THEN THERE WERE FOUR

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,marry me,my family — Danielle at 2:55 pm on Monday, November 25, 2013

A week ago tomorrow – I met a miracle for the first time.

I woke up on Monday the 18th of November and just didn’t feel right. I was crampy and cranky and had a weird headache. I texted my parents and Samm and Bridget (our birth photographer) to let them know that something was happening – most likely. Samm said – NO! Tell him to wait – I have so much to do this week before I come. I told her I would do my best.

I took a nap that afternoon with Fitzy – which I never do. When I woke up – I knew something was brewing. My body hates naps – no matter how exhausted I am. We had dinner with our friend Mara Monday night – and I told her to be on call for watching Fitzy in the morning – cus I thought something might happen.

We went to bed. Fitzy called out for me around 1 and I laid back down with him – but couldn’t get comfortable. I was up every hour – tossing and turning. Around 5 – I went to the bathroom – and then again at 5:30 – this time – I knew that my water was breaking. Fitzy was already awake and ready for the day – crazy kid! I called Mara (our dear friend who is house sitting next door) and asked her to come stay with Fitzy. I kissed Fitzy and reminded him that we would be back for him and Grammy (my mom) was on the way. I cried. I hopped in the shower and made sure I had everything I needed – and we headed out the door. Like Fitzy – Enoch decided to come on a windy night – just starting the process two hours later (and making his appearance two hours earlier).

I had texted Bridget telling her that it looked like it would be happening today. I called Samm and my mom – letting them know that waiting another week was NOT an option. My mom called into work and headed over. Samm texted her boss and waited and waited for a response – and then got on the road. We texted Jared’s parents – who are in the Bahamas on vacation – and let them know that he wasn’t waiting for them to come home.

With Fitzy – I didn’t feel contractions until they put me on Pitocin – but this time – I felt them all morning. In all honestly – I was feeling them very irregularly all day on Monday – but knew it wasn’t anything consistent. Once we got to the hospital – they were about 10 minutes apart. The same nurse – Laura – that helped with Fitzy’s delivery – was working! She checked me and my water broke – for sure! I was 3 cm already! Johna came to encourage and support and coach – both of us. We walked the hallway and I sat on the birthing ball for a few minutes. When Laura checked me again – I was 5 cm. The contractions were getting more intense and moving along much faster than with Fitzy. When she checked me again – I was 6 to 7 cm. Bridget was on her way – I was praying she would make it – because I was pretty positive that Samm wouldn’t!

Contractions got really intense and really close together – with almost no break in between. Contractions – while they are painful – are the easy part for me. It’s interesting how some women have the urge to push but need to wait. I would rather have contractions all day than push. But the time was quickly approaching. Bridget walked into the room at about 11:30 – I said a quick hey in between contractions – and went back to work. Knowing that she was there – I was ready anytime.

I couldn’t focus. I was a wreck. I kept telling Johna that I didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t ready. Life was supposed to be different. I knew that I might get emotional – but at that moment – I felt everything from the past four months. Mostly fear. Fear of the unknown. Once this baby came out – life would change. And it’s changed so much and I’ve barely – or felt like I’ve barely – kept up. It’s fitting to me that Enoch’s birth was quick but very painful. The change in our life this summer was quick and so painful. Bringing this new life into the world was going to change OUR lives. I was afraid of how. Jared kept telling me that I was doing great. Johna whispered in my ear – you can do this. You have faith. You have to hold onto that. I know this isn’t how you want things – but you will do it. And it will be great. Or something to that effect.

At the end – the contractions were so intense that I would pull Johna down on top of me and hold on to her. Focus and rational had left me. At one moment I remember trying to get out of my own head – to focus. I prayed for the names on my list of women who want babies. I prayed that I would be thankful for this moment – because so many of them want it. That they would someday experience THIS pain instead of the pain in their hearts right now. And then his head was out. And then he was lying on the table – looking around the room – not making a sound. He was beautiful and peaceful and amazing and more than I ever thought he would be.

I was a hot mess during pushing – a crazy hot mess. I expected Dr. Becker to shake his finger at me and say – now Danielle – was all that really needed? But he didn’t. The nurses were awesome. I’m so thankful that Johna was able to be there. I called Samm to let her know that she wasn’t going to make it. She cried. I cried. We all cried. For so many reasons.

Enoch was born on Tuesday – November 19th of 2013 at 12:03 PM. He weighed 7 lbs 7 ounces and was 20 inches long! Fitzy weighed 7 lbs and 7.7 ounces. I couldn’t believe they were almost the same exact weight! Again – 7 is the number of completion and perfection – how AWESOME is that!! Enoch resembles Fitzy at some angles but definitely has his own look. He has light brown hair – a tiny bit – with a widow’s peak. His hands and feet are gigantic – just like Fitzy.

Bridget stayed until my mom came with Fitzy – capturing the first moment my boys met.

(side note – I don’t care if you book me or Bridget or some other awesome photographer – but if you are pregnant – I URGE you to consider (and do) birth pictures)

Fitzy looked at Enoch and said – Oh! I missed you baby ick! I love you baby ick! Oh!

It was beautiful.

Enoch (I’ve taken to calling him Enny. We tried Nick – but it’s just not fitting for him) is a dream. He is content and sweet. Fitzy holds him with the boppy pillow and is so proud that he does it himself. When Enoch cries – Fitzy comes over and says – it’s okay baby ick – and rubs his little head. The sweetest.

He hasn’t even been here a week and I feel like I’ve known him my whole life. Even now – I tell him about how we knew he would be born. How God named him. How the plan for his life is beautiful and amazing and most likely painful – because pain is what molds us. Teaches us. Heals us.

Bridget took that shot for us. It’s on his birth announcement – because it’s beautiful. I never thought that I would hold one baby in my arms – let alone two. I’m still in shock and so thankful that God chose us to be the ones that help guide Fitzgerald and Enoch through this crazy life.

Of course – I HAD to bring my camera.

That face!

His first day home – Fitzy is just so proud and such a big helper! Yesterday – Enoch peed all over the ottoman and his clothes while my sister was changing him – Fitzy fell on the floor laughing. He loves looking at his little toes and his little ears. He’s also amazing at communicating what he needs or wants. He said to me – momma – please give baby ick to daddy – I need you. So I did – and we cuddled. And I cried.

Because my heart is overwhelmed. With so many beautiful things.

LOVE STILL HOPES ALL THINGS

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,portraits — Danielle at 2:20 pm on Sunday, November 17, 2013

It’s still tattooed on my arm. When I glance down – I can still see it. Right now. And yet. Again. I lose hope. Hopefully not all – but sometimes – a lot. It seems like all.

I wrote briefly about what happened this summer – and while someday I know that I can write more about it – it’s still not time yet. It’s still too fresh and too painful. Too close. I’ve watched my best friend – my husband – the father of my children – break. The hardest thing for me to deal with – you might have guessed it already – is control. Or lack of. I can’t control it. I can’t make him better. I can’t make choices for him. I can’t. Not that I won’t. Because I would. But – I can’t.

As I write this – I am 38 weeks and some days pregnant. I cannot believe that it’s almost over. I laid down with Fitzy for his nap the other day and studied his face. Tried to take pictures – but nothing I took captured the contours of his face the way I saw them. Now – I get that I’m extremely emotional right now – but I really couldn’t get a shot of his face exactly the way I was seeing it. It made me cry. Which isn’t hard at all anymore. But I just laid there – and took in those moments – our last few moments where it’s just him. And me. Even typing it now – it makes me tear up. Will he remember these times? I hope he knows how much I love him. How his little soul has carved such a deep place in my heart. How he is my favorite and will be even when Enoch is here in our arms – my two favorite boys.

I’m not ready. I’m not ready for another change. These past four months have been the absolute hardest of my entire life. I’ve cried more than I ever thought possible. I’ve exhausted my words. I’ve waited for God to swoop in and fix everything. Truthfully – I’ve waited to wake up. I’ve waited for Jared to wake up in the morning and be the man I knew. To look at me with those sea green eyes of his – the way he used to. And everything will be like it should be. I can’t believe that we are almost due – because I feel like I was just learning that we were pregnant. The past four months – while the days have been hard – have FLOWN by.

And you’ve seen this many times on our blogs – but here it is again. A promise. Because it helps explain – everything.

You will get pregnant again. And even though you will default in your minds that you will probably miscarry – oh no. You will have a healthy child – possibly twins! It will be huge and massive BUT you must keep it to yourselves and announce at the END of the first trimester. 

(It will be huge and massive. I didn’t know what that meant – and I still don’t – not quite. But huge and massive. I feel like it’s huge and massive that I’ve made it. That we’ve made it. And while I know I lean toward the dramatic – let me tell you – it’s been hard. Massively hard. Hugely hard. And it’s not over. It’s just starting.)

This is a promise from God and you will rename the son Enoch. God is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. You need to tuck this word on your hearts and cover it. The Enoch tattoo was intended as a remembrance BUT in God’s time was a prophetic act as to your next son’s name being branded. 

(This is a PROMISE from God. He is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. This is just the beginning? Crap. I don’t know if I’ve written about my box before – but I have one. It used to be neatly wrapped in layers of duct tape. LAYERS. To keep God in. To keep me comfortable. Then my jaw pain started. And a few layers came off and I got on my face before God and prayed. Which was huge – because only crazy Christians do that. And I told satan to leave me alone – which was massive – because only crazy Christians do that. I memorized Psalm 46 and recited it all the time. Again – crazy. And then I got comfortable in life – and the box stayed in it’s corner. Then we miscarried. And that box came back out. But God – I took a few layers off – why. Why would this happen to us. And I got angry and put a few more layers on. Took them off – tried to stick them back on again. By this time – that box wasn’t pretty – frayed and sticky. God’s light peeking through the cracks – but I didn’t want to know what He has in store for me. Because it might scare me. Most likely will scare me. And ask me to give up some things I love. Some things I can’t live without. Okay – can but won’t. Don’t want to. Then we got pregnant – so surprisingly – and the layers came off and I let God in a little deeper. He did answer my prayer for a baby after all – I owed Him that much. Sure God – I can let you in a little deeper – get a little crazier. And here I am – with that stupid box. Still wrapped up. Because even after all this – I’m afraid of what God has for us – things that I know will be amazing – even if eventually – but scary and out of my control.)

It will be a massive testimony and will restore relationships, friendships, and family ties in ways you never thought possible. It’s going to be mammoth. It will be full circle. Both of your families will be remarkably astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. BUT you MUST NOT announce it until the end of the 1st trimester. Not even to close friends or family. YOU MUST WAIT!

(Again – that word – MASSIVE. MAMMOTH. Both of your families will be astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. It will restore relationships – friendships – family ties – in ways you never thought possible. Check. Check. And check. Friendships have been repaired – friendships that I thought were beyond any sort of repair. Family relationships have been healed. Because I was in a time of absolute need? Because I was hurting – we were hurting – and really in the end – why were we having issues in the first place? Remarkably astounded. God has given me remarkable strength and grace. Strength and grace to deal with mania and depression and what comes with each of those. Things I never imagined I would encounter. Ever. Strength to be a fantastic momma to an amazing little boy. Strength to carry a miracle – a promised child of  God. Strength to stand by my husband when I wanted to run. And hide. For a long time. Grace. Forgiveness. A love that runs much deeper than romantic love. Deeper than – kiss you on the way out the door – love. Deeper than – XOXO – written on the bathroom mirror. Love that fights. Love that is ugly and beautiful at the same time. Love that makes you sob on the bathroom floor. Love that makes you pray harder than ever. Love that writes YOU CAN DO IT on the bathroom mirror. Love that fights. That screams. Love that makes you angry. Love that keeps your family together. Love that means far more than anything you could have imagined when you said your vows. Love that only Jesus can teach. Love that I was – and still am – incapable of on my own. I don’t know what I imagined those words could have meant – what God will do through this next pregnancy – but I didn’t imagine this. THIS is why I keep that box sealed up. Because it’s been scary and out of my control. And I’ve begged God. Why this. Why now. Why us. Why. Just why.)

I honestly feel stronger about this than the word I gave you for Fitzy! You can’t even tell me when you first find out – I will already know. You can’t tell ANYONE! BELIEVE IT! RECEIVE IT! ACT! God is good and will be massively glorified through it. Save these messages for confirmation and documentation. Not for me – but so that we can honor Christ Jesus & God’s ridiculous faithfulness. He is good. He is really REALLY good!

(I am holding onto those words. That God is good. REALLY really good. I know that God is good. But it’s really really REALLY hard for me to say that THIS is good. So I don’t. Because while I believe that God is good – I don’t believe that everything that happens in life is good. Because – we live in a sinful world. Not the perfect world that God intended at the beginning. And we can hope for good and hold onto good. But some things that happen – just suck. After the summer and fall we’ve had – I couldn’t take another thing. Not. One. Then I got a rash – I thought it was just chafing from a little extra poundage. Nope. Turns out – it was shingles. SHINGLES. Seriously. And since it’s in a very sensitive spot – it needs to clear up before Enoch comes in order to deliver. Seriously. The pain. The absolute ridiculousness of the situation. How on EARTH is getting shingles at 37 weeks pregnant while my life is already a hot mess – good. How. But – I do know that God is good. That – I will not let go. Because. I won’t. I can’t.)

And because LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS – I’m holding onto hope – even if it’s just a little tiny bit. Because sometimes – it just is.

And because LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS and little Fitzgerald was and is the hope of my heart – more than I could have ever imagined a child being – here’s a few pictures of his sweet little face to look at. And see. That miracles happen.

LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS. Even when life is more ugly than you ever imagined – LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS.

And even when you can’t imagine anything in your life to say thank you for – there is. Even if it’s just the chance to get up tomorrow and start a new day. Even if it’s just that you have breath in your lungs. Even if it’s just the chance to fight. LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS.

For me – it’s just that my husband is still here. Which isn’t just a just.

It’s that he’s still here. It’s that there are glimmers of who he was. Who he will be again. It’s that little face with those sweet brown eyes. That he calls me momma and I call him my son. That in what could be a few short days or a few short weeks – another little boy will hold my heart.

And for all of us – it’s that God LOVES you. And that LOVE – hopes everything.

*W* FAMILY

Filed under: babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — Danielle at 11:49 am on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I took photos of the *W* family almost 3 years ago – THREE YEARS! I cannot believe how fast time flies!

LOVE LOVE LOVE those shots!

GORGEOUS!

SO SWEET!

Vicky – thank you SO much for asking m to capture your family again!  I cannot WAIT to meet your baby girl!

LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS

Filed under: at work,babes,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,the marriage fight,word of God — Danielle at 6:47 pm on Thursday, October 10, 2013

If you don’t know – Jared and I share a website where we blog – the marriage fight.

In order to better understand what I’m about to write here – you might want to hop on over there and read – at least – the last two entries. About grace.

There is so much I want to say. So much I want to just pour out – but it’s not time. It’s not all mine to share. So I won’t.

But I will tell you this. I’m struggling. In the past – I’ve written about the hard times. It’s how I heal. How I process.

That’s a tear on my arm – right above the dandelion. It’s mine. From this morning. There were a lot more. A lot.

I’m angry. I’m confused. I look at the pictures on our bedroom wall and wonder what happened to those people. In our wedding photo. At a picnic. At the beach.

Pregnant with Fitzgerald. That’s where you can see the change. All the pictures before – we were – different. You can see it. We aged – quickly. That sparkle in our eyes isn’t as bright. Looking back – we should have been in counseling the first time we miscarried. Tomorrow would be Enoch’s 4th birthday. FOURTH. I cannot believe that it’s been that long.

(I’m okay – little Enoch in my belly is okay – I’m talking about our first baby – which we also named Enoch)

And then it all just kept coming. We got pregnant so easily that first time. And then – not so much. And I got really sad. And Jared got really sad. And then we got pregnant with Fitzy. And a new chapter in our life began. In so many areas. We miscarried again. We lost sight of each other and what was important in our lives. In our marriage. We miscarried again. Then we started to get our marriage back. It was a rough spell – but forgiveness and grace was abundant. Then we got pregnant. Again. For a fifth time. And we knew he would stay. And we both felt really awesome about where we were. How far we had come. How far God brought us from where we were.

And then – almost overnight – it started to crash. Hard. Harder than all the crap I just mentioned. Harder than anything I have ever been through. And it broke. And the pieces are still scattered. Just a few corners and edges put into place. But like with any puzzle – once you get to all blue sky in the beautiful landscape background – all the pieces look the same. And you have to start sorting them by shape. Pouring over the slight changes in the color – teeny little changes. And it takes a very long time to fit them together. To figure it out.

I feel like that’s where we are. So much has happened and there’s so much to piece together – that it’s overwhelming. The entire puzzle is blue sky. And even the edges and corners are tough. Intricate and detailed. Specific. Each piece has to fit perfectly.

And it’s taking a very long time. Which in reality – is a speck. But oh my – it seems so long already.

And in less than 7 weeks – Enoch will be here. Another precious baby in this house. A house that will have new windows next week and we can move upstairs. And if I’m honest – I’m having a hard time being excited. Because I’m terrified.

I started counseling yesterday – and she asked – what were 4 things I do well. Only 4? Just kidding. I thought about it.

Well – I organize well. I have a take control personality – so I think I lead well. I am a photographer and I think that God has blessed me with the ability to see things others can’t – so I capture moments well. And I mother well.

What’s your goal? What – my goal? Um – my goal was to have a baby before I turned 30 – I was 29 and 11 months. Check. Start a photography business. Check. But now – to be fun. To be a fun mom and wife and sister and daughter and friend. Because sometimes – I’m not. But we all need that one person that says – c’mon guys – should we REALLY do this? Do you REALLY need that sweater for $100? I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses.

And.

Love hopes all things. Right?

I mean – it’s tattooed on my arm. I look at it every day. Multiple times a day. And still – I lose hope. I cry and I whine. And I HATE whining.

Right now – it’s a deep deep valley. One where the sun hardly shines. And I am so thankful for my growing family. I am so thankful that I get to spend the days with a little boy who is full of joy. And hope.

Fitzy’s newest thing is to stand on something – a block – or a shoe – and balance. He says – MOM – look at me do this! I say – that’s fantastic baby! I’m so proud of you! And he waddles off to find the next thing to balance on. When he sees something he likes – he says – oh momma – that’s so niiiiiiiice. ooooooh. It’s seriously the best. He does the dishes. He does the laundry. He cleans the sink. He folds clothes. He washes windows.

I was so angry that this was happening now. Why couldn’t this have happened when we didn’t have a baby and one on the way. Without Fitzy – I would be in that valley too. Me – personally. I’m in it now with Jared – but I have to be the one to remind him – us – to look for the sun. Without Fitzy – it would be a lot easier to find a cave together – crawl into the darkness – and not care about coming out.

I told my aunt the other day that I felt like God was giving me the bare minimum to get by. That He could see me dangling off the cliff by my pinky – barely holding on. And He said – well – here’s a little deeper of a ledge for you to grasp. Just a little. I know you want more – but this is all you can have right now.

Now – I know – I know – God isn’t mean and vindictive. He doesn’t take pleasure in watching me dangle – although some of you would disagree with that. But it’s how I feel. And feelings are important. And so is the truth. That God is covering us and holding us.

And I tell you what seems like random babble – to say this. God has given me organizational skills. Leadership skills. Strength – but knowing to ask for help when I need it. The ability to see beauty in things that others can’t. And I’m a great mom. I have never had to use those skills like I am right now. Like I will have to. That all that crap was to prepare me – us – for this.

To depend on Jesus.

Fitzy asked me to rock him today – he hasn’t asked me to do that in a while. A few weeks. But it’s been MONTHS that he has fallen asleep while I rocked him. I needed that today. To hold my baby and know that God is holding me – holding Jared – holding Fitzy – holding Enoch – even tighter. That while I’m dangling off the edge of that cliff – while we are – that He isn’t above us – giving us just a little bit more – He’s right below us. Ready. Waiting.

Today – I texted Jared and said – What do I do? He said – Pray. Wait. Listen. Love.

I’ve prayed and prayed – and pray. I’ve waited and I feel like I don’t have much time left to wait. I’m listening but not hearing. And love. Love has been redefined in my book. Which isn’t always a bad thing. Hard – yes. Bad – no. So I love.

But I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what we need.

Well – yes. A miracle. We need a miracle to find our way out of this valley.

While I tend to give out tough love – more than gentle love – I didn’t like receiving it today (not mentioning any names – Ericka) but it was what I needed to hear.

We need prayer. We need hope. We need a miracle. We need Jesus.

BABY ENOCH

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,family,just because,love,my family — Danielle at 12:08 pm on Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When I was pregnant with Fitzy – I had a contest to guess his birth – date – time – weight – length.

Turns out – my BFF was the closest.

Fitzy was born on April 28, 2011 at 2:17 PM weighing 7 lbs 7.7 oz and 19 1/2 inches long!

Johna guessed April 28, 2011 at 2:04 PM weighing 8 lbs 7 oz and 20 inches long! Crazy right? There were other people that guessed the exact height and ONE that guessed his weight at 7 lbs 7 oz.

I thought it would be fun to have another contest – where the winner just gets bragging rights.

Fitzy was due on 5.8.2011 and he was born on 4.28.2011. ALSO – I am due with Enoch on 11.27.2013 – if that helps! 

AND a copy of my brother’s book – The Tales of Rishon-Rune: The Great Elf Leader and the Other-World Witch!

Check out his website for more!

If you want to guess the stats for baby Enoch – you MUST post a comment to this blog entry. That’s the only way I can keep it all organized and keep track of the guesses. I made quite the spreadsheet last time – cus I’m a huge nerd.

I also haven’t been documenting this pregnancy as much as I did with Fitzy – something about having a toddler running around – or something! But I have been taking at least one picture a week – on IG – and then I post them to facebook – but if you only follow my blog – here you go!

That picture is at 16 weeks – I started at 15 weeks with Fitzy – but seriously – who’s counting?


20 weeks!

22 weeks! Wednesday – July 24th.

25 weeks!

27 weeks!

Also – we’ve added another name for little Enoch (pronounced E-nick)! His full name will be Enoch Samuel Cody Barden. Cody is Jared’s cousin and was the best man in our wedding. Cody means helper or wealthy! We are so anxious to see what this little boy will look like! I hope he has Jared’s green eyes!

GUESS AWAY!

*O* – 3 WEEKS NEW

Filed under: babes,expecting,family,just because,love,portraits — Danielle at 10:27 am on Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I love when past clients get gift certificates for their families!

Little *O* was having a rough day when I came to photograph her – but momma’s love and a little swaddling calmed her down!

I LOVE those shots! I’ve been trying something new when it comes to newborns – as much as I would love the dreamy poses and the sweet softness – it’s not my thing. I am a true to life photographer – and I’m discovering that my clients book me for my work – my vision. They love it. I love it. And THAT is what matters.

Thank you SO much for having me over and capturing your little love!

WE ARE HAVING A …

Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,newsworthy,word of God — Danielle at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today was our ultrasound appointment – to find out if we are having a baby boy or a baby girl!

Today marks the 20 week point in our pregnancy! I feel like this pregnancy is FLYING by!

When Dave Fitzgerald sent us the text -

You will get pregnant again. And even though you will default in your minds that you will probably miscarry – oh no. You will have a healthy child – possibly twins! It will be huge and massive BUT you must keep it to yourselves and announce at the END of the first trimester.

This is a promise from God and you will rename the son Enoch. God is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. You need to tuck this word on your hearts and cover it. The Enoch tattoo was intended as a remembrance BUT in God’s time was a prophetic act as to your next son’s name being branded. 

It will be a massive testimony and will restore relationships, friendships, and family ties in ways you never thought possible. It’s going to be mammoth. It will be full circle. Both of your families will be remarkably astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. BUT you MUST NOT announce it until the end of the 1st trimester. Not even to close friends or family. YOU MUST WAIT!

I honestly feel stronger about this than the word I gave you for Fitzy! You can’t even tell me when you first find out – I will already know. You can’t tell ANYONE! BELIEVE IT! RECEIVE IT! ACT! God is good and will be massively glorified through it. Save these messages for confirmation and documentation. Not for me – but so that we can honor Christ Jesus & God’s ridiculous faithfulness. He is good. He is really REALLY good!

ANYWAY – when he sent us the text – we both just assumed that our next child would be a son!

We are so excited to announce that we are having a BOY – our second son.

We would like to introduce you to Enoch Samuel Barden!

Enoch – for obvious reasons. We tried to pick other names – and we did – but kept coming back to the fact that we HAD to name him Enoch. Enoch is the name we gave the first baby we lost (in October of 2009) and it means dedicated. In the Bible – Jared has a son and names him Enoch. But Enoch didn’t die. He walked with God and THEN God took him to heaven. He is only one of two people to just walk into heaven. AMAZING! Samuel means God hears or name of God AND we needed to honor my sister – Samantha.

Our sweet little gift from God. Our miracle. Fitzy’s little brother.

I am so excited (and scared and nervous and thankful) to have another baby boy to hold in my arms. I cannot wait for Fitzy to meet his baby and for our hearts to heal. I can’t wait to be a momma to my boys.

Thank you for your prayers! WE LOVE YOU!

6 MONTHS

As I sit here and type this blog – a can feel the tiny little movements of a baby inside. Just the little flutters that make you realize there is indeed something in there.

We find out whether this addition is a boy or a girl on July 10th. Either way – this will most likely be our last addition. I love being pregnant and would be thrilled to have at least 4 children. But I have to remember that we have 5 – and for all eternity – we will celebrate with them! I love being a momma – more than anything I’ve ever done. Jared keeps reminding me that kids are WAY out of his comfort zone – although – he is a FANTASTIC daddy to Fitzy. While our hearts are so happy with this little miracle and Fitzgerald – we still hurt from time to time. I don’t have a great history of staying pregnant. And while I don’t want to live my life in fear – I DO want to enjoy what I have been given. It’s a hard decision to make – thankfully – we have time.

But especially with the 99% chance that this will be our last baby – I want to enjoy every precious minute I can.

I took a maternity leave with Fitzy . Kinda. Sorta. Not really.

And while I loved taking your pictures – I did miss that little baby.

So this time – I will be taking 6 months off. Seriously. From November to April – I will not be scheduling any sessions or weddings. When I do return – it will be on a 1 wedding a month limit – with a handful of sessions (most likely current clients) each month. I am still trying to decide what to do about new referrals outside of seniors – since they are mostly always new clients. And this might be the norm from here on out – until my kiddos are all in school.

I’ve known one thing my whole life – I want to be a momma. And God knew. And He heard. And He gave. And He gives. Again.

SO – if you know that you want a session next year once May rolls around – it’s not too early to let me know. I already have one wedding in September and an inquiry for May. And if I’ve taken pictures for you before and you need some done while I am off – email me – and I will recommend some great photographers to you!

Thank you all for your love – your support – your prayers. It means so much.

WHOA

Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,my family,newsworthy,weight loss — Danielle at 2:01 pm on Sunday, May 26, 2013

March 21st of 2013 THURSDAY

On August 24th of 2010 – I posted this - where I said - 

On March 28th of this year (2010) – Jared’s mom was given a word in church. That our children would rise up like mighty oaks. Our children. (Jared’s mom also told me that she saw me pregnant at the beach on our yearly vacation)

On April 11th of this year (2010) – Dave (Fitzgerald) called us again with a word for us. We would have children. Lots of them – running around in our yard – jumping on trampolines – and they would be our biological children – they would all look like Jared. (six months before I quit my job at Phoenix – Dave called and said – God wants me to tell you that your photography business is going to be crazy successful – more than you ever dreamed – you will be able to do it full-time)

On August 15th of this year (2010) – we met with our Pastor – because I am angry, tired, sad, and weary. He told us that God has children for us – our biological children. But first we must open our hearts to the notion of taking in a child that is not ours – biologically.

And on September 8th of 2012 – Dave Fitzgerald texted THIS to us -

You will get pregnant again. And even though you will default in your minds that you will probably miscarry – oh no. You will have a healthy child – possibly twins! It will be huge and massive BUT you must keep it to yourselves and announce at the END of the first trimester. This is a promise from God. God is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. You need to tuck this word on your hearts and cover it. It will be a massive testimony and will restore relationships, friendships, and family ties in ways you never thought possible. It’s going to be mammoth. It will be full circle. Both of your families will be remarkably astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. BUT you MUST NOT announce it until the end of the 1st trimester. Not even to close friends or family. YOU MUST WAIT!

I honestly feel stronger about this than the word I gave you for Fitzy! You can’t even tell me when you first find out – I will already know. You can’t tell ANYONE! BELIEVE IT! RECEIVE IT! ACT! God is good and will be massively glorified through it. Save these messages for confirmation and documentation. Not for me – but so that we can honor Christ Jesus & God’s ridiculous faithfulness. He is good. He is really REALLY good!

I saved it on my phone. And then wrote it all down today. There is a part I left out – about a name – because we may not tell this time. Although – if you know me – that will be REALLY REALLY hard!

I was supposed to start my period on Tuesday – it’s Thursday. And I’m one of those girls that have ALWAYS been 28 days.

I wrote this – on March 8th of 2013 – where I said -

Today – I’m not sad. I haven’t been sad about not having another baby for about a week now. That’s a HUGE step for me. I am finally letting the peace that God has given me about our decision take over – instead of fighting it. Fighting it because we should have 3 more. I’m feeling peace instead of being angry and hurt. Instead of wondering why me and why NOT me at the same time. It’s awesome. And I finally don’t feel guilty saying that.

Our decision was to go back on birth control and wait a year.

I’ve been anxiously waiting for my period to start so I can start those little blue pills.

It’s Thursday and it’s not here yet.

And now I know why.

I took a test today.

It was positive. Within seconds. Pink. Bold. Crossing lines.

Positive.

We lost Enoch on March 17th of 2009 and little Lewis would have been born on March 24th of 2013. Today is right smack in the middle.

But. We have to keep it a secret. Well – you read why. 

Honestly – I’m speechless. I told Jared over and over that this would happen. We have to figure something out until my appointment because you KNOW we are gonna get pregnant. Because the last time I had peace like this – we found out we were pregnant with Fitzy. It doesn’t matter that we haven’t gotten pregnant since June – it will happen. I know it. I knew it.

How on earth am I not supposed to tell my sister. She’s going to figure it out. She just is. And my parents? And Jared’s parents? They always go to the Bahamas in November – I hope they haven’t booked the trip yet! But I can’t. I have to trust. The day before Dave sent us that text – I said – out of the blue – to Jared – if we get pregnant again we won’t tell a soul. Not one. Until our first trimester. Which is not me. At all.

It was confirmation.

So – today we found out that for the 5th time – we are pregnant. And we trust. Because either way – God is in control and the answer will be beautiful.

My first appointment is April 1st of 2013.

We won’t be over our first trimester until the end of May – a long two months from now!

Our due date – November 27th of 2013 – my mom’s birthday.

Whoa.

March 22nd 0f 2013 FRIDAY 

I can’t stop thinking about the women reading this thinking – GREAT. Another pregnant person who isn’t me. And while I can tell you over and over again that I’ve been there (and you know that I’ve been there several times) it doesn’t matter. It won’t matter.

Yesterday the list stood at this – 76 names. 20 with babies. 14 pregnant. 45 wanting. pray.

And while I wrote it – tears streamed down my face. Tears of happiness and of hurt. Tears of joy and of heartache. Tears of love and of pain.

I want all 45 wanting to inbox me and tell me that they are pregnant. It’s a miracle. But it isn’t happening. And here I am holding this joy in one hand and such sorrow in another for all my wanting mommas. It’s not fair. It will never be fair.

If you have to hide me on FACEBOOK – do it. If you have to avoid my blog for a while – please do. If you can’t bear to look at me – I understand. You don’t have to tell me that you are happy for me and sad for you. You might even be at the place where you are not happy for me.

I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND.

And that still doesn’t make it any easier for you. Not one ounce.

Please know this – I am praying for you. I am lifting your name to God every day. I am trusting that His will is perfect and amazing. I am trusting that you will feel His strength and His love right now. I encourage you to cry out to Him. He knows Your heart – He can take it. His hands are open and waiting.

April 3rd of 2013 TUESDAY

I’m hungrier. Last week I had a migraine – which if history proves anything – means that there is a viable baby. Our last pregnancy came with migraines too – so I’m still scared. Trusting. But nervous. Is that possible? To be trusting and nervous. To be sure and scared?

Yesterday was our first appointment. The one where you pee in a cup and they tell you what you already knew. The nurse came in and said – well – I hope this was a wanted pregnancy. I said – they all are. I’m scared. We were going to take a break for a year and THEN see a specialist – but we never even got to the birth control part. We aren’t telling anyone so I’ve kind of forgotten about it. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t do caffeine. I don’t really have to change anything.

I did wake up yesterday and today feeling just a little off – struggling to swallow my vitamins without gagging.

So – we wait to hear from our OB and set up our first appointment. Part of me wants an ultrasound RIGHT NOW while the other part wants to wait like we did with Fitzy. I am almost six weeks at this point – so we have another seven weeks to go!

I’ve known for 2 weeks and haven’t told ANYONE (except the doctor) and I’m shocked.

April 5th of 2013 THURSDAY 

Last night the stomach bug hit. Or a flu bug. Or both. It was intense. I lost two pounds overnight. I didn’t sleep until this morning when Jared stayed home with Fitzy. I took a bath early this morning and kept praying that those pangs in my stomach were flu pangs – not miscarriage pangs. I’m trying hard to not let fear win. It takes a lot of focus and a lot of prayer.

I’ve realized that in not sharing this pregnancy news with ANYONE but Jared – we are both depending on God. A lot. The way it should be. And it’s crazy hard!

April 30th of 2013 TUESDAY

Yesterday was our ultrasound. I laid down on the table and closed my eyes. I prayed. She started and didn’t say anything – and then a – there’s your baby. And the tears came. According to her measurements we are between 10 and 11 weeks – further along than I thought – and further along than any other pregnancy – except with Fitzy. We saw a little body and a head. Arms and a fast heartbeat. THANK YOU JESUS. Baby was moving around and looked good. The last two times – I got a phone call from the doctor that afternoon. No phone call. And I’ve been getting sick in the mornings. And afternoons. And evenings. Thank You Jesus.

Fitzy is very excited about his birthday present! He keeps pointing at my belly and saying – dear Jesus – heal – momma – baby – girl. This weekend he pointed to my belly and said baby. My mom looked at me with raised eyebrows. I said – yes – that’s where you were when you were a baby. Whew!

Someone did say to me recently – Danielle – you look GREAT! I mean like radiant – glowing! Are you SURE you’re not pregnant? I said – I’m sure. When she left I looked at Jared and said – REALLY? I’m not supposed to say ANYTHING!?

A friend asked me if I stopped updating my weight loss on my blog because of the issues people were having. I said nope. I planned to update at 20 pounds and then again at 12 weeks (which I didn’t think would be two separate posts) and then lastly at 30 pounds. Which I haven’t reached yet. But I couldn’t tell her why. I said – because I feel good right here. I look good right here. I’m good. Which is also true. But I won’t be hitting that 30 pounds – at least – not this time around.

Thank You God for this unexpected and amazing miracle. Again.

May 26th of 2013 SUNDAY

Yesterday we had Fitzy’s birthday party. We waited until the very end to give him our gift. I made a mental checklist in my head – mom is here – Brenda is here – Samm is here – Brian is here – I’ll go get dad. Okay – everyone is here. Jared started the video. I told Fitzy this was his last present but Sammy had to help him read it. Samm unfolded the shirt that said BIG BROTHER and it took her a minute. She looked up at me and said – ARE YOU SERIOUS? I said – yes – we are 13 weeks. Brenda (my mother-in-law) screamed and cried and rushed over to hug me. She asked if we had an ultrasound. I said – Yes. We’ve heard a heartbeat too. Samm hit me. Then the video ends. And I scan the room and realize my mom isn’t there. I seriously thought maybe she was upset and had to leave. Nope. When my back was turned – she got up and left – to go to the bathroom – and I was so focused on that little shirt – I didn’t notice. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! UGH! So we waited for her to come back and then gave her the shirt. And just like my mom – she said – Oh. Just like that. Oh. Then she added a little – I’m shocked – you were on birth control! I said – I never even got to start! She said – Oh. I read the text that Dave sent us – and tears flowed again.

Friday night – I noticed a tiny bit of spotting. No. Not now. Not this time. This cannot be happening. I texted a few people that I had already told. Asked them to pray. Is this okay. Is everything okay? This CANNOT be happening again. Not this time. Not right now. No. Just no. It happened with Fitzy – at 20 weeks. This makes me scared. I took my phone out and read the text from Dave – again. For the 400th time. Just like I did in the beginning every time I was feeling scared.

We heard a heartbeat on Tuesday – 165. Everything was fine. 13 weeks. It HAS to be fine. Right? I mean – we are telling everyone tomorrow. It has to be okay. It’s the end of the first trimester. We will get pregnant again. And even though we will default in our minds that we will probably miscarry – oh no.

The spotting stopped. My sister-in-law assured me that a little is normal – it happened with her. Prayers were sent and sent and sent. Prayers are being sent. Still being sent. I still felt sick this morning. I’ll most likely call on Tuesday to schedule something – just to make sure. Cus I’m like that. So – please continue to pray with us. Pray for Jared and I – that we can rest in God’s love and peace. Pray for this wee one – that this baby is doing well and wonderful.

 And because it’s awesome – I leave you again with the words God gave us through Dave -

You will get pregnant again. And even though you will default in your minds that you will probably miscarry – oh no. You will have a healthy child – possibly twins! It will be huge and massive BUT you must keep it to yourselves and announce at the END of the first trimester. This is a promise from God. God is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. You need to tuck this word on your hearts and cover it. It will be a massive testimony and will restore relationships, friendships, and family ties in ways you never thought possible. It’s going to be mammoth. It will be full circle. Both of your families will be remarkably astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. BUT you MUST NOT announce it until the end of the 1st trimester. Not even to close friends or family. YOU MUST WAIT!

I honestly feel stronger about this than the word I gave you for Fitzy! You can’t even tell me when you first find out – I will already know. You can’t tell ANYONE! BELIEVE IT! RECEIVE IT! ACT! God is good and will be massively glorified through it. Save these messages for confirmation and documentation. Not for me – but so that we can honor Christ Jesus & God’s ridiculous faithfulness. He is good. He is really REALLY good!

ONE LITTLE BOY HOLDING YOUR HAND

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,family,just because,my family,newsworthy,word of God — Danielle at 6:13 pm on Monday, April 8, 2013

In 2009 (while we were still pregnant) I wrote this about my MIL.

I still mean it.

Last year was crazy hard – for so many reasons – and brought some “conflict” with the in-laws.

We wanted to move. I’ve never loved this house and never thought of it as my own. I never planned on being here for the now 7+ years we’ve been here. I wanted something – mine. Ours. Away.

Jared’s parents are fantastic people that love to … do. And bless. Like I wrote about in my previous post.

The problem with doing and blessing is that I felt like we were kids. Now you might say – Danielle – are you really complaining about someone doing for you? C’mon. But what happens when everything is taken care of for you? You don’t do anything. The things you should be doing in your life. Taking the garbage out. Shoveling your driveway. Mowing your lawn. It is wonderful – while it’s also problematic.

So we had to figure some things out – quite a few things out. And on the list was the relationship with our parents. And we did. And for that I’m thankful.

We are here. Next door. For quite some time it seems. Living next door to anyone – let alone your parents – in a state of anger and frustration – would suck. Which is why I refuse to live in such a state.

Let me just say that in living next door to my in-laws – it’s not a big deal. The problem wasn’t that this house was next to them. The problem was that it’s THIS house. To be honest – I drop by unannounced on my MIL MUCH more than she does on me. Mostly because I have a little boy who knows we live next to one of his favorite people in the whole world.

So how do you do it?

How do you have a good relationship with your mother-in-law? Especially once you have a baby?

1. When Jared and I started dating – I already knew his parents. He met mine on our first date. Cus I’m that serious about my family. I love them. And he loves his. And if for any reason – we didn’t feel a connection or a fit – enough that it caused problems – then we wanted to figure that out early on. People say – you don’t just marry your husband. You marry his family. In some instances – that doesn’t happen to be the case. But in our situation – it would be. Thankfully Jared’s family and I got along well and mine loved him.

2. I’m a mother. To a little boy. I get it now. Jared is Brenda’s baby boy. In a way – he will always be. And that’s hard. But I get it now. I look at Fitzy and wonder just who will take my place in his life someday. Right now he needs me. And while I know that I will always have a place in his heart – it won’t be the same. I will lose him to a girl. And I will be a mother-in-law. Oh. Crap.

A woman at MOPS said – they figured out why the relationship between in-laws are strained at times.

Especially a MIL and DIL.

They are both in love with the same boy.

Whoa. That’s it.

So remember that.

3. I have a relationship with Jesus. If this doesn’t apply to you – you can skip it. But all the other points that follow – depend on it. For me. God sent His one and only to die for me. If I was the only person on the face of this earth – He would have done it. For me.

I know what love is.

Thankfully my MIL also has a relationship with Jesus. And while that isn’t a magic solution – it helps.

4. I meant what I said in that blog. I wanted Brenda in the room when our baby was born – along with my own mom. Turns out that I needed Bridget to take pictures and then couldn’t decide between my mom and Jared’s mom – so Samm won the spot. But had I been allowed – she would have been there. Because Fitzy is just as much her grandchild as he is my mom’s. And for some of you – you might say – why does that even matter? He’s MY son. They don’t have any special claim or right to him. I do. Me. And me alone. To that response – I say – my heart aches for you. And for the grandparents of your children.

Fitzy will almost always pick my mom or my MIL over me. Every single time. Brenda went to Florida for a week a while ago. It was a nightmare. That little boy KNOWS that his grandma lives right next door. And usually he can see her every day. He cried and cried every time I told him she wasn’t home. He stood by the door – asking and asking. His little heart was so broken. We facetimed with her – but he didn’t want any of that. He wanted his grandma – holding him.

I had a friend once say to me that it would bother her if her child wanted someone else that much over her. I told her that I loved it. I love that he loves them. I love that he almost always runs into her open arms with a hug and a kiss and she whispers her love for him into his little ears. I love that when we go to my parents – he wakes up the instant we hit the driveway. When he sees my mom in the window – he beams. He dives into her arms and is literally glued to her hip for the duration of our stay. I don’t think she’s ever been more exhausted and happy in her life.

My grandparents were very involved in my life – along with Jared and his. Grandparents long for the moment to hold the baby of their baby in their arms. Not being a grandparent – I don’t KNOW exactly how it feels. But I’ve been told. I’ve seen it. I see it. Every day. Because we live next door to a grandparent.

Brenda loves. She just loves. I can’t finish that sentence because she loves babies and kids and teenagers and adults and grandparents and everything in between. But she ESPECIALLY loves teeny tiny babies. She loves to rock and pray and sing. And while I couldn’t get enough of Fitzy in those first few months – I made sure to share him. When she asked to have him – I gave him. She likes to bless – remember? She loves to help. And in those first few months when I didn’t think I could stand one more second without falling asleep – she kept him for us. All night. People would ask me how I could do that? How could I hand my brand new baby to my MIL for the night? How did I sleep? I slept like a baby. I knew that he was in fantastic hands – in reality – better hands than my own at the moment – which were beyond exhaustion. I loved her. I trusted her. I appreciated her.

While my “normal” personality is pretty high-strung and … ahem … bossy – my “mothering” personality is not. I’m a little bit over-protective sometimes – about silly things like food. But laid back. I don’t have a list of rules to drop off. I know that when Fitzy is with my parents or Jared’s parents – I don’t have to worry about a thing. Not one.

Over the summer – Brenda was watching Fitzy while I was at a session. I called Jared on my way home and asked where he was – I could hear screams and lots of laughing in the background. He was at a soccer game – with Fitzy and his parents. I said – how did Fitzy get there? And I heard Brenda say – OH NO. I forgot to ask Danielle if we could bring him. I said – I’m glad she doesn’t have to ask. Yes – take him an hour away to dinner – please ask. But run him up to the school for a soccer game? By all means.

When I hit our gas line coming into the house – we had to spend the night with Jared’s parents. Brenda – being the giving woman she is – let us sleep in their bedroom for the night. Fitzy – however – did NOT want to sleep. He wanted grandma. And only grandma. He cried and cried and I told her she could leave and I would just deal with it. He cried like I’ve NEVER heard him cry. Brenda was peeking at the door and after a few minutes – came in and said – I’m taking him. You guys need to sleep. I’ll deal with it. He stopped his screaming immediately and cuddled up with her. She slept – I use that word loosely – on the floor in the living room with him that night. Jared said – you okay? I said – are you kidding. I’m so thankful she is comfortable enough to do that. Even though I told her I would deal with it – she still stepped in and took over. She didn’t cross a line at all. At least – not with me. I had a horrible day and was exhausted. It was a giant help.

5. I see her face light up every single time she sees him. Same with my mom. I can’t imagine seeing sadness instead because I’m withholding a relationship from her. I’ve told Jared – if I am ever upset with your mom about something and I start to use Fitzy as a weapon in that situation – smack me. Seriously. Do not allow it. If I have a problem – I need to figure it out. Not take her grandson away from her as punishment. Totally not cool.

6. I’m a first-time momma. And I hope I would still feel this way if I was a 5th time momma.

I don’t know it all.

I can safely say that I don’t even know what’s best for my child – all the time. I’m still learning and figuring it out. I used to ask questions on FACEBOOK about sleeping. Fitzy is a better sleeper – but I can’t even go so far as to say he’s a great sleeper. I needed advice and help. And while I got advice – I also got some – you are obviously doing it wrong remarks. So I stopped asking. The people in my life that are close to me – still gave advice – which was totally fine. And those people included my mom and MIL. Which was totally fine.

I have never once felt that Brenda or my mom were judging me or telling me I was a bad mom or didn’t know what I was doing. I’m not above asking for help. Screaming for it sometimes.

I wanted to breastfeed. My mom breastfed and so did Brenda. I knew it was important. How could I not? There are certain people who will – in so many words – tell you about your bad mothering if you choose not to. I knew that Brenda was very pro-breastfeeding. She never pressured me or insinuated I was a bad mom if I didn’t – but I knew that she very much preferred it. At about 6 weeks – I was exhausted. To the point that my own mom was worried about me. She was worried about Fitzy’s safety in the middle of the night when I would nurse. She brought him downstairs one night and got some formula from the hospital bag and gave him a bottle. She was prepared for the consequences in the morning.

I was too exhausted to be upset. Go ahead – call me selfish. But I’m also honest. And I was exhausted. My mom said to me – I thought I was gonna have to take him from you. You scared me Danielle. You put a new diaper right over the one he had on and when I asked you to nurse him – you told me he was fine. It was time. He was hungry and crying. But you literally fell asleep – sitting up – talking to me. Give the child some formula. You cannot be a good momma when you are in this state. You have to be rested and present.

I could have screamed at her. HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A BAD MOTHER. HOW DARE YOU GIVE HIM FORMULA. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. I could have never spoken to her again. But I think I take constructive criticism pretty well. At least – I hope I do. I didn’t react that way. I said – thanks mom. You’re so right. I just can’t do this. I ended up stopping at 8 weeks. Brenda never told me how awful I was – I don’t think she was even thinking that. She was supportive and encouraging.

With all the advice – asked and just given – I’ve never felt that my mom or Brenda have ever thought I was a bad mom. I’ve never thought they were overstepping boundaries. If I pick up Fitzy from Brenda’s and he’s sick – I want her to tell me. She’s noticed things that I haven’t before. When he was little – teeny tiny. I made some comment about not cleaning behind his ears – how could I forget that? She chuckled and said – yes – I noticed! I just cleaned it up. We laughed. I’m much better about it now – but I used to forget to give him a drink at meals. Every single meal. And she asked me once – why don’t you give Fitzy a drink at dinner? I stopped and said – OH MY WORD – I’ve never even thought about it! We laughed again.

I know that for some of you – your mom and MIL might very well be pointing out every single thing that they wouldn’t do with your child if they were you. And that’s gotta be hard. My advice in that situation is to politely say – but you aren’t me. This is how things work for us. It will be hard to adjust to a relationship where the advice they give is truly from the heart and meant to help and not hurt – but you’ll get there. With a lot of slow breathing and prayers on your part.

But sometimes – maybe your mom or MIL is really just trying to be a grandma that loves that baby of yours. She’s seeing an area of struggle for you and wants to help. She’s really trying to not overstep and say everything the right way. And it still comes out wrong. Be patient. Really take a step back and see where it’s coming from.

7. Your mother-in-law is human. You are human. Like any relationship – you both have to be on the same page. Sometimes she might have to work a little harder to keep her opinions to herself and sometimes you might have to work a little harder on keeping yours. Brenda and I are honest with each other. Sometimes I might not like what she has to say – but I hear her. And vice-versa.

8. Forgiveness. I don’t have a relationship in my life without it. I’ve had to ask it. And give it. While you can forgive someone for hurting you – it’s not all on you. Relationships cannot be one-sided. They will always fall apart. Look inside your heart and figure out what you’ve got going on in there. What are you holding back? What are you hiding? What are you holding onto? What are you afraid of? It might be the same questions that your MIL is struggling with.

9. Pray. Reach out. Ask forgiveness if you need to. Give forgiveness.

And remember that she was once a momma holding the hand of her little boy.

A little boy whose whole world was his momma.

And now that little boy is holding your hand.

 

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