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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Paths (05/17/04)

TITLE: Her Traveling Partner
By Joanne Malley


Her Traveling Partner
by Joanne Malley

Jaclyn and her husband, Scott discovered they would soon experience the gift of parenthood. The feelings they felt were those of extreme joy and obviously impending anxiety as the months passed by.

Regardless of her concerns, she was elated. She couldn't believe how emotionally wonderful she felt; how extremely happy she was. It was almost as if she temporarily stepped into someone else's body who knew total peace and contentment, for those feelings were not so common for her.

Clouds of despair and anxiety followed her many days of her life since childhood and the periods in which she traveled the dark lonely roads were so scary. Jaclyn was given many paths to take and didn't ever know where she would find herself at the end. She required all the strength and faith she could muster to get to the destination unscathed.

Thankfully, this path of being pregnant was truly an easy blessed one to follow. All of those scary feelings and dark alleys were a thing of the past. She could finally travel with ease and without the heavy luggage that she was accustomed to at times. I guess you could say she traded it in for a large, heavy belly pack that produced no burden at all!

The nine months seemed to fly by and the daydreams of motherhood were always happy and pleasant. Jaclyn envisioned that the day she would greet her newborn would bring such joy. Oddly enough, it brought those familiar feelings of gloom and fear. How could this be? She had felt so wonderful this whole time.

As she sunk to the lowest depths of despair, she asked God why he was allowing this to happen during what is supposed to be one of the happiest time of a woman's life. She was saddened at her own thoughts of being angry at Him and saddened that she wasn't feeling like the mom she had hoped to be.

Arrival at home with the baby was terrifying and she felt detached and all alone. She wanted to escape from herself and sadly enough from her baby too. Just holding the baby sent jolts of anxiety and the scariest sadness. It just didn't make sense. The guilt it harbored within her was enough to send her to the darkest place she'd ever seen.

Jaclyn felt cheated and confused for she remembered the poem of the man on the beach. The words rang out in her heart and she recalled a verse which stated, "Lord you said that once I decided to follow You, You'd walk with me all the way. But, I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me." She felt so much like the lonely man on the beach.

Her frightening path of post-partum depression was one she would surely like to forget. The road was long, with enough unpleasant memories that have been engrained to last a lifetime. These memories do, however, also remind her of God's love, the gift of perseverence and the inner strength that he gave her.

With each scary road she traveled, she picked up valuable character building pieces that God must have left for her to find. Thank goodness he did, for it brought her to a place of strength and courage which she needed to survive. Perhaps, as time goes on, even more of the sadness, guilt and anxiety of the experience will be wiped away because of his love.

At the time, she couldn't realize that God allowed her the painful experiences for a very good reason. She may have felt alone, but now realizes that she was certainly accompanied by the Lord who was her partner and guide for her entire trip. He delivered her to the destination with more hope, more faith and more understanding than she thought she would ever see.

Most importantly, Jaclyn now knows that even though the path may be painful, the pain can produce joy at the end of the road. And, there is no better joy than the joy experienced after realizing you walked all the way with the best traveling partner there is.

Member Comments
Member Date
Patrick Whalen05/24/04
I believe many of us experience the same private trials and tribulations that Jaclyn has known.

3 of 5
X – “…the happiest time…” should be “…the happiest times…” also perseverence should be perseverance
* - On topic
* - Acceptable form
X – Could have used condensing
* - In its present state was not all that entertaining but with some work I believe it very well could be
Leticia Caroccio05/24/04
Your final paragraph was the most powerful. True joy is experienced when you know that Jesus is your traveling partner. I also think that, going along the same lines, to experience true joy you must experience being in the valley. Thank you for your article. Nicely done.
Your story was a heart-felt one that i'm sure many can relate to, but are afraid to share.
L.M. Lee05/24/04
Liked the way you tied wonder to fear and how so many times when God gives us His best...it is a little scary.
Lynne Gaunt05/24/04
You did an excellent job describing how this woman felt during her depression. Maybe it should be told in the first person, or with dialog, I would have liked to hear this woman's voice.
Deborah Porter 05/26/04
Oh Joanne, this will touch a chord with more than a few readers. Just a thought on a sentence in the fifth paragraph, "Oddly enough, it brought those familiar feelings of gloom and fear." This actually left me a little confused for a moment. I was still thinking that you were referring to before the baby was born. It may have been a little clearer as, "Oddly enough, when the big day finally arrived, it brought with it those familiar feelings of gloom and fear." Minor thing though. Have to agreen with Lynne's comment that I would have actually liked it more in the first person as it's such an intimately personal issue and I think it lost a little of that intimacy through a narrator. But your inspiration for this for the topic of "paths" was very good. With love, Deb
gillian liversedge05/26/04
I loved this sentence-
With each scary road she traveled, she picked up valuable character building pieces that God must have left for her to find. Brilliant!
Marcell Billinghurst05/26/04
A good story about the feelings experienced by those suffering from depression, self doubts and approaching mother hood and also the fears and feelings some new mums go through. I have to agree it would have been better if it had all been written in the first person to show how she was able to work through it and gain healing.
Dan Blankenship 05/29/04
Good job! But I think this would have even been better told in the first-person. It would have made the struggle more personal. Just my thoughts. :-)

God Bless.