complications, and she was perfectly healthy. The midwives were in awe of how well it went.
- But shortly after that, things got bad, quickly. Baby blues is common after birth, and I felt so empty not having a god to turn to during this special time. The sadness continued and deepened to the point of feeling like I didn’t want to live anymore. I never acted on these thoughts, but they were far too common for me to feel glimmers of happiness.
- My emotional instability prevented me from physically healing well. I was in a lot of pain a lot of the time and got sick frequently. Our bodies are holistic, and thus I couldn’t get better holistically. This kept me from being able to go on hikes or even longer walks, one of the few things in which I still found joy.
- I love being outside, but the cold winter months, along with having a newborn and a sick body, made sunshine infrequent and time outside abbreviated. Seasonal Affect Disorder plagued me.
- After a couple months, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I was grateful for medication, but the emptiness within me remained.
- All throughout this time, I felt an extreme amount of grief and depression from losing faith. I felt like my identity was gone and I had lost that which I loved the most — my Jesus. I felt terribly alone.
- My life brightened.
- Our investment into our baby was paying off, she was happy, smiling and laughing, and interacting with us all the time.
- My body healed and my depression lessened.
- We spent a lot of time outside in the sunshine, going on hikes, appreciating the beauty of nature all around us and I found joy in simple pleasures.
- Where I once felt grief and emptiness, I now found freedom and meaning. It wasn’t perfect, but I was finally feeling hope again.
- We decided not to return to the overseas mission field.
- I felt free to explore who I was in and of myself again. I started being artistic again, and this was when I started this blog.
- I “came out of the closet” / revealed my true self to a couple close friends. They were incredibly encouraging and cared about me rather than just what I believed.
- I “came out of the closet” / revealed my true self to my family.
- Their reaction to me and the pain I’ve caused them completely eclipses the joy and healing I was finally beginning to feel.
- I feel like I’ve broken any hope for good relationship with those closest to me.
But having again looked back at what these past 13 months brought me through, I feel more empowered than before. I can endure. I will endure.