Never too late to heal the unexpressed

Never too late to heal the unexpressed

Mohita Aggarwal

Motherhood is a choice you make every day to put your child’s happiness and well being ahead of your own and learn from the hard lessons, to make impossible “I Am Possible” and to forgive yourself over and over again for committing mistakes. Some days, it will be all you can do to keep your baby safe, fed, warm and loved. Let’s remember you were given these children. YOU. No one else. The lesson taught by motherhood is that you were given these children because you are who they need, you are the soul to love them even in their hard days. You have the motivation and love to give your children everything they need. You have the heart to wake up every morning and do it all over again. You are their sunshine and their comfort. On the days you are questioning yourself, remember that you’ve got this, you’re a mother, God’s only creation in which he put magic. 

At least that is what I feel every time I am with my two children. And that is the thought that helps me through the highs and lows that come with the journey of motherhood.

Today, I share with you a story of hope and faith. This story revolves around my son, who is 12 years old, a child with high levels of energy, passion for sports and dance. He is equally good at studies and a sensitive child who is not only respectful towards his elders but also very caring towards everyone else. 

The tightrope walk
Being a mother is learning about strengths and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed. I faced challenges and during this process the most meaningful role I played was the role of a nurturer.

I realised being a mother of a boy is the most extreme measure of being alive. As a mother I have some unspoken, unfiltered stories about the messy reality of having and raising boys referring to the title men’s mental wellness. 

The most challenging experience of them all was helping my son come out of the shell he had gotten into. No reaction to anything, no eye contact, reacting to loud music, fear of almost everything. While other children of his age were writing, talking and getting along with other children, Hridhaan would just sit in one corner fearful of his surroundings.

My biggest learning as a mother from this experience was bonding with my son. I can never forget the look he gave when he saw too many people around, how tears would roll down his cheeks when he would be asked to go to school.

At that time I was baffled, because I had never seen a child, particularly a boy react like this. Not matching up one bit with his peers. Way too behind. What helped both of us was the power of expression and our bond. That is when I realised how important it is to make boys speak and express.

Time is of essence
Spending maximum time with my son, turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life because that made him feel like he could talk to me whenever he wanted and that expressing feelings was normal.

The reason I chose to write this is because I want every mother to a boy to know that women are the epitome of love. And that our boys/men need support too. We need to make them realise that it is perfectly ok to speak about their feelings, that even when they do, they are still the biggest warriors. 

Appreciating my son was a step towards letting him feel confident about himself. Gradually by talking and being with him and allowing him to be expressive, got him back and made him what he is today.

Let’s not force our sons to be the bread winners in the family, display traditional masculine traits such as strength and control, rely on oneself and not seek help from others, rather let’s push them to speak openly about their emotions. Let’s normalise men crying. Traditionally, men have been less likely to seek support for mental health issues. There can be a number of reasons including stigma and the traditional strong male stereotype, which is still prevalent in our society – the idea that expressing emotion is a sign of weakness. 

The belief that ‘man up and deal with it yourself’ should not be a part of us now. 
Being a mother of a boy, dealing with his emotions, getting him back on track, is not a sign of male weakness but a reality check that men/boys need to understand that outdated thinking is a relic of the past and that it doesn’t apply in today’s progressive world, which seizes mental illness as any other disease.

Remember, expression is not weakness, it is strength.