a story of regret and redemption

It’s midnight or 2 am or maybe 3, I don’t know. All I know is this is ridiculous. I look down at my first born son, mere weeks, months old, crying and flailing, latching and unlatching, and I groan out a sigh.

Loud and heavy I sigh and I hope the air leaving my lungs will take my despair with it. This can’t be how life is supposed to be. I am powerless to help this small person who has waltzed into our lives with a grocery list of expectations and zero instructions as to how to meet them.

I wonder if we did the right thing, doing all this.

I mean, we were only 21 and 22. We’d only been married some 16 months when we made The Decision. Maybe I rushed God. Maybe I really screwed up. Maybe this wasn’t meant to be. It didn’t feel like it was meant to be. It felt like exhaustion and suffocation and helplessness.


And then that one Unthinkable Thought arrives. There in the clouded recesses of my mind creeps up a whisper, a lie, a damn lie, and yet, I listen:

I regret this. I wish I’d never…

O, Lord, how can I think that? I try to shake it purely for the principal of the thing, but it is something of a guttural response and it comes from a place of vulnerability. A deep place of fear.

Much of those first months – even nearly a year – with OBoy were defined by fear. Was I doing things right? What should I do now? What if I’m not? What if…

And behind it all, that lie, that question:

Should this even be?

:: :: :: :: :: ::


A little brunette baby stares up at me and cracks a smile. And, by ‘little’ I mean 90th percentile for both height and weight, but it’s relative.

Last night there had been midnight and 2, 3 and 5 o’clock feedings. I’m frustrated and exhausted all the way through to my bones as only a mother can be. I struggle so hard to keep my eyes open, and for a few moments at a time, I fail.

But when I open them, there he is, still smiling and kicking at the air; “Goo-goo!”

This time, when a thought rises up from my gut, like a groan, a sigh, it is Thinkable. It is Love.

I would do anything for you. Anything.

My heart, my very livelihood, he is – they are – and any whisper of the Unthinkable regret is long gone. I know now that this is Meant To Be, and I know it deeper in my core than my exhaustion or frustration can reach. I stroke his impossibly soft hair and he flails his arms with excitement. It’s so different this time. So many moments have been stuffed full of the divine, of Unearthly Love and now my mind is clear enough to hear it, to know it when I see it.

I am a good mother. These are my boys. This is how it should be.

:: :: :: :: :: ::

Friends, I’ve thought it. In my weakest moments, I’ve believed the lie of regret. For me it was a matter of mental illness and within days of addressing that, I felt the beginnings of relief. I know it is safe to tell you. I know because the love that swells up in my heart for this sweet baby, OBrother, is the same that swells in my heart now for OBoy. It was not him, it was most certainly me.

From where I stand now, with my cleared view of things (and I don’t just mean retrospect, I mean clarity where there used to be depression), I don’t regret a moment of it. I know it’s so fleeting, I know these boys are meant to be mine, I know they are a gift and that I am blessed to have them.

I love my boys. They are my heart. I would do anything for them.



40 Responses to “a story of regret and redemption”

  1. Elizabeth

    Amazing post, Allison! I am so happy for you! You are truly an amazing mother – both this time and last, but I am glad that you realize it more this time. :) I hope that the same is true for me when we have our 2nd. This post gives me so much hope!

  2. OurGrowingGarden

    Oh I have so been there and know everything you are saying. I tried Zoloft but my babe was really reacting to some other things in my system too so I decided to “ride it out” without any type of meds and lots of tears and prayer. I’m so glad you sought help and are on the other side of PPD now. It really is amazing to see clearly now, isn’t it?

  3. OurGrowingGarden

    Oh and hang in there, those billion nursing a night nights will pass. A few months ago, I was nursing about 6 times a night and getting about 4 hours of broken sleep. He STTN now at 11 months and sleep had CHANGED MY LIFE. You will continue to feel better as your body gets more rest. Lean on others. One huge mistake I made in dealing with my depression was I did not reach out. Not even on my blog. It took me 4 months to make a phone call to my OB to talk about “stress.” I should’ve been honest with some of my friends and said “I need help, please come watch the baby so I can get some sleep.” But I didn’t. Next time, I’ll know the signs of PPD and get help ASAP and accept help from others. Hang in there. You are a great mom.

  4. Katie

    I truly believe I was led to be on the internet at this moment checking the blogs I love to read. Your words, the first paragraph, that was my life 20 months ago when my sweet daughter was born. My husband and I are waiting until next year to try again, we were supposed to try earlier this year but I just. wasn’t. ready. So we wait. I have just recently become much more mentally and emotionally ready to have another baby. I have actually become excited about having a sibling for my daughter.

    Reading how you feel about OBrother, just gives me so much hope and peace. I love how God speaks to me through others. I just SO needed to read this right now. Thank you!

  5. Diana @Hormonal Imbalances

    This made me tear up. Thank you for sharing it so honestly, I felt like I was right there next to you reliving Bella’s first year as I struggled with the love and thoughts of, “What have we done?”


  6. Mae

    This is beautiful. Truly.

    But… um… can we please talk about that rug? And where I can get one of my very own!?

  7. Whitney

    Allison, thanks for being honest on your blog. There are so many times that I want to SCREAM at people just to… snap out of it, wake up, ‘fess up, whatever… and let’s get real that motherhood is hard and there are those crazy nights at 2 or 3 AM where you DO allow Satan to attack and trick you with lies. He wants us to be weak and to doubt. But ours is a story of Redemption. So thank you again for being honest.

  8. Dana

    I love how honest you are in this post. It is refreshing and the essence of what makes a good blog. Truth. Thanks for sharing!


  9. Sarah-Anne

    smiling through tears, friend. i am so glad you found peace & the joy that is motherhood.
    now, if you’ll excuse me i’m off to dream about having babies. because you’ve given me baby fever with that picture, thankyouverymuch. ;)

  10. Lesa

    Allison, I accidentally got to your website and I was amazed that someone would admit something I have felt–most people (and I don’t think they are all being honest) are all thrilled with post-baby blues.

    Here is what was weird with me: 5 weeks after we signed up with an adoption agency we were handed beautiful twin girls. I NEVER thought this would happen so fast (I had never even changed a diaper!) I am a huge fan of sleep and I was crying, seems like hourly.

    I went to the Dr. and he said adoptive moms can also suffer from ppd, and even have more of a chance, because you don’t have 9 months to prepare.

    I felt sooo guilty, here God had blessed me, a woman who couldn’t get pregnant with 2 baby girls and I was so depressed.

    My “babies” are 16 years old now and I wouldn’t waste one second with them–but I had those feelings and I thank you for sharing them.

  11. Susan

    What a beautiful testimony. I imagine you felt afraid and alone during your darkest moments, but you faced those fears and arrived at the other end of the tunnel filled with His light.

  12. molly

    O dear, Allison (no h on purpose). Please know that you are not alone in these feelings. I had my boys 21 months apart. The second was not planned. At least not by my husband and I. He was God’s plan. I know that without a doubt now.

    I suffered with antenatal depression during my pregnancy with Brigham. I ended up being medicated to pull through it. When he was born it was amazing. I felt like my world was a fairytale. Two beautiful and healthy boys and I’m lucky to be their mama.

    And then . . . Brigham got sick at 1-month-old. And he kept getting sick. He was fussy, cried a lot. No, scratch that, he SCREAMED a lot. My husband and I took turns throwing our hands up and freaking out because we had never experienced a baby that fussed and cried before. Our first son had been easy peasy! We were new at this unhappy baby thing.

    I’m not going to lie, due to Brigham’s sicknesses and recurring severe double ear infections, the first year was, well, not that enjoyable. Of course I loved both my boys. Of course I would do anything for them. But when you’re in the thick of it – holding a tiny baby, rocking them, singing to them, shhhhing them, crying with them, begging them to sleep, begging GOD to let them sleep – of course we’re going to have that devil on our shoulder make us think that we can’t do it. Make us feel inferior and tell us things that, in our sleep-deprived state, we start to believe.

    Listen to the angel instead. Stay on your faithful path in seeking Him. That’s the only thing that got us through that first year. I have veered off the path of sanity many times. But I know that God has my back through everything on this earth.

    Those boys on the rug up there? They were meant for you. You were meant for them. God made it so.

  13. Heather B

    This post is perfectly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, you are amazing.

  14. Lindsay N.

    What a beautiful and amazingly well-worded post. Thank you for sharing. I applaud you!

  15. JenD

    I often wonder if there were things I could have done differently earlier on with my first two babies because I don’t remember much joy during their first few months. With #3 I anticipated the worst, thinking that maybe I just didn’t like the baby stage. I’m not sure if I have changed or if it is due to the fact that #3 is the happiest baby in the whole world (or more likely a combo of the two), but God has given me so many moments of pure joy over these past 9 months. I never EVER thought I would not mind getting up with O to nurse in the middle of the night, but I actually grew to look forward to our time together (despite the exhaustion) and kinda actually (I seriously can’t believe I’m going to say this) miss it now that she sleeps all night. Love your honesty, Allison! Being a mom is such a paradox…the most difficult, wonderful thing in the entire world.

  16. Marybeth

    You and I sound exactly alike. Seriously. Word for word, straight from my heart. How far apart are your boys? Mine are 13 months, and everything you just said was me…is me. My husband had brain surgery 1 week before our first was born, and I felt the lie of regret when we found out we were pregnant for the second time, just 4 months after we had our first. But God knows…He is sovereign…thank you for your honesty. I love everything you write.

  17. Becky

    Simply. Beautiful. Love your honesty and courage! Thank you for sharing and putting into words what so many of us have experienced.

  18. Christy

    First off, I love your blog. I’m so glad I stumbled upon it; I really enjoy reading what you have to say. And this post – I could have written this myself. And it’s a refreshing reminder that we mothers are not alone; even though sometimes I am convinced I am the only momma in the world awake at 2am trying to coax a baby back to sleep, struggling to stay awake myself, wondering what in the heck I have gotten myself into. I can’t tell you how many times I have been at the end of my rope, full of frustration and exhaustion, and my baby girl gives me one of her O so sweet smiles, and it truly has been my saving grace.

  19. Katie

    it’s like you know just what to say as I fret about repeated PPD with this new little miracle growing in my belly. It’s like God is bringing all the peace that I need to hear (um, read?) via blogs lately. Thank you for your words.

  20. Amanda

    I praise God for you, and for His redemption!! I’m so grateful that he has brought you to this place, and that you are able to share hope with others. Oh, and I looove the pics of your boys together – oBoy looks like such a good big brother. :)

  21. Joram

    I am a young man, not american but I think I have a new found appreciation for my mother after reading this. I’ve always been close to her but this reminds of how much she deserves it all and so much more! wow, Thank you lord for making me a man! Amen. :) (No pun intended)

  22. Jen

    Thank you for this post. It’s really encouraging for me as a new mom. I’ve been having a difficult time with breastfeeding, despite getting lots of help, and reading this gives me hope.

  23. Ruth Abel

    This resonates with me. My husband and I got married two years ago when I was 20 and three weeks later, we were pregnant. I turned 21 just 4 days before my little girl arrived and BAM all of a sudden life got crazy. Compared to many, she was pretty easy, (no scary health problems and such) but she would not sleep more than 3-4 hours (tops) at a time for her entire first year. Not to mention “I AM A NEWLYWED, now I have gained 50 pounds, I feel exhausted and depressed and guilty that I am a crazy lady, none of my friends get it or want to, wait I have no friends, GOD HOW ON EARTH IS THIS YOUR PLAN?” “It felt like exhaustion and suffocation and helplessness. Hopelessness.” Yep. God had a lot of work to do to bring me to a right place in my heart and mind. But 16 months later, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for my little girl, and for God’s PERFECT timing. I can’t wait to do it again, hopefully with the right attitude. Thank you for sharing!

  24. Annie

    Such true and honest feelings. So many women go through these types of thoughts but with no hope. Now you’ve changed that.

  25. Amber @Beyond Postpartum

    I agree. I feel very similarly about my two boys and the two VERY different newborn experiences. God has, in my humble opinion, performed a miracle this time. I am SO grateful to be well and able to ride the rollercoaster of this first 3 months from a perspective of enjoyment, instead of terror.

  26. Stacia

    OMG I wrote a post this morning about my current state with an 8 week old and i’m just now getting caught up in my google reader. I think you took the words straight from my mouth/head. because i felt the SAME WAY with my first born… same way. i so totally get it.

  27. Hannah C.

    Right now I’m the 22 year old with the first baby who sometimes isn’t sure this was a good idea… Thought that what I think is PPD was going away, but today makes me think that maybe it isn’t.

    THANK YOU for this post… I hope if I have another child that it’ll be better the second time.

  28. Mag

    Thank you thank you for your honesty and beautiful words! I may not be 22, married less than 2 years when we had one, or had two less than two years apart…. BUT I am prone to depression, although I’ve never actually needed to treat it, and it was so hard in the beginning with my first. SO HARD. Pile on top of the anxiety and first time everything with an emergency C-section, rough breastfeeding start and skinny baby (which has it’s own set of anxieties) and my husband considers us baby survivors the first time around. But God is so good. And the second time it was easier. And now, the third time, everyday I just love him. Even his cries.


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