Earlier this week, my phone buzzed with happy news. One of my friends had just given birth to a beautiful, healthy baby. Infatuated with her new bundle (as she should be), I was greeted with pictures of newborn snuggles and word that mom was practicing breastfeeding.
Tears began to flow. First, they were joyful tears. One of my very best friends had just become a mama to a healthy, happy baby girl! What a wonderful gift.
Then, quickly, those same happy tears turned to long, sad sobs.
Because this experience, the one that involves skin-to-skin snuggles and breastfed bonding is foreign to me.
I know nothing about that. I cannot relate.
I don’t know post-delivery snuggles. I know waiting two days to snuggle.
I don’t know breastfeeding within hours of delivery. I know breast-pump anxiety and unfamiliar, sterile parts.
I don’t know sleeping by your newborn. I know returning to a hotel room, baby-less.
I don’t know discharge with a 2-day-old. I know discharge with a 2-month-old.
I don’t know anything about these things, but oh, my heart yearns for them.
My heart yearns for them in a time when I should be experiencing pure, unequivocal joy. And as envy begins to coexist with support, one question begins to prevail . . .
What do you do when someone’s good news coincides with your trauma?
Your friend posted a picture of her wedding day. She was glowing as her father walked her down the aisle. Your father passed away last year. He will never walk you down the aisle.
Your cousin just announced her pregnancy. She is having twins. You just received your fourth negative pregnancy test . . . this year.
Your neighbor just posted a picture of her weight loss. She’s down 50lbs, and she looks great. You have been battling depression, and the sweets in your pantry have never looked more appealing.
How do you navigate their happy news when it feels suffocating, when you are buried underneath your own grief?
Sister, you recognize that healing takes time—it’s a process, and it’s often a long, hard, and winding one. Some days you feel completely at peace, and others you are certain you could fall apart at any given second.
There are no timelines for trauma.
You validate your feelings. You acknowledge that these feelings don’t make you a bad friend (or cousin or neighbor)–they make you human. They make you someone who is dealing with pain, who is healing from trauma. They make you a person who is doing her best, who understands that her best will look a little different each day.
You lend support on the good days and give yourself space on the hard days. You engage when you have the capacity and give yourself grace when you do not. You find balance, whatever that looks like for you.
And finally, you fall to your knees.
You fold your hands. You talk to your Heavenly Father, and you pray–for peace, for comfort, for grace. You let Him hold you close, and you trust Him to lead you in these painful, suffocating moments.
What do you do when someone’s good news coincides with your trauma? You move forward with small, but significant steps. You put one foot in front of the other–one day, one hour, one second at a time. And you recognize that it is enough.