I am a mother.
I know I don't look like it, but I am. You see, in October I found out that I had been pregnant but I wasn't anymore. My husband and I had only been married for three months. When I found out about the miscarriage a very large number of conflicting emotions hit me. I won't go into all the details; I'm sure you can make a few guesses. But I felt guilty because of some of those emotions, take relief for an example. Horrible isn't it? To be relieved that the pregnancy had ended? I was relieved that we weren't financially responsible for a child, I was relieved that we didn't have to be parents when I was barely out of childhood myself, and on and on. I felt guilty for this emotion (even though emotions are not wrong) because I loved that child immensely without ever knowing a thing about the child other than that there had been a short period of existence.
The past four months have been a new experience of hell for me. There was no motivation to do a thing anymore. Do you know why? Because I wasn't preparing myself and my home for my child. There was no gorgeous little life for me to protect and nurture. Those of you that know me know that, while I don't have an eating disorder, I forget to eat rather often. Guess how that went for the past several months.
The first month I was completely numb to the pain. I felt perfectly fine. I felt able to move on and find something to do with my loss. I began to plan to write a book about the taboo of miscarriage. Slowly, though, I realized that I was battling depression again. I was sleeping far too late into the day. I wasn't eating enough. I had no energy. I was unhappy and filled with negative emotions, instead of my usual not-quite-bubbly emotion set.
This past weekend a change was made. My husband and I attended a grief recovery retreat. Did you know that you could put grief and recovery into the same sentence? The same phrase, even? It's true. They can even occur within the same person... at the same time. You never get over a loss, that implies that the relationship ends. That isn't true. A griever has a relationship with who or what they lost for the rest of their life, at the very least with their memories of them or it. But you can move forward, not forgetting that which you have lost but remembering and being more whole because of it. There are steps you can take and things you can do to help yourself process your grief in a deliberate and healthy way. I will not go into detail about those things here, but if you wish you may ask me about them in a private message.
The grief recovery retreat my husband and I attended was run by an organization called Spark of Life. One of the first things the facilitators said to us was, "We are so, so sorry." I hadn't heard that in months and that alone soothed some of the wounds. They also told us that we were not crazy, that this grief was natural, that it was okay and good to hurt but that we didn't have to stay there. They taught us for a few hours each day but the real processing and healing was our own responsibility. This wasn't a giant counseling session. They gave us the tools to help ourselves. In the words of David Mathews, a facilitator and a board member, "It's taking pain and turning it into power and life."
I was so scared on the way there Thursday. I was so afraid. I'm a fearful person anyway, but I was so frightened by the pain I knew I was about to go through. I was frightened by the unknown. I was frightened by all these strangers. Then we went around the room and voiced our losses and suddenly you realize that no matter what the loss is it can destroy you but there we all were, desperately searching for the same thing: hope.
Hear me when I say that they taught me to find hope again. I can dream of writing that book again. I can bounce when I walk again. My mad desire to spin in circles for no reason is beginning to resurface from time to time. Now I'm only one day out from the retreat and so I'm still riding that wave but you know what? The view is amazing from up here, and out ahead of me I see clear skies and smaller waves for a little while. Perhaps the most amazing thing to me is this: I feel closer to my child now than I ever have before. I can acknowledge the relationship and be glad that it's there.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this: We all have loss. We all have pain. We all have grief. If you feel that you cannot get past your grief, that you need help climbing out of that pit of pain and darkness and grief, all I can say is that Spark of Life helped me more than anything else I tried. I feel like myself again, not the me that I was before October 30th of 2012, but the me that has lost a child and has grown to love that child but also to let go of my little darling. I can't tell you that it will help you as it helped me, all I can say is that it worked wonders for me. If you are interested or curious, I will include some links to Spark of Life's information below.
My friends, if you're still reading this my guess is that you either love me dearly or you're in a massive amount of pain yourself. Let me say this to all of you:
I am so, so sorry. I don't care what you think or say or feel about your losses, I am so sorry you went through that. There is something healing about sharing your pain, and if you need to do that and wish to do so I am more than willing to listen to you. I will not judge you. I will not try to fix you – there's nothing wrong with you, you just have a broken heart.
I am a mother. I am a mother without her child. I am a mother who chooses to live forward, living for the present and the future instead of the past and a future than cannot be.
I love you all. And I am so, so sorry for your loss.
SPARK OF LIFE
Intro Video [link]