As a new member of this blog, I struggled with what to write about in my first post even though I had so many ideas in my head. Finally, it dawned on me. VULNERABILITY. This is not a word that was in my vocabulary a couple of years ago. In fact, I thought that it meant being passive, defenseless, weak. And who would ever want that? But, here I am, introducing myself to a new audience who currently only knows me through words on a screen. Talk about vulnerability! So, here it goes and why I believe that vulnerability can open doors, open eyes, and open hearts to a community filled with compassion and acceptance. That is after all, what brought me here to share my story.
Surely, we’ve all feared judgment, mom-shaming, mommy guilt? How many of us fear facing the unknown and, even worse, accepting that the unknown may be where we will be stuck for a really long time? I feel like I’ve maxed out on the unknowns but they keep coming at me. So, what do we do about that? Hide? Pretend to be strong? Run? What I’ve recently learned is that choosing instead to be vulnerable sometimes leads you to the answers.
I have faced some deep stuff that included a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis before the age of 30, marriage, job changes and job losses, the birth of twin boys, the diagnosis of cerebral palsy and epilepsy for one of my twins, birth of our daughter, and a move across the country. Insert a lot of unknowns, a lot of anger, shame, guilt, and fear. I must admit that the anonymity that I was gaining by this relocation was refreshing to me.
Yet, ironically, that is when I became vulnerable. I could either hide my past or just see what happened if I chose to open myself up. And it all happened naturally. Strangers chose to get to know me. Adults and children asked questions about my son’s disabilities and chose to be a part of his life. I sought out new resources and new support systems. And somehow, magically, there were new, life-long friends, new interests and new passions. My vulnerability led me onto another path in my journey.
And quite honestly, as I have said many times over, things literally just fell into our laps as a family. Perhaps because we were just lucky? Nope. It was more so because vulnerability opened us up to people and opportunities that make the many unknowns in our life not so scary.
Being vulnerable does not mean you are weak. In fact, conversely, it means that you are brave and strong enough to face what you might uncover about yourself. It means embracing your weaknesses and fears. It also means evolving daily so as to be true to yourself and your own insecurities. For, how do we know what’s out there for us if we don’t put ourselves out there and be vulnerable?
So what does this have to do with why I’m here?
My journey as I write may include my acceptance of my disease, my fears of my son’s prognosis, or the challenges of raising typical children along with one with significant disabilities. My journey, like many many women out there is real, different, yet very much the same I’m sure. So, thank you for allowing me to be on this journey and sharing it with you.