Sunday, June 12, 2011

An emotional War zone

We are living in an emotional war zone.

Definition: A person who is struggling through strong and intense emotions. While trying to cope and manage these emotion they also have to balance a relationship with another who is dealing with their own set of similarly complicated and forceful emotions. When a couple is unable to address or understand(or choose not to try) the other's state of emotion then the resulting mess is a war zone. Now there are two hurting, confused people who have no one to rely upon on. Typically these war zones are within marriages. And I would dare to assume that many broken hearts came from struggles that were not supported and protected by their significant other. If you can not trust your spouse with your deepest and most vulnerable thoughts and feelings then your intimacy levels will slowly break down. I can assume that most women who are married or have been married will agree with this statement. And even admit that it has happened to them. But I would like to be so bold to say that this is not just a "female" thing. Men also experience the disastrous effects of emotions that are not protected by their wives. Men, I know that you don't want to admit it, are vulnerable too. They may have a different vulnerability then women (women are MUCH more open about it). But it is there. Men struggle with thoughts of inadequacy just as much as anyone else. Men are afraid. The greatest difference is that they are not only not encouraged to admit it but also come equipped naturally with more pride. (Pride is not a bad thing, what would we do if our strong men did not have it? We would have a bunch of Nancy's on our hands. No winning wars and foraging for food would have happened)
So, two struggling people each not admitting the truth to the other. Or one is admitting the truth and the other is not trying to comfort them. There are a hundred reasons why someone would choose to not comfort their hurting counter-part but the main one is fear. How can someone comfort another successfully when they too are hurting? So their natural response is going to be to shrug off the other's hurt (perhaps even belittle it) so that they can stop thinking about their own. They are afraid of the hurt that they harbor in their own heart.
It honestly makes me cry. This kind of behavior ruins marriages. It ruins parent-child relationships. It crushes the very spirit of trust that we all long for. Each of us desperately wants to trust another. Trust allows us freedom from the fear of being rejected. We all know the feelings of rejection. Some of us have tried to become numb to that feeling. In doing so we stop trusting. Because every time you choose to trust someone you are giving them the opportunity to take the things that are most valuable to you and crush them...and even crush you. But when we are allowed to share our thoughts and feelings with another and they cherish them we are given such an amazing feeling of acceptance and comfort. We are validated as a person. We are valued and so are our struggles. Our relationships become stronger and more intimate...safer. What is safe? "Buttoned up, cherished, free from danger, guarded, home-free, intact,maintained, out of harms way, preserved, safeguarded, sheltered, shielded, unassailable, and unthreatened. " Does that not sound AWESOME! I would love to feel that way! Could you imagine what it would be like if you felt that way? Is this not what we strive for. We are constantly setting up our situations so that the outcome is "safe". This is what relationships are suppose to foster. But due to the sad state of our world many times relationships are viewed as a means to an end. There are things that are "wanted" and the we have to try to manipulate what we want from the other. Often times we try to manipulate the feeling of safety. We check our loved ones mail, e-mail, phone, ect...all to try to feel secure they are not cheating on us. We do chores for them in order to secure that they will stay with us or even as a trade so that they will do something for us. Like: I will do dishes so then my husband will have to take out the trash. Yet, all the while as we try to mold ourselves into a world that is secure we are actually doing the opposite. We are like the first two of the "three little pigs", building our house of straw and sticks; all the while knowing that the enemy is much stronger then some flimsy straw and damn sticks. We need bricks! Hard, strong, impenetrable bricks that are mortared together around us. Manipulation will result in a straw house...maybe a stick house depending upon the personality of your spouse or even how clever your manipulation skills are. But ultimately what you are putting your security in is not real. And there will come a day that your facade of security will be blown down around you. The only thing that will keep you from that devastating day is a house of brick. If you have ever seen a brick house being built you know that it is ALOT of work. Long hours, tired arms, and everything is brick at a time. Nothing can be "pre-assembled" because you need it to be perfectly straight. Everything has to be expertly placed. And if there is a brick that is not flush the integrity of the structure is compromised. So if one is wrong it has to be taken up and re-laid. Yet all of this work is highly valuable. Have you ever seen a city after a flood? Or even an earthquake? What buildings are still standing? Now there may have been some structural damage but the building is STILL standing. Don't you want to still be standing after a disaster in your life? Don't you want your relationship to be still standing after a crisis? Well, the only way to have that is to put in the work to make it. Brick by brick. Choosing to be vulnerable to them. Being willing to set aside your fear and experience their hurt with them. To offer them a safe place to be loved and accepted. To not over react when what they are struggling with has the potential to hurt you. OH and most of have to choose to let them do all this for you. You have to share your fears, hurts, worries, and deepest emotions. Because a two sided house may help against frontal attacks but does nothing when you are surprised by something coming from behind.

Where did this all come from, you may be curiously wondering. Well, this is round two for Matthew and I. We are having another baby. Due in 11 days. We lost our first. And feeling afraid is an understatement to what I am really feeling. On top of all the baby worries I am faced with the biggest fear...pain. How will I manage the pain? How will I make it through. The only way I did it last time was Matthew. He helped me make it. He kept me safe and focused. And now I have to trust that he will do that again. Did I mention that I am not so good at the "trust" thing? So we have been arguing about everything these last few weeks. The undercurrent of emotion is very strong right now. And I think that I argue with him to keep him at bay. Which is stupid because what I really need is him close to me. I think maybe I am seeing if he will all of a sudden meet my needs despite my arguing. My thoughts are: "well if he handles this situation right, then I know he will be their for me in labor." HAHA Can anyone say foolish. That is me trying to manipulate a response from him. What really needs to happen has nothing to do with Matt. It has to do with me. I have to choose to trust him. I can not expect him to prove himself before so then "I know" I will be taken care of. Damn. A few more days to choose trust and not fear. Oh, the fear will still be there (cause labor hurts like hell!) but I have to choose to know that Matt will be who I need him to be. But one thing that I do have going for the past. Matt was everything I needed last time I went through labor. So I am lucky here, I have some history that should give my trust a boost.

Hmmm... history. So we can build up a storehouse of trust to lean upon when we are in our deepest moments of fear. We can rely on the past actions of another to spur trust in the present.

I wonder...

I wonder what Samuel will look like?
Most people, when they have children, have memories of when their child was born that slowly fade. They are reminded of them when they look back at baby pictures. But their memories are not limited to their child's first days on earth. They get to watch them grow up. So along with the first memories they have a thousand more. On top of that they also see their child in the present. So if they do have another child the parents usually look back on old pictures to see if their children look alike in their infancy.

I have a different view. My only memories of my first son are when he was an infant. I have no other memories to distract my first ones. When I think of Joshua I see him as a little baby.
So the last few weeks I have been very curious what Samuel will look like. Will he look like Joshua? If he does, I will be able to see it right away. What if he looks completely different? I am nervously curious to find out.

I wonder what it will be like bringing Samuel home?
Now this question is more complicated. My paradigm ("a typical example or pattern of something: a model") of what it is like to have a baby is MUCH different then most people. Most people know that after you push out the baby you get to hold it and cuddle it. Then you feed and wash it. Then you take it home...of at least I assume that is what happens. I don't know because what happens when I have a baby is much different. When I have a baby the baby is set on my tummy for a second then whisked out of the room. I don't see the baby for a few hours and when I do he is hooked up to a dozen machines. I don't actually hold the baby til the third day when we take him off the machines. Then after holding him, I awkwardly put him back down and walk out of the room. What happens to him after that I can only assume. Then we leave the hospital. We go home empty handed.
Those are all the "physical" things that happen. The "emotion" things are much more intense. I sure in hell know the emotions of loosing a baby; but I have NO clue what so ever what it is like emotionally to keep one. What will that be like? I have heard so many people's personal stories of what it was like when they brought their babies home; but I can not help think that despite some of their similarities that my experience will be somewhat different. Or maybe not. I am about to find out I guess.
Pregnancy is kind of like deja vu; cause I know most of these feelings. And labor will probably have a similar aftertaste but what I am most interested in is what is will be like to keep a baby. Is my house ready? Am I missing anything? These are questions that I never had a chance to figure out last time. So in part this is kind of my first child because he will be the one who I experience all my "firsts" with. First bath, first tooth, first allnighter...

I wonder...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

2nd Birthday

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our first son Joshua's 2nd birthday. We do this a little different then most parents because our son is in heaven. We gathered some of our family for dinner. After dinner we all get a helium filled balloon and write our thoughts/nots/love to our son. Everyone gets a balloon. Then we send them up together to Heaven.

It was a hard day. My husband and I were laying in bed this morning thinking about last night. Talking about our son. Thinking back on the week we said hello and goodbye to him for the first time. I could see my husband being more "strong & silent type" trying to hold back tears. So I said what we were both thinking. "It is harder today then it was yesterday." He rolled over and put his hand on my belly. "But this," he kissed my tummy, "helps ease the pain."

Our second son is due in two+ weeks. And we are so thrilled. It has been an emotional journey but we are so blessed. We are proud of Joshua, and we are so excited to meet his little brother soon.