Due to the fact that this blog is mainly professional in nature and was intended to be an outlet for writing that serves a professional purpose, many of you might not even know that I’m pregnant- let alone that I’m experiencing some complications related to my pregnancy. Unfortunately, in my line of work, too much personal disclosure is frowned upon. Therapists constantly walk a fine line between the need to have real, human connections with their clients and keeping their personal selves out of those connections to some degree for the benefit of the client. I tend to be quite comfortable sharing my experiences as a parent. I do so in hopes that I might be able to connect with others as a fellow imperfect person who happens to be willing to bare my imperfections and accept yours so that we might be able to collaborate to support you in meeting your goals.
Anyway, the reason that I bring up my pregnancy complications in such a public forum is because there’s a very small chance that I might not make it through this pregnancy/childbirth. With medicinal technology where it is today, chances are actually quite good that everything will be fine and this winter we’ll welcome a healthy baby girl into the world. It’s human, though, to spend some time thinking about that small mortality rate. I would also argue at this point that it’s healthy to spend some time thinking about our mortality in general. When looking at a single digit percentage chance that I might die, it occurs to me- what are the chances that I might die of something else entirely either before or after the birth of my child? It could happen, just as easily as I could be one of the few women with this pregnancy complication who don’t make it.
It’s uncomfortable, thinking about death. Especially with regards to my son and the thought that he’ll outlive me (heaven forbid he doesn’t, that thought is simply too uncomfortable for me to touch). Someday, I won’t be there for my son anymore. As the sun sets on my life, it will wipe away the opportunity to tell him things I need to say, to teach him things I want him to know. This will be the case whether it happens when I’m 80, or early next year- and I have no way of knowing which it’ll be. Furthermore, I’ve always been certain that his life will be my greatest accomplishment. He’s my opportunity to contribute to the world a person who can make a difference, even if it’s just by being a good father/husband/person himself someday.
We frequently hear inspirational quotes encouraging us to live each day as if it were our last. I’ve often taken just a moment to absorb these in agreement, then quickly discarded the thought. I’ve opted instead to pretend as if I’m immortal. Granted, we shouldn’t spend too much time dwelling on this for fear of letting our lives slip away while we worry about our death- but we should pay attention to those reminders to take the time to tell others how we feel and settle our lives as much as we can so that we can leave with pride someday.
So here’s a few thoughts for you, now that I’ve depressed you a bit (sorry).
How would your child remember your life/relationship if it were to end right now? What can you do to make that more closely resemble what you’d like it to be?
What things haven’t you said? What wisdom haven’t you passed on to others?
I know it’s uncomfortable, but if you can- spend a little bit of time with that discomfort. To feel is to be human, to be alive- even when the feelings aren’t pleasurable. There’s much to be learned from all emotion- the good, the bad, the ugly included.
In the interest of practicing what I preach and saying what I feel needs to be said, I want you to know that you are a capable, valuable and wonderful person. Whatever connection you and I may have, I can tell you that I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to touch your life and that you’ve touched mine (even if it’s just while you take the time to read this post and nothing more). Whether I leave this world early next year, or not for another 70 years, I’m glad to have taken the opportunity to share these thoughts with you. I hope you have a deliberately lovely day today.