We humans are liars. There are a whole lot of reasons why and a whole lot of ways to go about it, but the bottom line is that our pants are on fire much of the time.
Sometimes in life we need to unzip our external skin of lies and let our ugly guts of truth hang out. It can be one of the most beautiful things we can do for other humans.
On September 13, 2001 I gave birth to six and a half pounds of perfection. I had planned and prepared for this glorious arrival. I brought him home to stacks of congratulatory cards and phone calls.
Something wasn’t right though. The cards all talked about sweet baby cuddles and giggles. The messages all mentioned the magic and preciousness of a new baby. Everywhere I looked in my house there were pictures of smiling, sleeping, or cooing infants.
Reality looked different. In reality my body felt swollen, painful, and eviscerated, I hadn’t slept for three days, and my baby was either crying or pooping out the side of his diaper. I was sad most of the time and pretty sure I’d already screwed up parenting.
When my son was two weeks old I took him to church for the first time. He was wearing a little Pooh Bear outfit and I was still wearing the same maternity clothes I’d put on sometime before he was born, I think. After the service the three pastors’ wives came up meet my bundle. I was meekly smiling and trying to play the role of glowing new mother. Finally one of the women said, “Oh I think all I did at two weeks was cry and refuse to leave the house.” Another piped in, “That’s about the time I thought I’d ruined our lives.”
One by one, those women started sharing stories of sleepless nights, infections, self doubt, and not having the time or sanity to cherish sweet little baby smiles and smells, if they even exist in those first few weeks.
I cried tears of relief, joy, and belonging. These brave women told it like it was. New babies are special and sweet. But there are a lot of really hard and scary moments in there too. I needed confirmation that I wasn’t the only new mom who felt that way.
What else are we not being honest about? I now have a teenager and a preteen. I can’t even be friends with anyone who doesn’t believe that their sweet beautiful child could ever be an major jack-wagon one day. I need people to say that yes, they too can’t stand to be in the same room with the child they birthed and would still willingly die for… in and instant.
What about mental illness? Marital strife? Self-esteem struggles? We are hurting so many people by denying that these are a normal part of life and are not indicative of failure.
I’ve learned to embrace the honest and genuine people in my life. The people who are less concerned with appearing perfect and more concerned with helping out and supporting others. Not whiners and eternal victims, but bad-ass real life warriors who can admit that they too have struggles so that we can encourage each other.
I’m still a liar. But I promise to try to let my ugly guts hang out when you need it. When you need to know that it is not just you, but that all of our lives are messy and ugly, and that it’s okay. It’s more than okay, ugly messes are sometimes the best memories and at the core of all beautiful things.
It is a scary but wonderful thing to be honest about yourself with someone who needs it.
~~ Delaney~~ One energy and one love connects us all; let’s protect it.