Preview (and reminder to myself) of blogs posts I am (slowly) working on and will be sharing hopefully soon:
Happy Childhood Memories
In case anyone thinks I hated my childhood due to all my posts about leaving the fundamentalist movement I was raised in, I'd like to clarify a few things: I do have lots of happy memories and I'd like to outline these. I also want to talk about how much I understand that parents #1 desire is to raise their kids the best they can- but that as parents we will all make mistakes- and that's OK. My anger is directed towards the fundamentalist movement and several programs that were very popular in the 80's and 90's but have seemed to lose steam over the past decade (Bill Gothard ATI/IBLP, Michael and Debi Pearl "To train up a child", "Quiverfull", Little Bear Wheeler etc etc etc). These programs enticed so many parents thinking they had a fool proof system to raise their children to be good upright christians. . . unfortunately a lot of the teachings ending up being more damaging than helpful. I am not going to go into too many details of this, but rather focus on all the good things that I appreciate about how I was raised. I suggest visiting http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/ to learn about the programs I mentioned and how/why they are damaging.
My guide to a happy & healthy pregnancy
I'd like to share with you about all the things I did to help my pregnancy and delivery experience with Bradshaw go SO much better than it did with Mercedes. A lot of this has to do with my new way of thinking and operating in life and I'd like to show the differences and how it helped me stay healthier mentally, physically, and emotionally.
I want to share the truth about being postpartum and what it takes to regain your health (and shape) post-delivery. I've already been documenting my journey thus far with pictures that will show my postpartum belly and stretch marks- what products I use, exercises I do etc and the results. I'll admit I'm a little scared to be this open and share this much detail, especially as it's been a very sensitive area for me in the past but I really want other women to see the truth and that pregnancy doesn't have to ruin your body! I also want to document my emotions throughout postpartum recovery and what I do to help manage the roller coaster, baby blues and postpartum depression (if I have it again, hopefully not, but if so I want to document and share my journey to help others understand it better).
I'll probably work on these posts simultaneously during my midnight nursing sessions with Brad- and so I'd like to know which one YOU'RE most interested in reading- and I'll focus on getting that post up and blogged first!
Saturday, June 15, 2013
This is what happens when you are up in the wee hours of the morning breast feeding a newborn and contemplating many thoughts on life. I've been working on this post for the last few days and now it's finally ready:
I am not the woman I was supposed to be. I have realized this is probably a source of disappointment for those in my life. I guess I never gave much thought until recently- well how was I SUPPOSED to turn out?
This is my perception of what I wanted to be (rather, thought I wanted to be) and what I think I was supposed to be "when I grew up":
I got this impression from the sermons, conferences, books, and conversations I grew up around. Sure it was never demanded of me and I was never told "sarah this is what you're supposed to be!" But nonetheless this is what was impressed upon me from a young age:
I was to be a godly woman who put god and church above all else. A woman who submitted to her father, then after a parent approved courtship and marriage- submission to my husband. A woman who didn't use birth control (maybe the "rhythm" method- MAYBE). A mother who stayed home and homeschooled her children. A wife to a godly husband- maybe a pastor or missionary. A husband who provided 100% and would "lead" our family. A woman with a calling to ministry (I at one point even felt "called" to minister to the deaf and struggled with feeling like a huge failure for not doing so). A woman who often played instruments/sang in church. A mother who raised "godly" children. A woman who read her bible and prayed daily.
You get the picture.
And if you know me, you know that I am NONE of these things!
And not for lack of trying! Or believing! I believed it all. I desired it truly. I really believed that was what was best for my life.
When it all came crumbling down I was devastated. I tried submitting. I tried courtship. I did everything how I was supposed to, and I still failed. To this day I'm not exactly sure how I failed, but it's pretty obvious that SOMETHING isn't going right when you are told you cannot help with childrens/teen ministries anymore, cannot sing in the choir, and need to move out- all because you're not operating "under authority".
Was I sneaking out of the house to do "bad" things? drugs? drinking? was I blatently and intentionally disobeying my parents? Was I dressing immodestly? Was I engaging in pre-marital sex? (bear in mind I was 18 years old at this time)
The answer is NO. I hid my body in jean skirts and high collared shirts. I never openly or intentionally defied ANYONE. I was not drinking, doing drugs, or having premarital sex. I was attempting to "court" the "right way" instead of the oh so dangerous and evil dating.
When I asked "What did I do to "act out" from under authority?" I was given a handful of examples of my disobedience- but in reality there were all a result of miscommunication- not me being intentionally and knowingly defiant.
Thankfully I have an amazing friend who started this journey with me and has stayed by my side through everything. My husband Adam. I'm so glad he has been at my side through everything- all that we've been through together has bonded us in an incredible way and I am so grateful for that! We've had our share of difficulties to get throught starting at the very beginning of our "relationship" :
We tried to follow all the rules. And there were so many- don't hold hands. Don't sit next to each other. Don't look at each other too much. Don't rest your head on each others shoulders. Don't talk to each other so much when others are around. Don't spend too much time talking to each other AT ALL- (15 minutes seemed to be the max). No lolly gagging when it was time to say "goodbye".
All we wanted was to spend time TOGETHER. And apparently this was a huge crime.
This used to make me so angry. Now I find it almost comical, but I have to admit sometimes it still hurts. As time goes on I realize how silly my situation was. How silly it all was. What a complete waste of life it was to be so worried about such ridiculous things.
Finally I realized things weren't adding up. I realized Bill Gothards principles of "courtship" were fabricated bullshit. I talked to other adults and we realized we weren't evil an could make our own decisions and that was ok.
That was when I began learning to think for myself. It's also when the woman I was "supposed" to be started dying and the woman I have become today began emerging.
Now what's funny to me is that life was anything BUT fulfilling when I was well on the path to the woman I described earlier. I was lonely, constantly felt like a failure, and was often depressed. I have no doubt I would still feel the same way if I had stayed on that path. When Adam and I were first married I still tried my hardest to be that woman- and I failed miserably.
Finally I transitioned into letting that idea go- into NOT trying to become that woman.
And now I'm glad I'm not that woman. I like me just the way I am. I am happy. Life is fulfilling. Life is enjoyable. It still has ups and downs- very much so- but I don't feel lonely, like a failure, or depressed. I love being a working mother. I love being in an equal marriage (in other words, I love NOT submitting!). I love mornings filled with my family's love (and coffee!). I love Sunday being... Just another day. I love using modern medicine to take care of my health as a woman and my reproductive system. I love not worrying about my kids being "godly" or not. I love being free to just love them- and not load them up with expectations (so I don't have to be uber disappointed if they don't end up *gasp* GODLY or not). I love teaching my kids HOW to think verses WHAT to think. I love encouraging them to ask as many questions as they can. I love not having to worry about them reciting a prayer of "salvation" as soon as they can be convinced to do so. I love being able to enjoy a career AND motherhood and do not feel I am less of a mother for doing so.
I love being able to enjoy life- and not be caught up in silly INSIGNIFICANT things... I don't have to care about who's holding hands, resting their head on a shoulder during a movie, locking eyes too often- I don't really have to care about ANYONE'S choices.
If another woman is happy and fulfilled in life being what I "supposed" to be? Good for her. I'm glad that's what works for her! I really, truly am. Maybe a bit of who i was supposed to be and who I am today mixed together works great for someone else- and again- that's wonderful! But that wasn't what was best for me- I'm perfectly OK with that. I wish it wasn't a disappointment or a let down to some of the people who care about me-
but I'd rather be a disapointment to others... than a disapointment to myself.
Because you see when I do what's best for me and take care of myself the results in my life are much more positive than when I focus on trying to be something I am not meant to be or solely on pleasing others- that is exhausting, depressing, and impossible to succeed at. By trying to make myself into something that wasn't working I was setting myself up to fail- and to keep failing.
So I'm not the woman I was supposed to be- but I can tell you another thing I am not:
I am no longer a failure.
And THAT is truly priceless!