Three years ago, I was three months pregnant. It wasn't a surprise pregnancy; it was exactly what we had planned: a September baby.
My first trimester had the usual morning sickness routine. And then around the middle of March, I started feeling a little better. I went to Colorado to help my sister move out of her house. I ate and enjoyed delicious food. I was delighted at the surprise snowstorm that blew in and forced us to delay our drive home. I actually looked forward to wearing maternity clothes.
But as I left the cold but beautiful Colorado sunshine and headed northwest to home, I could feel the anxiety creeping in. We traveled west on I-84, and mile by mile we got closer to the rain, to the gray skies, to the regular routine of life.
And I didn't know it then, but months later I looked back and pinpointed that trip as the beginning of the beginning. I lost my appetite. I couldn't focus. I cried all the time. I wished that I wasn't pregnant. I tried to get better. I got special happy lights and planned trips with friends. I got pedicures and hosted birthday parties. I read books and took vitamins.
It didn't work.
I had prenatal depression. Not just a little. A lot. A bigger than a nine-month-pregnant-belly case of diagnostic depression.
Even though I've already written about the darkness (and medical treatment) of those months of pregnancy, it's still important to me to remember in words how depressed I was. Because when I remember where I was it makes the joy of today so much sweeter.
I did not anticipate the joy this child would bring me. Absolutely without a doubt, all my girls have brought me joy, but the joy with Addie is different. It's different because it's so ridiculously, amazingly surprising.
I was in the worst possible place, and God not only rescued me from that place but He gave me joy bigger than I could have imagined. If you have not been in a place so dark you can't ever imagine being happy again--and I mean you totally and completely believe you will be sad for the rest of your life--it's hard to imagine how miraculous it feels to see the cause of your anguish turned into the light of your life. I don't know how to describe it except to say that every day I look at Addie and cannot believe how lucky I am. This child makes me smile every single day. She is funny. She is smiley. She is happiness incarnate.
Today she is exactly 2 1/2. Today she went to the aquarium, and when she came home she told me, "I got to see the fishies and sharks. And I washed my hands. And rode in the stroller."
I watch her eat her breakfast, and I smile.
I watch her eat soup and talk about carrots, and my heart wants to explode.
I watch her throw herself on the ground in a fit of toddlerdom, and I don't panic because I want to enjoy every single moment of these early years.
I watch her face light up when she sees me in the morning, and I want to drop to my knees and say thank you God for this little person you have given me.
By a twist of genetics, Adelynn's eyes are a different color from her sisters'. She has eyes not quite blue, not quite brown. Eyes that are best described as gray on some days and hazel on others. I usually see gray when I look into her eyes, and for me it is another reminder of where this little person came from. She was not created in sunshine and rainbows, or subtle and sophisticated joy. She grew from an empty and anguished heart. She grew from the gray.
These days my greatest joy is looking into the gray and being amazed and overjoyed at how beautiful it is.