I woke at 6am in my daughter's bed, being grabbed at by her, and jumped on by my 4yo, while my husband slept off the drugs, and trauma, of a major surgery, in our bedroom.
Five days of solo parenting, and strung-out emotionally, with concern, uncertainty, and hospital visits, meant that my 'reserves' were low. My sense of spaciousness that I really work hard to maintain, was, let's face it - pretty much non-existent.
And so it was no surprise then, that I heard myself yelling to get my son out the door to kinder, "I've asked you 10 times to get your shoes on!", and huffing and puffing and cursing and fumbling out the door. Consumed by a storm of emotions, the brisk cold air wasn't enough to shift how I was feeling. Nor was the long walk, after my daughter fell asleep in the pram.
The flowers and lemons I picked from neighbouring gardens did little to shift the black cloud.
The crescendo of tears, and bottled-up feelings only flowed when I allowed my husband to hold the space for me that I couldn't, or wouldn't give to myself.
"I've never heard you like that...things are getting on top of you...I know you want to give the kids the best you can...but i'm losing you. You've got to look after you..."
"What can I do?"
The man being held together by pain-killers and a lot of mental fortitude, was asking what he could do for me?
When he said these things to me, my previous defensiveness in these situations, was gone. My desire to 'make it better' or 'explain it away' was gone. There was no brain noise. Just presence, and appreciation for his capacity to hold me to account on my own values, compelling me to give to myself, what I so readily want to give to those around me. I could feel the beliefs i'd been holding onto about my own need to 'keep it together' crumbling, as I was witness to the very beauty, and connection, that was arising out of me 'not coping'.
Maybe you are reading this thinking, 'my partner doesn't even see my struggle' or 'he just wouldn't understand', but how much is a story to you use to keep you 'safe' (even if it feels like shit?). Part of shifting our relationship dynamic and asking our partner to 'step up' means facing the parts of ourselves we'd often rather deny - the parts of ourselves that are complicit in the very angst we're trying to get out of.
And that's when I realised, again, of the profound nature of transforming ourselves, and growing with intention, so that we can show up, be vulnerable and more authentically 'us' in our relationships.
And how the messy stuff, is actually when some of the greatest beauty can be found.
I stayed soft, pondering this, and being with the new awareness that the tears and honesty had created. Noticing my internal dialogue transforming, and the physical 'heaviness' i'd been feeling for days, lifting.
I think this is part of what marriage is; two wounded (but in truth, actually whole) people, loving each other. Willing to lean in. To show up, and grow up, for ourselves, and our kids.
I'm grateful I lost my shit that day. Because it paved the way for more honesty, vulnerability, deeper connection, and renewed partnership.
Bridget Wood is Co-Founder of Nourishing The Mother and a lover of life and connecting people to themselves through wisdom, introspection and quality questions. Bridget is also the Director and Events Manager of Suburban Sandcastles. With an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a desire to understand the bigger picture of human behaviour and how the world works, Bridget is on an inspired path to learn more deeply who we are beyond the limitations that we, and our society and culture, place upon upon us.