Playing hide and seek – motherhood and vulnerability

Elizabeth CairnsA slow realisation has been dawning over the last few months…despite my bold moves, open hearted blog posts an even more authentic connections, I have steadily and unconsciously been building walls…walls around my heart, walls between myself and those I love, walls between myself and the world.

I haven’t written in a while and its been all too easy to make excuses to myself as to why. Three or four blog posts about very poignant themes have come in and out of my consciousness and I’ve let them slip away without making it out there, justifying the procrastination by keeping things simple, perhaps, for once, a little too simple. I’ve been prioritising sleep, rest and evenings off the screen; I put my back out which was all consuming for a few weeks; We are now in the throws of moving house so there are other more pressing things to attend to; I’ve been focusing on ‘real world’ connections. All potentially very sound reasons for not writing….and all very convenient excuses for hiding away.

I’m not sure what triggered the start of the coronary masonry exactly but I think its been going on for about a year.

What I do know is that the result of it is fear creeping into my life. Increasingly it has been fear, not love, that has driven my actions.

Angry and intolerant interactions with the children have become far too common place. A raised voice that once would have shocked us all to silence and remorse, just echoes again and again until we are all but sanitised to the effect. I am beginning tolerate the empty feeling of lack of connection that is a slippery road to isolation and ultimately despair.

I want to be in love with my mothering and my daughter again. Don’t get me wrong I love her, truly, madly, deeply like I never thought possible, but what I realise is that ‘being in love state’ that we enjoyed so utterly for the first three years of her life maybe just too painful.

Since even before her little brother arrived it is almost as if my heart just can’t bear to hold the vulnerability that comes with loving someone quite that much. Now that there are two of them out in the world, outside of the safe sanctuary of my body, the level of vulnerability required has initiated some kind of shut down.

My oldest and scariest pattern is running again, and with it, a withdrawing of affection, of closeness, of patience, of compassion both for myself and for others.

I have to find away to break open again the shell that my heart is becoming so that it doesn’t close over before it’s too late. So that the patterns of the past don’t get repeated and my story doesn’t become theirs.

As I look around I see that we all hide away to some degree. For some it’s avoiding contact with those who really see us for who we are, for our our potential and what we can bring to the world if we truly dare to live our dreams. For others it’s sticking our head in the sand to the realities of life and what it means to take full responsibility. For some it’s the creation of an elaborate mask of perfection to hide the ‘I’m not good enough’ centre, and for others still a constant treadmill of busy-ness to hide away from what is revealed if we stay still long enough to hear. We all hide…and we all seek.

I am heartened by the example of bold and bright spirits that repeatedly “show up” and allow themselves to be seen in all their heart-aching glory. I am able to feel brave with the knowledge that, at some level, we are all in this together.

I do have faith. Some utterly magical connections have been taking place both deep within my battered psyche and outward with friends old and new. The key to unlocking this door to a deeper love, as always, is to keep going with the work. The work of mothering, of writing and of showing up, fully present and making each choice one of love.





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