Brave Face

There are a couple things I've mastered in this life: the not-too-annoying-but-just-whiny-enough voice that makes Steven get off the couch to get me a glass of water every time, the art of making a bed using hospital corners just how my grandma taught me, how to put my contacts in without losing an eye, and the brave face. I've really mastered the brave face. I use it almost daily to conceal negative emotion, to shield me from bad news, to lessen the pain of brutal blows. But lately, I reach for that mask first thing in the morning and refuse to discard it until late at night when the lights go down and I can allow the awfulness that's been festering in my mind all day to flood me, washing over every inch of my body and soul. I seem to never give my brave face a rest. 

"I'm nervous," Steven confided to me last night...and even then I held on tightly to the brave face. But the truth is I'm nervous, too. I'm nervous that the doctor's appointment I have today may bear bad news, I'm nervous that I lack those maternal instincts they say surface when you hold your baby in your arms for the very first time, I'm nervous I may have to leave my baby to go back to work after 3 months, and I'm nervous about how the world will respond to that even though they don't know the half of our circumstance. I'm very nervous, and feeling anything but brave. 

I'm also exhausted. It's tiring to keep the brave face firmly in place. I want so desperately to set it aside and feel even the most painful of blows. But that takes bravery, and bravery is something I have yet to master. 

I'm working on it. I'm working on discarding my brave face for good and really being brave. To put my trust in the Lord and confine my fears to those who I know love me. To not hide behind this mask anymore because, at it's core, it is dishonest. I don't have it all together despite what I convey here on this blog and in my other day to day interactions. I really don't. Most days I am more terrified about my impending role as a mother than excited. And oftentimes, I am ashamed of that and feel broken.  

But I think I've realized that it's okay to not always have it all together, it's okay to let down your mask and allow others to see your struggles, and it's even okay to ask for a helping hand, a note of encouragement, or a heartfelt prayer. It's okay. What's not okay is allowing the brave face to be your everyday wear. It will eventually begin to crack like all shields eventually do. 

So today, instead of wearing the brave face I've cultivated and mastered these last 25 years, I'm going to lay it down and practice really being brave. And I think that begins with admitting to you that I'm nervous.  


Kaity said...

Oh, this post is so stinking beautiful. I went years before I rid myself of that brave face. And when I finally let it go and allowed myself to just experience the fears and emotions I'd been hiding from for so long, it was so beautiful. I allowed grief, sadness and hurt to wash over me. As well, as happiness, joy and contentedness. I think that's what God wants for us- to experience every facet of emotion. It's just a part of being human.

I also have to say how refreshing it is to hear your fears about motherhood. While I'm not even close to being there yet, I'm so scared I have zero maternal instict. I love babies, but they scare the bejeezus out of me! Haha

Ana said...

Good luck for the rest of your pragnancy and your future role as a mom to that specific kid.
I'm also a young mom of a 6 days old little girl and no later than yesterday, my hubby find me crying on my bed for few minutes. How Will i ever manage ? Breastfeeding is really hard on us and in the middle of the night i feared i couldn't be able to feed her until the next morning.... I was scared of starving my baby... She's one week old and,... I'm scared to death to go back to work in 6 months, i'm scared i won't be a good mom for this so precious Life..... How will I do ?

I understand you fears, i think most of parents have sole of them but we never talk about it, maybe because people judge....
I'm not even sure my friends know....

Good luck !
Take care.

Natalie | Mrs. Janney | said...

I think a lot of that comes with pregnancy. Just remember that God is good and things will be ok.

Personally, I'm a planner. So one of the hardest things for me when I was pregnant was the idea that my plans wouldn't go the way I wanted them to. I'm only 4 months into motherhood and a lot of my plans haven't gone the way I wanted them to, but it's ok. Things are ok. Flexibility is good because things work out. Maybe you have to leave your baby, maybe you won't. But you will figure out something that works for you, I promise.

Lynn said...

It's okay to be nervous and scared. From near and far we are there for you. (((HUGS)))

Jeff Krauss said...

You are:
- Incredibly brave
- positive and inspiring

It's okay and can be positive to reflect and analyze where we are, what our concerns are, and to address the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

But remember:
You were created by God.
As the creator of us all, He is our Heavenly Father, and thus, you are a daughter of deity.
God loves you.
Satan is real. He is miserable and likewise wants you to be so as well. He wants you to seek counsel from your fears and wallow in self doubt.

You are strong. You have God and the Holy Spirit to guide you. You have a loving and supportive husband. It will all be good.

You are amazing!

Kelly said...

I think that as soon as you realize how precious it is to be carrying a life inside of you, the nervousness starts. At least that was my experience. It helped me to just focus on one day at a time, and pray. A LOT.

Jeneric Generation said...

This was written so beautifully, Danielle. I can relate so much. I'm a brave face kind of girl too, but sometimes it is just too hard. I'm not as tough as I would like to think, and life can be hard. But it ebbs and flows and God has a good purpose for all seasons. It's hard to be vulnerable sometimes, but it will make us stronger. You can be brave!!