In September we found out we were pregnant with our second child. I was so excited that it took every ounce of willpower not to shake my sleeping husband awake after seeing that little red line early in the morning. Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long. The reason I took a test to begin with was that I was feeling sick, like the kind of nausea I remembered my from first. I thought it couldn’t possibly be from the pregnancy, I hadn’t even missed my period yet. That’s way too soon for morning sickness… WRONG.
Over the course of the next few weeks things got worse. Much worse. I spent hours lying in bed and on the couch moaning. I couldn’t eat, let alone look at or smell food. Even just mentioning a type of food would send me running to the bathroom. I couldn’t keep any food down except the occasional toast and apple. For the next 6 weeks that’s all I could eat. Plain toast and an apple for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m a creature of habit, but even this was excessive for me. It got to the point I couldn’t even force myself to swallow it anymore.
You see, I don’t just get morning sickness… I get nausea that causes severe stomach pain, there were a few times I was in such excruciating pain I was sure I was losing the baby or my abdomen was being torn from the inside out. There were days that I’m ashamed to admit I laid on the floor or in my bed crying and almost wishing I wasn’t pregnant (I feel like I have to whisper that part because the thought itself makes me feel extreme guilt). Every time I ate food it came out in such strong vomiting episodes that I peed my pants, had tears running down my face, and sweat all over my body.
My previously clean home that I cherished was a wreck.. The dishes stacked up throughout the day. I let my toddler drag toys to every end of the universe (or her universe). The floors hadn’t been vacuumed in who knows how long. And showers? What are those again? I could hardly stand upright for more than a minute, let alone an entire shower. The idea of simply moving around that much to wash my body was too nauseating to consider.
My sweet husband did what he could to help out, but was working until 7 or 8pm most nights. He would come home, feed our little girl, play with her for a few minutes before putting her to bed, then go outside to work on his truck which decided to break down at a very convenient time. He’d crawl into bed next to me at some point every night, usually past midnight and do it all again the next day.
I remember laying in bed one day listening to/reading the scriptures and I came across Alma 7:11 which reads “He will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.” I texted the verse to my mom through my tears and asked her WHY. Why if the Savior can take away pains and sickness, why wasn’t He doing that for me? I prayed for relief every day. That day was a low for me. The self pity was ranking high and my failures were stacking up around me.
I was failing as a mother for my toddler, failing as a wife for my husband, failing as the absentee Activity Days leader (a program for 8-11 year old girls in our church), failing as a homemaker, failing as a friend. I thought that I should be able to push through it. I felt like I should be able to decide in my mind to be okay and handle it and that I’d be able to just get up and do everything I needed to do. But no matter how hard I pushed, no matter how determined I was, I couldn’t do it. I sunk back to the couch in tears with the pains and nausea returning with a vengeance for my efforts.
Fast forward a couple of months, multiple attempted medications, and some final improvement I was sitting in church as we discussed the Savior’s love. The love He has for each of His brothers and sisters on the Earth. It was there, sitting in that lesson that I realized that He had helped ease my pain and sickness.
On a daily basis I had friends checking in on me. Bringing my family groceries (sorry that most of it ended up wasted in the toilet), taking my toddler for play dates, making sure she was fed, had naps, and had a bath once in a while. My sweet neighbor took my trash can back up from the curb for us each week, I had a friend drive an hour each way just to come cook me a meal I could throw up later on. The Savior had lifted and carried me through the hands of the people around me. That is how He cares for us, that is how He meets our needs.
It was hard for me to let my friends help, I’ve never liked being the one to receive service. I much more prefer to be the one serving. It killed me to let friends come to my house and see it in shambles, to see ME in shambles. No shower, no makeup, same clothes for the last 3 days. It was humbling beyond belief, but at one point during all of this I realized that it’s okay. It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay not to be perfect sometimes. It’s okay to let other people see you barely making it… like the time I started bawling at church because a friend asked how I was doing and I told her I wanted to feel human again, to be able to make it through church without leaving early. (After 3 months, I finally was able to stay the entire time!)
In a world of perfectly poised Instagram pictures and endless positive posts it’s easy to forget that we are here on Earth to learn and we learn through our trials. So whether you are struggling as a single parent, an overworked mom, infertility, faith, loss, anxiety, postpartum, or a difficult pregnancy like me. Every other person out there is struggling too. It’s okay to struggle. It means you’re human!