This time last year, I was ready to stand up and move through our storm. My motivation was a rainbow that greeted us the day after Thanksgiving on a Christmas Tree Farm in the mountains. It was our sign from the universe, from our daughter, that everything was going to be okay - even if in that moment it didn't feel like it.
Recognizing I had sat in the dark long enough, I felt it was time to stand up and understand the darkness that surrounded me. Blogging has always been a means of self discovery for me. I decided I would combine my words with the words of others - words found in the self-help section of the book store.
I thought it would be fitting to share the blog posts I wrote but kept private after our loss. These posts will be labeled "Part 1." Each post will be followed with a part 2, how this lie sat with me during our second pregnancy.
Written December 17, 2018:
Lie: I'll Be Happy When...
Yesterday, I purchased the book "Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis. A book I once rolled my eyes about as I saw ads for it everywhere.
I was wandering around Barnes and Noble searching for the last of our holiday gifts and trying to find something, anything, to keep my mind entertained and busy. After about an hour of strolling between book shelves, I came face to face with Rachel Hollis' book (with a beautiful 40% off sticker might I add), but I was reluctant. I'd heard of the book before, and was turned off by the fact that it seemed to have a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality. It may not be her message, per-say, but her introduction does in fact talk about how we are responsible for creating our own happiness, that we are the ones in charge of our path on this journey called life. While I understand and appreciate this message of hope and inspiration, I recognize that there are too many people who are victims in our racially unjust society, who are forced to face oppressive behavior day in and day out, making messages like this completely irrelevant. Still, I decided to take a look at the book. Suddenly, it hit me: this message may not serve everyone, but after going through a traumatic experience, it may very well serve me, and thats okay.
For those of you who have not read the book, each chapter is about a lie we tell ourselves. With each lie, the author describes situations and stories in which she's come face to face with said lie and how she has (and we can) overcome this hurtle. While I may not relate to her personal story or situation, I can 100% admit that I've been telling myself lies.
For the past 4 months I've been telling myself a lie: "I'll be happy when..." When we first found out we were pregnant, we were so overjoyed. While we tried our best to keep it secret, it was too hard. When a friend asks you what's new or how you are...it is incredibly hard to not blurt out "I"m pregnant!" It feels like you're hiding or lying about something when you simply say "I'm good!" or "nothing new here!" when in fact you are so over the moon excited (and exhausted and nauseated), and there is something very new growing inside of you.
So, we did tell a group of people. Slowly but surely, more people found out. (It's hard to hide when you start showing around 10/11 weeks). Regardless, I remember so often saying "I'm so excited, but I'll feel better when I'm over the 12 week hurtle and out of the first trimester." This was partly due to wanting to be adjusted to my hormones, which happens towards the end of the first trimester, but mostly because my chances of miscarriage would drastically go down by that point.
"I'll feel better when we're 12 weeks." 12 weeks hit, and our worlds were rocked. Our first trimester screening indicated we did not have a healthy, viable pregnancy. More testing was needed.
"I'll feel better when we get the results." Two weeks later and the results were in, our daughter had Turner Syndrome. We lost our daughter at 14 weeks.
"I'll feel better when this is behind us." I did not feel better.
"I'll feel better when I get my first period." My amazing body, like clockwork, regulated itself. My period started 30 days after we lost our girl.
"I'll feel better when I get a positive LH strip." 15 days into my cycle, and I got my darkest LH strip.
"I'll feel better when my temperatures show I ovulated." I'll feel better when...I'll feel better when... I'll feel better when...
I've found myself in this cycle of "I'll be happy when..." only to realize instead of celebrating each milestone, I'm finding a new one to feel anxious about. Instead of celebrating all my body, mind and heart have overcome lately, I've been anxiously obsessing over the things I can't control, when my body has in fact proven to me over and over again how amazing, reliable, strong and resilient it is. The hardest part is, I know mindfulness. I teach mindfulness. Yet despite trying every trick up my sleeve, I could not for the life of me get over this hurtle of anxiety. I knew (know) I was (am) being obsessive, I knew (know) I couldn't (can't) control any of this, yet I couldn't get a hold of myself. It's truly been frightening.
So, this is how I'm starting. I'm going to face the lies, the narratives, I tell myself day in and day out and reflect on them. Blogging/writing has always been meditative for me. I can only hope that my experiences help somebody else going through as deep a pain as this. Because I know it's far from easy, and it's far from fair. But it is. And there's nothing I can do to change that.
"We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in the high winds." Chances are this isn't going to feel any better tomorrow, in a week, a month or even a year. But I need to acknowledge that. Why wait to be happy when... when I can be happy now? Life isn't ever going to be easy. I'm tired of wasting each day lying to myself rather than learning to sail through the storm. After all, that's the only way to get to a rainbow.