my story: Kristin Funston

one of the things i love are stories.  stories of how people became who they are; of how life tried to knocked them down or how plans drastically changed (for the seemingly worse).  i love hearing how the beautiful mess of plans and expectations and trials ultimately shape (and better) people.  & i really love seeing how God uses the chaos and pain and loss to lead us to our destiny.  it really is an incredible thing.

one of the things that will be woven throughout this blog are those stories.   stories of people whose lives were changed.  people who experienced great pain or loss or chaos and can now say all of that mess, all of that pain has led them somewhere (maybe unexpected) but ultimately somewhere beautiful and free and full of purpose.

So, first up is Kristin Funston.

—————————————————————————————————————–

In June 2009, I became a mom.

I was working full time in a competitive sales department, concentrating on climbing the corporate ladder.

I had a plan.

And kids weren’t a part of it. (Or at least they weren’t for another few years).

Needless to say, my world was rocked when I found out my husband and I were about to become parents, a mere 3 years into marriage and 2 years into my corporate ladder climb.

McKenna arrived as a healthy, round faced, little ball of screaming lungs. To be honest, I don’t remember much of those first few weeks with her. It is a blur of dirty diapers, pediatric appointments, gas relief drops, spit-on onsies, and hazy midnight, three and six AM feedings.

What I do know is I wasn’t prepared.

Nobody told me what it would be like.
(Or maybe I just didn’t pay attention. That’s a very real possibility.)

I wasn’t prepared for the exhaustion or the basic steps in keeping a brand new human alive. Life ran its course on a three hour time block, restarting at every feeding.

I went back to work a mere 6 weeks later. (Which, by the way, is not enough maternity leave time. Just sayin’.)

Yet again, I wasn’t prepared.

I wasn’t prepared for the emotions of leaving my little one every morning.
Or the balance of breastfeeding (i.e. pumping) while working full time.
Or the balance of work pressures with newborn and family pressures.
Or how to handle missing out on all of McKenna’s “firsts.”

I didn’t know what I was doing and I felt very alone.

Sure, my husband understood what it was like living our family’s day-to-day, especially since he was the one who took on the bulk of parenting in those early years while working from home. (Here’s an official shout-out to my awesome Baby Daddy! *throws up a fist pump*)

But there’s something about being a mom that he wouldn’t understand… because, well, he’s a dad.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed another mom. During McKenna’s first few years of life, I felt really alone, despite all the people around me, because I didn’t know anyone experiencing life with littles. In my group of friends, marriage wasn’t even on the radar for some… let alone children.

The moms I did know were far removed from my stage of parenthood or lived far away. They weren’t swimming in the trenches next to me, grasping for something solid above the break of diapers, bottles, and onesies. Despite my efforts, I had a hard time relating to the older moms, the ones who spent time complaining about their grown children. I honestly tried, but I couldn’t relate to those saying,

“Oh, just wait… it gets harder.”
“Hang in there.” 
“Wait until their older… that’s when things get really crazy.”

While I valued their input, right then, it wasn’t what I wanted (needed?) to hear. Sure, once upon a time, they experienced what I was living, but they were survivors of that ocean and had already made it to other side. In fact, they had already changed out of their swimsuits and were walking away from the beach.

I needed a fellow swimmer. Someone alongside me, so we could encourage one another as we took stroke after stroke.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

I wanted so badly for another mom to come along with me. And to be able to tell me, “me too.”

But they didn’t.

Let’s go ahead and fast forward a bit in order to speed up your reading process (you’re welcome)… 

In the spring of 2012, I left my full-time job. I started a different, part-time job just before my second baby girl, Meda, arrived in May of 2013. Even though I’d been through the newborn thing once before, when Meda arrived (yet again) I wasn’t prepared. (I am confident God makes you forget the details of newborn-hood intentionally. Because, if not, there’s no way there would be such a thing as “siblings.”)

With raging hormones, minimal sleep, two young kids, a working husband, and a part-time job constantly emailing, texting, or calling… I found myself in a small battle with postpartum depression that summer. I could go into the details on my day-to-day and how lonely, upset, and sad I was ALL THE TIME, but I’ll spare you the details. (They’re a real drag.)

Just before the fall semester, in a desperate attempt to just GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, I attended a Monday night Heart 2 Heart event at Hope Church.

Confession: I attended because I knew they were showing a Beth Moore video and I wouldn’t be required to talk to anyone.

Well.

After emerging from the restroom (Remember how I just said I didn’t want to talk to anyone? Restrooms tend to be good hiding places from people.), I found myself face to face with Abby (the amazing, most awesome EVER, genuine, loving, super cool {moms at hope} leader… I just didn’t know that yet.).

Before I knew it, she’d figured out I was a mom, found a moms’ group for me, and then I was sitting on a Wednesday morning in a room full of women I didn’t know. Some of them even still had babies attached to their hips. I had always been the only one with babies hanging around, but now, it wasn’t just me. In fact, my kiddos weren’t even there, but in the church nursery. (Can I get a PRAISE JESUS for all the volunteers/workers in church nurseries?!? I don’t think they realize how BIG OF A DEAL they are. If there’s ever been a ministry to reach beyond it’s walls without even trying, it’s that one.)

Confession: I was slightly nervous to share too much about myself and my family with this new group. They all looked as if they had it together in the parental department, and there I was, struggling to not be sad ALL THE TIME (have I mentioned I was sad ALL THE TIME yet? Dang those hormones.) and just make it through each day keeping kids alive. Not to mention I probably still had baby spit-up in my hair and clothes…

As we began chatting and introducing ourselves, I found myself relaxing as our conversation seamlessly moved into stories and quirks about our husbands and kids. I relaxed enough to find myself telling (admitting?) a story about something dumb I’d done in my parenting that week. As the story fell from my mouth, I tensed, knowing judgement was sure to reign down. But instead, I heard this:

“Me too.”
METOO
~~~~~~~

Since that first day, I haven’t looked back. My postpartum depression began to subside, I felt energized, accepted, and above all – I knew I wasn’t alone.

I had my group… my “peeps,” if you will. People to vent with, to laugh with, and pray with.

moms
Photo by: Hope Wmn’s Ministry, Melissa Fagan

My {moms at hope} have become that lifesaver I desperately reached for, for so long, the one thrown out to me in the middle of the parenting storms. With them swimming alongside, somehow I know it’s okay.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 ESV)

We don’t see each other everyday, nor do we talk everyday. Many weeks, the only time we talk is during our Wednesday small group meeting.

But I know they’re there. And they’re going through this thing with me – stroke by stroke.

In this Pinterest driven world of overachieving bloggers, celebrity “hot” moms, and Facebook “Look-My-Life-Is-Perfect” status updates, our realities can become distorted.

Us moms? We need each other. In a genuine, messy, and very real way.

“That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:25-27 ESV)

It took me a long time to realize this. In fact, I didn’t realize it until I had it. (Hindsight’s 20/20, y’all.)

I don’t even think they know it, but my {moms at hope} saved me. And (selfishly) I hope I have helped one of them too.

Photo by: Hope Wmn’s Ministry, Melissa Fagan

 

IMG_3961
Photo by: Hope Wmn’s Ministry, Melissa Fagan

 

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5 thoughts on “my story: Kristin Funston

  1. thanks for sharing so honestly. love the part where you hid in the bathroom! I have done that too. For as talkative as I am I can still get social anxiety at times. I’m so glad that we have connected through Hope Moms even if we are in different stages. In fact, that gives me an idea for a blog post 🙂

    Like

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