Monday, July 20, 2009

hiding from myself- a digital diary entry.

sometimes i stop writing because i have nothing to say. or because i think no one wants to hear what i have to say. other times, like the last three months, i stop because i don't want to know what i have to say. i don't want to open myself up to my own thoughts. i'd rather ignore myself, as much as is possible.

i'm still in that mode...there has been a lot of life lately. the kind that is miserable and heartbreaking at the time, and absolutely necessary once you're down the road a bit and can look back. i hate where things are right now. but i hate it with hope, if that makes sense. (the WONDERFUL news in the midst of all this is that none of the misery has anything to do with kaia's health. we haven't been to the ER since May, which is BY FAR the longest stretch of health she's ever had in her nearly two years of living. PRAISE GOD.)

anyway, i'm being vague on purpose. don't intend to go any further in. except for this one thing:

several people have said the same thing to me recently, something that is without meaning or mal intention to the sayer, but that is deeply painful to me, though i can't quite explain WHY.

we're the first of our close friends to have kids. we have friends who want kids, friends who haven't decided whether or not kids are "for them" and friends who have tried and struggled and are now begining to look into adoption.

in the last few weeks, friends from each of these categories have commented (at separate times/occassions etc) that having seen ben and i have kaia has either confirmed their desire to NOT have kids, or has caused them to realize that maybe they don't want kids as soon as they thought, or maybe they wouldn't be so upset if they never had kids at all.

i know they are not saying that i'm a bad mother, or that kaia is a horrible child. i know that it most likely because the reality of our situation has been quite different then the rose colored glasses people tend to view parenting through prior to having their own children. i know that our parenting experience so far has not been anywhere near "the norm." most people aren't in the ER all the time. most people don't have to hear words like "epilepsy" "immune disorder" and "cancer" pertaining to their tiny child. most people don't have to hold their sweet baby down while needles and tubes violate their innocent little body. most people have family that will come, do dishes, take night shifts, let you leave the hospital for awhile.

and most people, i've found, aren't too open about how hard even the "regular" parenting stuff can some days it just plain sucks. what you'll mostly hear is that parenting is "the greatest thing i've ever done" and that people "can't imagine life before the baby."

so it's no surprise to me that the level of transparency i chose to live in has provided the people around me with a different perspective. that it has caused them to wonder, to worry WHAT IF their kid wasn't "normal" either? to have a greater appreciation for adequate sleep, alone time with their spouse, the absence of astronomical medical bills, the good feelings that accompany professional success, the pleasure that can come with a two-income household. our friends are more grateful for their spontaneous weekend ventures.

i guess i have at least some sense as to why these things are being said to me. what i can't figure out is why it HURTS me so much to hear?? partially because i worry that my friends may decide that the risk of having MY parenting experience is too great...much greater than the joy and satisfaction that most people experience in their children. like, what if i'm scaring people away from something they've always wanted? what if people miss out on a wonderful part of life because they don't want to live like i do? i know this is a large part of why it hurts to hear.

but there's something else, something that feels DEEPER and more painful about it. something that i can only identify in my gut and not find the words for. i've been sitting here, hands on the keyboard, waiting for the understanding to come for 45 minutes now...and i've still got nothing. does it cause me to feel even more lonely and isolated? do i want to pretend that i'm not missing out on as much of "the good life" as may be the case? have i done something wrong in all of this? should i have kept it all to myself and maintained this ridiculous myth that parenting is all rainbows and butterfly kisses? maybe it causes me to face my supressed emotions of anger and confusion and resentment of our circumstances? that God would go out of his way to create a miracle in my belly that was never supposed to exist...only to have the miracle be so scary and difficult and lonely and always seemingly at risk of vanishing.

all things considered, i've thought i have done a decent job of weathering it all. of having at least some balance of joy. to not be consumed by it all, to be able to continue to function as at least a close version of myself. so maybe it hurts because i've been kidding myself? that the thought of living a life like mine is THAT horrible sounding to someone else?

now i'm going in circles.

to be clear, THIS IS NOT INTENDED AS A PITY PARTY, OR A SOLLICITATION FOR SYMPATHY. honestly, it's just easier to type it all than to try to write it in some sort of diary.

also, what am i supposed to say in response to such commentary from friends? do i apologize? do i try to convince them otherwise, to promise that their experience as parents would surely be much more simple and delightful? i just don't know how to feel about it, what to say. maybe i just wish there weren't constant reminders that this is not what we signed up for, that we never pictured our lives in this way...that we've struggled to understand or to reconcile all of it. sometimes i'd just like to be BREANNA...a grown up, a girl. a short vacation from all the other titles, all the "how's she doing?" questions. the looks that obviously scream "i'm so glad it's you and not me." the critical and judgemental looks about our decisions. the insincere "if there's anything i can do..." to just BE. to have a day of not being afraid, of wondering what's next, of pleading with God for a break, a quick respite.

writing this has reaffirmed my decision to NOT write. as much as i obviously needed to get it out of much as it's a partial relief to have said it...mostly i wish i wouldn't have acknowledged it at all.

(these are the days it hurts most that there's no family to one to come and parent ME for a few minutes. the times when i go back to the same old stuff with God. stuff that should've been worked out by now. stuff that seems as if it may never get worked out after all. these days i wish for a daddy of my own.)


Brandi said...

Your words are honest, sincere, and brought tears to my eyes. Never stop writing. Forget the audience and write for yourself. Someone out there feels the same way as you and wants to feel "normal" too. Parenthood is hard, especially if your child has problems/illness. That doesn't mean it's not worth it. Keep your head up. You're helping people more than you know by just putting your emotions out there. It's ok to feel alone and scared. Just my opinion.

Florence said...

I enjoyed your post and it too brought tears to my eyes. Parenting - whether or not your child has an illness - is a difficult job. It is a "job"...and a FT one at that. Everyone has to make the decision for themselves whether or not it is for them. To those who choose to accept the challenge come sacrifice and rewards. You should not feel responsible in any way if someone looks at your situation or parenting style and says "now I don't want to have children". Hugs to you...

rebecca marie said...

just know this, friend... for everyone who says "huh... you've scared me off," there is someone like me who is looking at your experience, your lack of sleep, your medical bills and SCREAMING from her heart, "God, just give me ONE MORE BABY to mother... i can DO it! i have the strength for ANY challenge that baby may have!"

i am incredibly blessed, parenting has been easy for me. i would go back to the sleep deprivation, the bleeding nipples, the diagnosis of complete deafness (that was overcome with a miracle of healing), i could go on and on and on listing challenges but i don't want to make this about me...

i'm struggling to make the point that for some of us, when we say parenting was easy, we don't mean to lie or withhold information. for me at least... i'm just far enough past that point that i would, without a second's regret, give up all of my earthly possesions to go back and hold my babies, as babies, just ONE MORE TIME.

i promise, this too shall pass. i promise promise promise.

and one more thing? call them on it. when someone says THAT THING, say to them, right back... "do you honestly think *i* signed up for *this*?" it's like with my miscarriage and impending hysterectomy. if i have to hear "everything happens for a reason" one more time, i'll punch someone in the friggin' face. when you're living and breathing a difficult situation, you realize just how callously people throw out words.

breanna said...

RM: I was actually thinking about you a lot while writing the post, realizing you'd love to sit with holden in an er or feel isolated with just the two of you. you'd love my particular story over yours. I thought about the friends that want children and CAN'T, and how that used to be me. I thought so much of you that I nearly didn't write the post at all for fear of seeming ungrateful and ignorant. then I remembered that WE have a grownup friendship, the kind where I knew you wouldn't take it personally or be offended or negate my feelings about it all. and I'm really blessed that you responded in precisely that way. thank you for that.

I definitely hear what you're saying; the things that feel huge and awful an permanent right now are actually fleeting, and the small things I can enjoy now become the lasting memories ofthis season in my life. I think God clearly designed this stuff intentionally!

Nishant said...

You're helping people more than you know by just putting your emotions out there. It's ok to feel alone and scared. Just my opinion.
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