Friday, January 1, 2010

Trying Not to Say Good Riddance to 2009

It's hard to know how to talk about 2009. It brought me one of my greatest joys and it almost leveled me with sorrow and fear.

I know New Year is the time for resolutions - and I do plan on setting some goals for the upcoming year - but this year it feels important to me to acknowledge the things I'm proud of in 2009. I do want to ask for no comments, please. None of this was done for approval and because of my conflicting feelings about the whole experience, I don't particularly want to be congratulated for any of it. I think it's just good in terms of perspective, so that I don't end the year flipping the bird to 2009.

1. I'm proud that I gave birth without drugs. I don't say this as a judgment on anyone who chooses otherwise and, honestly, I might not do it the same way if I get pregnant again, but I'm glad I did it this time.

2. I'm proud that I survived a terrifying, excruciating, crippling postpartum depression. I worked with every shred of what I had to claw my way out of it, and life has been so much sweeter ever since.

3. I'm proud that I pumped for Collin and have been able to sustain him on my breast milk since he was born. Again, not a judgment on people who make a different choice, but it has been a healing and empowering experience for me in the midst of all of our struggles this year. I pumped in the hospital; I pumped in the NICU; I pumped when Collin was in surgery; I pumped when I couldn't even talk or eat during the postpartum depression; I pumped in the car between Collin's doctors' appointments; I pumped while I was watching him across the room, looking for seizures; I pumped when I was literally sick with worry and exhaustion. And it honestly never bothered me. I was so thankful to have some tangible way to help Collin during all of the countless situations in which I felt helpless to comfort him. He has stayed healthy and strong and handsome on food that I made for him, and that feels pretty darn good.

4. I'm proud that I learned to accept help. It has never been easy for me, and now I realize that my life was the worse for that fact. Being pushed to the brink helped me let go of unnecessary guilt about letting others serve me in love. We received months and months of meals, house cleaning help, grocery shopping help, and financial help. My mom saved us by living with us during the postpartum depression; my friend Shelly came weekly to clean and talk and play with Collin. I have learned to say 'thank you' when people offer to help instead of finding a reason why I don't need it, and just let the gift bless us both.

5. I'm proud that I seized on a creative outlet to expedite my healing process. Back in April, I sat all day every day frozen with fear and despair, but Kyle encouraged me to do something to pass the time, so I started to crochet. I just made squares of different colors - mindless and easy. At first it didn't feel like it was doing anything, but the first borderline happy thought I remember having in that time was when I went to bed one night, knowing that the morning would be much worse than the night, as it was everyday, but still looking forward to starting a a new color of squares (purple) the next day. As I healed, I turned the squares into big stuffed blocks for Collin. Now, crocheting is a freeing activity for me, allowing me to stay close to Collin to attend to his needs while still exploring my own creativity and creating things to give to others.

6. I'm proud of starting and maintaining this blog. It's not always easy to be so honest in this venue and there are lots of times I don't want to think about, much less discuss what's going on, but it's really good for me, and I think it's good for you, too.

None of the things I'm proud of are anything I could have planned for by setting the right goals last year, but they do make me view the coming months and my new goals with a different eye - one that is looking for the things I will be proud of this time next year.

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