I use to think crying was a sign of weakness. It isn’t. I just wasn’t in touch with my emotions enough to express all that was in my heart. As a mother I have quickly learned that crying is not a weakness, it is a way to discharge emotion, to move on, to let go, to shed a layer of your self that needs to release. It is a strength. Releasing tears makes more space for joy and happiness. Sometimes we even shed them because we feel so happy.
Today I stood swaying my daughter to sleep in my mommas group shedding tears because of the intense sleep deprivation over the last 6 weeks. My tears fell and I was held with empathy, no one solved my problems; women just heard me and held me in my challenge. We heard each other, others cried, we softened, we opened ourselves up to the wisdom that each expressed and afterwards our hearts felt happier and lighter. Something sacred unfolded. I was in a container that was safe to share my soul, to be naked in front of these women, to admit I was not perfect and I didn’t have all the answers. And I felt better. I was not alone.
The more I allow myself to be vulnerable, the more I receive, the more I soften, and the more I open myself up to support. We are not meant to mother alone. The first year of our child’s life is a raw experience. It is amazing; it is illuminating, joyful, and raw.
I have posted on social media some times when I have been vulnerable and some caring friends or family call or email asking if I am ok. Most times it opens up a connection portal that would not of existed before where they offer support and love. Some think I sound depressed because I mention I have cried or think that attachment parenting sounds like a whole lot of work and wouldn’t it be easier if I just did it the old fashioned way, bottle feed, scheduled feedings, separate beds?
I am not depressed because I cry. I am human. I am a mother. Every single mother at some point cries with their baby, gets overwhelmed, reaches their breaking point…again and again. It is normal. I am a human having a human experience. Actually I am extremely happy and abundant in my life because of my daughter. She is my heart, my light, my little zen master who pushes me to learn, to go deeper within myself, to find strength where I never knew it existed. She offers me new lessons daily and I open myself up to learning from her. And the love, the love is transformative. Her smile uplifts me each and every time. It is not always hard this mothering. A lot of the time it is a journey so filled with intense love that I can hardly contain it.
I am happy. In fact I have never been happier or more content.
Happiness however does not always look rosy and chirpy. Happiness can be messy, can be raw, it can take all that you’ve got. When you have a goal combined with motivation you make it happen no matter what. It makes you happy to work hard to get a step closer, to live your dream. I am living my dream, I have made a promise to care for this amazing little human and caring for her is the most joyous life purpose I could ever possibly fulfill.
The difference is that I am sharing my real experiences with people, I am allowing myself to be honest with where I am at in the moment. And it isn’t always comfortable for them to hear. Sometimes I find that I regret opening up and speaking my truth if I am having a tough day. Or I find I want to erase my honest post on Facebook. I have to catch myself and breathe into that feeling. In reality it is my perfectionist saboteur that is horrified that I do not always have my life together to make it look perfect for others to admire. My ‘need to be seen as’ perfect. That saboteur talks in my head and tells me I am weak. My celebration is that I am learning not to listen anymore. The voice may speak, but I pay it less heed. It takes practice. A lot of practice. The perfectionist may still exist, but now I can catch it and stop myself falling into dissonance or acting from a place of fear or self-judgment. Instead I connect with my heart and I choose to listen to that instead, for it always knows best.
So know thyself. Know that your emotions are passing waves and it is ok to express them. Get to know the voices in your head: the one creating resonance that cheers you on, and the one creating dissonance that criticizes and judges you. Make a choice about which one you want to listen to. Which one makes you feel alive, powerful, confident? Choose that one.
Be honest with others. Let them know how you really are. Open up to being vulnerable. There are gifts in asking for help. This is the path to softening and opening for connection. And honestly, it is a relief to let go of the ‘perfect always got it together me’ and allow myself melt into the wisdom of others. To hear them, to open up to them and to allow myself to remember: it takes a village to raise a child, so let them help! It also takes a village to live any dream. We are social animals and are not meant to do it alone. Magic exists where connection expands. Allow yourself to be in that magic, to get messy, to melt, to stand tall, to open and to receive. This is truly being human.
“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it” Anonymous