Thursday, August 12, 2010

Finding Grace In Her Smile: A Five Part Story

Click these links to read Parts 1, 2, and 3:

Finding Grace In Her Smile: A story of discovering love and grace when all seemed lost.

{Part 4: The Hardest Goodbye}

This is the hardest part for me.  So far I’ve managed to tell my story with ease.  But this is where I find myself tempted to go back to the empty wallows where I started this year.  I am about to expose my emotions to you and become completely raw.  This is where I put it all on the table.  No hidden emotions.  No sugar coating the feelings I had.  This was me.


She was absolutely beautiful, but I was too drowsy to completely comprehend the life that just entered my world.
            We had walked into the Labor and Delivery floor the evening before for our scheduled inducement.  Our seven boys were back at the Relief Home.  My parents had traveled from California and were waiting outside the room for the arrival of their grandbaby.  And after 22 hours since the moment we signed the hospital papers at the check-in desk, we finally had our baby girl.
            I didn’t get to hold her.  I remember the image of seeing her right as she was pulled out.  The rest of my memory is a little blurry.  The nurses cleaned her and struggled with cleaning out all the fluids she had inhaled during birth.  They whisked her away and four hours later, after the drowsy drugs wore off, I woke to the sound of my husband sternly speaking into the phone demanding his daughter NOW
            Eventually a kind nurse wheeled her in our room and I studied the details of her face.  She was beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful. 
            It wasn’t long after our beautiful family of three was ready to join our seven waiting back home.  I was so anxious to get back to them.  I remember constantly thinking about their reaction when they would get to see their baby sister.  So, on Wednesday night, twenty-four hours after Joss’ arrival, we were discharged and on our way home.  The very next day we would get our boys back.


            It felt like I woke up a completely different woman {that is if I ever really went to sleep that night}.  I didn’t want them back.  I wasn’t ready.  I needed more time.  I wasn’t sure what it was exactly.  Something just hit me.  I became angry and bitter.
            They call it Post Partum Blues.  It wasn’t quite depression {though I was never clinically diagnosed}.  I found myself clinging to the baby girl I had just given birth to and wanting everyone to just go away.  I panicked.
            I had been around children my entire life.  Children were the reason I felt I existed.  I was a nanny.  I babysat.  I helped run a children’s gym.  I raised seven boys 24/7.  But a baby, I had no idea what to do.  I stayed locked up in our bedroom holding my baby girl.  I rocked her all day long.  I randomly burst into tears and I had no idea why.  My heart grew hard and I couldn’t seem to find a way out.
            The sleep deprivation got the worst of me.  It ate away at the joy that had previously filled my soul.  I could hear the children playing in our living room or outside.  My heart was saying “Jhen, this is what life is all about,” but my head was saying “shut them up and make them go away”.  I was so emotionally torn that I couldn’t handle it anymore. 
            I communicated with the office of the Ranch that we worked for about my feelings.  But nothing seemed to change for me.  Emotionally, I grew angrier, bitter, sadder, and more tired.  My husband had to tend to every part of our home since I couldn’t and wouldn’t.  He was having to maintain the piles and piles of laundry that were accumulating but had to be washed, pressed and hung every day.  He had to feed regulated meals to our boys and maintain the home that had started to be overcome with the tension that I was creating.
            I was finished.  I couldn’t handle it any longer.  My emotions were screaming at me to give up; throw in the towel and leave.  I begged my husband to get me out of here.  By this time, his spirit was withering.  It seemed that very few around us actually saw what was happening to our passion; otherwise I believe wholeheartedly, things would have been different. 
            I was lost.  I was empty.  I was downright blue.  I was yelling left and right at the boys.  They didn’t deserve it.  They did nothing wrong.  I knew deep down this is wrong.  I was wrong.  But I just couldn’t stop myself.  My husband had to send me away to the room because he saw the anger that was coming out in me.
            One night, I sat the boys down in the living room and cried.  I allowed them to see just how real of a person I was {as parents we always try to be strong and keep our struggles behind closed doors}.  I apologized to them for my behavior.  I asked them to forgive me because I was having a hard time adjusting and they were making no mistakes.  I was sorry.  I cried and cried in front of them.  I thought I was getting better.  But I was wrong.
            The next morning things were back to usual.  As soon as I got out of bed, I was angry again.  This went on for two weeks.
            Eventually Jon and I sat down in the administrator’s office trying to figure out a way to fix things.  I didn’t know what to do anymore.  The boys were suffering at my expense.  I knew things had to change but I didn’t know what.  We needed help.  By the end of the meeting, the only outcome we could see as a fix was to leave.  These boys needed the best and I felt just couldn’t give it to them anymore.    
               We had woken up just a few days after that meeting with heavy hearts.  I headed quickly to a doctor’s appointment for my baby girl while my husband got the boys ready for the day.  He then loaded them into our 15 passenger van and headed towards the Ranch Office.  I met them there.  I remember walking into the office and the boys’ had tears in their eyes.  They were heartbroken.  They had just heard the news that we were leaving them. 
            It was their tears that broke the anger.  It was their tears that destroyed the blues.  Their heart had healed me.  But it was too late.  We hugged each of them and whispered “I love you” into their ears.  I can see each of their faces now it still haunts me to this day.  They were escorted out of the room and that was to be the last time we would ever be allowed to make contact with them again…



  1. Oh Jhen, Thank you for your beautiful writing, for sharing your heart and soul. It is never easy. But sometimes typing or writing emotions out can help us heal, and grow, learn and just feel good. I know this couldn't be easy sharing, but thank you for your heart in this story.

    You are a beautiful women, mother, and friend. I know that you changed those boys lives, just like you have with everyone you come in contact with. You have a beautiful heart and you will be able to share your love with your daughter, and any other children you come in contact with in the future. You have so much to give and you've only begun giving.

    I love you darling and I hope you're doing well.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I know sometimes it's hard to put yourself out there, but you are so much stronger for doing it!
    I admire you so much for being so open and honest. You are a wonderful person with a huge heart!

  3. I've been following along and I thank you for sharing your story :) We have something in common, both my husband and I worked as Family-Teachers at Boys Town for 6 years and made long lasting relationships with our girls!!! We still have contact with a few of them. It's amazing because they tell us today what an impact we made on their lives !!! I admire you and I love reading your posts ! They have substance !!! I am always in such a hurry it seems, I sometimes feel that my posts lack substance !!!
    Hugs to you !!

  4. wow, what an amazing story! You have my heart captured and all I want to do is reach out and give you a hug! Your heart is so huge and I am sorry for the pain you are gong through, I pray that you have strength beyond what you have known and peace that is only from God. I found your blog form the MBC, so thank you for being on there! If you wanna check out my side of the world, feel free
    will be praying for you!

  5. That must have been one of the hardest days of your life Jhen. Looking forward to part 5!

  6. brave of you to put your emotions out are such a great writer I felt like I was there.

  7. Thank you for sharing. Your are a amazing writer.