Suffering in Silence

When I posted on here for the first time, I had a lot of people message me that they had no idea what was going on with Ethan, and what we had been dealing with over the past year. After the genetic testing, Kyle and I made a conscious decision not to share our struggles until we knew exactly what we were dealing with. To hope for the best outcomes, and then to share everything when we were ready. While we weren’t trying to be intentionally deceptive, we felt that it was best to tell people when we knew exactly what to say. We were dealing with so many unknowns and questions during the pregnancy that it was painful to think about having conversations about “possible problems” over and over again. What I wasn’t expecting, was that withholding our struggle in order to prevent painful conversations, actually ended up causing me an exceptional amount of heartache.

I remember the amount of pressure I put on myself to portray a positive outlook during my pregnancy, not only for my friends and family but for Ella as well. It was so exhausting that at the end of each day I felt a complete collapse from the restraint I had been exercising in myself. As if being pregnant with a toddler wasn’t exhausting enough, having to put on a happy face when asked every day how things were going, and how I was feeling, was enough to leave me practically debilitated with fatigue. Every inquiry into my pregnancy was like a tiny pin prick in my heart, slowly adding up and threatening to overtake me. It was like “death by a thousand cuts”. When I was asked how things were going, I remember verbalizing “everything is fine” over and over, when in my head I was screaming “NOTHING IS FINE!”.  And who’s fault was this? Certainly not the people who care enough about my well-being to ask…It was my fault for making the decision to conceal such a huge part of what was going on with us from all the people that we love. Do I regret our decision not to share? While I can’t speak for Kyle, for me the simplest answer is I don’t THINK so. We made what we thought was the best decision for us at the time, and I could not have foreseen how it would affect me. It’s funny to look back on decisions you have made in life with more experience and perspective. A year ago, I never could have conceived that I would be publicly posting about my personal thoughts and feelings. And while I never imagined myself ever being this vulnerable, I can say with certainty that it has lead to feelings of relief knowing that people who care about us are starting to know the whole story.

This isn’t a post for sympathy, but I’m hoping it can be used as a cautionary tale for other parents who are suffering in silence. No matter what it may be about. Sometimes I think you need to share with the people who love you, even if you don’t think you do. No one should have to suffer in silence. No one should have to live with pain, or the guilt of concealing something from family and friends. If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that people want to understand and help, and the only way they can do that is if you let them in. So this is me, letting everyone in…

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