I had to take Chase to get his 4 year old shots yesterday. Oye. I am now convinced it is harder to take a 4 year old because they can say things to break your heart. Plus, I can’t stick a boob in his face and make it all better anymore.
I told Chase that he was a brave boy while he was crying but he disagreed and said, "no, I am not a brave boy."
So, after going through a few breathing exercises so he could actually talk, I made him say out loud that he, in fact, WAS a brave boy. When we were walking out I told him that when I was pregnant with both him and his brother I cried because I was so scared to have surgery.
Chase replied with a surprised, “you did?!”
I said, “yes, I did.”
I told him that I was still brave even though I cried. And I was so happy I got the surgery because now I have you and Dean. Being brave means doing something you might be scared to do, so crying is sometimes part of the process.
Then I got to thinking…..I was intentional with how I handled this situation with Chase. I set him up with realistic exceptions. I told him the shots were not going to feel very good, and that his arms would hurt for a few days. I wanted him to be proud of how he dealt with this situation and not be ashamed that he was scared but at the same time get him to push the boundaries of his comfort zone. (Ugh- isn’t this why we are always exhausted as parents?? All this for damn shots.)
Somewhere along the line as we get older we start hiding the vulnerability that Chase so clearly expressed today. Why, as mothers, do we feel like we need to put up a front about how easy any of this really is? We hide how our bodies change. We hide depression and anxiety. We hide relationship issues with our partners. We go back to the gym and do things that make us feel pain or pee our pants because we don’t want to look weak. We refuse to accept that we, indeed, need a really long time to heal our minds and bodies.
Part of the problem is the absolute horrible messaging that is spewed at us from every angle-- commercials, fitness industries, businesses, social media, etc. The other part of the problem is not enough women are sharing their stories. Women feel isolated and alone when in reality they are ANYTHING but alone in any of this. You can still be wildly grateful for your child/children & health but that doesn’t mean any of it is easy. And that’s ok.
It is so much braver to show vulnerability, show the struggles, show your reality....No matter how big or small these struggles might be, they are all valid. As mothers, we need to hear these stories as part of our own postpartum healing journey.