Colic

Held in the Unsearchable: Embracing Postpartum Weakness

By Mollie Talbot

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I called it! Seven weeks ago my husband and I welcomed our second baby BOY into the world. Huxley Knox was on a mission when he made his entrance with facial bruising as a result of flying into the world within 6 minutes of pushing. He’s perfect, truly.

Except for the colic, the still undiagnosed GI issues, and the reflux. Did I mention that I can’t have dairy or soy and that I’ve lived the past 30 years as a cheesitarian? Maybe here is where I should say that these issues have him waking up every two hours at night for feedings so we aren’t sleeping…and that he doesn’t go back down after 4am. Okay, now is for sure where I throw in that my cat of 9 years, the one that was at my side before my husband came along and weathered my addiction with me disappeared two weeks after Huxley’s birth.

So it makes sense that at my 6 week postpartum visit with my favorite OB in the world, after filling her in on everything she said: “Something isn’t right Mollie, you’re not yourself.” Tears I’ve unknowingly held back for the last 6 weeks fell as she wrapped her arms around me saying, “It’s okay, this is too much.”

But, I’m pragmatic. I knew all of this was a lot for even the strongest of humans, which I’m not, but I kept at it. I stayed yoked with my husband, keeping him posted on how I was feeling. I’d cry late at night when I really missed my cat, or thought I heard him, or passed the laundry room where his litter box used to be, or the crib where he slept in the weeks leading up to Huxley’s birth. I was letting myself feel it. I’m a social worker by trade and I wound up fighting an alcohol addiction as a result of poor coping so it’s safe to say I stay on top of my feelings and communicate through them to avoid being overtaken (or relapsing.)

I reasoned through Huxley’s lack of sleep and colic, reading articles, trying new things, eliminating others, and making sure I remembered that this had nothing to do with me or who I am as a mother. I tried to reason my way through my grief over my cat. So I applied logic there too; I recognized I needed to feel this loss but that I didn’t know how. I shared with close friends that I felt isolated in my grief because it’s a cat and that it made me feel crazy to share the depth of my grief. As for comfort, what can you say? You can’t apply the typical platitudes of “He’s in a better place” because let's face it, a coyote likely ate him and I’m pretty sure the saying is “all DOGS go to heaven.”

In the midst of all of this, we discussed my stepson’s visit over Christmas. I tried to consciously prepare myself for how an already difficult relationship would look with the added 600 emotional pounds I’m lugging around. I then went into social work mode again. I set up boundaries with my husband by saying I’ll need more space and alone time to process while he’s here. It felt extra heavy to know that this boy deserves my best and that I am far from it.

So, when my doctor spoke the words, “You’re not yourself,” the scaffolding of logic and research I’ve built around my recent chaos just…collapsed. In a way, so did I. The weight of my back-burner emotions crushed the steel beams of my research, preparation and logic.

I feel like things had to get worse for a couple of days before getting better. I was even more irrational and irritable than normal. I was devastated every time Huxley would cry out in obvious pain and I was again, without a solution. And sweet Banks—his toddler curiosity and joy were probably the only things that got me out of bed.

Then, as I sat in bed one morning with Huxley, feeling the weight of it all, my husband checked on me and said: “I’ll be there in 5 minutes, I’m almost done reading my bible.” He has no idea but hearing that flipped a switch in me. When he said he was reading his bible, I realized that in the last 6 weeks I’d only gone to my Father when I was crying out in defeat; chalking the spiritual drought up to “newborn season.” So right there in bed, I pulled up my bible app while holding my sweet, fussy son and was met with the verse of the day.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and UNSEARCHABLE things you do not know.
— Jeremiah 3:33

I read this and read it again when an ethereal peace hit me in the chest. I felt a kind of warmth begin to radiate outward. My heart rate slowed, my shoulders released, and my breaths deepened. A white flag seemed to rise above my head, taking with it the burden of ‘fighting’ or ‘figuring out’ how I’m supposed to navigate this season.

God was saying to me:

Stop the research. Stop with your logic. Come to me, CALL to me. What I have for you right now won't be found in articles or collecting information to encase yourself away from the pain. Feel that pain knowing I will show you how to take your next step. I’m a light for your path where the ‘solving’ puts chains on your feet. Unsearchable Mollie, that is my love for you.

His plan of Love for me is tailored to penetrate what I perceive to be my strengths, my gifts… my armor. Because sometimes my armor tells me to keep moving, to not ask for help, and to figure things out alone when the reality is those are my strengths but HE, not my studying, are what gave them to me. Furthermore, what if in this season I’m meant to be a bit weak. To sit in this moment and dwell on the peace I felt when I read the word ‘Unsearchable.’

What word is He holding for you in your current season? The one that will pierce your armor and reunite your purpose with His?

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be here riding a rollercoaster of joy and grief thankful that His ‘unsearchable’ love has me tightly buckled.