Monday, April 25, 2011

grounding

right now, where you are sitting: take a moment. feel your feet on the ground. feel your hands on the keyboard, or on your lap. feel your behind in the seat, and your back supported by the chair you're probably sitting in. breathe. feel the space your breath is creating around you. just be aware of where you are in time & space... what you're doing right now is called grounding, and i've been doing a lot of these last few weeks.
we've made an agreement, my wise husband and I, that we would make no decisions about family-building until we both had healed ourselves a little more, through time and love and therapy. we have a regular counselor we've seen since before we were married, and his knowledge of us as individuals and as a couple over a long span of years has built trust and depth that we are grateful for. we are also seeing another counselor who developed a somatically-based model of trauma therapy that she now uses for the benefit of those with PTSD and large-scale disaster survivors, but whose early work was with those who experienced any sort of pre- or neo-natal death.
we've learned a lot in these few weeks, and i've made myself do a lot of "homework." anyone who has been to any amount of counseling will tell you that you can have productive sessions, but if you don't work on your stuff over the time in between, you won't get very far.
the grounding is how i've been starting my "work" times -- whether it be meditation & prayer, journalling, reading related material, etc. it brings me to the present, and anchors me to myself. keeping this awareness of the physicality, and the physical location of my emotions, has been a powerful tool for getting to know the snake and the shadows, and for starting to understand things that have been hidden inside of me. i'm feeling more like "myself" than i have over the last few months, which is both exhausting and liberating.
there's still quite a ways to go, and meanwhile the circumstances of my life aren't exactly the most stable, as i find that this is a season of saying goodbye to parts of my old life & career, and welcoming new opportunities and directions. but i think i found a flashlight and the shadows aren't as menacing.
for those of you who have been sending your love in various ways: cards, e-mails, gifts, declarations of friendship & self-sacrifice: i thank you. you remind me not only that i am not alone, but that i too need to keep reaching out to those who struggle with grief and loss over time, not just when it happens.

Monday, April 11, 2011

hiss

you'd think that going through this three times, one would have a certain amount of heads-up as to what to expect. i thought i did. i mean look at my post from when i found out that Tummymuffin III was gone. it was comforting then to think i had "better tools" or that i knew what was coming, even if i was "not dismissing the possibility this could be different." well, you know what? f**k that.
i think that what i thought was: "hey, you already know how to mourn your dead babies! you're already good at that!" so here's the curve ball...so far it's not about that this time. dear God, it feels like it would be so easy if i were simply grieving the loss of another child. i can't even see that child right now, she's so buried under all this anger and confusion and dull, depressing greyness. it's like being buried myself.
i'm feeling bitter that i even had to have a conversation with my husband that involved nasty little acronyms like "ART" and "IVF" and phrases like "willing to lose another one" and "open to other possibilities." i don't know who i am or who i'm supposed to be right now. it feels like i'm simply marking time, waiting for..something. a decision? a revelation?
no. i think right now, in this moment, it's about honesty. i'm losing my sense of being a woman, of being female. yeah, it's that basic. when i poke the snake of anger, what it hisses is that it's not f***ing fair, normal women get pregnant and have live healthy babies as easily as it was for me to just type that phrase. don't argue with me, it hisses, you see this with your own eyes and it's lived out in front of you more often than the sh*t card you obviously drew.
it hisses that without being a mother, without that sort of fruitfulness, i will not develop fully into being a woman, and i will forfeit an enormous portion of life experience that i was told i should absolutely expect and hope to have.
it hisses that i will be alone, alone until my final exit. i will say goodbye to my husband, who was never a father, and to whom i never gave a child, and endure how many years of alone before finally leaving. will you rage, asks the snake, bitter and unwilling to let go? or will you just be so exhausted from loneliness that you simply fade? and then that will be all, no more of your line. so sorry, mom and dad. so sorry, future of my name.
it hisses that trust is slippery. it makes me doubt -- do i trust myself & do i really truly want a family? why do i want children anyway? can i trust the God who made my body which is clearly not working very well? can i trust a society that once again puts me on the outside of normal because it's not going as it "was supposed to?"
and here's the strange part. i think the snake isn't something to be killed, or be frightened of, or to scare away. no. i need to pick it up, wrap it around my wrist, and carry it with me. i need to warm it, count its scales, feel its flickering tongue on me without flinching. yes, much of what it hisses is ugly and painful, and has no truth in it -- but ignoring it, or silencing it is not going to make it stop. i'm suspecting that the snake, while disguised as anger, is perhaps really fear -- and shoving fear back into the shadows just makes it more powerful. and i also suspect that i have something to learn out of all that hissing.
i'm fumbling around in the dark, but i know a flashlight is there, somewhere.

*for those of you who may be offended by profanity: i'm very sorry for offending you. i cannot, however, apologise for being honest. i don't swear lightly.

Friday, April 8, 2011

move back and forth into the change

i'm wondering:
what does it mean to be a bell? and can i turn myself to wine?
meanwhile, i'm breathing as deeply as possible.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

~Ranier Maria Rilke