Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Trials and Tribulations

It has occurred to me recently that it is somewhat taboo to share your trials and tribulations. Most people keep things private and look down upon others who don't do the same. In my humble opinion, it is essential to share not only the joys in life, but also the hardships. So many people nowadays feel isolated or alone. It's no wonder when they feel like they shouldn't express their sadness or frustration or anger about life circumstances. By sharing the bad times, as well as the good, you may be helping someone feel a little less alone.

I realize not everyone is comfortable sharing their personal feelings or thoughts about experiences. At the same time, those that are comfortable should not be ridiculed for doing so. My husband and I have had our fair share of hardships; some might even say we've surpassed our quota. Our experiences include battling cancer, the death of more than one parent, infertility, high risk pregnancy, preterm delivery of twins, the NICU, the death of a child, the diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder in our surviving child, the loss of a career, and the journey of adoption just to name a few. We have shared all of these experiences with family and friends through social media and blogs. It was the easiest way to keep everyone informed because we are all scattered across the county.

I know to some it may seem like by sharing our personal struggles we are simply trying to gain attention. That is most definitely not the case. I have always been a very emotional person, and as such, have openly shared my thoughts and feelings regarding all of the above mentioned circumstances. I'm sure often times I have made people uncomfortable with my openness, but that has never been my intention. I firmly believe that by sharing the pain I have experienced, I may in some way spare someone else from having to endure the same, or at the very least help them to better prepare. In many cases, my goal is to simply help someone feel a little less alone.

Several of the hardships we have endured are taboo subjects in and of themselves. Not many people are comfortable talking about infertility, the death of a child or autism. People who have not encountered any of the three simply can't fathom what it must be like; however, for those of us who have, it's important to know that we're not alone. When we first began our struggles with infertility, I kept the details to myself. After a few years though, I realized how important it was to share such personal information. Since I began openly sharing our struggle to start a family, I have had several friends and acquaintances confide in me and ask me for advice. They knew I would understand better than their family members and friends who couldn't identify with what they were going through. Unfortunately, I have met far too many people who have experienced the death of a child or are raising a child on the spectrum. We are members of exclusive clubs and we would do anything in our power to be able to spare someone the heartache that we endure on a daily basis. We share our experiences as a way to educate others and to try to break down the barriers that make such subjects taboo in the first place.

Life is not all sunshine and roses. While it is important to acknowledge the joys in life, it is equally important to acknowledge the trials and tribulations. After all, it is the hardships in life that put our strength and character to the test, and help us reach our full potential. We all should feel free to share our experiences, whether they be good or bad, with whomever we choose to do so without the fear of being called a drama queen. Life and death, and all that comes between, surrounds us and we should take the time to not only experience what God has planned for us, but to learn about others' experiences as well. Only in doing so will we truly live our lives to the fullest and be able to encourage, support and empathize with others.

I for one plan to continue to share my joys AND my trials and tribulations, despite the fact that I'm certain some people consider me a drama queen or an attention whore. I don't share my experiences to gain attention or sympathy, I do so in the hopes that I can help others. If I am able to help even one person feel less alone, then I have accomplished my goal.

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