My husband has been encouraging me to share my blog with the general public. I had wanted to myself, but I haven’t had the courage. Without my knowledge, he did it for me the other day.
There is a book that I have mentioned under my “Self Care” section called “The Body Keeps the Score” written by Bessel Van Der Kolk who is a psychiatrist at Boston University specializing in the study of post-traumatic stress.(I highly recommend this book). As I read, I highlighted several sections that really spoke to me. One of them was the following: “After trauma the world becomes sharply divided between those who know and those who don’t. People who have not shared the traumatic experience cannot be trusted, because they can’t understand it. Sadly, this often includes spouses, children, and co-workers.”
I think the “cannot be trusted” part is a bit extreme. But I do agree that my world has split between the people who “get it” and the people who don’t. In my case the people who “get it” would be any parent raising a child who is in someway different and/or someone who has experienced a traumatic medical event with their child. I am fortunate that my parents “get it”. This allows me to completely trust their advice because they know how it feels to be me and I can relate to how it felt to be them so many years ago. (For a bit more background info check out Entry Four-Hats)
Last August I started writing a letter to my daughter. I had a tremendous amount of guilt because I had been so focussed on Oscar. But I had to be. I wanted her to have something to read when she was older that explained what went on in Oscar’s early years. I wanted her to know my thoughts and feelings. This evolved into me starting this blog. I felt like I had stories to share that could maybe help someone else. I started out by sharing my blog only with close friends and family and later with applicable online support groups. I felt safe sharing with those people. Those people either knew what we had experienced as a family or had experienced something similar.
I would describe myself as being relatively reserved and an introvert. I tend to keep things inside. Perhaps not the description of someone who you may think would be sharing their life’s stories on the internet. It feels safer to do it that way because I can share while hiding behind my computer. And now there is too much that has happened to keep it all inside.
Then… my husband shared it. I am happy that he is proud of what I am doing, but I didn’t feel ready to share it with everyone. Recent movements such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Me Too” have inspired me. Obviously the message that each group is spreading is different but to me the overall blanket message of both movements is to educate people beyond those directly affected by their relative issue. How would it be possible for someone learn of injustices happening to different groups if you didn’t either “belong” to that group or that group for whatever reason didn’t share their struggles?
So, how can I expect people to be compassionate with my children or my family if they are unfamiliar with our past and current struggles? I can’t. For doors to open up for my son, people need to have an awareness of his journey. I don’t know what it feels like to be a minority group, and thankfully I don’t know what it feels like to be a victim of sexual assault. But I do know what it feels like to be a mom of two children one of whom has special needs and chronic medical issues.
I do think that I wanted my new underworld (Check out Entry Nine- Underworld) to be understood by more people other than those who already belonged. I am grateful that my husband shared my blog beyond the people who “get it”. If I can help my son and other children like him by sharing my stories to spread awareness then that is what I will continue to do.