Through the wave of postpartum hormones and the loss of an old identity, my brain forced me to reconcile old baggage as I transitioned into a new chapter of my life. Rinse the sin. I was forced to contemplate the type of human example I wanted to be to this innocent life I haphazardly brought into the world. I wanted to identify as someone who represented and abided by my core beliefs. A fundamental core belief of mine, stated simply in kindergarten lingo, is to treat people how you want to be treated.
Following a very traumatic birth through the first 16 months after my daughter was born, I struggled immensely. I can’t even conjure up the words to express it. I have no words to describe how difficult it has been for me to adapt and change, to find acceptance.
The birth of my daughter was the catalyst of my beginning to make amends.
I have been so fortunate to love deeply a handful of times. Some deeper than others. But still, my relational life has been full of love and disappointment. Examining my past, my feelings regarding my actions are littered with guilt, shame, sadness—a longing to fix the unfixable. I loved deeply but didn’t always act with love. I blame myself for not knowing myself better and making wiser decisions. I made decisions that were unconscious and rooted in fear. I blame myself because I should’ve known better.
During this self-flagellation, I began to feel the pull to contact my relational foul-ups of the past. Right my wrongs, if you will. I had all this guilt I put on myself about how I treated others – ones that I loved. I felt I needed to step up and take personal responsibility for my fuck-ups. I needed to dig myself out of the emotional hole I put myself in. I needed to address the effect I had on the ones that I loved. I needed to find personal peace and acceptance, and forgiveness.
Following the birth of my daughter, I was experiencing uncontrollable intrusive thoughts and feelings for months. Trying to sort them out and make sense of them was agonizing. My ex, Jerry, was the person who came up all the time. Not in a romantic way, but he just kept coming into my thoughts randomly. I’d wake up thinking about him, he’d pop in my head during the day, and by night, I had been pushing out the thoughts about him all day that after I’d fall asleep, I’d dream about him and then start the cycle all over again. I was conscious of my thoughts, but I could not control them. These thoughts became so invasive that his name began to escape my lips more regularly. It was awful, consuming, and I needed it to stop.
I am married and have a child, and I have so much shit on my plate, it didn’t make sense why all of this was coming up. I talked to friends at length (god bless you all), trying to sort this out and make sense of it. What were my options? What could I do to address this and fix it? Stop it. My friends suggested I try writing a letter first, to see if that would help. It didn’t. I drank. Wrote. Got rid of everything. Prayed. Read books. Used crystals. Meditated. Exercised. Nothing made the incessant thoughts stop.
So at the end of my exhausted rope, I decided to reach out to Jerry to see if we could meet up and talk
For those of you concerned about my husband: I am so beyond grateful and lucky that I have a supportive husband. I communicated, honestly, every step of the way. So, there was no freak out or any jealousy. I was able to walk my individual journey as I needed to, without projected fear from my husband. Lord knows, I had plenty of my own fear. He supported me and told me “to do whatever I needed to do to be happy.”
(Side Note: Marry this person. The one who walks alongside you. You are a couple, but you are still forever you).
So here we are. Amends.