I don't prefer to be vulnerable. I don't like to appear "weak". Sit down with me and I will rationally discuss my feelings and my faults - but those deep raw emotions that make me human will mostly be hidden from view. Usually, I think before I feel. But, life has a way of outing us; sometimes gently like a flower unfolding to the sun, and sometimes forcefully like an ocean wave pulling the sands out to sea. As I get older, I am learning that my strength is not in looking poised and put-together, but in letting others see the struggle. Opening up, becoming raw, being vulnerable - this is the place where the self can become free because it has let others be a part of the journey. The other macho stuff - it's just crap.
This is my fourth postpartum journey. I am deeply grateful that I've had good pregnancies, wonderful deliveries, and contented newborns. But in this moment, all those hormones that grew a human inside of me have done back-flips and there's no ignoring the rainbow of emotions that are coursing through my being, changing at will, and leaking out my eyeballs without reason (or permission!). In pursuit of inner honesty, peace, and growth, I am going to let you in on this journey and perhaps you who have, are, or will walk this path will find encouragement.
Loneliness. There is a deep and piercing lonelines that fills the first few weeks after I give birth. It seeps into the quiet moments, the night wakings, the busyness of mealtime prep, even my beloved showers. It's not that type of loneliness that brings tears (though those abound), but it has this aching longing for something or someone. It is frightened of change and even more terrified of static. It is somewhat directionless and more often than not, lacks an object. Words elude it, like it doesn't want to be described. And for me, things that I can't find words for feel like a trapped flock of birds inside and cause a restlessness reminiscent of that pesky restless leg syndrome I get during pregnancy. I feel empty in my depths.
Today I have paused and found a mindful place to simply feel this loneliness. Not to fight it, just to let it saturate. Slowly, I have searched it out. I have followed it to the corners of myself and discovered something. In the past, I have been afraid of this loneliness and my fear of it has paralyzed me. I've stuffed it and let time pass, and eventually, it would fade as life resumed itself. But this time, I am feeling it and embracing what comes. What I have unearthed is priceless to me. This loneliness is normal and natural and very very good because:
For nine months, I have nourished and nurtured and protected and guarded another human being - the body, soul, and mind of a PERSON. I have undergone the discomforts of pregnancy because the preciousness of this life was greater and more important than my temporal comfort. I have LOVED what I hadn't seen and received the love and trust of this small person inside. The loneliness comes because this human that grew inside of me is a separate SELF from me. The exchange of energy and love was perfect and whole because this separate self was breathed from the Divine and given a LIFE of her own. And now, so suddenly, she is outside of me and it makes my insides ache with the most beautiful loneliness I could ever imagine.
I have come to a place where I can HONOR this loneliness in its painful depths because it reveals something that is MARVELOUS about my inner self.
So now, as I find some words and as tears flow, I find my mother was right when she told me not to fight the hormones, "feel and let them run their course". Wise words from a woman who walked this mothering path with joy six times over. My journey is not over and as I heed my mother's advice and feel all the feels, perhaps I will discover more truth to share with you. For now, I give thanks for the depths.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."