Monday, October 10, 2016

The Hardest Decision I've Ever Made

I can't even believe I'm writing this. You might wanna sit down -- it may take a while...

I mentioned what had happened in the beginning of the year, right? If you didn't read it, feel free to read the previous post (or two). Then come back. I'll be here.

Hi again.

Since then, a few things have happened. Mostly good. Some actually pretty miraculous. I can't believe how mysterious God's ways truly are sometimes.

But darkness was still looming. It crept into my marriage, in a bad way, more than once. It seeped into my mothering. It caused me to gasp for air, even when the oxygen reader at the dr's showed a strong 98% flow. It made me cry harder, more often, with anger and guilt and loneliness. But I wasn't alone, I had very little reason to be angry, and I certainly had no reason to feel guilty. Yet I continued to cry. I cried and cried and cried and cried... until I couldn't cry anymore. I was numb. For what may have only been a moment, I hit bottom, and was ready -- so ready -- to quit.

At this same time, I was exercising regularly. I didn't have a set diet, but I naturally don't eat a lot anyway. This year I wanted to focus on the habit of exercising regularly, and I was getting pretty good at it. I even started eating less junk as a result of the exercising. Win! Except the scale didn't show a win. Neither did the measurement tape. Nor my clothes I thought I'd be able to fit by then. Other things manifested too: more fatigue, more brain fog, drier hair and skin, off-kilter digestive tract, mysterious wrist injury and back pain that I only get during pregnancy, irregular menstrual cycles, sore throat without the presence of a cold or flu, and a number of other things that I keep forgetting (I wonder why). I took a blood pregnancy test after my period was 7 days late and 3 home tests came out negative, and my OB/GYN found that I was not only negative, but my Thyroid Stimulant Hormone level was low. This is unusual because just a few months ago it was normal, and my OB/GYN knew this as well as that I have multiple cysts in my thyroid. She sent me to an endocrinologist who said that I'm borderline anything so he can only re-test me later on, but my OB/GYN is pretty sure it is the early stages of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Doesn't it all make sense now?

So what do all of these things have to do with the picture above?
(I told you this will take a while.)
Let me back up...

When my recovery was hard and I landed back in the hospital and my Christmas SUCKED, my mister and I began talking about if this baby should be our last one. This was the first newborn we brought up where we just weren't sure if another child was in our future. Parents of newborns know what I mean: "you just know when your family is complete." True statement. Well, we knew with all our other kids. But now we didn't. Our brains and emotions were so messed up this year that he and I just couldn't come to a definite conclusion. In the meantime, life happened, and my body couldn't handle it. We had tried scads of contraceptives but found none that fit us well -- the hormones messed me up, or my mister couldn't stand being able to feel them, or they got lost in my body. Another true story.

Oh, I didn't tell you about that one? Hmmm... another time perhaps.

But anyway, contraceptives were off the table. And abstinence... And I even tried the Fertility Awareness Method, but that only just showed me that something was definitely wrong in my body. In the midst of all of this, the darkness set it, and the one night where I felt I couldn't do it anymore (define "it" however you choose), that was the moment I felt like this chapter in my life needed to close. Needed to. I prayed, studied, and pondered on this for a week. My mister and I discussed this for a month. It was real. It was certain.

The picture above is my stomach this afternoon, just after coming home from getting my tubes tied. Yes, you read that right: I just got my tubes tied. I'm trying to say it as often as I can so it can sink in quicker. It's not something that gives me joy, and currently I'm in a lot of pain. But it's something that I need to share, to come to grips with. I'm not one of those women who wanted only 2 or 3 children. I wanted a lot... And then I didn't... And then I became a good mom... And then I didn't... And then my body got stronger... And then it didn't... And that's what I've been conflicted with for years. Years! So this decision has been a long time coming. And as much as all the negative feelings a Polynesian woman can have about it, I know that I needed to do this. That this was the way for me in my life right now.

Please know that I love my children, with every fiber of my being. I know that children are gifts from God and many people in the world do not get to enjoy such blessings. I still feel like 5 children isn't a lot, and that the right set of parents can juggle big families with their eyes closed and legs tied. But I am not the right mom, and we are not the right set of parents for the number of children we actually want. (Hint: it's more than 5.) And my deteriorating body and mind are proof of that. The hardest decision in my life is this: to give up the right and privilege to bring another child into the world for a chance to give my best to the children that I already have.

If any of you readers pass judgment upon me -- weak, crazy, stupid, heathen, selfish are just a few adjectives that you could want to comment with -- move along. This is not a space for judgment. To preach about Planned Parenthood or abortion or women's rights or what the scriptures condemn or how you feel about religion. This is a space of understanding. Of acknowledging human weakness as well as human strength. Of comfort to other who are struggling with incredibly hard decisions right now. If you are struggling, I will say this: God created us to make choices. Every choice that affects our lives is a choice that we have to make. Don't let life make your choice for you. Work with God. Know yourself. Find His plan for you. 

Then make a choice.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Truths of Life

As Sunday is peeking its way in, I am surrounded by five sleeping children. Three of them have low-grade fevers, three of them have runny noses and coughs, and 2 of them have apparently developed a snore. My mister is faithfully away at drill without us tagging along with him for the first time since he transferred to Utah (last September or October), and I miss my mom.

Did I mention my mom died?

It was last month. It was a hard month. All the sadness, all the pain, the confusion, sorrow, loneliness, stress that had accumulated throughout this year had culminated into a heavy and swift reverse roundhouse to my face the day that Mom died. I tried to make it to her. I tried to see her, to say goodbye. But I have too many little kids, and not enough people around me that I trust.

But I digress.

6 weeks later, I am doing alright. Still a bit lost. Still a bit sad. Still a little confused. But alright.

My husband's gone for the weekend. My kids are sick and passing it around each other. I weigh more than I EVER have during a non-pregnant time of my life. The events and issues of the past 5 months have not really passed or been resolved. I don't even smile much anymore.

But right now, in the middle of the night, it's not so bad.

And I'll tell you why.

Because I know things. Certain things I know to be true. To be fact.

1. I am loved. My husband and I may not be on the best of terms all the time, but I know that man loves me more than he's ever loved any person before, and that has never changed. Kids I swear are God's gift to us, to shower us with unconditional and blissful love that at times we may not even deserve. I have friends near and far whose hearts are linked to mine eternally, no matter how different our lives are. And, of course, my Heavenly Father and my Savior love me. Fact.

2. Doing things designed to make people happy WILL make people happy. Exercise. Lots of water. Rest. Eating yummy food. Taking in sunshine. Reading good books. Listening to good music. Playing good music. Dancing. Writing. All these things I've tried at some point this year, and I promise you that all these things work. If you try them, I PROMISE the struggles will become more bearable. They may not solve your problems, but they WILL make you more capable of solving your problems. Fact.

3. Everyone gets the same amount of time in the day. While most days I feel like I totally wasted time, mentally returning to this fact helps keep myself in check. Do I spend it dwelling on problems? Do I spend it finding solutions? Am I in the right mindset to effectively accomplish this task or that task? What is the best use of my time today? When was the last time I focused on my husband? My kids? Myself? Get yourself in check regarding your time. It just may help pass the time better. (See what I did there?) Not to mention... a lot can happen over time.

A week ago I wouldn't have been able to write this post. A week ago I thought I was going to lose something again, and it felt like my heart stopped for a few days. But the great truths of life do not fail us, if only we work with them. They are all dependent variables in the big formula for success and happiness. They always have been. We just have to let them work in our lives the way they are meant to. Enjoy the love that is for you. Do things you know will make you happy. Use your time wisely. Trust in the process, in the system. And it won't be so bad.

P.S. Bonus fact: engaging in projects bigger than yourself is the secret to happiness. This past Mother's Day was the worst Mother's Day of my life until I made it about other mothers. Service is the bomb diggity. You gotta try it.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

1/4-way Into 2016

I just read the two most recent posts about going on a hiatus and reviewing 2013. I'm glad I did, because this post was originally going to sound a lot like "2014." If there is anything I learned from 2015, it's that we can't afford to look back anymore. What's done is done. The decisions we made are made. All we can do about them now is live with the consequences and prepare ourselves for future decisions.

But for the family newsletter sake of this blog, I will quickly recap what has happened since said last posts:
  • We moved from paradise to the wild frontier
  • We lived under the home of yet another family member
  • My mister had a $9/hr job for 6 months before being able to land a decent job that had career potential
  • I applied to be a Hot Hula fitness instructor and ended up being a Group Kick/Group Fight and dance fitness instructor
  • We bought a house
  • We had a miscarriage
  • We got pregnant again
  • My mister took on a 3rd job (4, if you count the ARNG)
  • The kids and I traveled by plane a lot... and got stuck in various airports around the western U.S. almost every time we flew
  • My mom got cancer
  • Siblings from both sides moved in with us
  • My 3-year-old son and I joined a preschool co-op
  • I got C. Diff. right after my 2nd C-section
  • Our eldest got diagnosed with severe ADHD
  • I pulled her out of school to homeschool her
  • My brother-in-law died
  • We kicked people out of our house
  • My mister went back to (online) school
  • He also signed up for a business opportunity
  • We crashed our family car
  • We bought a new family car and are back in debt
  • I have depression (only slightly related to postpartum depression)
And I'm pretty sure I'm missing things in the mix. Overall, 2014 was a year of starting anew, and 2015 was jam packed with joys and sorrows. My prayers at the end of 2015 were to not let 2016 be like 2015 -- aside from the home that we live in and our beautiful child #5 entering the world, 2015 was a struggle like no other. And so far, 2016 has proven to be even worse.

It's like the universe is saying to me, "Prepare yourself. This is not over." The world around me has been sadness these first 3 months. Nothing but hurt and sorrow. I had never tried so hard to find the most comfortable rock I could live under for the rest of my life. Hope is very scarce to come by nowadays. My faith has been tested, undeniably. The end is not in sight. Not anywhere.

Please tell me that I'm not the only one whose life totally sucks.

Well, not totally.

As I'm writing this, my #4 is unconscious and sprawled across my lap, my 3-month-old #5 spread out on the couch next to me, and it's 6 o'clock in the morning. Motherhood and constant worrying have taken the morning person out of me, but seeing the beginnings of the sunrise peek in through the blinds is refreshing. Hearing the clock tick its early tocks brings me out of my mental slumber. And although hope is scarce, it's still there. I know that I never not have something to live for. A husband who kisses me every morning. Little souls who say "good morning, Mom," all the time. Siblings, parents, family and friends who are silently and distantly rooting me on. Hope is still there.

Hope is still there.

So here's to 2016: the year to hope.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Another Hiatus

if it hasn't already been apparent to you:

i'm taking a hiatus from blogging.

this year has taken a bold turn, and i'm still trying to process it all.
and every time i step back up to my blogging plate, i stare at it blankly for about 5 minutes before just closing it and doing something else with my day.

so this blog will still be here
i will still keep ownership of this domain
but for now, it will remain as is
until i am ready to take it
to the next level

i have to take myself to the next level, first.

just know that i am doing well.
we are doing well.
and i am thinking of you.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


2013 taught me something...

... It taught me that there is a huge difference between remembering the past and looking back.

It taught me that a new beginning and second chances can be the same.

That there really are worse things in life than... well, MY life.

That moments are really what count.

Not much happened since my last entry. I was the cause of my Almonds being chronically late to school in the mornings. I had a scheduled induction which turned into an emergency Caesarian Section. I hated my body and resented my doctor for the rest of the year. My loving Jobi returned home, and it changed our family in small and unexpected ways.

But through it all, I was grateful that we made it. That the year had drawn to a close, and we survived it. And when I say "we," I don't just mean me and my little family. I also mean my sister who went through two major surgeries in her never-ending cancer battle, another sister who had a major surgery in her own battles, a mother who's cancer has returned, a brother who's illnesses are always unexplained but ever present, financial difficulties, emotional traumas, spiritual trials, separations, loss, pain. I'm not writing all these so people can feel sorry for us. Don't feel sorry for us! We do not feel sorry -- we feel grateful.

Last year tested us, and I do not wish to repeat it for the world (my baby being the only exception). It tested us, and we were strained under the pressure. But we survived. Yes, we are all still alive, we all still have roofs over our heads, we all still have foods in our bellies. In this age of extreme consumerism, how lucky am I to appreciate the true value of the simple things in life.

2014 is 1/12th of the way done, but I still feel like it has only begun. That is why I have no problem blogging so far along in the year. I don't have any concrete resolutions because so much is already going on that I know I will see change in my life. We are leaving Hawaii, this place I've called home for nearly a decade, and creating a new chapter for ourselves. A clean slate of sorts. I have finally stopped making excuses and applied at the fitness center on campus to be a Hot Hula fitness instructor for next month. I messed up my back again, doing the same thing I did last time, so I already have some kinks to work through this year. (No pun intended.) And I did something I feel like I only have dreams of anymore: I sang a song solo in Sacrament Meeting. Very VERY few people know my nature of singing and my feelings toward singing in Sacrament Meeting, so to accomplish that was a miracle indeed. This year is already turning out to be different.

But I do have two "mottos" for this new year. Mantras? Themes? Whatever you call them, here they are:


Jobi told me he heard a saying ... The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is now. So just do it already. No more excuses, no more hesitations. Be proactive. Own your decisions. Own your life. Remember who you are; remember your legacy. But don't look back. No more looking back. Always look forward. Always step forward. The pain will be there, the struggle will be there. Don't fear it. Be strong; have faith; keep on moving forward.

May this year be the year you have much to look forward to.