We weren't planning to start a family when we did. In fact, we kind of stumbled into family life. He was in law school, and I was in nursing school. And although we knew we were good together, we certainly didn't anticipate marriage, a baby, two graduations, a board exam, and the bar exam- all within the span of a couple of months.
We were swirling around in big life changes and it was intense to say the least.
My world came crashing down when I discovered my husband had been silently struggling to keep up with all of this change- hiding in the throes of addiction. He self-medicated to the point of giving himself a Grand mal seizure two days after our first daughter was born.
And I had no clue. No clue he was suffering. No clue he was hiding.
I laid there with my newborn in my arms, post surgery, screaming for help as my husband thrashed on the hospital floor, turning blue. I remember so clearly looking down into my baby girl’s eyes, and in an instant I knew, "I've got to pull it together- for her." This was my initiation into motherhood- vulnerable, raw, terrifying- as birth and motherhood often is.
It was the most confusing and traumatic experience of my life. And the weeks, months, and years that follow continue to reveal to me my own fears that need to come out of the shadows and into the light.
I had the medical training, over a decade of holistic health education and experience, and a solid upbringing as a Christian. I also had a strong sense of how things ‘should’ be that created a lot of inner conflict and unrest. Yet there really is no substitute for walking our own path, and discovering our own truth in the messiness of real life.
Through our journey of healing as a family, I am discovering that I can be confident and calm as a mother, even amidst uncertainty. I am also imperfect, real, and human! I'm a lifelong learner and will always be on this path of self-discovery. Through our challenges and joys, I have found my inner wise woman and a resilience I could only have discovered by walking this path.
It feels like a deep coming home to myself - A rebirthing, an emergence, a shedding.
Today, shame has no hold on our family. Love and acceptance have opened the doors to our ongoing healing. I am no longer afraid to sit in the dark with myself and others because I know the light in each one of us is bigger- and there’s a lot to learn in the dark.