Guest Post: What’s in a Name—Evelyn Grace

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Our daughters Isla (6 yrs old) and Evelyn

I’ve been asked a number of times where the inspiration for Evelyn’s name came from so I figured it was time to write it down. The explanation for her first name is easy: she shares this name with her great grandmother, Evelyn Darlene Hargiss. It’s a beautiful name. The not-so-simple explanation is needed for her middle name, Grace. This name holds particular meaning for Michael and I as it is a name inspired by all it took to bring this beautiful person into the world and into our lives.

In December of 2015 Michael and I began feeling that the time had come for us to have another child—that there was, in fact, a child waiting to come into our family. Despite my many reservations and fears (products of a difficult first pregnancy and even more challenging postpartum depression/anxiety), we decided to trust the Lord and begin trying. In mid-March I found out I was pregnant, and a week later I entered the hell of hyperemesis gravidarum. For those unfamiliar with this disease, it is severe nausea and vomiting that afflicts about 1% of pregnant women. Unlike “morning sickness,” this nausea and vomiting is constant. For ten weeks I laid in bed, unable to keep any food down. I lost 40 lbs. The muscles in my legs atrophied, and were used as food by my body for the baby. Most days I had trouble keeping even water down, and spent quite a bit of time at the hospital getting fluids. My digestive system shut down. My kidneys were beginning to fail. The feeding tube they put in (horrible) just made things worse, so I took it out. I was dying. But I didn’t. As suddenly as the sickness began, it stopped. My nausea medication started working. I stopped throwing up. My body began the painful and frustrating process of recovering. Then about two months later, as my belly finally started growing and my body was stretching, the constant pain in my legs and hips started. The heartburn got worse. The insomnia set in. Constant discomfort and pain. Hormones coursing through my body making me feel like I was going crazy. And for as horrible as all of that was, for as often as I cursed my body and sometimes wished I had never gotten pregnant, I have never been so richly blessed or seen so many miracles.

I felt the Lord’s love in the combined faith of those who prayed on my behalf. I saw so much of the Lord’s love in my husband as he cared for me. When people would bring dinner over for Michael and Isla, I saw His love. When people would stop Michael in the hallway at church and tell him they were praying for us, I felt His love. When I would get text messages from friends and family letting me know they hadn’t forgotten about me and were praying for me, I felt His love. That love sustained me. It saved my marriage, and my life. It took care of Isla when I wasn’t physically able to. And it is bringing me back to health.

I feel my Heavenly Father’s and Savior’s approval and love now as I recover. I feel it when I am being way too hard on myself for not being able to do more—for not cleaning enough, not cooking enough, not playing with Isla enough, not being more patient with Isla, etc. I feel it when I get frustrated that my hips still send pain shooting down my legs when I put my pants on in the morning. I feel it when hormones overtake my mind and I feel crazy or depressed or intensely irritable, and They remind me that it won’t last forever. And then I feel it again when I realize I’m being spared from experiencing postpartum depression.

And that is why Grace. Because when I look at Evelyn, I am reminded that His Grace hasn’t just saved me. It saved her mortal life as well. It allowed me to carry her to term. It allowed me to have the most beautiful delivery and to experience some of the most profound joy I’ve ever felt as I saw and held her for the first time. I get to be her mother because of His love and Grace. And I get to keep on loving Michael and Isla and experiencing my life with theirs. This has been an exceptionally challenging period of time, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And I never want to forget what happened, the good and the bad. Being saved by Grace doesn’t mean as much if you can’t remember or longer appreciate what you’ve been saved from.

Jessica Hargiss

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It’s been a while

Hello. I haven’t written anything on here for quite some time. I’m feeling tempted to act out right now, so I thought I’d do something to keep my mind on recovery. I already feel better. I had forgotten how much writing on here helps me break my patterns of isolation.

About five months ago a bout of severe depression settled in my mind and heart. It really felt like something snapped in my brain and spirit. I’ve dealt with major depressive episodes before, but I’m still surprised by how completely it drains my body, mind, and soul. It takes away my hope and leaves me inert… I can’t focus, can’t think, can’t feel or even want anything. It’s truly debilitating.

I don’t want my blog to leave anyone, including myself, feeling burdened instead of uplifted. I just felt I needed to share what I’ve been experiencing—not in the attitude of complaining, but in an effort to find healing.  If I’ve learned anything from attending group recovery meetings, it’s that recovery involves sharing and vulnerability. Somehow it’s liberating when done as an expression of faith and with a desperate desire to move forward. So, thank you for listening. Sharing doesn’t work so well without a listener.

I just went to arpsupport.org and requested a sponsor. Of course, I have no way of knowing with absolute certainty that working with a stranger who’s found recovery from addiction will help me obtain the same, but I believe it will. I feel weary and I think it couldn’t hurt to have an additional voice of hope and encouragement in my life. I’ll be sure to share how it goes for me.

I do feel a kindling of faith and hope within me. It feels good. I haven’t felt them in a long time. I’m grateful to have them again, as I definitely didn’t will them into my being. The Lord has been good to me and my family. I’m now taking a dosage of anti-depressant medication that seems to be finally taking effect. I feel more able and less worn out. Modern medicine is a miracle.

A few weeks after the depression had taken root, I heard a talk that helped me feel less alone. I’ll share it here. It’s called ‘Like a Broken Vessel,’ and it was given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. I’m grateful I heard his words when I did. May they bring some light into your life as they did mine.