The feeling is coming back in my stomach. Pain has followed. I think its nerve pain-it is a burning sensation, kind of a “pins and needles” feeling so to speak. Most of the time it’s tolerable, but some of the time it gets pretty bad. On one occasion the pain got pretty intense and I began to get upset. Jon looked at me sympathetically and said the following words “Beth, hurtin’ is healing”. He’s not wrong. The more my stomach “wakes up”, the more I feel. The more I feel, the more I hurt. The more I hurt, the more I heal. In this case, hurting is a sign of healing.
I met with my counselor today. Not the one I met with for birth trauma but the one I saw before everything happened. I knew I needed to see her. My anxiety has been elevated the past two weeks. But I didn’t know why until I got there and began to speak. That’s how it usually goes for me.
I found myself tearing up as I told her about my audition for Grease a few weeks prior. (For those that don’t know, I grew up super involved in the arts and have always had a love for theatre and decided to audition for a local production of Grease) The group I auditioned with was kind-the directors were amazing-the talent was overwhelming-and yet, I have never felt so exposed in my life. Standing next to so many young, talented, healthy kids only exemplified the fact that I was no longer any of those things in the grand scheme of life. Instead of making me feel energized and “alive” like I had hoped and dreamed it would, I felt unprepared, overwhelmed and inadequate. Reality hit me like a ton of bricks that I wasn’t healed like I thought it was….not yet. And likely, no matter how hard I worked going forward, I was never going to be 17 again. I don’t sing for hours every day. I have had three babies and major surgery (just two months prior) and physically, I just don’t have the stamina I used to. Worse than that, I don’t have the drive that I used to. I have a life. I am a mom and a wife and dedicating myself to the work that it would require to even remotely hold my own in the talent pool that stood in the callback auditions, honestly, just didn’t even seem appealing. And the realization of all of that…well…it made me cry. I left the audition and sobbed as I drove down Main Street.
I didn’t make the show-which isn’t what crushed me-it was the realization that I am not the same. I’m not the same as I was before surgery. And I’m not the same as I was 10 years ago. I’ve lived a lot of life since the last time I was on the stage and I have the scars to prove it. I see them-and feel them-every single day. And that is a hard pill to swallow.
I don’t know what I was chasing when I made my mind up to audition for Grease. But I was hoping with the audition would come a sense of purpose. As a mom, I feel really guilty in saying that my children alone do not fulfill me completely. Don’t get me wrong-I LOVE being a stay-at-home-mom in this season and I am grateful for the opportunity to raise three wonderful boys. But if I said that all of my joy and reason for living was wrapped up in them and only them….I would be lying. I didn’t realize that until today. And I never ever said it out loud. I also didn’t realize until today that my sole “purpose” in life for the past five years has been childbearing. Since 2016, I have either actively tried to get pregnant or I have been pregnant. When I miscarried, and that ability was threatened, it became my only focus. I bought a pregnancy test every single month. Even after the twins were born, and we weren’t “trying”, every single month I bought a test and hoped with everything in me that I would see two pink lines. My purpose was found in my ability to bear life. And now, that ability is gone.
Up until today, I have tried to ignore the fact that I had a hysterectomy. I knew I didn’t want any more children before we found out about the percreta, so the hysterectomy wasn’t my “top” concern. However, I didn’t realize how much having the ability to have children meant to me until recently. Not because I want more (Banks has colic and it might kill me) but because much like in the audition, I have had the realization, I’m not the same. And the ability I once had isn’t coming back. And that hurts.
I looked at my counselor today and said “Well, what now?”. My ability to have children is gone. The percreta situation is over. Jon has gone back to work. My boys are growing every single day and there’s no way to stop it. And though I know God doesn’t waste a single thing….I feel a little lost in the shuffle right now.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Trouble is, I don’t know what those desires are anymore. My “happily ever after” came true. And yet, here I am, wondering what’s next. I knew in the hospital Jesus didn’t just fight for my life so that my husband could have a wife…or that my children could have a mother…so that I could do the laundry and wash the bottles. Though I delight in doing all of those things and being all of those things, I know that in that super scary time, Jesus fought for me because he loves the crazy, passionate dreaming girl he created me to be. And I know he has something planned for me. I just don’t know that something right now.
So in the meantime, I’m waiting. And feeling. And grieving. And, well, hurting. But I guess even though it doesn’t feel like it, Jon was right…. maybe hurting, in this case, is healing.
(P.S. Please be mindful in your comments on this post that I am still processing a really traumatic event and I have every right to feel what I feel and process how I need to process. It doesn’t have to fit in a Sunday School box or be tied up in a bow right now. I’m grateful to have an avenue to be authentic in processing this journey with others, but any insensitive comment will be deleted. A lot of women facing infertility, miscarriage and other reproductive challenges read your words when you leave them on this page. Please be mindful of that. XO-B)
Image by Chesley Summar Photography