A few thoughts.
I love to talk. Being vulnerable helps me heal. Sharing is caring after all, right?
Selfish. Ambitious. Choice. When did you become the judge?
10 years ago I wanted nothing more than a house full of my own children...but deep down I was scared. I come from divorce. I come from regret. I come from trial and MUCH error. Even though my biological clock was clearly ticking...could I possibly raise a human without completely ruining their soul??? What if I never found a man that I knew I could trust with the task of husband and father again? What if I never became a Mother, then who would I be? What if I never became anyone without kids??
These are all real questions I used to ask myself on a regular basis (some I still do...) Early on in my twenties I chose divorce over abuse and let me tell you...until recently in my early thirties...I truly believed I was being punished for that sin. My mind needed to have a reason I was seeing EVERYONE around me get exactly what I was praying for. (Even though I really had no idea what I wanted). So, it must be a punishment right??? Good grief. Jump to conclusions much?? I used to thrive on that game. Deciding what I wanted in life, and then coming up with EVERY reason that it just wouldn't happen for me. A lot of that was fear and I have addressed that in other parts of this story...however I would like to now share the part of my story that I never saw coming.
I always wanted kids...until I didn't. And before you stop reading, it's not that I don't really want them...it's that I don't like to feel like I am nothing without them. The world has a way of sneaking in the back door and stealing all of your joy as it relates to this issue...if you let it. So , here I am, 30 years old, child free and completely lost. For many different reasons...but not being a Mom is one of them. Remember all that needing to ask myself what "I really want" in the last chapter, boy did that go over well. (insert eye roll) There's something I learned in 2014-2015...it was the skill of looking inward for the truth. The thing about introspection is this...it sucks...at first. It's like a muscle and as long as you use it often it stays strong, but building that muscle in the beginning really sucked for me. It's really no fun to take full responsibility for your own happiness. The gurus describe it like it's easy...and that's just not true. Which is why many people never do it. I knew that freedom was on the other side of the introspection, so I began to climb the mountain. One fact that kept glaring me in the face was this...
I always thought I would have time with my Dad to one day reconnect, in a big way.
Full disclosure, I always thought that would happen when I had kids. At the time I began using that as a comfort, it seemed like it made sense. But it made as much sense as saying I would quit smoking when I had kids...none at all. Here I am, child free...Dad is gone and there is no time to make sense of this. I know I must move forward but how? Did I just keep telling myself that I wanted kids because I thought I should? Or that it would be the stage when I got my Dad back? Why am I all of the sudden feeling like children aren't in the future for me? Overwhelmed. I will have to unpack that at a later time.
The shame and guilt was consuming me. I had so much to be grateful for in life. A loving husband, full of grace for me...and great career, a new business that was thriving, new friends, and a place to start over where no one knew about my past. The perfect fresh start...turned into my worst nightmare.
I had coached families for years as a Nurse through death and dying. I was fully capable of understanding the stages of grief but the trouble was...this happened right in the middle of my fresh start. I was so angry that right in the middle of finally finding my way, it seemed as if I was taking 100 steps backwards. Losing him caught me completely off guard. I much preferred the space where we loved each other from a far, but he was still alive...a phone call away...These two years were very dark for me. I suffered every single stage of grief...multiple times. On the outside, absolutely no one knew it. But I was dying inside. Have you ever felt like you had every reason to be happy, but just couldn't find it. That light, that peace??? Me too. So, I started looking for it everywhere. Even though I no longer felt my biological clock ticking per say... I prayed everyday that I would get pregnant so I could find my joy again. I am so grateful God has bigger plans. Having a child in the state of mind I was in would have been...well the timing wasn't right. Period. I am thankful God didn't give into my selfish prayers. As if having children "fixes" anything. Unanswered prayers are full of grace that you can see...once you finally open your eyes. Sharing with you the reason I was praying for kids...just feels like something I must do. There is power in vulnerability and I just can't believe I am the only one that has prayed for something for selfish reasons. So here it is. My truth.
I would find happiness occasionally but then it would slip away again. I was functioning, but barely. My weight gain got out of control, no matter what I tried...my health was in the red and life just started to feel like a dead end road. Despite all the goodness I had around me. I was looking at it all wrong. I kept thinking that happiness was a destination. One that I could reach or earn. Simply not true. Can you relate?
The more I searched for my happiness in the world around me...the more empty I felt. What a roller coaster ride I was on and truthfully I was afraid to reach out to anyone. Comparison became my nemesis. It stole every ounce of my joy. Ever wonder how people who seem to "have it all" can still be so miserable??? I can tell you first hand, I lived it...and a major part of it was comparing my chapter 1 to others finished novel. Doing that wasted so much time. But in order to tell you my whole story...you have to know the truth. Through the grief of losing my Dad, I learned what depression is and how real it's effects are. I relate 100% to anyone who feels the stigma as well. And if you are reading this...and feel like you can't talk to anyone about how you feel...talk to me. I believe you. I know your pain and I am telling you, YOUR STORY IS NOT OVER!!! It's so important that you hear me when I say that. Reach out, anytime of day and I will help you look in the mirror and see how precious you are to the whole world. Especially the one directly around you.
I was praying for all the things I thought would bring me happiness...and maybe one day they will...but today is not that day...
6/20/2018 11:25:12 pm
It breaks my heart reading your back and forth struggle to make sense of everything. I can promise you having kids does not in any way help the relationship, it may be more damaging. Not only do you have to protect your own feelings but you have your kids to protect. Imagine standing in your kitchen and your 3 year old look up with beautiful eyes and ask why your dad runned away and we cannot see him....it’s a punch in the gut. You want to Scream at the top of your lungs.
6/20/2018 11:33:02 pm
Danielle, I love your heart. And I hate what you had to go through too. I’m so grateful for our bond...even though it’s rooted in pain. Best part is that as I tell this story...I’m years beyond this post. So much has changed and so much good has filled the gaps. I love you darling sister. You are a true inspiration to me. Always have been. Always will be.
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