One of my biggest struggles in sharing my story is the line between telling my story to help others while protecting my children’s privacy. When I ask others for help or seek out information online regarding writing, it typically translates to “be yourself.”
I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly but I also have a duty to my children not to make this completely about me. This is their story too. For now our experiences are irrevocably intertwined. They may choose when they are old enough that they don’t want their story told at all. They may decide they only want part of their story told or be angry with me for the pieces I’ve already shared. As their mother I want to respect those preemptive wishes, assuming they will have them, erring on the side of caution. I am also driven, however, to bring people together through our shared experiences. I can’t promote the importance of taking care of yourself to other caregivers effectively if I neglect my own needs altogether.
Therefore the dichotomy that presents itself is what and how much of my story do I share in order to connect, reach out and help other’s heal versus what I protect, hide or allow to remain behind closed doors to be a vigilant guardian of their secrets? I don’t know the answer. I likely won’t until that time comes. I will just continue to walk that tight rope as balanced as I can, surely slipping from time to time. As I grow and connect with other caregivers, from whom will undoubtedly teach me valuable lessons, I may change my perspective altogether.
There is no right or wrong way. Each caregiver should be true to who they are, share what they need to in order to feel connected, well or whole. Follow your heart and try to enjoy the ride.