Parenthood can sometimes be the loneliest of places.
I’ve been thinking about how hard it can be to parent through crises. When you’re at your wit’s or your energy’s end, when you’re trying really hard to keep things together, or when money isn’t coming in. when co-parenting seems impossible, when you get too angry at yourself for how triggered you get by a child’s behaviour or when your baggage gets the better of you.
There are so many inexorably private pains that come with parenting. So many things we don’t talk about. The miscarriages. The infertility. The prenatal tests that can make us fear our foetuses. The perinatal depression. The post-partum depression. The stillbirths. The scary test results. The lack of agency we can feel when our children need hospitalization or when the birthing of them doesn’t go as planned. The troubles with breastfeeding (the plugged ducts, the blebs, the mastititis, the low supply, the over supply). The chronic lack of sleep that makes you teeter on your edges. The chronic conditions that can come up. So. many. things.
And then there’s the plethora of fears and anxieties that come with loving little people who depend on you for everything. The fears of the everyday. The concussions. The allergies. The outbreaks. The emotional turmoil. The delays. And the social. The abuse. The bullying. The teasing. (The fear that your gender creative kid will get hurt by someone with a small mind and an even smaller heart, par exemple.) The wanting so much for them. Investments in education. In lasting peace. In equity. In guaranteed liveable incomes. In a more sustainable, more just world. In a whole lot more than this. This warming warring world.
It can be a really dark, really lonely place. And the company is sparse at best.
We were at a children’s hospital with our youngest yesterday. He’s most probably right as rain, but we were in the same diagnostic room we were in with our first, when they kept doing what felt like dozens of tests an hour on his tiny, new body.
My body remembered being in there.
(My reptilian brain feared not being able to leave with him.)
But he’s okay. And the darkness dissipates.
I am blessed. I haven’t had long stays in that place. And I have the ability and the time to hold my babes close, to savour their littleness.
I wish that, as a society, we were better at supporting people who are in that place. Better at knowing how to be there, how to hold space, how to help without having to be asked.
(And watching footage of refugee camps, of so many people walking and walking and waiting and waiting to try to get to safety, I can’t imagine how one would manage to parent in such a high stress environment, in such an impossible situation. We need to do more for them).