I just recently started taking sleep aids. Insomnia has never been much of an issue for me since I have been awesome at sleeping at any time of the day since High School. People have recommended them often over the last seven months although I resisted since I have been dealing with all this since bringing my newborn home and it just felt more exhausting than anything to deal with a baby in the night through the fog of misery and sleeping pills. Lately, Sis has been sleeping a little more and I have settled gratefully into the Ambien habit. It has been nice to have one thing that is not such a struggle. I have to be careful to stay busy until I take it though, so I can let it hit me and then crash. If I let myself lay there and think about things I start to cry and crying just works me up. Crying always leads to prayer and a plea for calm and peace and I am generally blessed with enough to stop the tears. Not quite enough to stop thinking entirely and sleep though and it is ultimately hours before I can drift off. Fortunately these nights have been rare. If I am diligent, I can usually avoid them.
Last night was one of those nights. I thought I was fairly okay but I had the chance yesterday to meet someone who has very recently stepped into the same shoes I have been walking in for awhile. I recognized the shock on her face and the things she was saying were so familiar (as was her husband's "story"). I have been trying to formulate my thoughts to be able to tell her the things that helped me most early on. There is a process to what you want to hear and when, and during that first initial shock it is hard to remember later what anyone said to you. I let a few memories of my own in while I was at it and before I knew it, I started to shake and the tears just came (again). I am so sad and so mad and so sorry for all of us women who are dealing with this. I cried for us all because it is so unfair.
I've been privileged to meet some similarly challenged new friends through the last few months and I am so touched by those of you who have come out and told me that any of these posts were helpful to you, or a friend or a sister. etc... I'm humbled that anything I have said gave anyone comfort. Thank you for all the nice things you have said and thank you for coming out to say them.
In a way, I hate that so many women sympathize with my words even while I am humbled to know anyone has been comforted, because I know how rare that is right now. There are far too many of us. Too many women are hearing the exact same story from their husbands and the exact same excuses (i.e. "I love you, but I'm not IN love with you" is still my favorite). Too many of us were blindsided by spouses who walked out with a lot of 'reasons' but without really trying to fix anything. Too many of us are crying ourselves to sleep wondering what was so wrong with us that our spouses could justify so much hurt? Too many of us are struggling to keep ourselves together, while trying to keep our children and home together as well. Too many of us are hurt, bewildered and left behind. Too many of your stories sound like mine and it makes me angry.
I get that a father-heart is different than a mother-heart. We women are generally designed to want to nurture and be near our children. A father can usually be away from the kids more easily than the mother can, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. What I do find something wrong with is a father that can justify not raising his own children. I find something very wrong with the fact that when men tell their wives "you will find someone else" they are essentially shuffling off not just the role of husband and partner, but the role of father of their children. They are expecting another father to step up to the plate and be a man where they refuse to. I find something wrong with the lack of protectiveness toward their offspring. I know that my mother-heart tells me I would have to be a lot more miserable than I even am now to ever walk away from my children and voluntarily let someone else raise them or be without me. I know a healthy father-heart doesn't think that way. What bothers me is that there are so many unhealthy ones who have told themselves that they can have their way and everyone will ultimately be fine. Giving a child half your DNA doesn't make you a parent. You have to earn that through sacrifice and just physically being there to raise them. In their home. With their mother.
Shame on the men who let themselves get so far.
The common denominator is not that we all are women who were unlovable or "didn't connect" with our spouse anymore, or any of the other excuses that these men are using to help them feel better about walking away from their greatest asset and responsibility. It is a selfish "me-first" attitude that is so detrimental to being both a good parent and a good person much less a good partner. I don't care if each one of us wives smacked our men with a frying pan every day when he came home. There is no excuse, NO EXCUSE for giving up on your family and it is even worse when you force your spouse to walk away from you to protect your children. I have seen both of these scenarios with others recently. It's heart rending. Forgiveness can be had, problems can be mended, addictions can be beat, but not if you have the attitude that it is easier to cash it all in and start again. No matter what choices are made, your family is never a mistake. Starting over is never going to be what you think it is.
I'm grateful to have a mother-heart. It involves more than just being a mom. It means that I would fight for my children. It means that I love them beyond reason and my own comfort. It's why I get up in the morning to take care of them. It's why I am learning to find it within me to know I can them everything they should be getting from their father as well. It's what gives me more patience than I have ever possessed. It's what gave me the strength to hold my baby yesterday during the hard tests without ever once wishing that her father could help me share that load (I have always been a coward before when it came to my children's pain and often "shared" that responsibility with him.) It occurred to me to keep him updated but not to want him there. My heart is absolutely broken, but my mother-heart is stronger than ever because I refuse to let my children be failed by both of their parents. I'm counting on my mother-heart to prop up my broken one until it can stand on it's own again. The strong beat of this heart is how I know I will survive and how I know that every woman I have met and heard about in the last few months will ultimately survive too.
I have no doubt that I will have nights when I will cry for hours again. I have no doubt that more and more blows will knock me over and that I will question my ability to keep hanging on for one more day, one more night. My broken heart wants me to sink away forever and it is so hard not to feel like a vital part of me has been killed. But I am more than just my husband's wife. I'm more than the sum of my hurts. I need to always remember that. I need to remind myself why I will keep getting up when I don't want to tomorrow and the next day and the next. I know I won't run away from those who need me. My family can't afford to have my mother-heart be broken too. Still beating...