You’ll Feel Normal Again

A little over a year ago, I was laying in a hospital bed, three days postpartum.

My chest was heavy with grief; heartbroken that this season of life didn’t look anything like what I thought it would. The fear I felt was overwhelming–like it would actually consume me if I let it. Three days prior to this, I had given birth to a beautiful baby boy–my husband and my first child. His birth was difficult, ending in an urgent c-section, but he was healthy and we were able to head home a day earlier than we anticipated. 

After one long night at home, I realized that it had become really difficult to breathe, and I had severe swelling throughout my body. My inclination was to chalk it up to postpartum; to brush the symptoms aside and see if they would subside by the afternoon. This is probably normal. I don’t have time to not be okay, I have a newborn son who needs taking care of. I’ll be fine, I just need some rest.

My mind circled with potential explanations for the way I was feeling, and every one of them was met with an urgency that something wasn’t right.

Thank you, Holy Spirit. I quickly told my husband that I needed to go get checked out, and that I planned to drive myself to the emergency room so he could watch our son. That idea was swiftly rejected and thankfully my mom was in town, staying just down the road, and she was able to come look after our son for what we thought would be a couple of hours.

If I’m being honest, I don’t remember much about this day once we left for the emergency room. I moved through the motions towards a solution as quickly as I could, in an attempt to not feel the devastating effects of having to leave my three day old son almost as quickly as we got home; of not being able to care for him in the way that I envisioned. 

Reruns of Shark Tank played on the small TV in our room, mixed with a cacophony of intercom announcements, blood pressure machines, and heart rate monitors. Tests, scans, blood work, and medication on repeat until seven hours later, I received a diagnosis. It was confirmed: postpartum preeclampsia and anemia, and I wasn’t going home anytime soon. The reality of our circumstances sat like a 50-pound dumbbell on my chest.

Fear, shame, dread, and sorrow crept out of the shadows, filling every crack of my broken spirit. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I should be home, snuggling with my baby boy. Memorizing every detail of his cute, little face. Navigating being a new parent, blissfully sleep-deprived, surviving solely on coffee. Instead, I was here–laying in a hospital bed, unsure of what the future looked like, but clinging to hope and the belief that God was with me in this. 

We had one nurse in particular that I think about often when I reflect on this experience, and I don’t think she knows how much the Lord used her in my life during this time–reminding me that I’m not alone and that I would get through this. Before leaving my room after tending to me the first time I met her, she looked at me, placed her warm hand over my wrist, and said, “You’ll feel normal again.”

She gave me that same soft but powerful reassurance every time she left my hospital room. “You’ll feel normal again.” At that moment, I couldn’t really imagine what “good” looked like, but “normal”? I’ll take normal. Or boring. Standard. Whatever it looks like to be a first-time mom at home with her baby. I clung to those words and held them close to my heart–thankful for the strength of God weaved throughout every word. I will feel normal again. 

And I did. I do. I watch my sweet boy make his way around the living room as fast as he can, and I feel normal. My husband and I quote Ted Lasso and laugh over dinner, and I feel normal. I struggle with confidence on days when motherhood is difficult, and even then, I feel normal.

Jesus meets me exactly where I am and reminds me that I’ll feel normal again. This reminder disarms my tendency to rely on my own strength and allow the Lord’s to carry me through instead.

So, in case you need to hear this today, you’ll feel normal again – whatever that looks like for you. If you’re gripped by fear and it’s the only thing you can feel right now – God is with you and you’ll feel normal again. 

Emily Cruz is self-proclaimed coffee lover, eighth-level barbarian dwarf in Dungeons & Dragons, wife, mother, and author of This Won’t Define Me: Exchanging a Fearful Life for a Fruitful One. Located in the Pacific Northwest, she spends most of her days drinking large amounts of coffee, laughing with her favorite people, and thinking about what color to dye her hair next. She believes that a truly fruitful life is not out of reach for anyone, and while fear is an inevitable human experience–it doesn’t define us, and it doesn’t have to hold us back. For more of her writing and personal moments, visit www.emilycruz.substack.com and @empetreycruz on Instagram.

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