The Surrounding Activity

Our last Fourth of July family croquet tournament was two years ago (a bi-annual event). I was about twelve weeks pregnant with Nelle. She should be a toddler running around this year. Or Iris would be almost a year old. Instead, I attend the event, 33 weeks pregnant with Baby Three. A large gathering from two different sides of the family. Many I only see once every two years, at this event. In the days leading up, I wonder. Will they remember that I was pregnant? Do they know? Will they say something? Continue reading

Somewhere Only We Know

And if you have a minute why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
Somewhere only we know?
-Keane

Father’s Day weekend. Mother’s Day was such a mixed assortment of emotions. Happiness, sadness, and recognition of all stages and types of motherhood. Women who had lost a child poured out support for each other that day. Father’s Day is always quieter. Fewer greeting cards and flowers and bustle from the retail industry. Less talking. Far less acknowledgment for that fathers that have lost children, of which there is an equal number.

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There is Light

 

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate.”  -Thornton Wilder

In therapy this week, I talked about how I’d had a few good days where everything seemed like a “normal” pregnancy, followed by some very bad days where I was so riddled with anxiety at night that I could barely sleep.  She asked if I could make a list of the “whys” and look at that list when I felt overwhelmed by the “why nots.”  Why this pregnancy will be fine versus this pregnancy will not be fine.  My immediate reaction was “Nope, not doing that” since counteracting the “why nots” with the “whys” felt too much like hope.  Then I thought about it over the past few days, a lot.

After my mid-pregnancy ultrasound with Nelle, I began to detach myself from the pregnancy.  Though finding out she was gone ten days later was still a shock, it was not completely unexpected. With Iris, I was detached from the beginning, still shocked, but not unexpected.  From the beginning here, I have expected the worst.

But what if I also allowed myself to hope?

Did detaching myself from Nelle and Iris make it hurt less?  I don’t know that it did.  I had prepared myself for the possibility, both times, and not sure that detachment cushioned the complete destruction that followed.  I still loved them, from the day I found out that I was pregnant.  Preparing myself for a loss did not change that.

As I enter Week 22, maintaining detachment is harder. The kids talk about when our baby will be born with increasing regularity. I have to plan some things; they cannot be avoided.  Every time I have to look ahead, I wince… but what if I didn’t?  What if I allowed myself to believe that this pregnancy will progress normally, allow myself to be excited and plan?  I cannot erase the possibility of loss, but what if I can allow myself some joy along the way?

I keep thinking that I am protecting myself by keeping a distance, but the further along I get, the more impossible and futile that seems.  I keep wanting to protect my kids from being excited, but I do not want to steal their excitement either.

Today is Easter Sunday, a day of light, hope, promise.  Life after death.  A day of happiness, joy, and healing comfort. So I am going to try, try to allow myself to be brave, knowing that loss will hurt unbearably.  But whether this ends in loss or life, I can allow myself some hope.

Family Tradition

Last year, I started a new tradition, in a conscious/unconscious way with our Halloween pumpkins.

Several years ago, I began to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project.  A pumpkin outside of our house is painted teal, to make kids with food allergies aware that our house has non-food treats.  I put a sign on our door about the Teal Pumpkin Project, to bring awareness to it, and have handed out Halloween pencils for years instead of candy.  The first year, I actually had teal paint and painted a pumpkin.  Last year, I was given some blue-ish pumpkins by my aunt so they served the purpose. Continue reading

What Broke My Heart

What broke my heart: Mother’s Day 2016.

Or rather, the weekend before.  This weekend.

Our family has always celebrated Mother’s Day the weekend before the actual day.  Family tradition. We can go out to brunch without fighting the crowds that occur Mother’s Day weekend.  Being with my family is the important part, not a specific designated day of celebration.

This year, my heart is heavy.  Last year, I knew that I was pregnant by the time we got to our Mother’s Day celebration. Ger enjoyed a mimosa with his brunch and I joked with him for making me jealous that I could not have one.  This year should have been a family of five, with Nelle being a few months old. Or I should have been very pregnant with Iris. Either way, not what I pictured.

My heart is with women that I know that desperately want to be mothers, but do not have children.  I want to fill the space of a day like Mother’s Day for them.

My heart is breaking for someone dear to me who just had a miscarriage.  The pain is palpable.  The tribe of women who share that experience are welcoming in their understanding, but it is a membership that no one wants.  She and I talked, about distance that has emerged between us over time, for no particular reason other than being in different places.  Any space there has been erased and doesn’t matter.  I hold her in my heart today and cried with her, even from a distance.

When will it end?  One minute I am resentful of the women who parade around their pregnant bellies and babies, unaware of how much I hurt. The next minute I am heartbroken for those who share my experience. How long will I be so affected?

Four years ago today, I was headed to my six-week postpartum visit after Quentin was born. Seven years ago today, I was headed to a midwife appointment, almost halfway through my pregnancy with Theo.  Events with even my own children are hard to digest.

I began writing this, and a friend shared with me this article: “How I Choose to Survive Mother’s Day After Losing My Children.”  Children, plural. Multiple losses.  She writes that she still parents her lost children by taking care of herself, by choosing joy, life. I am not yet to the point where I choose joy.  But I am choosing life, however altered. I try to take care of myself. I get out of bed in the morning. I move forward.

I took a bath shortly after midnight, hoping the water would soothe my aching muscles. It didn’t.