I Don’t Keep My Secrets a Secret

Hello, my name is Shanti and I am a chronic oversharer (it’s totally a word).

I am a big fan of therapy and modern medicine to help us deal with all life throws at us. I do not pretend my children are perfect – far from it!! Nor do I pretend that my marriage is perfect. And I will absolutely tell you EXACTLY where I got those cute shoes on sale.

My ex-husband had some pretty significant mental health issues, and I spent most of our marriage thinking I had to help him hide it. However, since I’ve come out of the other side, I realized that I felt so alone because no one was talking about mental health. I thought what he was dealing with was shameful, and I thought my job as a supportive spouse was to make sure no one else found out about it. It was an incredibly isolating and depressing time in my life.  And so, now, I talk. For the spouse who thinks they are alone in dealing with things. For the person trying to find support for their own mental health issues. For the kid who isn’t quite sure how to handle things at home (or in their own head).

My radical honesty evolved after I had kids. One thing I’ve learned? Moms of multiples do NOT hold back. We had a Facebook group and it was the best place for middle of night “I’m awake and my kids are doing XYZ, IS THIS NORMAL???” posts. Invariably, the panicking parent would get an almost immediate confirmation from similarly awake mamas that whatever weirdness was happening was, in fact, totally normal.

My kids won’t sleep! No worries, mine didn’t sleep til they were 8 years old!

My kid won’t wake up!! No worries, enjoy it while you can… because this, too, shall pass. 

And my absolute favourite: What is this THING my body is doing??

Generally, after helpful advice and/or commiserating, the conversation devolves into all the random things pregnant and recently pregnant bodies do. While we don’t want to discuss the intricacies of the creation or birth of our kiddos with absolute strangers, we will absolutely discuss it without shame within a group of our fellow moms. In our group we knew, without having to say it, that by sharing our own stories we were providing support and affirmation for moms who were otherwise feeling very alone.

I once had a chat with a friend about how my child had randomly gotten very angry lately. Truthfully, he was completely out of control; screaming and telling me he hated me.  My child has always been loud and full of opinions, but this was beyond the norm for him. My friend commented that his child had a similar reaction to an increase in one of his medications and a lightbulb lit up for me. We had recently increased my son’s meds.  It was a different medication, but for a similar condition.  I checked with my doc and – sure enough – this anger outburst was not an uncommon side effect.  Had the doctor warned me this might happen?  Nope.  Would it ever have occurred to me to connect the two?  Not a chance.  Thanks, oversharing!  I’ve since had lots of chats about this medication or that medication, what works for us and what doesn’t.  Medications don’t require a scarlet M in our house.  They are tools to be used as needed to help us (and our kids) lead happy, healthy lives.

I’m raising a little oversharer too, apparently. For a while my daughter was seeing a therapist. She told one of her close friends why she was leaving school early and her friend confided that she, too, sees a therapist. Boom!  My child who had been hiding what she thought was an ugly little secret learned that she was not alone, and her friend found some support too. Turns out, quite a few of the kids in her class have seen a therapist at some point. There is no teasing in that group about getting the help we all need sometimes to get through the rough times in life.

One day, my daughter came home from school and told me one of her friends shared a pretty big secret. When he had confided in her, her response was to shrug and say “thanks for trusting me with that, can we go play now?” A few weeks earlier, she had sat with us at dinner while I talked to my husband about a case I had with a similar issue.  While we sat and talked about supporting kids through the changes in their lives, apparently my daughter was listening.  Do I think my daughter is going to change her friend’s life in how she responded?  Maybe not.  Or maybe it took a lot for him to confide in someone and her response will make it easier for him to confide in the next friend.

As my children have gotten older, I’ve been able to become more nuanced in what I share. There are parts of their lives they ask me not to share and I honor that.  They know the difference between “family conversations” and “public conversations”.  They hear me talk about my own struggles and successes.  But they also hear my husband’s favorite phrase – “that’s not my secret to share”.  My life may be an open book, but that doesn’t mean I get to open everyone else’s book. I don’t have all the answers, none of us do. I just think, like most people, all I want is to know that I’m not alone. I want to know that others have gone through this, and that they have survived it. I realize that other people have the same desire.

So if my oversharing can help me find a clear path forward, and light the way for other people, that’s a win-win in my book.

Shanti is the product of recovering hippie parents. She’s a lifelong Texan, born in El Paso, with stops in Lubbock and Austin for college, before settling in San Antonio. She met her husband when she was 18. They both married and divorced other people before they realized it was meant to be. She now owns a firm with her partner in crime and together they practice family law in San Antonio and the surrounding area. Her husband works for a multi-national company making sure the cold stuff stays cold at your local HEB. They are raising twin tornadoes affectionately known as the Aliens, along with a rotating menagerie of dogs and cats. In her free time, she is involved in local nonprofits, runs, and serves proudly on the Broad Board.


  1. Loved your article, Shanti. Having used therapy to get through some tough times, I strongly agree with you. We all need help sometimes and I believe we show strength when we get it, either for ourselves or those we love. Keep doing your incredible work!

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