Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pity Party

Excerpts from my journal from a few weeks ago:

"I just don't know if I can handle another pregnancy...Perhaps it's the fatigue and lack of sleep talking ...having a newborn is probably the hardest stage for me. It always has been with each child. Having 3 children hasn't been easy. Especially when Vessel & Jacob are screaming or fighting and the baby is crying and I am exhausted. It's hard to feel like I'm being a good mom. It's hard to feel like I'm meeting the individual needs of my children when I'm so tired & impatient and when I'm trying to do so many things at once. I know this time of my life is only temporary. But it is a huge adjustment. I've had a few hard days. The hormonal roller-coaster hasn't been fun. I've cried a lot since the baby was born. I just don't understand why women have to go through all these crazy changes during and after pregnancy. And it being winter just makes it worse. Not being able to take the kids for walks, or go to the park, or the swimming pool. And this tiny apartment feels so confining and stuffy and sometimes I feel so claustrophobic here. I hate the feeling of being isolated. ...I want to be able to go out and do something on my own, but I feel tied down to the baby. I don't want that to sound bad, it just is what it is. I have to feed him, he relies on me for nourishment and comfort. I am the only one who seems to understand what he wants, or how he likes to be held, or what will calm him down when he's fussy. I feel like I can't be away from him. Maybe it's instinct we're born with that kicks in when we become mothers. An instinct that keeps us from abandoning our babies. Whatever it is, that feeling is strong. He needs me and I need him. And even though some days I feel like I am going to go totally bat crap crazy in this apartment and I need a break just to get away, if I do leave for even an hour to do my own thing, all I think about is the baby. I know he won't be a baby forever. But these next few months are going to be the hardest .....I feel so detached from everyone. During a time of such love and happiness with Christmas almost here, all I feel is a heavy, cold heart. I feel really far away from everyone and everything around me. I want to let go of this feeling, to set myself free from the grip of loneliness and sadness I feel. Is it just a matter of not giving into the sadness?"

Yes, for the last month I've been experiencing the "baby blues," if you will. I've kind of been struggling to stay afloat, just trying to get through each day and not fall apart. But, a couple of days ago while I was rocking the baby, I opened the Ensign and started reading this article. Go ahead, read it, it's a goody. This talk hit me pretty hard as I came to realize that the reason I was having such a hard time finding happiness was because I was focusing too much on the negative. Eyring says "We must ask in prayer that God, by the power of the Holy Ghost, will help us see our blessings clearly even in the midst of our trials. He can help us by the power of the Spirit to recognize and be grateful for blessings we take for granted." I don't think I have been sufficiently grateful. I know my trials are real for me, but things could be so much worse than they are. In reality, I have so much to be thankful for. Haven is a good baby and the boys have adjusted better than I thought. Jacob has been so sweet to the baby and doesn't act jealous or resentful at all. Vessel has been a good helper to me. There have been so many people willing and wanting to help out during this time. People have brought us meals and have offered to help watch the kids. Some friends have offered to take Vessel for a few hours so I could get some stuff done. My sister was so nice to drive up here and spend a week with me. Having her here was a godsend. She took the older boys out for a couple hours each day to get them out of the house. She was so helpful and without being asked, changed diapers, got the kids dressed in the morning, and prepared lunch for everyone. She did so much. And then my husband's parents came to visit for a week and they did just about everything from doing the dishes and laundry to taking the boys out so I could take a nap. They were amazing. More than amazing, actually.
Mike has been in Portland since Wednesday morning and I have had some severe anxiety knowing I'd be alone every night with the 3 kids. On a typical day I am comforted to know that I'm going to get some relief come 5 o'clock when Mike walks through the door. I was worried about the anxiety and loneliness I was going to feel every night, but I have been so lucky. My downstairs neighbor came up and stayed with me to keep me company for a couple hours and even brought me a plate of homemade candy. My dear friend came over Thursday night and had dinner with me and helped me while I got my kiddos ready for bed and then she just stayed and talked with me for awhile. That definitely cheered me up. Another friend invited me to her house for dinner last night. And yet another friend called me today and ended up going to the grocery store with me to help out with the kids. Plus a friend of mine picked up Vessel for preschool and dropped him off this past week so that I didn't have to. I feel so blessed at the outpouring of love so many people have shown me. It definitely makes me feel less alone and feel like there are people I can count if things get too hard.

For the past couple of weeks I allowed myself to become overwhelmed by my sadness and depression. Of course, the hormones and post pregnancy issues aren't completely resolved yet. But I know that Heavenly Father listens to and answers my prayers. Ever since reading Elder Eyring's words, I have been praying to feel more gratitude and it's actually helping. My burden feels lighter. I feel more capable of coping with my circumstances. I have a deeper desire of to serve others and to not focus so selfishly on my own problems. I am trying to embrace parenthood more and magnify my calling as wife and mother. I know the Spirit has touched me this week and I now feel GRATITUDE more than I have in a very long time.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Vessel's Drawings

Vessel had a nightmare. He wanted to draw me the ghostie that scared him out of his sleep.

The day I had baby Haven was the same day Vessel's class learned about babies at preschool. This is the face he drew on the his baby and it cracked me up.

A picture of the new baby with Mom and Dad. Mike looks like a hunchback.

In preschool the kids were supposed to draw something they were grateful for in this cornucopia. Vessel drew his "girlfriend" Yliana.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Name Game

Mike and I really struggled to figure out a name for our 3rd child. It was like having Jacob all over again. Mike and I have such different ideas when it comes to what names sound good. It was so discouraging not being able to agree on a name for Jacob when he was born. I felt so strongly in my heart that he was meant to be Riven Jacob Bates. I loved Riven because it was unique and had a "v" in it like Vessel's name. I liked Jacob as a middle name because its a very Biblical name (just like Vessels middle name, Noah.) and also "normal," so if he ever wanted to fall back on his middle name, he could. I thought it would be nice to give all our kids unique first names, with common middle names (and/or religious/scriptural names.) But so much for that. We thought about using "Eleven" as a name for our third, of course, only if he was born on the eleventh (which he was.) It would've definitely been unique, but I couldn't really hear myself calling him "Eleven." I felt like Eleven would've been the perfect name if we had a girl because we could just call her "Eve" or "Evey," both names that Mike and I really love. I don't want it to sound like I wasn't excited to have another boy, because I was. It's just funny how Mike and I could agree on hundreds of girl names. A little ironic, eh? We also thought about using "November" as a name and calling him "Ember" for short. Ember was a name we considered last time when I was pregnant with Jacob. November is unique and suggests something about when he was born. But I couldn't get Mike totally on board with the idea. He thought "Eleven" or "November" would've been suitable for a middle name only. Mike liked the name "Elias" and when he told me about it, I liked it too. But I didn't want people to call him Eli for short. In the beginning I thought "Eleven Elias Bates" sounded great. Over time I agreed with Mike that Eleven was much better as a middle name. Turns out we never even used Eleven as part of our baby's name anyway. On the top of my list was "Adler" meaning "eagle" in Old German. I also liked the names Hawk, Rain, Riley, Nevata (meaning snowflake), Echo, Navarro, Baxley, Rylan, and Breckin. I couldn't say I was 100% in love with any of those names, however. I was grappling for something, ANYTHING, that Mike would agree on and that I could grow to love. And then while we were in the hospital after the baby was born, Mike was holding him and said, "What about Haven? He looks like a Haven to me." When I was in high school, our band performed a song called "Havendance" that was named after the composer's daughter. Ever since then I have always wanted to use the name Haven for my first born daughter. After the ultrasound confirmed we were having another boy, I thought that ship had sailed, and that I'd never get to use the name Haven. Mike said he was talking to a co-worker and she new a man named Haven. I big, strong cowboy of a man in fact. And then while looking through one of the name books we got from the library, I saw that Haven was listed under the boy section. Perhaps Haven wasn't as feminine as I thought it was. I considered Mike's proposal and it actually sounded perfect to me. As for the middle name, we decided on Elias because of it's scriptural reference. Wow, we actually both felt good about the name! And that's how Haven Elias Bates came to be.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Here are some random shots of the kiddos from 2011...