I thought new brides were the happiest girls on earth. That’s what I imagined when I got married. After all, that’s what happens in fairy tails, and on the cover of magazines. I was caught off guard, however, by a mixture of unexpected feelings: excitement, uncertainty, loss, hope, frustration and joy. The first year was a challenging negotiation that included coming to terms with some unmet expectations as well as being loved and cherished more deeply than ever before.
I also found this to be the case when my children were born. As a new mother, I wondered if there was something wrong when I experienced moments of exhaustion, sadness, frustration, and doubt. I had hoped for a baby for so long. This was supposed to be a time filled with happiness. I had moments of deep joy when tiny little fingers wrapped around mine, or when I caressed soft little baby feet and inhaled their subtle baby smell. But, where did these other disorienting feelings come from?
Recently, I went through a move to a new city. I found that once again I experienced these mixed feelings of excitement, hope, and loss. As I began to process what I was experiencing, I ran across a graph that describes the process of transition.
It was helpful as I was going through moments of self-doubt, to realize that this was a normal process many other people experience. It was also helpful for me to know that this self-doubt phase (or season) would pass eventually. As the months went by after the move, I began to feel more at home, develop new routines, and create a renewed sense of purpose.
More transitions will come. Ultimately, I hope to be more gentle and accepting of myself in the future. A season of doubt, mixed emotions, and experiences of loss are common reactions to change. Even though change can be difficult, and sometimes feel painfully slow, I draw hope when I remember the process will continue forward and eventually result in a renewed sense of meaning.