For as long as I can remember, I have been very guarded with my feelings. I don't like sharing, even with close friends and family, even with my husband, because it makes me feel vulnerable and unprotected. It opens me up, to judgement, to hurt, to abandonment. Likely, this stems back to when my mom was sick with cancer, before she passed away. I can remember going to visit my mom when she was in the hospital, in a coma, and I couldn't even form the words to tell her I loved her. I didn't want the others in the room, even my dad and sister, knowing how much I was hurting. It never occurred to me that they were feeling the same way. I only felt how visible I was to them, how on display my pain and feelings were. My dad didn't really open up with us about how he was feeling when she was sick, and actually neither did she. They both put on a brave face and tried to go about life as if all was well, and would be well forever. It wasn't until the night before my mom died that my dad had a heart to heart and finally broke down and cried. That was the first moment I realized she might not come home. She passed the next morning before I woke up.
Since then, I've walked a fine line between TMI and hiding my feelings. When it comes to vulnerability, I keep things close to my heart. When it comes to facts and figures, I'll tell you just about anything you might want to, or not want to know. I think that's my way of balancing my difficulty with sharing my emotions. If I tell you all there is to know about certain aspects of my life, maybe you won't realize what's truly hiding underneath. And then there are those times when things come to a boiling point and all the feelings just come spilling out in a volcanic eruption that I can't control. Those times are significantly fewer now that I've started to heal from my past, but they do still happen from time to time.
The problem, though, with this balancing act is that it does not lend itself well to deep intimate connection with other humans. It leaves a person (me) feeling closed off and distant, never really know. Safe, yes, but not secure. And not with the absence of pain, which was the original goal. Because as humans, we are designed to live life in community with others. We are designed for those deep intimate connections. We only truly thrive when we feel known and loved, in spite of and because of our flaws.
There's a secret I've been hiding, and deep desire tucked in the depths of my heart. I only realized it was truly there yesterday. I was lying to myself in case it didn't happen. Lying to others so they wouldn't see the pain of an unrealized dream. Now that I know it's there, now that I've shared it with my husband, it's time to share it with you too. I want another baby.
My first-born is 7 years old. I'm almost 40. My husband isn't too far behind. It makes no sense for us to have a new baby at this age. And yet, the desire is there. We've been trying for 15 months with no luck. I don't want to tell you that because I don't want you to see the failure of my body, the failure of me. We had no trouble conceiving our son. But I'm older now. I'm in better health, but I'm older. Will I ever get pregnant? I feel like the clock is ticking as each month passes. Every month that passes by is incredibly disappointing and painful. But I don't want you to see my hurt. I don't want you to see my failure.
The thing about keeping things secret though, is that it doesn't make them not true. It just alienates you from those who can help you wade through the muck of yucky feelings. And it also means that you aren't helping others to feel less alone either. So today, I am choosing to come out of the darkness and show you my pain, in hopes that it can help you to feel less alone too.
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