My FIL sent an email earlier this week on how joyful everything will be this weekend and it honestly made me a bit sick. Here they go again not acknowledging that we are also in the midst of pain. That while one side of the family is experiencing joy, the other is sad right now and we can't ignore it - and everyone should be sharing in all these feelings.
My husband really would rather I speak to them about all of this rather than send an email and suggested instead that I have a ready blog post! So, I'm sharing this here instead and hoping this leads to some good talking points for me this weekend:
B and I are looking forward to our visit and I appreciate all the thought that has gone into how to best support me/us during some of the weekend's festivities. I wanted to take a moment to try to express some things that we may hopefully get a chance to talk about but just in case we don't, you have an idea on where I'm coming from.
I know it can be really hard to understand what we're going through and I'm always open to talking about it and how to best support us, but just like any other experience in life, if we haven't been through it, it's hard to know what it's like. The easiest way to describe it is that pain is pain. We've all (unfortunately) had painful moments in our lives, so that is something we can all relate to, and probably easiest.
And while there's been a lot of sadness, it's not all doom and gloom in our household... B and I have felt closer than ever before and are so thankful for our strong marriage bond, we've been able to enjoy our nephews (and will enjoy another one in our midst as well!), I've had an amazing trip to India, we're both enjoying our jobs, etc, etc.
I think what helps the most is feeling like our pain is acknowledged. We talked about this at Thanksgiving and I wanted to revisit this. I've read recently that it's human nature to want to be heard. A parenting trick seems to often be to repeat what the child is saying so that they feel you are hearing them. As silly as it sounds, the same goes for me. It truly helps when people empathize and say 'that must be hard' or 'I'm sorry you're going through that'. By acknowledging my hurt, I feel heard and loved, and then feel I can go onto being able to more actively participate in 'normal' life activities. When I can't talk about my pain, when I'm not asked or when it's not acknowledged is when I start to feel like there's something wrong with me.
B may have shared with you this link for family and friend support from the Nat'l Infer.tility Association. It's extremely helpful in explaining a lot of what we go through and feel. It talks about family dynamics as well, particularly if another sibling is experiencing a pregnancy.
I am also sharing with you part of our pastor's weekly church email below where her words make me feel completely acknowledged and supported.
So in the midst of many, many joys this weekend including simply being together as a family, I hope there will be time to also acknowledge that there is pain going on in our midst as well. I love you all and can't wait to give you hugs. And all the best to K to wrap up her projects this week! I do know what that's like :)
Our Pastor's email:
We have many prayer concerns in our congregation, and I invite you to please join me in praying for the following people and needs:
- K still in the hospital with hopes of going home tomorrow.
- B will have surgery tomorrow morning at 8:30.
- R is waiting for additional news regarding her recent cancer diagnosis.
- M, B and ML are also facing health challenges.
- You are also invited to keep the women in our church who are struggling with infertility in your prayers. Mother's Day can add additional pain to what is already a painful place of emptiness.
- Finally, you are invited to please pray for the people of Alabama and others across the South who know too well the pain of violent storms. We'll be taking a special collection for the Uni.ted Meth.odist Com.mittee on Re.,ief, and you are invited to give. I'm also wondering if it is time that we respond with our bodies - that we go and help rebuild. Is this something you might be interested in doing? Please let me know.
I still can't help but feel that we are in enough pain already. Family (and friends) often say they love us and want to be supportive. So, then why does it seem so hard for some of them to do???
If I was getting what I needed from them, then I think this whole experience would feel completely differently for me. It just adds to my sadness that they are not there for me in the ways in which I need them to be.
Maybe talking it through this weekend will help? I'm not hopeful but willing to trust my husband and give it a try...