The first six months of my journey post diagnosis with Ava was full of grit & no grace for myself. It’s fascinating to me the ability a mother has to switch off her own needs in response to ensuring her child’s needs are met.
I couldn’t tell you what those first six months looked like fully because operating from a place of grit with no grace was like the highest form of operating from auto pilot. . Doing what needed to be done without fully being present in my own self to see how she (me) was really doing. Knowing what I know now I find myself wanting to ask her questions like
“I know your sole focus is to make sure your baby gets the resources she needs.. but you are one of the biggest needs she has.. have you taken time to just process this for yourself?”
“There’s emotions you have deep down that have just been shoved as far down as they could go.. but they aren’t something to be ashamed of, & in fact they are valid to feel... have you thought about allowing yourself the space to feel them, process them & release them?”
.. I mean I think about that young girl I was. I was 21 with no clue of really the magnitude of this journey. But the magnitude of love for my daughter... now, that I had an idea of.. it was the kind of love that said no matter what I’m going to give it my all for you. No matter what...
What I didn’t realize was the “no matter what” was me.
Loving her no matter if inside I was breaking..
loving her no matter if I was so unsure that the steps I was taking were the best ones.
Loving her no matter if I too had needs.. those weren’t important. Not like hers...
But I would tell her I know that love. It’s soo pure & selfless. & to be someone who would fully let go of their own needs abruptly for your child’s is truly remarkable... but...it wouldn’t actually be ever lasting in the ways she originally intended.
Pouring our everything into our child(ren) without meeting the grit we walk out in this journey with grace, is the fastest ticket to burnout, to major breakdowns & stripping away the highest value we originally had: To provide the best for our baby..
If we are one of our child’s greatest needs, if we want to give them the best in a world that so hasn’t be designed for them, then we have to live in the tension of grit & grace.
In grit where we know that doing those hard things refines us, strengthens us... equips us.
But in grace for moments to reflect, reset.. & begin accepting parts of this journey subconsciously we were really just running away from.
I think about that young girl 21, received her daughters diagnosis alone in an office... only to drop her baby off at grandmas to clock into work. . It breaks my heart to think that she didn’t even give herself space to process even just a little of what just happened.. to think that she felt the only thing she could do was just numb herself from the pain, the grief..from all of it. She was so worth showing up for too. Not just having to be this “strong” woman who braved face. .
You may be in the beginning of this journey, you may be years into it..& maybe you have been really good at meeting yourself in this journey in the tension of grit & grace..
But if you haven’t, I hope you know that meeting your needs doesn’t take away from the love & advocacy you’re pouring into your baby ... it strengthens it.