When the Heart Opens Again


openheartTears came to me spontaneously tonight, but not for the usual reason.

They were tears of relief. Tears of understanding. Tears from releasing for the first time a pain that was so tightly wound up inside me that I had not realized how much my anger, sadness and loss were holding me back.

I’d like to tell you there was an easy route to this moment, but that would be lying.  Succumbing to the pain, not trying to control or deny it, was the first step on a very difficult path.  It began in earnest when I started this blog nearly a year ago.

Now I’m as skeptical as any of you when I hear someone tell me that they’ve “pushed through.” It sounds too tidy. It’s dawned on me, though, that over the past decade I’ve created an intense barrier to truly feeling the depth and sorrow that comes with loss.

At each devastating point of seeing my dream of conceiving and delivering a child with the man I so love and admire slip away, another brick went in place. At the same time I see now that I was working overtime to protect myself from further pain. The intensity, the sorrow of not getting to meet that little soul who came from the two of us was so severe that I couldn’t face the possibility of ever allowing myself to be so vulnerable again.

See also  Lessons (So Far) On The Often Lonely, Maddening Infertility Journey

In the process I also closed myself off from feeling, deeply, the good emotions that come with an open heart.

Why would I want to connect so deeply and allow myself to be vulnerable if there might again be the possibility of such yawning hurt? This is far from saying I’m done with this process. Rather, it’s the contrary. As I mentioned in a recent post, I think the hard work still lies ahead. But now at least I know where I’m going and why…


19 Responses

  1. Jenna

    January 20, 2008 3:11 am

    It sounds like this was a breakthrough. I’m sure there will be setbacks and more tears to come and I can’t pretend to know what the future will hold or how you will be feeling. But I am glad that for this moment, for this day, it was a chance for you to remember a time when you were not so walled up and a bit more vulnerable to life. I’m thinking only good thoughts of you.

  2. Kami

    January 20, 2008 5:42 am

    Thank you for sharing this journey with us. I found this post reassuring to me. As you know I have been grieving the loss of the “soul who came from the two of us” and it sometimes seems selfish or odd to be grieving that when we (hopefully) will be parenting a child together.

    I know it is a different path to choose child free vs DE, but we are both letting go of the child we will never have.

    I’m happy to hear you are opening your heart again.

  3. luna

    January 20, 2008 9:04 am

    lovely post. I do think we put up the wall to protect our vulnerability. but beautiful things can come from an open heart. I’m glad it sounds like you are starting to feel that again. ~luna

  4. Portia P

    January 20, 2008 4:25 pm

    Well done on the progress you’re making.

    I’m not sure we’ll ever truly move on and recover but, like a bereavement it’ll get easier to live with.

    It’s good to have a good cry every so often and even better to know there are others out there feeling the same pain. Sometimes I feel that if i had a choice I think i might hang out mostly with my blogging friends. We’re all on the same wavelength.

  5. luna

    January 20, 2008 6:00 pm

    just sending another note to say thanks so much for the lovely comment. I read this right after I put up my own post and thought, wow, we’re talking about the same process. except that you’ve had a remarkable breakthrough moment, while I’m just writing about the process…

    anyway, you are a very thoughtful and insightful writer, and I hope to read your book someday soon… ~luna

  6. Carlynn

    January 20, 2008 8:25 pm

    I loved your post on finding your way out of your cul-de-sac and looking to women without children in their lives as role models. I’ll be reading with interest and I’m alreading thinking of buying the book you mentioned on dealing with darker emotions, it sounds like it has some wise words. I wish I could suggest a strong woman who led a childfree life but I’m sure you know them all already. It’s a surefire of getting me to buy an autobiographical book, if there’s a line about the woman not having children.

  7. Rachel

    January 20, 2008 10:27 pm

    I’m sorry to hear you’re crying, but I’m also glad to hear you’re crying. A significant moment, to say the least… I wanted to tell you that I was really touched by the comment you left… it was very kind, but especially so, coming from you.

    I continually ask myself questions about how I am dealing with this. I have ‘pushed through’ to some extent, although it hasn’t ever really felt like pushing. Just what I have to do to get what I want, I guess. I trust my gut that there will not be a meltdown later… but I can’t help but ponder sometimes at how different women deal with this in different ways. It’s very interesting to me… anyway, knowing a lot of your feelings about all of, I am very appreciative that you would comment as you did.

    Was thinking of you the other day after I’d read your Juno post… it gave me yet another idea for a screenplay that I fear I will never write. I’d be happy to pass the idea along to you though!

  8. Deathstar

    January 21, 2008 3:27 am

    Thank you so much for sharing in this post. Most days I do just fine, and then there are days when all I want to do is cry. And generally I keep it to myself so people don’t think I’m crazy. Or “oversensitive”. But as I slowly realizing is that human heart, mine included, does things in its own time, in its own manner. This loss of the life you wanted to share with your husband is one I can deeply understand. You’re not alone.

  9. Emily

    January 21, 2008 6:45 pm

    That was beautifully said. I can totally relate to placing bricks after every heartache. I’m also trying to work at breaking those barriers down.

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for the beautiful post on my blog!

  10. Summer

    January 21, 2008 8:12 pm

    I have had times when the crying and the feeling of the pain brings clarity afterwards. I just can’t seem to remember that while I’m on the brink of that pain and terrified that it will take take me over.

  11. SaraS-P

    January 21, 2008 9:04 pm

    Crying can be so cathartic and healing sometimes. yes, I am sure much work is ahead, but progress is always difficult. Wishing you strength, insight, and healing.

  12. Irish Girl

    January 22, 2008 5:53 pm

    Do you realize how inspiring you are to me? As I prepare to face my own (fertility) fate you give me so much strength. Your writings are one of the reasons I know, no matter what happens, I will be ok. Thank you, PJ.

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