Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Opening the Floodgates

Over the course of my life, I have done various sessions of therapy and personal coaching, to help me work out both latent and active issues that I felt were sabotaging my success and happiness.  It was after a year of directed coaching with an amazing psychologist in Jerusalem that I could commit to bringing the person who was eventually Raphaela into the world.

The one problem I have always had with therapy is that even under the best circumstances, this digging and re-evaluation opens up wounds that then sit and fester, until the work to heal them is done.

This past week, I posted a spot-on article on my Facebook feed, which explained seven (out of the many) least helpful statements to say to an actual single mother, no matter how thoughtful the intentions.  To my surprise, it spurred a string of honest and often heart rending comments from several of my Jerusalem friends, also single mothers by choice.  I have always known any parent - and certainly a woman who has no family in the region and has chosen to parent alone - suffers through bouts of doubt, loneliness, anger and frustration.  In fact, in between the amazing and fulfilling moments, being a mother is hard and involves a tremendous amount of personal sacrifice.

But for the first time since Raphaela was born, I was hearing concrete and intense personal vulnerabilities from women whom I consider the bravest heroines I know; women whom you almost never hear complain about who we are and what we do every day for our children.  Their courage and openness gave me the strength to talk about events I have never spoken about to anyone, for fear of being accused of "having gotten myself into something that I cannot handle," and for fear of asking for help when I most truly needed it.

Here's the unfortunate outcome of this blessed event:  now, for the past few days, I am carrying around all these open wounds and real traumas that I have borne in silence for the last seven years, ever since I began fertility treatments. I find myself with much less patience for my life and my daughter, feeling trapped and somehow cheated,  and trying very hard not to take it out on Raphaela.  Because none of this is her fault and because we both deserve a life of positivity and joy.

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