“We all spend our lives kicking the crap out of ourselves for not being this way or that way, not having this thing or that thing, not being like this person or that person. For not living up to some standard we think applies across the board to all of us. We all spend our lives trying to follow the same path…Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Being traditional is not traditional anymore. It’s funny that we still think of it that way. Normalize your lives, people…Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than. When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it. No fairy tales. Be your own narrator. And go for a happy ending. One foot in front of the other.”
~ from Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes- How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person
This morning I was up puttering around in my kitchen. Nothing different than most Mondays. Catching up on the Sunday New York Times, as on Sundays I never manage to make it past the magazine and that one puzzle with the 7 letters where the middle letter has to be in every word. Sitting there with a bowl of grilled yams topped with sweet Italian peppers and garlic from the garden, and a fried egg for good measure. Hadn’t even flipped on my iPod yet, when I saw this week’s Modern Love article.
Amy Pittman’s The Internet Still Thinks I’m Pregnant gives me that weak stab in the belly just reading the title.
This week I seem to be running into various stories in the media around miscarriage without even trying. I kept trying to ignore them. After all, it’s been over a month and I should be fine now, right? Waiting to bleed so that I can begin the estrogen. Started on low dose naltrexone and the new thyroid medication so that my body can finally regulate and be as prepared as possible for these two embryos. I should be looking forward.
I’d already read about the woman who tried returning things to Babies ‘r’ Us – things she’d bought for her baby who never came and the horrendous treatment she received, including the two cents they offered her for the stroller.
I’d already heard about Alicia Vikander’s new movie, The Light Between Oceans, about a mother who’d experienced recurrent pregnancy loss.
And now this article. The author described the passing of time:
“But as time wore on, I found myself crying at unexpected moments or talking too defensively when someone who was unaware asked if my husband and I were going to try to have children. Meanwhile, all those milestones I had been anticipating came and went: first ultrasound, hearing the heartbeat, fingernail development, the gender reveal and so on. Had I been pregnant, each phase would have filled me with excitement, trepidation and wonder. As each non-milestone ticked by, I lay awake at night imagining the little chocolate chip growing to the size of a walnut and then a peach as the sadness descended upon me and remained until I fell asleep.”
It reminded me that we would now be kicking off second trimester. That we would have shared it with my husband’s employer. That we’d be planning his time off in the spring for paternity leave. That my body would finally be starting to show just a wee bit.
And it also reminded me of things that I have quickly discarded and tried to forget – the mail that’s arrived after our miscarriage. Thanks to the assholes at Regence BCBS (who must have decide to add me to a “pregnancy list” when I emailed them a question about our benefits) and MyRegistry (who obviously sold our mailing address), I’m receiving things in my mailbox – discount coupons, reminders for prenatal care, and more. It’s nauseating. And as we all know, getting yourself off of these lists is a slice of hell already. While the author may have thought of it as “funny”, I did not. Every piece of mail that comes in reminding me of our loss is a slap in the face – particularly since I did not ask for it.
I got up and stood at the kitchen sink with 13 pounds of freshly harvested carrots from our garden that were waiting to be peeled and cut up for preserving. Yet as I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For came on in the background, I felt myself trembling, unable to focus on the task at hand.
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for
During my husband’s late shifts, I’d been going down memory lane via old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (I had a sudden urge to see Meredith & Derek’s ‘meet-cute’ and bask in Sandra Oh’s glow as she settled in Switzerland…this fall is season 13, a show having debuted back when I was living in Santa Barbara, my Rottweilder as well as my dad were both still alive, and I was in the middle of my divorce from my first husband…whoa…). So when the U2 song came on and I started to feel the pangs of miscarriage washing over me, I started thinking about Meredith and Cristina, and what they did in their last scene together.
And as I thought of it, the song ended, and the next song began. The song that inspired the tank top I got at the show, the tank top I wore to feel badass during the first and fourth embryo transfers and what I’ll wear again on October 5th.
I put down the chef’s knife, I turned up the volume, and I danced it out. I danced it out so hard my heart was racing and my dog was flummoxed. I danced it out so hard that I forgot about the pain and remembered what it felt like to be young and naive and without all the things I live with today, what it felt like to just be in my jeans and a black tank and black boots and lose myself in the music late at night in the clubs. I remembered the inner me – the one that let loose and embraced life no matter what. I danced it out.
Ladies, when you are dealing with this shit, you gotta embrace your inner Madge and your inner Minaj. You gotta take the time to say, Bitch I’m Madonna. You gotta dance it out.
I run shit, I don’t fall back
Cuz I’m on track, I’m a sprinter
I’m bossed up, I got ’em awestruck
It’s not a toss up, I’m the winner
Seriously, play this and don’t tell me it doesn’t give you a bit of badass to power through your day. We go hard or we go home. Moving forward does NOT mean forgetting.