It’s 2013 and as I can cope with about the next 5 minutes at the moment it’s been hard to write anything here. It’s a weird world this place of new parenthood. It’s an unbelievably hard world and it’s a world where it is as tempting as ever to compare with others in the same boat, to find myself lacking and wonder each moment if I am doing the right thing for sonface (well he needed a nickname here right?). Once more I am faced with my perfectionist tendencies. Once more I feel like I have failed because I am unable to get my boy to nap on his own, to sleep through the night or to soothe himself when he wakes. Nevermind that whenever I smile at him he gives me big fat toothless grins, nevermind when he’s awake and not overtired he’s the most delightful small bundle of need I’ve ever come across. Nevermind the fact that we are all still alive, he’s healthy and engaged with the world around him. No, I look at what we have failed to achieve in 11 weeks and sigh. Nevermind that he’s really only 11 weeks old and can’t process this world around him fast enough. Nevermind that he has no idea what it really means to be tired, in pain, hungry and happy and really has only one way of telling me what’s going on for him.
It’s difficult to admit the hard stuff in this world. It’s hard to describe the all consuming landscape of this world. It’s hard to describe that the only conversation I seem to be able to have revolves around this small bundle of need who will not leave our lives. It’s hard to describe the crazy instinct that gets me out of bed each night when all I want to do is throw the covers back over my head and ignore him.
I once more find myself in a place of vulnerability and knowing the only way through that place is by admitting I need help. Once more I have trouble with that, we’re told over and over again that the best state of life for us is as independent people, the ultimate goal is to be self sufficient. I have no idea why this message is SO strong in my brain. I have no idea why I think I should be able to cope on my own all the time and if I can’t I have failed. Our sonface is after all part of a community here, I want to let others in and accept the help they want to give. I want to relinquish control, I want to know that my worth comes from a deeper source than whether I have helped our boy be happy and sleep well for an entire day. I want to know that it’s a good thing to accept help and that my identity is not found in how well I can help others. Watching Brene Brown’s excellent TED talk on vulnerability reminds me again that I need the courage to be vulnerable and not to be ashamed of all these crazy feelings inside me.
My Spiritual Director would look at me now and ask where is God in all of this? Right now I’m not sure. I am angry that this is so hard, I am fearful that others will think less of me if I can’t cope with this world. I am frightened that we’ve made a silly mistake and I am scared of the future. Partly these feelings are healed by our boy drinking deep from me and gazing with joy into my eyes. Partly I know that this too will pass. Partly I know that I need to ask God for help, rather than get angry because he doesn’t seem to install a magic sleep button on my boy. (seriously, what’s the point of an all powerful God if he can’t do this?) My worth comes from a much much deeper place than my assessment of how I’m doing (I’m always a harder taskmaster on me than anyone else). My worth comes from a God who loves me deep, long and wide. Who never gives up on me and who loves and provides for me when I am just a screaming bundle of need.
Once more I find myself in the needing help vulnerable corner of this life. It’s not a pleasant place to be as my pride hates asking for help. I hate the feeling of not being able to cope but somewhere in me I know it is a Good Thing as it leads to letting others help and give to me. This place is a raw place where I learn again that identity, worth and value come not from what I do or achieve but from the One who loves me with an everlasting love.