I took me over a year to attend my first SHARE meeting. It was hard. The passage of months hadn’t lessened my pain. Speaking around a table of parents who had experienced loss did not bring me comfort. Instead, I felt the weight of their stories and sadness. The next day, I saw my therapist and it was her gentle suggestion that maybe the group was “too much” for me at that time. I was carrying my own problems; how could I carry theirs too? Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I submitted an essay to a website under a specific theme. The rejection email came with a simple sentence: “Thank you but unfortunately this is not what we are looking for.” It hurt more than it should have, as I know rejection is an unavoidable aspect of writing.
An opportunity arose recently for me to send my story to the Chicago Daily Herald through someone I know. I worked on it. I tailored it to the type of audience I knew would be reading. I went a long time hearing nothing, then was asked to submit a photo and the suburb where I live. Not unlike my pregnancy, I didn’t believe that it would actually be published until it happened. And today, it was included on the website.
It was validating, because it made me feel that my story was worth telling. Awareness about pregnancy and infant loss will come from sharing stories. Awareness about grief will come from talking openly and honestly about navigating loss, and the days, weeks, months, years, and lifetime that follow. Stories matter.
This past week, I have been editing some of my own writing. It is writing that I did in the months between losing Nelle and Iris. I found myself tensing up as I read my own words. I was still reeling from the pain of losing Nelle, pregnant again, terrified. And looking back, I know what is coming. That unfathomable doctor’s appointment where I learned that I had lost Iris too. I have to read through all of my fears that, in the end, proved to be true. Continue reading
(After losing Iris, I joined an online grief writing course in March of 2016. For 30 days, I received an emailed prompt and could write and share it with other people enrolled in the course. As the 30 days ended, I realized how much I needed the prompts to give me some inspiration and direction, so I set about to create my own from quotes and other sources. I ended up with more than 200 prompts. I wrote here, and privately. Continue reading
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” -TH White, The Once and Future King
I have needed distractions for months. Years, really. After losing Nelle, there was hardly time to regroup myself before becoming pregnant with Iris, and then I lost her too. Then there was the doctor-mandated waiting period. How to cope with the empty waiting? And then, once pregnant again, how to cope with the insanity of how slowly the days passed? Continue reading