You're Fired, Sheila.

You're probably wondering who the heck Shiela is and why is she fired? Shiela is the name I’ve given my not so friendly, hormonal, post baby self. To be truly correct, her full name is Shrieking Shiela and she comes out at the most inopportune times. My parents were visiting during the first couple of weeks after Jordan was born. And to try and better describe what I was feeling I told my mom, “It’s as if I have an alter ego. Her name is Shiela and she’s a total B$%#. I described to my mama that Shiela was very similar to the evil villan Ursela in The Little Mermaid. At least that's what she felt like when she reared her ugly head.

Of course you're probably asking, "then why didn't you name her Ursela?" Because Ursela doesn't compliment the name Shelly, duh. And alter egos have to have a similar name to their counter part... Obviously. It's in the alter ego handbook, page 45, section 2A.

Shelly and Shiela cohabited in my body for the first few weeks after Jordan's arrival. Many of you only know Shelly. The kind, patient, BEAUTIFUL, humble, slow to anger, Shelly. But for the lucky few of you that were introduced to Shiela, I unfortunately have to announce that you must say goodbye to her, she’s been fired. (Jacob is doing cart wheels in the kitchen and is repeating "hallelujah!" in  the happiest voice he has.)

During their stay, my parents were lucky enough to witness the insanity of my seemingly split personality. Let me give you a few examples... Picture me (Shelly) sitting on the couch snuggling my new baby. He is in the cutest bunny pajamas. I am LOVING the moment. I stare at him and am literally thanking God for how wonderful my new son is. I decide to break away from staring at him to reach for the coffee my mama just brought me. Only to see it sitting DIRECTLY  ON THE TABLE?

“HELLLLOOOOOO... what do you think the coasters are for…. decoration?!”

And BAM! Shiela breaks in and completely loses her cool. My mama, having already witnessed the intense and uncomfortable presence Shiela brings with her, looks wide eyed and slightly worried for her life. She excuses herself to avoid being screamed at about the poor placement of the coffee cup. Shelly tries to budge her way back in to the scene. Slowly she talks herself off the the ledge and Shiela disappears. For now. Whew, that was close.

This behavior goes on and on for days. Each person in the house walking on egg shells around me as I bounce between glowing, new mama Shelly and miserable, crazy Shiela. Another, more extreme and shameful episode of Shiela is the infamous popsicle moment that no one who was present will ever forget. It was the second night we were home from the hospital. I was in the black recliner holding Jordo. Jacob and my parents shared the couch. We were all settling in to watch a movie. Jacob was eating a frozen mango and cream bar. (Trader Joes.... if you haven't had them, do yourself a favor and buy a box. Or ten.) I, Shelly, have always known Jacob to be a bit of a loud eater. And for the past 8 years of our life together,  I have been able to accept the slurps and chomps that accompany Jacob and a meal. Shiela, however, cannot bear to hear a single second of the popsicle eating. Instead of leaving the room to avoid the noise, Shrieking Shiela decides to SCREAM with profanities at Jacob. About the way he's. eating. a. popsicle. She is so overwhelmed with anger she "asks" him to get the MUCK out of the room. (Use your imagination). You know why they call it the "F-Bomb." When that word is used, it is truly like you've dropped a bomb. My parents' expression was pretty much sheer terror. I could almost see my mother doing the mental math, counting the days they had left before they could board the plane to freedom. Jacob, the most patient person in the entire world, doesn't budge.

He simply receives the verbal lashing and moves on. As the F-bomb left my lips and hit the air, Shiela disappeared and Shelly returned. Horrified. I looked down at my innocent, sweet baby and started balling. I bundled him up and scurried off upstairs to his nursery. I couldn't believe myself?! Here I am, the mother of a child, with the responsibility of protecting him from this crazy world and I have already failed. Miserably.

Fortunately, my mama rushed in the nursery behind me with a gentle smile, full of grace. She proceeded to comfort me and tell me about all the ways she was challenged with the hormones that come along with a new baby when she first became a mother.

Thankfully I can joke about "Shiela" and can laugh now at some of the ridiculous episodes we endured as a family. But, I assure you I am making light of something that was actually one of the hardest seasons of my life. I was not prepared for the extreme imbalance of feelings and emotions that come along with a new baby.

Hormones are real, people!

And let me tell you, they got the best of me many times. A new mama isn't just dealing with an increase of hormones, she is dealing with sleep deprivation, a new, mangled body, a newborn that is completely dependent on her for every need, the realization that she can no longer eat, pee, sleep or do anything for that matter without first consulting with this new human.

The new realities of motherhood flooded into my life like a crashing wave.

Want to know the hardest thing I heard during those times? The sentence, "It gets better." UGH!!!!!! I hated hearing or reading those words. Although, they are really the truest and best words you can say to a new mama. But in the moment when your crotch is on fire, while you're starving and your new baby is sucking away at your chest at 3 am and you haven't slept in 5 days; you don't want to hear, “ it WILL get better.” You want it to GET BETTER RIGHT NOW!

I have spent many moments sitting in my bed holding my crying baby, crying myself. I know the feelings of wanting to MAKE the baby stop crying, and then feeling completely rotten for thinking those thoughts. I know the feelings of wanting to abandon him in his crib and run away. And then, again, feeling awful for thinking that and crying about how “messed up” I am. I had never experienced such a deep depression prior to this little boy. I, of course, have had bad days and have wanted to do nothing but sit in my underwear eating ice cream while watching every episode of Friends. But I haven't been so sad and lonely as I have in the past weeks. It is only now that most of those feelings have subsided that I can even bring myself to talk to you about them.

There's nothing that can prepare you for the first long weeks of motherhood. For me, I have loved {almost} every moment of being a mama while the sun is shining. The days are so enjoyable. I even managed to enjoy the crying spells in the middle of the afternoon. It was the nighttime that challenged me. As the sun began to set and as the day would come to an end, I felt myself becoming more and more sad. I kept thinking about the pains of the night. The fussing, the sleepless hours, the deep cravings for even an hour of shut eye....

It. Gets. Better.

Shiela was a way for me to "deal with" the hormones. As I felt the anger welling up, I would announce, "Shiela is coming," or I would say something mean and my mama would say, "Shiela, that wasn't very nice." It was a strange yet lighthearted way we all managed my craziness. Apart from Shiela, how did I really survive the hardest weeks of my life?

The Lord. Plain and simple.

There's no other explanation to my survival than the HIM. My mom, very early in our return home from the hospital told me that when she was a new mama she would literally picture Jesus in the difficult moments and imagine herself holding his hand. That advice got me through so many nights. Shiela would be in control and I would cry out to Jesus and do like my mama did and I would hold His hand. He would sit next to me and comfort me. He spent the night wide awake with me. He would sometimes be standing behind me as I fed Jordan, sometimes He would be standing in front of me and I would imagine his hand on Jordan’s head protecting Him. Other times, He would be kneeling by my side with his hand on my knee as I rocked Jordan to sleep. I would literally fix my eyes on Him. I see how He provides strength in trials and I am able to praise Him and thank Him for the difficult moments. Because in those difficult moments I got to know Jesus differently. I had known Him personally and my Savior, as my Redeemer, as the Son of God, as my good Sheppard... but now I know Him as my comforter. Like never before, I know that God truly is the God of comfort and that the peace that transcends understanding is real.

The Lord also provides through His people, the Church.

I have some pretty incredible women in my life that have prayed me through some very tough times.

It is so important to have friends that know you. And I mean really, KNOW YOU. Not people that know the socially acceptable you, but the raw, unfiltered, true you. I have women in my corner that know the ins and out of me. They love me and accept me no matter what I confess to them. In this journey of being a new mama, they have prayed for and encouraged me through the stormy moments. I cannot imagine where I would be without this sense of being understood and loved. These women have made true this verse, “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” Proverbs 27:9

While I’ve met with God my comforter in new ways, I think the most precious and consistent lesson I’ve been learning is that I NEED JESUS.

I really, really, really need Jesus.

And what is amazing is that no matter what state I’m in, whether I’m a raging lunatic named Shiela, or a calm and sweet mama named Shelly- I need Him. There isn’t a moment I don’t. I am so humbled when I consider that according to God, my sins are as far as the east is from the west. It is crazy that He loves me so much and that He doesn’t hold my sin against me. Instead, He gently guides me to himself and creates in me a more pure heart as I trust Him.

I am overcome with JOY as I think about how The Lord has guided me through this journey so far.

Today I praise the Lord for Joy in the trials. I rejoice and can publicly declare that I wouldn't take away any of those sleepless nights or moments of weakness because those are the times that my faith has been strengthened the most. So, to bring this post to an end I say, So Long, Shiela. You're fired! Jesus has taken your place. And he is so much better than you.

Scripture I've been meditating on:

John 15:15

James 1:2-4 (still)

Psalm 23

Psalm 121

There's a song by Hillsong called Only You. The lyrics have captured my heart and it is a song I declare over myself! Check it out!

Shelly Jata