Back to the real world filled with laundry and deadlines and never enough time to do what I need to do. As vacation came to an end, I felt increasing panic about returning to all of this.
What if I left the beach and went back to feeling miserable?
I got myself in such a state that as we were driving home that a traffic delay and miscommunication with my husband sent me into a full on toddler-level meltdown. I’m not proud of it but I can see how I ended up there.
Vacation was SO great and writing felt SO good and everyone was SO supportive that a let down was probably inevitable.
And yet, here I sit. Not miserable. Tired? Yep. Busy? Yep. But not miserable.
I’ve been thinking about how I got to a place where I felt so desperate. I spent so much time at the beach getting out of that space that I didn’t really think about how I got there in the first place.
You would think my lowest point would have been the year before when I lost the baby, but weirdly it wasn’t. After my surgery, when I was left with nothing but my grief, I took what I call the kitchen sink approach. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at my sadness. Yoga? Yep! Running? Yep! Meditation? Sure! Gratitude journal? Daily spiritual readings? Therapy? All of that too, please!
My grief was its own thing - something I was strangely able to compartmentalize. I knew I had to deal with it in order to move forward. So, I did. I managed the HECK out of it. I was going to be hyper-capable at grieving.
And in a weird way - it worked. I dove right through the center of that pain (still do when it bubbles up to the surface at unexpected moments) and came out the other side changed.
Then, Felix was born.
I had spent literally years convincing my husband (and the rest of my family) that three kids was going to be great. It wouldn’t be THAT hard. It wouldn’t change THAT much. All of those articles that say people with three kids are the most miserable were like fuel for my fire.
Those people were full of shit. We were going to be different.
The hard truth is I wasn’t just convincing them. I was convincing myself. We were really, really happy before Felix was born. The boys were at such fun ages. Nicholas and I were happy at work and both feeling really fit and healthy. We would go on weekend adventures geocaching and I would think, “Why do I want to mess with this?”
But - for reasons known only to the deepest parts of my heart - I wanted another baby.
So, we got pregnant and the worst thing happened.. and we got pregnant AGAIN and I had gone from being a fit, happy mother of two to a hormonal, exhausted woman grieving one baby and pregnant with another.
And I couldn’t admit to myself - much less to anyone else - that I was afraid I’d made a horrible mistake. So, I kept moving FORWARD. This fear didn’t feel like my grief. It wasn’t something I needed to embrace and deal with. I felt ashamed. It felt like something I needed to hide. It felt like something I needed to run from.
So, run I did… until I was a hormonal, exhausted mother of THREE - with a beautiful baby, two beautiful boys, and a loving husband - who was 300% miserable.
All because I still wanted to be the fit, happy, well-rested mother of two.
I couldn’t let go. I had a death grip on my old life and it was pulling me under. I kept thinking if I could just get back there, I would feel happy again. If I could lose weight or get some sleep or get control of my life again, everything would be better.
Eventually, I will be well-rested again. I will lose the weight. I will have children who all wipe their own butts.
But I will never be that Sarah, again.
I have to grieve that because I really liked that Sarah.
But this Sarah ain’t so bad either. This Sarah that traded in a little less control for a little more chaos. This Sarah that traded in a little less sleep for a lot more cuddles. This Sarah who is stronger and wiser and more resilient.
This Sarah who faced the fears in her head and still chose the desires of her heart.