2017, I’m ready for you.

I’m not sure how to begin this one, or even what exactly I want to say. There is so much I feel like pouring out and I’m not sure how to organize the thoughts into something comprehensive or even make sure they all connect. I’ll just start at the beginning and hope it comes around.

I’ve been quiet on my blog, begging Andy to keep paying the fee for the name even though I wasn’t writing. I just felt like what I was going through was too raw. I wanted this to be a fun “diary” of the first year of my baby. Writing down fun days we spent, things we did, milestones she reached and everything else so I could always remember them and possibly make someone else laugh who was going through the same thing. But the first year was so much harder than I planned, my emotions were so much deeper than I thought possible and my marriage went into the darkest days it had ever been…making me want to close up and stay quiet rather than share.
After counseling for both my husband and myself, some medicine and some prayer, I am slowly coming around into the person I was. I thought about writing about my battle with postpartum depression. But there is a lot of that out there. And every single battle is so different. All I will say is, get help, professional help. Don’t stop fighting for yourself. You owe it to your spouse, your children and your family to fight for what you need.
So as the new year is around the corner I have had a lot on my mind. It’s a special time in my relationship as it is our anniversary. Four short years we’ve been married and I feel like we’ve already been through some tough spots. I know more will come but I am proud of both of us for continually searching to be better. We both want to be better spouses to each other and better parents to our daughter. For that I am thankful and proud. Most of the time however I see the new year as just another day, a change in the date when you write checks, or a busy time at work. This year feels different though in a really good way.
I don’t know if it’s the battles we have fought as a family as well as my personal ones, or watching my daughter grow and learn so fast as she reaches this big milestone of turning one. But I feel it in my gut…the change.
I want to talk about that. I want to remember this feeling. I want to look back at this post years from now and still see it as a turning point. I want to encourage others to start fresh, new, set goals, achieve them and be the change they want to see in their families and ultimately, this world.
My sister was just home for the holiday and during one of our treasured talks in peace and quiet we began discussing the difference in giving and sacrifice. In my family we are raised to be givers. Out in the world we are often taught it’s better to give than to receive. But what does that really mean? And how can we be better?
You see, I look at giving as giving someone something you don’t need, something you may have extra of. Don’t need those baby clothes anymore and give them to someone expecting? That’s nice. That’s giving. Don’t have plans for all of that holiday bonus money you didn’t expect to receive and decide to buy something for a child in need? That’s touching. That’s giving. Have some free time and spend it volunteering or helping someone move or just keeping someone company? That’s thoughtful. That’s giving.
But I want to be a sacrificer. I think a lot of moms are programmed to be just that. See I consider sacrifice to be when you give what you DO NOT have. When you give until it hurts. When you have to go WITHOUT so that somebody else can have. That is sacrifice. I don’t mean to disregard dads here. I know there are many of you out there who already sacrifice as well. As a parent, sacrifice seems natural. Only bought two pieces of pizza at the very busy play place and your child wants more? You give yours and go a little hungry. That’s sacrifice. And we do it without thinking. Or that special something your kid wanted for Christmas and you missed out on plans, maybe worked extra, or went without something for yourself to make sure they had it? That’s sacrifice. But what about the bigger picture? How many of us can sacrifice outside of our family? What about giving money when you don’t always have it? What about changing your schedule and missing out on something to spend a few hours with someone incredibly lonely? What about giving up fun plans to stay in so your spouse can go have fun? Or the dreaded giving up of sleep you need so your spouse can have more? What about missing plans to offer to baby sit so a couple you know can have some treasured alone time? What about making time for your church or volunteering when that means you give up your one day off? These are what I believe are sacrifices and in my personal opinion, they warrant the best feelings. But it’s hard most of the time. It’s hard to give up what we think we need or have to do to help someone else. But I really believe this is where you start to see the change.
I am working on being a better sacrificer. Working on doing things for Andy that I don’t always feel like he “deserves”. But I can already feel the change. When I do something unexpected, something he knows “cost” me something…time, money, sleep…he feels so special. And in turn is driven to be a better spouse, dad and all around happier man. My next step is to start sacrificing for myself. Giving up sleep to get in the physical shape I want to be in to do things with my daughter and be the mom I want to be. After that gets underway I want to step outside of my house and begin to sacrifice for those around me. Miss out on plans to help someone cover a shift at work. Give money I thought we needed to my church where I am constantly seeing them change this community for the better. Lose time to myself that I thought I could never give up to reach out and repair relationships I’ve lost this year. I want to sacrifice. Not just give. I believe my family will be better off for it. I believe I’ll be a better wife, mom and daughter. I believe I’ll start to feel more fulfillment and feel stronger about returning to my old self.
I’m looking forward to this new year. I truly feel like it’s a turning of a page. A new chapter in my life. I know that the road ahead is not paved smoothly. I know that there will be many times I will feel like quitting and going back into my dark hole of my own thoughts and regressing into my own home not wanting to leave. But I believe that I will always choose to get back up again, get dressed, put my big girl pants on and be the wife and mom I was put on this earth to be. I hope and pray for everyone in my family, for my friends near and far, for anyone who reads this, and everyone who doesn’t….that 2017 will be the year they have been waiting for. The year of change, and sacrifice. A new beginning. Because if I have learned anything this year, it’s that it is never to late to start over.

Article by Brenna Cudzilo

Wife and world record holder of wing-sauce ordered with food not comprised of the words "wings, boneless, buffalo, et al.".


  1. Love you, Brenna. So glad you took the time to write. It is always enlightening, gives cause for pause and thought of what things can be done-like you so graciously wrote about-to be the best of our self. You are an awesome lady, loving and caring. I often see you putting yourself on the back burner to be there for your family, friends and even strangers in need. So glad you are learning the sage wisdom of making sure that your name is written on the list of those you love and take care of! God Bless and Happy New Year to you all.

  2. To my daughter! Sometimes I have to admit I can be scared before reading your blogs! Never sure which part of your life or soul you are going to put into words! Then I read and find once again, how so very proud I am to call you my daughter! Sometimes you amaze me how you seem wiser than your age! Looking forward to this great year! A year of change! Love you

  3. Dear sister, we’ll said. You’ve hit so many thoughts and emotions I remember thinking and feeling post baby. Agreed. Yet, what I found difficult to find is that I have to take care of myself first before I can offer my whole self to others. Still learning this, but one that mom’s try to a achieve. Well said dear sister. Much love and keep reflecting. Love you

  4. Brenna what a wonderful blog! You’ve put into words what so many new moms have felt and gone through… gone through…gone through. Notice it’s done, you’ve gone through! Years ago I wish someone would of told me to get help, reach out, and talk to someone like your amazing sister and family and a counselor. You have always been the most giving and caring person. Give yourself more credit, keep your smile, sacrifice for you husband and baby first. (You can’t give to others till you have a strong foundation at home. Someday I’ll tell you a story about that.) Don’t forget to give time to God…call on him in times of trouble… he’s always thereā¤ Love You

    1. Thank you so much for this! It is certainly a work in progress but I’m ready for the next chapter. You’re support and encouragement means the world to me! Love you!

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