Of Heartache and Shame

I’ve been sitting on this post for a few days, even emailed a draft to a friend yesterday, but I think I finally got my head around it this morning.

When I returned to blogging, I promised myself I would stay positive, that I would not have any sad, whiny, “my life is so hard” posts. But I’ve certainly drafted enough of them. Actually, 75% of my posts started as a rant and then as I proofed and rewrote, I’d find myself in a more peaceful state and could end the post on an encouraging note.

But how genuine is that? (I ask that knowing this one might take the same turn…writing is my free therapy.)

All public writing has its narcissistic influences; we wouldn’t write if we didn’t believe we had something to say worth sharing. And I’d basically decided to share the good stuff…or the bad stuff that I can deal with easily. But what value does my perspective have if I only give you the “easy to digest” side?

I recently read a post by another single mom here comparing single mothers to widows and it stirred a lot of emotions I usually suppress.

You would think that after four years, I wouldn’t care much what people think about single moms or the stigma that is associated. I appear to be pretty tough and I’m a good mother.

No, actually. I care a lot. And I would guess that there isn’t a single mom out there that hasn’t felt the same way at some point.

It hurts to say, “No, I’m not married” when they already know I have a daughter. The surprised, reappraising looks. The obvious searching for the polite response. The inevitable, “But you are with someone, right?” or “Were you married?” follow up.

Sometimes, I’ll get a really sweet, encouraging atta-girl pat on the back but most of the time people just stay confused.

It’s ok; I still wonder how I ended up here too…

I unconsciously hide my left hand in public.

I cry in the shower at least once a week.

I get nervous when I walk into a new place with Eva.

I die a little bit inside when I hear Eva playing “Mommy and Daddy” with her toys.

To be honest, I don’t even know how to pray about this one. I try to sit by the lake with Jesus with it and I can’t. There are too many other emotions/experiences attached to it. I get overwhelmed.

(The pity party does not start here.)

I’ve also just returned to Twitter (@blueeyesburn–name to be explained in an upcoming post) and have been privileged to connect with some really strong, independent, single moms. It’s helped so much to see them in action and not see any trace of shame or apology for their decisions.

So the more I think about it, the more I wonder where the shame is coming from.

But I don’t have those answers yet.

I can’t hide from my mistakes, but that doesn’t make the shame healthy. Shame doesn’t help, it hurts. Shame doesn’t motivate, it paralyzes. Shame doesn’t show other people what redemption looks like.

Shame doesn’t teach Eva to be proud of herself.

So I don’t know how to set this guilt aside; I don’t know how to shed the shame. But this morning, I got a little pride and a little motivation back. I know one day, my heart will be whole and it’s ok that today is not that day.

Just call me a sparrow, I have enough for now.


9 thoughts on “Of Heartache and Shame

  1. oh mama! I wish I had answers or advice, but I don’t. It sounds like you are longing for something…. and also that you’ve run into a lot of difficult people! The therapist once told me that guilt is like a warning bell when we cross our own ethical boundaries, but it is supposed to be like the doorbells when you walk into a store not like a car alarm that keeps going off. That helped me to move one when I’ve learned a lesson… maybe it will help you too?

    • I wholeheartedly agree with that view of guilt. I probably feel like I have to absorb other people’s moral warning bells going off when they interact with me…? I would not have chosen this for myself pre-pregnancy (especially at 22 years old). I love my daughter, but even at 27 years old now, I wish I had a partner in this.
      Still learning to be comfortable in my own skin, ya know? 🙂
      I have to find Peace before I find Happiness.
      Thanks for your comment! I love your perspective!

      • I have a handful of years on you and I have gotten more and more comfortable in my skin. But I’m also aware that I have a relationship of sorts which can contribute to self acceptance and contentment. I hope though it’s just an age thing – there are benefits to aging.

  2. I don’t know what to say, but “be strong”! Everyone has something, yours happen to be “a single mom”, but others (including those giving your weired look) also have something, just you don’t know what they are. Believe me, no one’s life is perfect, it is just how you deal with it.

    • Thanks 🙂 My first draft had a “what would you do if your worst secret was posted on your facebook for everyone to see?” section but it was a little more aggressive than I want to be… Trying to keep my head on straight!
      Glad to see someone keep coming back to read, makes me smile!

  3. Abby. Just when I think I couldn’t love you more… you write this. I’ve always loved reading your writing, but these last few posts are some of my favorite things I’ve ever read from you. I think back to my college suite mate, then roommate, then pregnant friend that I cuddled up on the couch with to watch… football… and tennis. 🙂 And dang it, I am SO proud of you. So proud. The ways that you have grown and continue to let God grow you are so beautiful. And yet you’re still my Abby. (Okay you’re Eva’s Abby… but my Abby, too.) Miss you. Love you. Wish North Carolina were closer to Colorado.

    • Aw, Katie! Thank you for being there for so long! From concerts downtown all the way to birthing class…the things we have been through! Makes me feel old, now that i think about it… 😉

      We love you no matter how far away you are!

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