What does love have to do with it?

What does love have to do with it? March 21, 2024

The author with their third son David 2024

How Therapy Can Keep your priorities in check

I recall as I was a young teen in therapy my therapist making me write on a blackboard a list. It was a list of what was most important to me. Really, now that I’m older, I can see it was intended to be about what is most important in the sense of humanity in order to survive and thrive. I was grappling with a childhood trauma that I was trying to overcome and depression at the time.

My focus at that moment was a breakup of a romantic nature. She had me go up and write a list starting at number one what I really felt was important and necessary in my life. I put family, friends, education, safety and food and water. I believe, though my memory is hazy, that was all I had put down.

You don’t need a romantic relationship to validate your identity

She then proceeded to ask me, “What about boyfriends or girlfriends?” She asked me, as I had come out as bisexual at that point to my family and friends, point blank whether or not they were important to me too.

I noticed that I hadn’t written that down. It somehow woke me up to the idea that I didn’t need to have those types of relationships to find self-worth or love. I had been trying to comprehend the complexity of losing someone, as though that event had defined me… yet in the end, I realized that I always had myself. We both discussed the importance of self-love and how family, healing and how we act and react to things is what matters.

It was such an eye-opening moment.

Yes, I still mourned over my lost relationships. Romantic or platonic, I love without fear or the fear of loss even as that possibility is and always will be the case, and I sense that the strength and struggle of my youth has molded me into the person I am today.

Realizing that having a romantic connection to someone wasn’t the most important thing in my life is something I truly didn’t understand until I had my first child. I do believe that a healthy and loving relationship with someone is a very beautiful and meaningful thing, but it does not define my worth or who I am. But, having your own heartbeat leaning against a similar pattern was more breathtaking and important than anything else in the world to me.

How a paternal bond can strengthen your faith and your idea of identity

My children, Noah, Ismael and David, are the most important people to me. I will do everything and anything for them. I know I would take any pains or labors, even going in front of a moving train for them. I know they know this. I feel that with all of the mess and noise and chaos that comes with having children, it is that messy chaos that makes the most important set of small but powerful moments.

My third son, David, was born this year, February 21st. He was a miracle child that had brought me to the most complicated and difficult periods of my life. He was diagnosed early with Spinabifida and was needing in-utero surgery to repair his spinal lesion to insure that he wouldn’t receive any more damage to his spine. This was a very serious matter that required many weeks of preparation and discussion. It was a matter I told myself that I would never compromise on. This was a pivotal moment in my life that truly strengthened my confidence.

I appreciate the opportunity that I had to share my love to my family and children in a way that felt concrete. Of course, love has many meanings and ways to express it to others. I find that how I saw myself was an estranged view as I had dysphoria in physical terms and otherwise. I explore these issues and more in depth here.

Sacrifices that feel like God’s understanding of love for us all

The doctors and specialists all told me over and over the risks to myself and that this surgery had zero benefits to me. They repeated this as if it was something to deter me from going through with it, but in my mind I felt that no matter what I was going through with the surgery for my baby.

The surgery was five and half hours and was a huge success for my little David(the patch repair was done and he would be safe from anymore damage), but once I was in recovery, it took months of rest and the painful aftermath for myself was only a beginning.

I know in my heart and soul and gut, that I would do everything all over again and more just to know any of my children would be able to thrive and live in a world that was safe and secure for them.

Having healthier relationships with my family and friends and loved ones are important as well. Having a partner who is supportive and caring is also something I hold dear as I heal from the traumas of my past and tell myself as I have so many times what is most important.

The selflessness and sacrifice of unconditional love in my own definition is how much we are willing to give without any thought to receiving any reward. However, I know there is always a reward when it comes to your children. That is something no one can take away from you. That strength and honest-to-God glow of something so precious and powerful and beautiful: what you create and what you do with it, and your children will know even without words, that they are important and powerful too.

About Melissa Ingoldsby
Melissa Ingoldsby is a published author of the crime drama novel The Half Paper Moon and the horror/romance novel I am Bexley. She lives in the Saint Louis region and is a boy mom of three, with many different publications of poetry, novels and short stories on the online platform Vocal, Patheos, Amazon, Resurgence Novels, and Golden Storyline Books. She enjoys film, animation, art and literature of many varieties, including horror, science-fiction, fantasy, romance, dark comedy, entomology and non-fiction. You can read more about the author here.

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