As Suzy’s birth is quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking about the journey we’ve had with our little Lily for her first year of life. In particular, I’ve been thinking about my journey through the first year of motherhood. So, come back with me to January 2011 when my visiting teachers were over. I was in a new ward and getting to know two sisters who I’ve since come to love. One of them is elderly and was asking me a lot of questions about myself. I was apparently putting on a really good show of competence and of “having it all together.” I answered that yes, my baby was two months old and yes, she was sleeping well and yes, I was slim again and yes, I was making dinner every night again…etc, etc. Then, my wise, visiting teacher asked, “So, what is hard for you Lauren?” I stopped and thought about it and didn’t have an answer for her off the top of my head. Turns out I was only fooling myself about having it all together. As I continued on with my day though, I realized that I’d been tricking myself into thinking that because I had a new baby, everything should be perfect. I had been pushing aside the fact that I was extremely tired and my hormones were out of whack and I was struggling with some postpartum depression. It was as if her question gave me permission to admit that I was having a hard time adjusting. Even with eight younger siblings, there was no way I could have been completely prepared for the rigors or having a newborn. Her question also made me think deeper about what I was struggling with internally and helped me uncover some tricky lies that Satan was getting me to believe. I spent the next three months or so battling the lies that I had started to believe about myself as a wife and as a mother. I’m so grateful for that visiting teacher who followed the Spirit and helped me recognize that everything wasn’t ok – because then I had the power to start changing it, to start working on it.
Alright, so lets fast forward to June – now life really did seem perfect and it has been for a while. Lily was sleeping through the night, I was pregnant with our second little baby and so excited to find out the gender of the baby – Jon had a stable job, we were a happy family – life seemed perfect. In President Uchtdorf’s recent talk, “Forget me Not” he spoke about not forgetting to be happy now. I wanted to ask him, “President, what do you do if your life is perfect and you’re incredibly happy?” I realized that I had been tempted to feel guilty for being so happy. The truth is that I should just let myself be happy while it flowed so easily to me. It was as if I needed permission again to admit that everything was wonderful right now and that’s ok. I thought about Lily and about the percentage of time that she is crying…its not that high, maybe 10% at the most. Some of the time when she’s crying, its because I’m trying to teach her something so she’s in time out. But most of the time she is happy and playing. I realized that Heavenly Father does want to teach me and will allow me some heart ache, but most of the time He wants to grant me tremendous joy. I should just enjoy it!
I’ve learned that life does go through natural cycles of time when everything just feels hard or when everything just seems to flow easily and happiness is the default. When things are hard, I tend to remind myself over and over again, “man, this is hard.” When things seem easier and I’m happy, I want to be better at reminding myself often that, “I am happy! I am blessed! I am grateful!” I feel like our little Terry family has been blessed with six months of pure happiness. I’m so grateful for the blessing of being a wife to someone as wonderful as Jonathan, of being the mother to children as sweet as Lily and Suzy. I’m so incredibly blessed and happy. I suppose I’m ready for another phase of hard, and that’s ok. I’m going to allow myself to admit that sometimes things are hard and I’m sad while other times I’m just happy. Both states are normal and are part of life.