Goodbye, 2018

Oh, what a twisty-turny, shock-and-surprise-filled, extra-special year 2018 has been. A year of changed plans. Constant vomiting. Sleepless nights. Doctors and hospitalizations. Circling the drain financially. Losing loved ones and welcoming new ones.

On September 14, 2018, I met the second most important person in my life, my beautiful little girl. I became a mother, something I've dreamed about and longed for as far back as I can remember. Through this experience, I learned I'm stronger and more physically capable than I ever thought possible. I powered, quietly, through a 60+ hour natural labor with "calmness and zen" (that's what the nurses and doctor said, anyway). I didn't give in and get that epidural. And I didn't give up and stop breastfeeding, even when it got so hard I cried every time she cried with hunger. My identity and my worldview have changed entirely, in ways I can't verbalize. I just know that I've received a whole new level of understanding and respect for my own mother. For all mothers.

In 2018, I saw my husband become a father. Matt was my birth partner. He was at my side throughout my labor, helping me any way he could. He held my weak and shaking leg up for me as I pushed our child out; he cut the cord once she was born. I watched as he held our little girl for the first time. I got to call him Daddy. Going through this together has changed our relationship in only the best ways. It's connected us like nothing else could.

In 2018, I lost people I loved. My sweet aunt, JJ, left us this year, as did my uncle, David. The two of them were always special to me, always loving, supportive, and involved in my life, always more like grandparents than an aunt and uncle. So much so that I asked them to walk as my grandparents in the processional at my wedding. Both JJ and David struggled with declining health for years, and the two of them passed within weeks of each other this spring.

In 2018, our finances hit rock bottom. Matt unexpectedly lost his job this summer. I was thirty-six weeks pregnant at the time and already out of work myself. We were relying on his income to pay the bills, and we were counting on the insurance through his job to cover the labor and delivery that was coming at any time. Those weeks were some of the most stressful times we've seen. He struggled to find work. We feared losing the house, losing everything. We learned that Dave Ramsey's $1,000 emergency fund is nowhere close to being enough when real emergencies hit. The only way we got by involved taking on lots more debt, sadly, and we have a big mess to clean up once we get stable.

In 2018, I got an actual writing job. I was offered and accepted a remote position as an SEO content writer. The pay is horrible, but I'm being paid to write steady assignments. Finally, after three years of possessing a fruitless bachelor's degree in English, I have a writing job to put on my resume.

In 2018, our homestead dreams became reality, with our own vegetable garden, fruit trees, and chickens. We canned our own vegetables, made pickles with our own cucumbers, froze made-from-scratch tomato sauce. We lived off of dozens of eggs from our own backyard.

2018 was one of the most life-changing years yet. So rocky, so bittersweet, so incredibly challenging. So beautiful in so many ways. I witnessed a new life born from nothing, from inside me, the most basic yet truly amazing process there is.

I don't think 2019 can top that.

1 comment

Jessica said...

Claire is seriously the best part of 2018 for our whole family. Getting to see mama and daddy be grandparents is so beautiful! 2018 was a rough one for me but I can’t say I hated it because of Claire’s entrance to the world.