the heart mamahood.
Today is National Wear Red Day. While there is a campaign out there to "wear red for women with heart disease," the CHD community also likes to adopt this day to spread awareness for Congenital Heart Defects.
Can I be honest? Today I completely forgot to wear red. I was scrolling through Instagram seeing all the photos of my favorite CHD feeds splashed with my favorite color, and I felt a bit of shame. Not shame for my forgetfulness, but rather, disdain for myself in wishing this year that CHD was not a part of our story.
There. I said it.
At the start of 2014 I felt my heart tug toward awareness. I started the year with a vigor, starting a blog, making art, writing posts. I participated in the local heart walk. It had been about a year since Elliott's diagnosis and he was doing well. I wrote this post on CHD Awareness week. I was gung ho, I tell you!
I am not sure what changed exactly. I just started to feel weary. Focusing on awareness just made me so... aware of my son's heart condition, and what it really meant to be a CHD family. It became heavy on my heart in a way that it hadn't that first year. As 2014 wore on I started to enter the other stages of grief after Elliott's diagnosis, past the denial stage (we're okay, let's raise awareness!) into the guilt, bartering, and depression stages. In response, I tried to forget a bit. I stopped posting on my other blog and stopped using the Instagram hastags and stopped painting hearts. I stopped focusing on awareness. I stopped being aware. I just stopped.
I'll be honest, it didn't make me any more content with the situation. It lessened my ability to vent, to find solace in the creative challenges. I stopped painting altogether, my writing slowed. I stopped looking within myself and started to feel that maybe I lacked purpose. I questioned my career choices, my talents, my viability as a good mother and wife. The year ended and I felt like something was missing.
And here I am today. The heart mom who forgot to wear red on "wear red" day. I wonder what was missing those last few months but today, on "wear red" day, the obviousness of it sort of slapped in me in the face. I was meant to be a heart mama. I was chosen for this role, and in that, I need to make sense of what it means to me. What it means to my purpose in life, in my child's life, and in the CHD community.
I am not sure if I am in that acceptance stage just yet. The time that comes after a diagnosis does not necessarily make the pill any easier to swallow, but I think was does come is the challenge of rising above it. Being less afraid to face the truth of CHD and move ahead. Past the fear, the nitpicking awareness, the lack of control. Into the light. I'll get there, I know it.
Being a heart mom isn't easy. There are days that are downright hard. But with the setting of each daily sun is the promise of a new beginning the very next day. A chance to look into the light and feel the warm promise of the day ahead. - Looking into the light, January 2014