Finding Self

When I first started running, I was a mess.  My breathing was off, I couldn’t really find a good pace that was more than fast walk where I wasn’t entirely short of breath, I could never figure out proper fueling–before, during and after a run.  And man, my legs hurt.

But the more I ran, the more I found my own stride. My own rhythm.

The same has been true in these last two years.  Coming back to “real life” after experiencing some traumatic losses and extreme highs is really hard to do.  The pendulum has been swinging back and forth emotionally for months.

Losing Granny. Finding out we’re pregnant. My mom getting sick. Sharing publicly our news. Mom’s hospitalization. Hearing a heartbeat. Advocating for mom with doctor’s when it was apparent she was deteriorating.  Feeling kicks. ICU. Being surrounded by loving friends. Making the hard decision to let mom be at peace. Feeling incredibly supported by visitors to the hospital the night she passed. Walking through navigating her arrangements from KY to VA. Feeling support from friends near and far during that season. Dealing with increased blood pressure from all the stress. Plans for baby showers. Holidays. Amazingly supportive co-workers and friends continuing to be there as I grieved. Singing at the Christmas Eve-eve service. Head on collision on Christmas Day. No major issues. Postponing baby showers. Facetime with family. Visit to UK Triage. Lots of sleep. Incredible bruising. Grateful. Lunch dates with friends. More blood pressure issues. Babymoon in the mountains. Stress about the blood pressure issues. Rescheduled baby showers. Fear. Baby classes. Anxiety. Date nights. Tests to rule out preeclampsia. Good test results. More high blood pressure reads. Confidence in my doctor. Overnight stay in hospital. 48 hours later…..June Parker Cracraft.

Life is full of these nuances that make it brutiful. This is a snapshot of the brutiful pendulum that happened from July 2015-February 2016. 7 months. I could go on to share how that pendulum continued for the next 11, and maybe I will, but needless to say, the past two years have been fraught with a back and forth. One of the biggest back and forths was going back to work for 2 weeks when June was still in the NICU.  Another came when I went back to work 6 weeks after we brought her home. And then first full fall semester as a working, pumping mama whose brain was still in the postpartum fog but also still grieving losing my Mom less than a year prior and sad about what might have been and all  of “what if’s” with our daughter.

What I hope to share is that through these past 19 months, I’m finally finding myself. To all the working mamas out there-I see you. To those with children who may not have or had a typical entry into this thing called life-I see you too. To those navigating opposite work schedules with your partner-I got you. Wondering if you’ll ever feel normal in your job-Yup, been there too. Wondering if you even want to continue working because you feel as if someone else is raising your child? Amen.

But I can also share that I feel like the fog is finally lifting. It took 18 months, but the grief and hurt and emotional pain is starting to rise where I feel like me. Not making oversights and forgetting things that were oh-so-common before at work on a daily basis. But actually feeling energized by the work I’m fortunate to do. Having some perspective about the life I get to lead and share with JP about being a strong working woman who has multiple roles and identities other than “mama.”

Maybe it’ll take 6 months for you. Or maybe it’ll take 6 years. Or maybe it’ll take longer. I don’t know your story or your timeline. What I do know is that you aren’t meant to do it alone.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message)


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