When Dan and I got married instead of a guest book we asked our guest to write a few words of advice on marriage/life and place it in a box…we read them all on our first anniversary. One bit of advice we received repeatedly from married couples was “don’t speak to one another in anger.” It’s a concept we’re still working on…knowing when to pause and say ‘let’s revisit this conversation later.’ But it is something I have always applied to this blog…don’t write on a bad day. When I’m overcome with anger or consumed by sadness I put a pause on writing. I wait until the negative feelings pass, I wait until I can discuss my grief but in a positive way, I wait until my post leaves me feeling like all this is bearable.
But…I’m not sure that’s the best thing anymore. See, I worry people will read a post (and by people I mean my mother and great aunt) and worry about me. I’m scared my friends will start staging an intervention (or an impromptu visit to my house the way they did a few months ago when I started ignoring everyone after the miscarriage) I’m worried even my ‘blogger friends’ will think I’m not handling all this appropriately. I mean in many ways I like when people read my blog and feel inspired… I cannot imagine anyone would walk away feeling positive emotions after a post about how I spent an entire day off crying while looking at #bump photos on Instagram.
But, if I don’t authentically share the struggles I continue to have…I would be a liar. And I am a lot of things… overly type A, a terrible dancer, an ugly crier and the queen of resting bitch face…but I am not a liar. So I’m going to share a post I started writing a few days ago, deleted, and then typed again… It’s not happy, it’s not positive, but it is real.
I’ve been feeling differently lately. I’ve been crying less. I’ve been grieving our loss less. I’ve been enjoying life more… I think this means I’ve reached the final stage of grief- acceptance…but let me tell you something, acceptance doesn’t look or feel anything like I imagined it would.
I don’t think I cry less because I’m no longer sad, I don’t think I grieve less because I no longer mourn the loss, I don’t think I enjoy life more because I’m happier. I’ve just accepted this new life and have come to terms with my sadness and my grief. I think I’ve taken ownership of the disappointments, the anger, the misery…and I think I’ve made room for those emotions in my everyday life. If I allow myself to be equal parts happy and sad, angry and thankful, excited and disappointed…well then I live in a balanced, neutral world. And I think that’s how I survive…
See, this new life I’ve learned to accept has changed me entirely, and one of the greatest losses in this journey is the loss of who I was. I use to be naïve, optimistic and positive. I believed that by marrying the man I loved, building a healthy/happy home and making responsible decisions meant I would have a baby…but they didn’t. I was a dreamer. I believed if I put goodness into the world, goodness would come back. I didn’t just want to wear the gold dress, I expected to wear the gold dress. At the beginning (which seems like a lifetime ago) when we weren’t getting pregnant people would say to me “Of course you’ll get pregnant! You’ll be a great mom!” And I believed them. I agreed- I did think I would be a great mom. So I assumed, I would be a mom. But now…well when people say “Of course you’ll get pregnant! You’ll be a great mom!” I only smile, because there is no ‘of course’ anymore. I don’t know if I’ll be a mom. I still think I’ll be a great mom, I still try every day to be a kind, thoughtful person- someone a child would be lucky to have as a parent…but I don’t assume any of this means I’ll be a mother. I don’t know if I think any of that really matters anyway. (It’s matter in the sense that I have to live with myself, and I like being a good person. But I don’t think my behavior determines if I get to have a child….)Let’s be real here: some of the top fertility experts in 2 states cared for us and our Warrior…and I still had a miscarriage. I put a lot more faith in the power of Science than in the power of my being a good person…and yet both have failed me.
It makes me sad, saying goodbye to who I was. See, I liked the person I was. I liked that I researched baby monitor and strollers, I liked that I stressed about whether or not to have an epidural during labor, I liked that I questioned the importance of using a family name as a child’s middle name. I liked that I already picked out my diaper bag (FEED), our nursery décor (white, the walls decorated with framed literary quotes) and our splurge baby item (the Owlet baby monitor). I liked what life felt like, having that much hope and optimism, but I don’t anymore.
I still have hope (you can’t do IVF without it!), but it’s not the same… I have realistic hope now. I have the type of hope that comes with loss and acceptance. The type of hope that allows me to lie awake at night saying ‘please let me have a baby’, but that never allows me to research baby items. The type of hope that allows me to want a baby, but not expect a baby. The type of hope that comes with being this new version of myself. I can’t say I’ve been changed for the better (Wicked anyone?!) It’s just that acceptance has changed me, and I guess I’m learning to accept that.