By Rachel E. Newman
On May 30, 2016, my husband and I welcomed Maximus Newman into the world of the air breathers. How excited and happy and exhausted I was.
We were as prepared as we could be for something we both knew we could never truly be prepared for. But boy, how unprepared I was! Over the next weeks and months, I survived on short, thirty- to forty-minute naps all night long. I spent my days and nights nursing Max. When he wasn’t nursing, he was sleeping. But if I dared to put him down, he’d wake up immediately, hungry again no less. I was losing any sense of my identity. There was no time for Rachel. None. Zilch. It seemed there was barely enough time for this needy little one, and he was milking what little time there was for all it was worth (quite literally!).
It wasn’t long before my back hurt, my shoulders hurt, my arms hurt, my knees hurt, my fingers hurt, my wrists hurt, my ankles hurt. And often when I was nursing, I’d get nauseated and anxious. Every time the sound of crying jarred me awake yet again, I’d wake up angry. Irritability, frustration, and anxiety became my constant companions. I started to hate my life. At one point, I escaped for a brief period to go to the grocery store, and I realized I had no smiles to offer anyone. Is this why few people ever smile in public? Are they simply overwhelmed by their responsibilities and life’s demands?
As maternity leave ended and I was preparing to resume my editing duties at home, despair overcame me. How would I do it? This baby was demanding all of me. How could I muster up anything to run my business? I’d lost hope. And I questioned God. I realized whomever I’d become was lacking one of my old defining qualities—a thankful heart.
When I had lived thankfully, I could always find beauty in anything. But how could I be thankful under such physical and emotional strain? I didn’t have the power on my own. And so I sought out help. I asked for prayer. When people asked how I was doing, I was real with them. I knew I had a terrible attitude, and I desperately wanted God to change my heart. That little act of acknowledging it and bringing it before my good, good Father was all it took to start the process of restoration. I say process, because my heart did not change instantly. But with the help of the Holy Spirit and my brothers and sisters in Christ, I began the walk out of darkness and into His light.
Things are so much better now. God has brought me through. I wake up smiling at my sweet baby boy, and I find ways to fit editing hours into my day. If you are in a dark place of ungratefulness this holiday season, I encourage you to face it head on. Recognize it for what it is, ask God for help, and be real with people. Thankfulness matters. It puts life in perspective and keeps us humble before God. It’s critical to a joyful life and a thriving business.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, KJV).
Rachel E. Newman, CP
Freelance Editor and Indexer
Rachel E. Newman holds a BS degree from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. She is a Gold Member of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, serves as a judge for the Excellence in Editing Award sponsored by the Christian Editor Connection, and has served as a faculty member for PENCON, the only convention for editors in the Christian market. Rachel enjoys, among other things, dates with her husband, swing dancing, reading, teaching, discussing important issues, watching Star Trek, sewing, cooking, Pilates, horseback riding, water sports, playing guitar, and snow skiing.