Yesterday it was 10 years ago I and my husband promised to stand together no matter what. It was a lovely summer day in Stockholm. We were surrounded by family and friends. The ceremony was held down by the water where kayaks passed by and some curious people even stopped by to watch at a respectful distance. Smiling. The evening and night that followed was magical. At least to me. To us. Talking, dancing, laughing. We were the last who left. Around 5 am in the morning. When the light Swedish summer night had already moved on to almost full daylight. A perfect wedding. I still can’t stop smiling when I think back on that day and that night. Just perfect.
How little did we know then what was lying ahead of us. For better and for worse. That is what you promise each other. To stand by each others side. Support. Love. No. Matter. What. It is sometimes easier to say than to actually do. But you try. And hope that the rough parts will eventually end. And that your love will still survive. For better and for worse.
How little did everyone else know. To be honest, there was nobody who knew about our struggle. At least not anyone who celebrated our love together with us that beautiful summer day ten years ago. We were surrounded by our closest friends. Our family. People who love us. People we love. Still these people were the last ones to know.
Why is that? I know that everyone who are going through this journey are different. We face different fears and different struggles. How we react is all depending on our individual situation, our personality and how we handle stress. What might seem most natural to a lot of people, to open up to the one closest to us, was the last thing we wanted to do. Only because we felt that would just add to our stress. Sharing with family and friends would create this huge elephant in the room who would take over any conversation, any phone call and just sit there. Silent. But extremely present. We just could not do that. So we kept it all to ourselves. More or less.
I say less because I did share. Quite a lot actually. Just not with my old dear friends. Instead I found new friendships. Online. I kind of accidentally stumbled on this group on a website when I was preparing for our wedding. All women in a situation similar to me. They became my lifeline. My support group. My Ovulation Sisters. For some time they knew more about me than even my husband. We shared more or less everything with each other. Our hopes, our fears, our dreams, our craziness. What day it was, meaning our cycles not the week. Our frustration and our happiness. We discussed guilt and jealousy. How to cope with friends and family around us getting pregnant. How to feel both happy and extremely depressed at the same time. And how these two feelings can eat you up inside. We sent love through cyberspace and over-the-counter-drugs via regular mail. These women were the reason I did not become completely crazy back then. Some of them I still consider very dear friends even though our relationship today is more of a Facebook type than the intense every-day-chatting that was our reality then.
So sharing was good. Sharing was something I definitely needed. Sharing with someone in the same situation. Sharing with someone else than my husband. To be honest, I am not sure our marriage would have survived that level of sharing I was having with my Ovulation Sisters. I believe that there is such a thing as oversharing, also in a marriage. Particular when both partners go through a very stressful situation. Sometimes support and love no matter what might actually be to find another way to let your frustration out. Through other channels. At least I think this is how it was for me. For us.
And for all of you who are “the old and close friends” or “the beloved family” to someone who goes through an extremely tough phase, please do not feel rejected in case they do not confide in you. It has nothing to do with closeness or love. Sometimes it can be harder to open up to someone who knows you “the best”. At least during the time of struggle. Eventually, your friend or family member might open up and share with you. I did. We did. But not until I already felt safe and secure in my little warm and fuzzy group of Ovulation Sisters. My safe haven. The place where I knew for sure that the thousand pieces would be picked up and glued together in case my sharing with others would result in me falling apart.
Please, always remember that people who has something difficult to share are vulnerable. So please, do not judge. Do not feel ignored. Do not take it personally. Do not become jealous or think badly about not have been “chosen”. The very reason might be that you are exactly that close that you think you are. So when time comes, just be that Great Friend.