What a Difference a Week Makes
Wow. That’s pretty much what I said to myself this morning. I feel better. Not on-top-of-the-world, but better.
The body and mind connection has never ceased to amaze me in all of it’s power and impact on life and how we see it. My hormones are regulating again and the bleeding has ended and I can see the sun for all that it is. Life giving. Shining on me for days to come, full of hope for wherever our life takes us.
Inspirational sounding enough for ya? Don’t worry, I’m not “cured”.
You know those roller coasters where you tick-tick-tick-tick up to the top and then the bottom drops out and you hold your breath as you fall, hoping you’ll survive the landing…but really not sure if you will? It was kind of like that, but worse by about a thousand. The ride is coming to a halt, but I’m still on it.
Yesterday I just finished reading Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. It’s a quick read but a good one for all of my sistas out there battling the demons of infertility, miscarriage, and the like, I needed it in these moments which tested me to my very core.
Along with helping me remember my inner badass, it really helped me (strangely enough as Ms. Rhimes appears to have the most supportive family on the planet) get that reality check I needed in that little girl in me who was hoping in the worst moment of her life that her mother would be there for her.
My mother didn’t lift a goddamn finger to support us during our miscarriage. The day it happened she was on the road, arriving home that night. I got a couple of text messages, that was it. Not one fucking phone call, not one attempt to come see me the next day, nothing. It was primarily “are you feeling better yet” texts – as if I had the fucking flu. I finally had to tell her this was not something one just gets over in a day or two, it can take weeks physically, and no matter how much I shared about how emotionally devastated we both were…? Nothing. Not a damn bit of comfort. But she sure was able to mention about her dental surgery and how excited she was for her next trip to fly down to see my brother in California (who, by the way, just texted a quick “you’re in our thoughts” and that was it) and all the things she’s up to. And by the way? This is a woman who lost a young child.
It’s one of those things that, whether I wanted to or not, made me feel stupid for even thinking things might be different.Like the bad boyfriend metaphor, I was hoping that 10% of good things I saw would grow into more. My husband admired my optimism even though he warned me I could be setting myself up for a fall. I knew I wasn’t going to turn her by magic into some awesome mom who wants to be there for her kid, but I guess I just thought about the lengths I’ve gone to for people I am close to, and it’s definitely not something she reciprocates. Empathy, like my husband’s mother, is far from her strong suit. It’s always about her. It always has been and appears, always will be. There are no maternal behaviors towards me. It’s all about her her her. While my husband’s stepmom, 17 time zones away, offered us the money she’d been saving to travel to see us (to help us try again if we wanted), my own mother in the same state as me has been too busy socializing to spend even one second holding my hand.
What to do? Right now, absolutely nothing. I have bigger fish to fry. It is what it is, or however the saying goes. But I went into this attempt at reconciliation with an open mind, open heart, and healthy dose of reality. It’s a shame, but I know this is not a person – and never will be – who will step up when the worst happens.
“She will never change who she is and I will never again try to change her. I simply have to cut myself loose. I have to make it clear that I am officially no one’s daughter. I have to better myself for the sake of my future children. I have to become my best self and choose to let no one stand in my way. I’m not afraid of being no one’s daughter. It’s just who I am.” (source)
“Although at least 20 percent of all women experience a miscarriage, unlike with other forms of loss in our society, there are no established rituals to publicly acknowledge the event, structure mourning or gain social support. Research consistently finds that women who have experienced a miscarriage feel that the responses of friends and family minimize the significance of the event and are dissatisfied with the support they receive…The existing stigma and lack of understanding is only perpetuated by practices such as announcing pregnancies only after 12 weeks. The reason for this, the high chance of miscarriage in the first trimester, is precisely why this custom should cease. Why should people suffer in silence? Why should they not be given support from their community? Why should they feel shame if a loss occurs? Why shouldn’t they hold a ceremony to mark the event and to help them with their grief?”
~ from No Matter When It Happens, Loss of a Pregnancy Can Be Devastating
Communicating about one’s miscarriage can be a vicious circle. Have the courage to share and know that most will provide a minimal textbook sentence or two of a response, and then act like it never happened. (This is beyond the blogs, where I’ve found the most amazing support exists). Say nothing, and you travel the road in a tunnel, isolated. Either way, you learn. And you just hope to god you don’t have to experience it again.
Many know that Beyonce had a miscarriage before getting pregnant with Blue Ivy. Sharon Stone had 3 miscarriages before adopting. Gwyneth Paltrow had a miscarriage after having her two kiddos, which stopped her from trying for any more children. Celine Dion had 6 rounds of IVF before her twins made it into the world. Brooke Shields underwent multiple IVFs and suffered a miscarriage after the first one. Jaime King had 26 IUIs (not a typo), 5 miscarriages, and 5 rounds of IVF before getting pregnant. This article about some of these women was of some comfort, seeing how many celebrities have opened up about their own infertility, miscarriages and ultimately, humanity.
Marking the Loss
I want to go beyond planting something. It may be a small tattoo. I don’t know yet. There are many I’ve seen that are beautiful. I haven’t been under the ink in 20 years so anymore I have no idea where it’d go. I don’t know. I don’t know. But it makes us think.
I wrote the first half of this post yesterday, and while I finally went in last night to have a (as always) phenomenal massage, today I woke up and am hurting again. Today I am angry and bitter. This is donor fucking egg IVF that has failed us four times. Not regular IVF which has the lower success rates. Donor, where every clinic talks of 80% success rates and where you go on forums and never, ever see stories of a woman on her fifth attempt.
Who the fuck am I kidding. That’s what’s been going on in my head much of today. Tomorrow that could change. I hope it does.
I went downtown today to see a new client, with my best face on, “extroverting” myself like crazy, and while it went really well and I left with a contract, I arrived home completely drained – something so different for me when it comes to work successes that usually pump me up and have me rockin’ out to tunes on the ride home. My husband took me to dinner to celebrate the new contract, but I sat there, distracted, exhausted, leaning on him for support. We got home and a neighbor (who we thought we were friends with and who knew what happened to us…but never stopped by, just texted a perfunctory sorry) walked by with her dog and I barely was able to scrape out a few sentences before I just had to walk in the house. It’s harder than I thought it would be 24 hours ago.
But isn’t that how it goes? Healing comes slowly. Bellies and fat babies are everywhere, and I can’t imagine us without a li’l bebe of our very own.
Must. Keep. Going.
Breathe in, breathe out.
No direction is easy.
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”