Emotions are rarely simple.
They naturally gather in packs, despite their apparent differences. They mix together more like a mongrel litter, with the strongest elements shining through, than a thoroughbred pedigree.
Before we become parents many of us may greet the news of, yet another, friend becoming pregnant with both happiness and a touch of envy. We celebrate our children’s birthdays, sharing their joy and excitement and yet who wouldn’t admit to a tint of sadness at the quick passage of time. When we grieve for someone we have loved our emotions career around wildly from sadness to anger to, possibly, relief that suffering has ceased. We are caught in a frantic, flashing, noisy pinball of emotion.
Emotions are rarely simple
For me, nothing sums up the complexity of emotion more than this:
As I saw the screen filled with a healthy baby and heard a quick, strong heart beating I was flooded with relief that touched every part of me and lifted the weight from my shoulders, replacing it with pure joy, if only for a few minutes. As I poured over this image in the weeks to come my emotions mixed in a dangerous and heady cocktail.
I felt sadness of what had been lost in the past, bitter and strong in the back of my throat and fearful at what may happen in the future. At times I felt anticipation and happiness, thinking only of what that image would really look like, what sex would it be, what colour hair did it have, who would it look like? I felt anxiety and nervousness at the enormity of what becoming a parent would mean and how I would handle the challenges that I would face. I always felt hope, sometimes it was buried as if at the bottom of a well, but it was always there. The feeling that this time I would get to meet the baby that was swimming in the picture.
Emotions are rarely simple. They rush at us from every part of the spectrum and all we can do is allow them in, acknowledge they are there, letting the destructive ones go and clutching hold of the positive ones to carry with us.