I can’t bring myself to go…

…to church anymore. We are in a great neighborhood, a great ward. The people there genuinely care about me and my family. I love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I believe the things that are taught. I know I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father and I believe that Jesus suffered and died for me. I believe in our living prophet, and I feel the Holy Spirit confirm to me every time that I hear him speak, that he is a true prophet of God. Sure, I get distracted easily at church, and the lessons and speakers can be so boring. The 3 hour block can be hard to sit through.
I want to be at church…but I don’t want to be forced to look at happy families, with their new born babies (or newly adopted little ones), and their spiritual teenagers who are preparing to go on missions, or the parents who bear their testimony about how amazing it is to watch the changes they see in their missionary children. I want to break down and cry when I see a new baby being blessed, and children being confirmed, and pregnant women glowing. I think horrible things about myself as I watch loving husbands help their wives with the kids, instead of ignoring them or egging them on. Then there’s the loving couples with no children yet who can be overheard talking about how happy they are, and their plans for the future. I think of my marriage to my eternal companion, and I get sad, because if THIS is what my eternity is going to be like; stuck with a childish man who can’t, or won’t, think before he acts; never considers the consequences of his actions; is unable to effectively communicate with me, and who neglects the emotional needs of me and our children; if this unhappy marriage is my eternal gift for doing my best…then I don’t want it! 

I always wanted lots of kids, and while I have lots of kids now, I only have one who loves me and respects me as her mom. Others have never liked me being in their lives, one is always angry with me for choices I made, ones dad likes to put a wedge between us. I wanted a happy marriage where I felt safe, emotionally supported, physically wanted, where kisses and “I love you” were a daily occurrence. It’s not that I don’t want my family; it’s that I don’t want my family to be like this. I love my husband, he is the father of our children; but I don’t love him like I used to. I have grown accustomed to pretending that I’m happy. It’s one of those bad habits that you do without realizing it. We can be in a huge fight, or can I be really mad at him, but as soon as we step out in public, the act starts and nobody suspects that we are anything but happy. 

I think most girls grow up with unrealistic expectations of family life. I know my expectations were far higher than what I have. Maybe that is my problem. I don’t want to lower my expectations partly because deep down I still want to believe they are achievable. I wanted to give birth to at least 5 children, be happily married to a man that always puts the kids and I first, an income we can live comfortably on (even if we were barely scraping by). I wanted to be the stay at home mom who had meals on the table and always had time, and energy, for the kids. We never had children together like I thought we wanted to. He brought children and so did I, but none together. I loved being pregnant. And I loved the way my husband cared for me when I was pregnant, even though he reverted back to his childish ways after every miscarriage. I feel like I always had to cope with the miscarriages on my own because he never shows emotions unless he’s watching something emotional on tv or in a movie. I don’t think he’s ever cried for our family. 
That’s why I struggle every Sunday. I want to be at church, but when I go my emotions take over and I can’t focus. I see all the happiness everywhere. Maybe they’re all faking it too, but I doubt it. The happy women, doting husbands, children everywhere…it’s all so overwhelming. I’ve had to fight for every tiny bit of happiness, and when I go to church and see that everyone else has so much of it, well…I don’t want to fight for it anymore. I’m too tired from fighting for it. I’m worn out and don’t have the strength. I’m tired of pretending to be excited about everyone else’s happiness, when I’m actually jealous of it. It’s just easier to avoid everyone than it is to hold back the jealousy and fake the excitement. I can only imagine how ridiculous and selfish this all sounds. I hope and pray that some day I can come to terms with the shortcomings of my life, and that all these feeling fade away into true happiness. I haven’t given up. I can’t give up. 

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