Monday, October 15, 2018

international pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day

on this October 15th, on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, i'm incredibly honored to have been interviewed by the courageous and wonderful Shannon Vandermark, creator and host of the podcast "Happily Ever After...Without Children."  when she first asked me, i was surprised she would want to have someone who has a living child on the podcast, but i understood why when she explained that she wanted to hear the perspective of someone who can say from experience that having a child isn't some kind of magic bullet that wipes out all the pain and grief of infertility and multiple pregnancy losses.  as easy as it is to think that "just having a baby" would make Everything All Right Again -- satisfying all the longing, wiping away all the pain, making everyone happy -- it's simply not true.  the opposite of happily ever after without children is not happily ever after with children; it's sadly ever after either with or without children.  each person responds to grief and loss differently, and each must choose what that Ever After will be.  joy and sorrow dance in lockstep; our enormous capacity to love brings with it an enormous capacity for pain.

you can look in the right sidebar under "labels" and see that i've written extensively here about this emotional duality and how i do not believe that L is a "happy ending;" that motherhood after loss is a unique experience that is affected daily by the struggle that preceded it; that grief has no expiration date, and of course, about the importance of Talking About It. this day is a huge part of that.
October 15th is the internationally designated date to remember and promote awareness of pregnancy and infant loss, and to give those affected by it a worldwide community of solidarity in grief and hope.  for many who swallow their sorrow, this day is perhaps the needed "permission" to recognize the pain of losing a loved child before or briefly after he or she was born...and this would also include the would-be grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, godparents, etc.  

tonight, for Tummymuffin Remembrance Day, our little family of three will light five candles; four for the children we will not meet, and one for our bonus miracle L. we'll hug and talk about the things that make us a family.  later, i will speak aloud the names of those i know who are remembering their lost children, and light candles for them too.  this will be happening in hundreds of thousands of places literally around the globe.  there will be so much light, and so much love.  

and if you like, you can listen to me talk about October 15th at the following places below  (warning: mild profanity.  it is, after all, an honest conversation from the heart and i saw no need to self-censor.  apologies in advance.):

Sunday, May 13, 2018

bouquets

i see that now i come here to post twice a year: once on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and once on Mother's Day.  i didn't intend to do this, but i suppose this is because these are the two markers in the year when one simply cannot NOT remember.
i'm having a small existential crisis right now; the construct of "Mother's Day" is still not really that cemented into temporal reality for my son, and so it's up to me to figure out what i "want to do for Mother's Day." my original idea has been sidelined due to capricious weather, and i still have a very, very fraught and confusing relationship with the holiday.  after having a small meltdown about it, my wise husband pointed out that perhaps it is just that what i would like to do is NOT have a Mother's Day, just a normal family day.  oh. huh. but of course.
an artist i regularly appreciate for her keen human insight, Mari Andrew, created an illustration that is titled "Thinking of You." it depicts six different lovely bouquets of flowers, each one with a caption underneath:
:: Mothers Who Have Lost Children
:: Those Who Have Lost Mothers
:: Those With Strained Mother Relationships
:: Mothers With Strained Child Relationships
:: Those Who Have Chosen Not To Be Mothers
:: Those Yearning To Be Mothers
this more or less perfectly sums up how i feel about Mother's Day and explains to me why i still cannot approach this day with anything like peace.  i have no problem celebrating my own amazing mother, but i have a hard time celebrating my own motherhood without also acknowledging those other bouquets i've held and still hold.
i used to feel incredibly guilty about my turmoil over the holiday for various reasons, but now i'm choosing not to. it takes a lot of energy to choose not to feel guilty about something, and that's probably where the existential crisis is coming from.
i see that my last post dealt rather thoroughly with the idea that something as wrenching as infertility and/or pregnancy & child loss remain potent through time, circumstance, and growth -- both negatively and positively -- and so to any of you who are awkwardly clutching any of the above bouquets, especially you secret unseen mothers, i hope for you some measure of joy and peace even as what feels like legions of other women triumphantly wave their "normal" bunches of mom flowers.
and remember: until we speak, we do not know one another's stories...so please: tell a trusted friend or family member, or even me about your bouquet(s), especially if they are still painful, for there is no shame in them.