The Process of Processing view
Just because something helps fix and mend a wound doesn't mean it's healed. In fact when there are scars left, it's easy for all the pain to come back when it's nicked by even the smallest reminder.
It's easy to still be hurt over things that to some people you shouldn't “still” be upset about.
For instance, this week on the podcast I talked about how I felt when we were trying to conceive and struggling with miscarriages, when women would tell me that they got pregnant on their first or second try. What I didn't really mention is that even still, it kinda stings when I hear that. According to most, it shouldn't because I have my earth-side baby now, but it still does. Because it reminds me that I didn't get that experience. It reminds me of all the pain we had to experience to get to where we are now. It's not pleasant. But because we're “past” that, we're just supposed to forget about it, according to those who don't want to deal with the uncomfiness of my pain. (Yes I made that word up.)
I don't think that it's fair to put limits on pain or a timeline on healing because it's just not that linear. Our experiences vary so much, it would be impossible to define that and set expectations for one another as to how and when we need to be healed by.
Now I'm not saying you shouldn't celebrate with your friends even when it's hard on you, but rather there should be shared understanding of what you're both experiencing and how that can co-exist. As I explained in the podcast, you can celebrate your friends while hurting, without taking away from their joy and bringing them down. But as the person experiencing the joy, when you choose sensitivity and discernment about how, when and with whom you share, you can make it easier on those people you love.
What it comes down to is a shared respect and love for one another. Sometimes that means distance, sometimes it means over-sharing, but what it always requires is communication. If you're in the stance of needing some space, communicate that you need space- either to celebrate without hurting the person you love, or on the opposite side of things, communicate that you need space so that you can grieve in your own way and not take the joy from their celebration. When you can celebrate with them, do so, and when you need to grieve, you can quietly take a step back. If you need them to grieve with you, let them know and allow them the opportunity to love on you. But if you'd rather grieve alone, you can let them know that you're struggling without bringing them down with you.
For instance, in the pregnancy example, you can take a step back to grieve without making broad statements that you can't stand people who are pregnant, you are unfollowing people, you can't stand when people “brag” about getting pregnant quickly or when people complain about pregnancy. All of these statements and feelings, while totally valid when you're in those seasons, and like I said, even outside of them, are only going to hurt those people you love. It's important that you communicate your feelings with someone close to you who will hear your heart, but it doesn't mean you need to put it out there for the whole world to see or push it in the face of those who are experiencing seasons of joy.
You can kindly and gently explain to someone who you love, who is probably conscious of how they could be hurting you or feeling guilty for sharing their joy with you, that you need to take a step back because it's just too hard. Even if they haven't been directly in your shoes, it's likely that they will completely understand or at least they'll do their best.
I say all of this very carefully because I know how hard it is and I know how much it can hurt. I know how much it can hurt to even hear that you, the one experiencing so much pain, needs to be sensitive to those who are in seasons of joy. Trust me, I know, but what I can now only understand because I've walked through it, is the importance because one day you'll get to the other side, in one way or another and you'll want people to celebrate with you. You'll want sensitivity and you'll want joy- even when it's intermingled with heartache and mourning of possibilities.
This isn't an easy road to tread in any capacity, but what I can tell you is that it's a road that we're all on, one side or the other.
In order to walk it we need to strive to have grace, love, understanding, and patience with one another.
Having come out from the other side of this- what I can tell you is that you will get through this. And if you stumbled across this I hope that you can start to see both sides of things and attempt to be consciously sensitive, understanding and empathetic no matter where you stand.
This was said in the podcast this week, in reference to silence and distancing oneself from those experiencing what you desperately want.
Distance gets a bad rep but honestly, I think it's one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. Because in most cases, distance isn't permanent. Instead it's giving ourself time to step away, clear our minds, see things from various perspectives and give ourselves the space to heal.
When I was healing from my miscarriages I found that distance from friends and family members who were pregnant was very necessary for me. This meant hitting the “take a break” button on Facebook and taking their feed posts out of my Instagram feed. I didn't want them gone forever, so I didn't unfollow or block them, but I took the steps I needed to for the time I needed to and it helped me heal. Rather than ripping the wound open every time I saw posts about their pregnancies and all things baby, I was able to focus on letting it scab over and building up that new, thicker skin. Gross analogy, I know, but it's accurate.
Other than distance the three things that helped me heal the most were my support system, going deeper in my faith and expressing my heart creatively.
I chose to surround myself with people who would pour into me, encourage me and see me as more than wounded, but would also recognize and respect my pain and healing process. I actually just found this new song, Wounded by Maddie Wilson and she sings
“If I could just go one day without wishing my life was different, everything would be okay, if I didn't know what I was missing. But I've got nieces and nephews hugging my neck, the cutest reminders of what I don't have. And maybe I am but I still wanna lose it, when people look at me like I'm wounded.”
I cried listening to that because I can relate to that feeling so much. You don't want people to look at you like you're broken, but you still want to acknowledge what you don't have or what you've lost. So surrounding yourself with people that will help you through all of those stages is important.
Like I mentioned, going deeper in my faith helped as well. It wasn't until after my 2nd miscarriage that I started this route because before I was just so angry with God. But as time went on I started listening to worship music again, I started praying for healing and help with my aching heart and I started diving deeper into scripture to see what God had to say about my pain. Even though I was angry I was met with so much grace, love, hope and promise that the future was brighter and that even though it didn't make sense He was going to use my pain for purpose. That is a journey I am still very much, and will always be on. But I encourage you to dive in deeper to God, especially when you're angry and confused because there is no-one who will meet you with as much healing, grace and love as He will.
And finally expressing my heart creatively. Writing music and writing out my thoughts helped so much. I actually wrote my song “Rainbow” during this time.
Looking back my creations are immensely depressing but that's because I was so broken and in a deep place of despair during that time of my life. But knowing myself, keeping it in would've been an utter disaster. Maybe expressing yourself looks like drawing, painting, running, singing, writing, cooking or even something like serving your community. Whatever it is, I encourage you to get up and do it, even if it's in tears and even if it's in your pajamas and you've barely got anything left in you. I know it can seem like that would suck the life out of you, but you may just find that it does the complete opposite.
If you're healing from a loss, even one that occurred years ago, remember that healing isn't linear and there is no timeline. Take time to feel, cry, heal, and do it all over again. With each day things will get a little easier and then you'll bump into something that reminds you and it will hurt, but just a bit less than the last time. And remember that healing doesn't mean forgetting because that little one had life, purpose and is deeply loved. Even if you didn't choose a name, getting a necklace, bracelet, ring, keychain, painting -anything that you can wear or keep close to you so that you don't feel like they are forgotten is a good idea. I have a double ear cuff, one ring for each of my baby's so that I can keep them close to my mind always. I acknowledge them whenever I can, especially in conversation so that I celebrate their little lives and I've actually found that it's helped me in my healing process.
I'm praying for every one of you who needed to hear this, pass this on to anyone who needs it. You're loved and seen and I'm always here if you need to talk or just be heard.
As I was recording this week's podcast a few weeks back, I was reading through the cards that people gave us full of marriage advice on our wedding day. I read them live so I didn't pre-pick any and when I came across this one, it stopped me in my tracks.
“Don't get too busy making a living that you don't live a life.”
I had one of those moments where I had to stop and really think about how I'm living my life and if I'm really living up to this one or not.
Since starting work again at six weeks postpartum, I've gone through a lot of changes. Right now I'm not as focused on making money as I am focused on making an impact and building a brand. I'm getting back to the nitty gritty of my voice and thankfully God has blessed Dustin's job to be able to allow me to take this time right now. For the first time in a long time I haven't been relying on my income and it's been refreshing to say the least.
But even then, I had to think about if I was applying this to my life or not.
I started thinking about how many nights I work late into the night and it not only exhausts me to the point where I'm not super present with my family, but it starts to become burdensome and a chore.
I've had odd jobs since I started babysitting around 10 years old and I started my first official payroll job at 14. I've never not worked and honestly, I don't want to stop. I enjoy working and I'm at the point where I can work on projects that I actually enjoy. My goal is to eventually make a living out of my life's work, but if all I ever do is work to help others and inspire them, I know God's going to provide for me and I've done my job well, to the best of my abilities.
But that also means listening to my convictions on when and how much to work. I don't want to miss the moments I get to have with Hayden. I don't want to miss him growing up and I don't want to miss these years with Dustin either. I don't want to look back and not remember what it felt like to be young.
So I've been working on not working as much. It's kind of silly but I've setting goals for myself and only allowing myself to do so much in a day. I can be a workaholic and “2 more minutes” often turns into 2 more hours. It's not healthy. So I have to set boundaries and not allow myself to start chipping into tomorrow's to-do list. If I'm not done with work by the time we have family time at night, it carries over to the next day's list. I've been working on keeping my computer out of the bedroom at night and allowing myself to truly rest and go to bed when the rest of my family does.
It's hard to break the habits that I've had for years, but I'm determined to make that advice a part of my life.
A living is not more important than living my life with my family because I could have all the money in the world but if I don't have my family and I don't spend the time with them that I've been blessed with, it would all be for nothing. You can't take your money with you, but you can take your family, so you have to make the most of them.
I encourage you to evaluate you how much time you're letting your work chip into your family time. Set one goal for yourself this week and stick to it. Whether it's shutting the computer before dinner and not opening it until the next day or turning off your phone for family time- I promise you can do it. The emails, texts and projects can wait until the next day.