Friday, April 29, 2011

Life transitions

It's been quite some time since I've posted here, what with working so hard on Surviving in Japan, being pregnant, becoming a columnist for Japan Times, among other things. I have to look back on the past few years and count my blessings - particularly to see how taking that leap of faith to come to Japan was such an integral and necessary part of how I got to be where I am now. Even coming down with labrynthitis propelled me forward onto the path I am currently on. So for that, I'm thankful I was sick for six months, as miserable as it was.

And now I'm looking ahead to August with a bit of apprehension - I have no idea how things will change, concerning all I've worked so hard at the past year and a half. I know I've always been meant to be mommy - there's no doubt in mind. David and I look forward to becoming parents, finally. And we found out our little bundle of joy will be a girl. To be honest, we never envisioned ourselves as parents of a girl - I've always seen us more as parents of boys. I never had brothers either, which may play some role in that. The initial shock that this little darling is indeed female was a bit difficult to swallow (not that we weren't excited - just surprised). But now we move ahead, preparing for her arrival - the arrival of a child. Our child.

Honestly, I've hardly had much of a chance to reflect on having a baby as I've been working so much. But when I stop and think, I realize how blessed this child will be to have parents who love her unconditionally and will always keep her safe, physically and emotionally. It's reassuring for me, especially as an adult child of divorce, to think about this little one and how she will be the generation of my family that won't have to grow up with all this pain and these issues. She won't grow up worrying if someone will ever love her or if she's even worth loving. She won't question whether her dad wants to spend time with her or not. She won't look at every relationship in fear, thinking that they could fall apart without notice, from simply expressing a thought or emotion. This child, and her siblings, whenever they arrive, will grow up radically different.

What a gift for me, as a parent yes, but also as an ACOD who has done the hard work and come this far - for my husband, yes, for God, yes, for me, YES, but also for my children. I did not want my children to experience the same fears and worries and turmoil. Yes, many parents want this to be true for their children. They don't want to repeat their parents' mistakes. But then many often find they are indeed repeating some of those mistakes, unknowingly, and repeating history. It's impossible to completely break away from the cycles unless you've done the hard work for yourself. It's impossible to just decide you'll be different and then be different. You have to decide to be different, and then attack that pain and those issues with vengeance. Those adult children must find healing so they can leave the past behind.

This doesn't mean we won't make mistakes. I know I'll make mistakes. I make mistakes as a wife... but my husband has been patient and understanding enough to allow me those mistakes and never take away love and safety. He lets me put my knowledge and healing into practice. And so I have continued to move forward, even in baby steps at times.

Becoming a parent will be no different in this way, I know. I need to put my knowledge and healing to practice, and I don't think it will be easy at first. (Although I am thankful for my extensive amount of experience working with kids... as this has given me the confidence to know how I generally am with kids, so I worry less about being a parent). But I do know that I am in a healthy place to move forward with that and to deal with these emotions as they come up. Oh, and a highly recommended book for any couple about to become parents: "When Partners Become Parents." Please read this book - it's essential for your emotional and relational health.

With all that said, I'll move forward into this new life transition, hand-in-hand with my husband, my best friend. And I look ahead to the other things in life I'm moving towards, whatever those transpire to be in the next year or two. What a blessing it is to live without such a deep well of pain inside, finally. Sometimes I feel as though I need to be experiencing some kind of pain to really feel alive, but then I feel so foolish for not recognizing that isn't really living. It's part of life, yes, but that is surviving, not living. There's no need for me to hold myself back now, from truly living.


  1. Thanks for you post Ashely...for your honesty and for sharing where you are at....very good stuff!!

  2. I've been meaning to come back and comment: This is a very thoughtful, well-written post. Thank you very much for sharing.

    I do hope you get to have some restful time before the baby's arrival. Do take care.