In the trenches

For those who don’t know me, I am a total history nut. I excelled in the subject at school, obtaining a distinction at the end of matric even. I can always think of some historical event and its relevance in my life at any given moment.

Right now I have the images of the trench warfare of the first world war flashing through my mind. My life feels like I imagine it to have been. Sitting in a trench, wet from the rain, stagnant water gathered at your feet, cold, terrified and never knowing when the next strike will come.

It may sound a bit extreme but to say I am battling right now would be a massive under statement.

We have been married for just over a year now and honestly I do not feel that it has affected our relationship as much as some people would have had us believe it would going in. I suppose it helps that we were together seven years before saying the “I do’s”. That said, marriage is hard. Choosing to wake up each day and put in the effort to love someone and put their needs ahead of your own is tough. Making the compromises necessary to keep from killing ¬†each other over trivial things like washing next to the washing basket instead of inside it can be a challenge. I, as a very self-sufficient, control-freak, typical type A personality find the need for vulnerability especially hard. Having welcomed our fifth child recently with the lack of sleep and added responsibility our relationship has been stretched a bit. Add that I was on anti depressants that made me find my husband repulsive and you can imagine the fun and happy times around our house.

Then there is the whole being a mom thing. I find myself feeling so guilty for never having had even the slightest urge to be a mother. I fell pregnant quite easily without any real effort or intention with each of my five babies. I feel like I take it for granted almost. I look at people who have battled with infertility and yearn from deep within themselves to be a parent and I feel like I am so lucky and find myself wondering if they don’t deserve it more. Being a mother is not a natural thing for me. I am too blunt and too honest and not nearly touchy feely enough. I am not the mom who will do endless hours of fiddly crafts with my children while we all sit together and listen to nursery rhymes. The truth is I genuinely feel like I get it wrong more than I get it right.

So much has happened with the kids over the last few months. I won’t go into details but my life has been torn apart by strangers who have acted on information that was not true. I have had to explain myself to professionals and authorities and cried so many tears over everything that happened. We have moved and distanced ourselves from pretty much everyone to keep them safe. To start the road to healing and forgiveness. This has been the single hardest thing I have ever had to face. The impact on my whole family is far reaching and I know the ripple effect will continue on for many years still.

I am also trying to balance my life with a husband and five children with a high-pressure full-time job. I have always felt a career was important, I need to work for the money obviously but more so for my sanity and sense of self-worth. That does not mean I do not spend every minute at work feeling like I should be with my family and a great deal of time feeling like I could give more to my job.

I have been so good at keeping to myself I am not sure I even have friends anymore.

For the first time in my life I can relate to people who suffer from anxiety. I actually feel like I need some help to cope where I was always convinced I was too logical to give into the pressure, I could always talk myself down from whatever was going on in my mind. This time its not working.

So for now I am here, clutching my helmet to my head, listening to the gun fire around me with my feet stewing in stagnant water running red from the blood of those lost to the battle, waiting. Waiting to either take a bullet and end the uncertainty or to find the will to get up and fight.