he other night Chinua put the big kids to bed so that I could come up to the Big House to do some writing, and when I got up in the morning to get YaYa out of her crib, she was wearing this shirt. If you can't read it, it says, "I'm the Big Brother." When I looked at Chinua with a question in my eyes, he said, "I just thought it was funny." My superstar husband has a strange sense of humor.

We're doing okay. By okay I mean that I alternate between feeling like I can't do this at all, I'm going to go crazy and die (this being take care of these three little kids in our little cabin in the rain that pours down day after day without ceasing) and feeling like I am a superwoman, I can do anything, I'm so extremely ecstatic about life and yes I feel great. This type of flip flop is something I plan to work on in this Year of Freedom.

I'm not sure how much I've written about how I experienced fairly intense depressions after having Kid A and the YaYa Sister. From everything I've read, post-partum depression is something that is more likely to occur if you have a history of it, and mine have generally lasted the entire time I've breastfed my babies. I got pregnant with YaYa when Kid A was ten months old and still nursing, so there was no break there, and then, after weaning YaYa, I suddenly felt like myself again! The old Rae, the one who doesn't become overwhelmed easily, doesn't fall into despair over small things. I became pregnant with Leaf about two weeks later, and hormones once again flooded my life.

Looking into the coming year has had me feeling kinda scared to return to the way I felt after having both of my other kids. That's why I have been inspired to name it my Year of Freedom, thinking that maybe walking beside God through some of the battlefields of my mind will have me freer at the end. I've learned a few tricks since I had YaYa. Like not making my husband into the enemy in my mind. Or being silent when all that wants to come out of my mouth is a tirade of panic and distress. Or being more gentle with my kids when I am feeling particularly fragile. Or letting myself be loved by God when I feel the worst and hate myself for it.

So rather than being so extreme, in thinking that things will either be perfect or they'll fall apart, today I'll just say that my house is cluttered and my kids are joyful and my husband loves me and I have a headache and my baby is amazing and he slept well last night and I'm tired but happy and I forgot to brush my teeth this morning, and rain is good because it makes the crops grow but boy can it be depressing.