Pregnancy after loss & loss after pregnancy

I’ve written a lot about miscarriage & secondary infertility in the last year or so. In fact, it seems like those two topics took over my blog & my life for what seemed like forever. 

When I became pregnant late last fall & the weeks started ticking by, I didn’t quite know what to think or feel, let alone what to write about. So I didn’t. 

I didn’t think or feel or write. At least not for a good long while. 

Plus, it’s been a bit of a complicated pregnancy. Or, at least it was at the start.

Which is probably where I should begin…

When I first fell pregnant, after three miscarriages, I was in a bit of denial. No way was this going to stick. Just continue on with life.

Well, that worked for about a week or so.

I had found out very early on that I was pregnant. Something just told me to test (though by this point, I had pretty much given up on testing… what was the damned point, anyway?!). It was early, but I got a fairly strong positive.

Then I started to worry… I should check my hormones, make sure I don’t need progesterone… You know, just in case? So I went to the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) I had been seeing, even though I had sworn her off since I found visits to her office so stressful. But her lab was fast & I knew I’d get same day results.

Everything looked good! HCG (that all-important pregnancy hormone) looked great! Did I want an early ultrasound, the nurse asked. No thank you. Not necessary. I was back off the RE, now that I knew my hormones were in tip-top shape. 

Now to wait. I didn’t want to see any medical person until I miscarried again or I got through the first trimester, whichever came first. 

But then my RE called me back. I guess my hormones were a little too good, so she wanted to keep an eye on them & me. You know, to rule out twins.

Twins?! I laughed out loud on the phone. … Oh, shit! Twins! 

Then I remembered. After my foray into Mayan abdominal massage (which was pretty awesome & empowering, I have to say), I had felt pretty strong ovulation pains. Twice. Oops.

So much for my hands off approach. I marched into my RE for blood draws & ultrasounds. My hormones were sky-rocketing. And then, come six weeks, there they were on the screen in the ultrasound room… two tiny, tiny hearts beating away.

I started laughing. Then I started crying. I think everyone in the tiny ultrasound room thought I was crazy. MFA Dad wasn’t with me, so I sent him a quick text message: “2 ūüíď!” Once I left, I called him, laughing & crying again on the phone. Not one, but two!

My doctor warned me about something called “vanishing twin syndrome” but with each passing week & more ultrasounds, it started to look like there would be two babies & we’d magically become a family of five, not three. Those little hearts kept beating. My pregnancy symptoms came on fierce, due to the extra work my body was doing & the extra hormones.

I didn’t like having to go to my RE’s office so often, but then again, a twin pregnancy was a more medicalized & monitored affair. I was getting used to the visits & they really weren’t so bad since I kept getting good news. Looking good!

MFA Dad were already talking about what kind of car we’d need to carry around our gaggle of kids. We started fretting about expenses & how we’d pay for childcare & schooling. I started to consider that we’d have to move to the suburbs & stop paying for private school in the city. I got myself used to the idea that a caesarean was all but inevitable. I was trying to remain detached but it was becoming increasingly difficult. This was all just so surreal & crazy & unexpected & wonderful & miraculous!

At around 9 weeks, I marched into the RE’s office for another ultrasound (knowing full well by now that all this monitoring was getting a bit ridiculous, even for twins). I was alone. Even though the RE encouraged me to bring MFA Dad to my appointments, she never gave me a choice as to day or time. And so, every time I had to explain that we had a son & someone had to get him to school in the early morning, which seemed to be the only time she could ever see me.

I hopped onto the table, let the ultrasound tech do her thing. But something was wrong. I could see immediately that there was only one beating heart that morning. 

At least the ultrasound tech didn’t hide the truth for me (something I’ve experienced in the past). The RE came in & started talking Latin (or what might as well have been non-legalese Latin) to her resident. Um, excuse, me? I’m over here! With a wand stuck you-know-where! Talk to me damnit! 

Twin A was gone. 

I had a million questions & my RE had the wrong answer to all of them. She handed me a brown paper bag that contained a plastic container & gloves. I was to try to capture any tissue should I miscarry. Would I miscarry? Would I miscarry both? Was it possible to miscarry just the one? Hopefully, I wouldn’t miscarry either, but if I did, it was likely that I’d lose both. At least that’s what she told me. 

Later, I’d learn (from my midwife & the inter-webs) the complete end of this pregnancy wasn’t actually a done deal. And the surviving twin’s heartbeat was strong. I tried to take solace in that. 

But it was an admittedly confusing & difficult time. I was feeling hopeful & hopeless at the same time. Emotionally, it felt like another miscarriage, but physically my pregnancy continued. 

It was difficult to go in for my follow-up ultrasounds. Not only was I terrified of finding out we’d lost the other twin, but the technician & doctor always seemed focused on Twin A’s sac. I wanted to focus on Twin B’s beating heart, not to endure examination of the lifeless sac that would “hopefully” vanish to oblivion. 

After a couple follow-ups, I called it quits. An ultrasound wouldn’t change the outcome, so I went back to just waiting it out. My RE thought I was crazy. She couldn’t understand how more ultrasounds weren’t more reassuring to me. But I had to figure out my own path here. Loss in the middle of a pregnancy isn’t exactly easy. 

So I waited until the end of the first trimester. Hopeful & hopeless. I learned I could be both at the same time. I tried to be ok with that. Life is full of gray areas. 

Luckily, I can report that I did not miscarry either twin & “Twin B” is turning somersaults in my belly as I write. My midwife, who was encouraging from the moment I told her what had happened, was right when she told me that losing one twin was common & did not mean the end of my pregnancy. 

I started a Hypnobabies home study course (…reluctantly, I know I need to prepare for labor & birth!) & as I listen to “positive affirmations” about pregnancy & childbirth, I realize that my nagging fears are perhaps more present than I had thought. One exercise prompted me to imagine & connect with my baby. I realized I had not yet imagined or dreamt of this baby at all. Probably out of fear. 

And as MFA Dad & T get more excited for this little one’s arrival, I fear that my body will disappoint. What to them seems like all but a done deal, to me is still fraught with the danger of disappointment & loss.

It’s a nagging feeling & I’m trying to shake it the best I can. Or at least realize that the space of hope & hopelessness is with me, with hope taking a slight lead.

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Reflections on Mother’s Day


Last night (on the evening of Mother’s Day), I texted a dear friend & asked: “Is it bad to want to strangle your child on Mother’s Day?!?!”

Because that’s the kind of day it was.

I admit to having mixed feelings about Mother’s Day. It’s a strange thing, celebrating “motherhood,” whatever that means on this particular Hallmark holiday. I tend to think that Mother’s Day amplifies the cult of motherhood. By which I mean the unhealthy obsession our culture has with how women execute the care of their children. Usually this entails judging women based on the time spent (& the fervor with which they are) tending to the minutiae of their children’s lives. 

It’s also a funny thing when you compare it with Father’s Day. Women want to celebrate Mother’s Day (or not) in a myriad of ways, but the overwhelming message is that if you have young children, it should be a “day off” (i.e. a day on which one doesn’t have to mother). Father’s Day, by contrast, is a day for the kids to spend with dad. I’ve written before about the different expectations for dads vs. moms … And I think the themes of escape & engagement that are dominant in Mother’s & Father’s Days, respectively, are manifestations of the generally unequal state of parenting today.

I don’t think Mother’s Day needs to be any one thing, but it’s interesting to think about what Mother’s Day isn’t. It’s not a day of empowerment for women who happen to be mothers, nor is it a celebration of solidarity among mothers. It’s not a day to recognize how poorly our society & culture treat moms or how the pressures moms face are surreal & impossible. It’s not even necessarily a day free of judgment, hence my hesitance to text my friend my very personal question. 

But life goes on on Mother’s Day, even if you’re of the “escape motherhood for the day” camp. And sometimes that means your kids will test your limits & frustrate the hell out of you, even on the day that supposedly celebrates mothering, when we moms are supposed to feel all gooey & loved. 

I don’t mind a little extra special treatment every once in a while, but Mother’s Day? Eh, I can leave it or take it.

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Birthday perfection

  

T’s seventh birthday just happened & the celebrations included a small party for his cousins & friends. 

The party was on a Saturday afternoon & the Friday before (while still at the office), I found myself wondering… Why do working parents plan Saturday parties… Stupid, stupid, stupid… (Palm meeting forehead.)

But on the train ride after work (going to meet MFA Dad & T at the grocery store for party supplies) I tried to give myself some grace…

“Perfection is not the goal here.”

I repeated my new, impromptu (& very necessary) mantra to myself while making the grocery list & listening to Beach House. Zone out time. 

We picked up frozen pizzas, I found a flour mix to make nut- & gluten-free guests happy (& safe), some healthy-ish snack for the goodie bag & voila, shopping was done & we all headed home. Already exhausted! 

T helped me make the cupcakes & we tidied the house. 

“Perfection is not the goal here.” 

That meant cleaning only one bathroom & not sweeping. It meant minimal decorations, including last year’s slightly torn plastic Star Wars table “cloth.” (Also, technically, there are two Star Wars stickers on the front door from last year’s party that we haven’t bothered to remove…) It meant trying to just get to bed instead of staying up all night readying the house & food. 

After all, this was a small party. Kind of impromptu & definitely planned a bit more last minute than I had intended. I didn’t once look to Pinterest for inspiration. 

Because fuck Pinterest. 

I mean, is there any worse place on the Internet for a working mom? If you can’t get enough of crafting & you truly enjoy planning children’s parties, more power to you! Rock on! But for us mere mortals, really, Pinterest is the worst. 

I’ve been there… I just want to find a few simple ideas. Guess what? There are no simple ideas on Pinterest. Two years ago I found myself drawing mini-fig faces on bright yellow paper cups as guests started arriving for a Lego-themed party. Even that taxed my crafting capabilities! Yeah, I learned my lesson. As a working lawyer, I’d have to start crafting next year’s party now to be done in time.

Even with these concessions, I still imagined piping the frosting onto the cupcakes. But that dream was short-lived… As the clock creeped toward party time, the thought of taking out my unopened, untouched cake decorating kit made my stomach turn a little. That I had made the frosting at all was a miracle. It was delicious (seriously! … every kid licked off all the frosting, even if they didn’t all finish their cupcakes) & that’s what mattered. (FYI, awesome frosting recipe is here & it uses honey instead of powdered sugar… Yes, sugar is sugar, but I prefer the less processed kind when I can & there was plenty of the granulated kind in the cupcakes themselves anyway… I am not a purist.)

Ok, so I slathered on the frosting & called it a day! Phew! (See Exhibit A above: sloppy but yummy cupcakes. Plus my “sample.”)

In truth, I love simple birthday parties at home. Even though they’re chaotic & kind of tortuous. But really, why do children need anything more? 

“Perfection is not the goal here” … A bit of fun & celebration, that’s the goal. And a kid’s birthday party is such a whirlwind anyways, that no one will notice the tear in the recycled table cloth or the messy cupcakes or the used Star Wars figures in the goodie bags. 

Our birthday boy felt honored & celebrated & that’s all he needed for his special day. I, on the other hand, need another weekend to recover from even this simple birthday party!

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Filed under Food, Living, Mothering, Parenting, Simplicity, Working

Mother Birthday(s)… Blah, blah, blah…

   
Since starting this blog, I have written yearly on the anniversary of T’s due date, which happened to be exactly 2 weeks before he arrived into my arms. Well, I missed not only his due date this year but his actual birthday, too. (On this blog anyway … I missed writing about his birthday because we were busy planning & celebrating his birthday, so no time to write about it!)

To be honest, I didn’t even notice his due date anniversary this year (which I’ve treated as my own mother anniversary here & here & here & etc.). Partly because I was traveling for work & expending all of my mental energy on that. But I also think I missed it for a couple of other reasons, the first & biggest being the passage of time.

T turned 7 this year. S-E-V-E-N! 

It has always been his birthday, but in the past I’ve also felt like his birthing was a moment of becoming for me, too. Being a mother has changed me in so many ways, and I’ve wanted an outlet for celebrating that. The anniversary of his due date has been that outlet for me. A moment to reflect on how far I’ve come as a parent & a woman. A time to nod at my entr√©e into motherhood, and wonder at how much has happened in & to my inner life. 

But now T is an honest to goodness individual. With interests & friendships & struggles & triumphs all his own. His independence is growing exponentially. As is his personality & inner life.

This season is so much less about me than it is about him. That pregnancy, labor & birth are starting to fade in my mind’s ever-shifting landscape.

He will still hold my hand across the seats in the car. He will still (sometimes) fall asleep in my arms. 

But the seeds of separation are there. He doesn’t always want me as his playmate. He sometimes asks to be left alone. He is more interested in trying out activities outside the house. 

In short, he’s dipping his toes in the world of independence. 

In my heart, we will always be intertwined, but I know that I have to get used to the idea that our paths will slowly part in the future. I just hope that he will always know how to find his way back to me when he needs to. (Great… there I go making myself cry as I write this on the train…)

So as my parenting goals shift, so do my feelings around T’s birthday. I’m just grateful for every new year I get to spend with him, physically & in spirit. It’s still nice to be able to reflect on the journey of motherhood, but sometimes it’s more delicious to simply step back & reflect on the young life taking shape before me. 

I mentioned there’s at least one more reason I missed T’s due date anniversary this year & that’s because I have another due date on my mind. Another small person will (hopefully) be joining our family this summer. That’s right! Mom, JD & MFA Dad have finally hit the “sperm meets egg” jackpot & the tiny one seems to be aiming to stick around this time. I still have my doubts, but there will always be doubts. For now, I’m looking forward to this new due date! Of course, even this pregnancyhasn’t been easy, but that’s a post for another day. 

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Choosing peace (finally!)

  

It’s my birthday! And it’s a beautiful fall day. So, I thought I’d post something uplifting, if not entirely light. 

I have a number of light posts I’m working on, but there aren’t enough hours in the day & there definitely isn’t enough horsepower in my brain to get them all out. I’m trying though! And with that, here’s what I hope is my last miscarriage post for a while…

***

Is it possible to occupy two mental states at one time, even though they seem to be in complete opposition with each other?

Trying but not striving. Sadness & joy. Disappointment & gratitude. Hope but not desire. 

I don’t know, but I hope the answer is “yes.” I believe it is. At least, I’m  trying!

I’ve been walking the road of trying to conceive & miscarriage & heartbreak for almost two years now. All of this has taken its toll on me, my relationships, my family. 

I’ve decided I’ve had enough. 

We are not going to give up. In fact, we are about to ratchet up our efforts. 

But I’m choosing peace. 

Finally. I am choosing peace. I don’t quite know how, but I know that I can be at peace with the now. I can stop the maddening up & down emotional roller coaster. 

After all, “now” isn’t so bad. I am healthy (even if something isn’t quite working right). I have a beautiful little family & an awesome partner. My family & friends are supportive & loving. We have a comfortable home & abundant food. We even manage to have some fun, even if it does sometimes feel like there is less joy lately. 

Do I wish we could have a second child? Yes! Do I wonder what’s wrong, what’s preventing us from carrying a baby to term? Hell, yes!

But I have been lucky in love & in life. As my dad often says, even when things are difficult, “life is good.”

Because even when life isn’t good, maybe it is. 

And there’s the proof that I can feel, & be, two conflicting things at once. It’s so clear when I pause to observe my life right now. In this very moment…

Life is good, even when it isn’t. There is nothing lacking, even though my heart has room for more. 

It has taken me a long time (& a lot of emotional & spiritual work) to get to this point. A point where I can choose peace & joy over sadness & anger. 

It has been well over a year since my first miscarriage & in that time I have lived an existence where every time I got my period felt like a miscarriage of sorts. That is the emotional pain I have been living with just about every month. A bitter disappointment & an emptiness. Yet another denial of what I so desired with a feeling in my gut more powerful than anything I have felt before.

Of course, that desire is at the heart of the problem. My initial error was in mistaking an openness for desire. I see that now (thanks to much introspection & meditation & discussions with MFA Dad & my therapist).  

I cannot go back in time (in fact, I think I needed to walk that path to get to today), but I can correct my error. I am open to more children, but I am committed to the child I have. I am committed to my partner. I am committed to my family, my friends, my community. I am committed to myself. Right now.

Because, truly, there is nothing lacking. 

In fact, there is abundance. And even on this often painful journey, I have discovered more. More love, more thoughtfulness, more spirit, more empathy, more compassion, more gratitude. Maybe even more joy.  

Once I decided to get off the rollercoaster (& really, not only is a roller coaster full of unexpected ups & downs… it is also a loop that takes you exactly nowhere), I was able to pause. Take a deep breath. Get my bearings. 

Making a plan has helped enormously. As has taking a break from the whole baby project. 

Just living life, with all that entails. Being happy. Losing my temper. Yard work. Hugs. Rainy days. Sunny mornings. Meditating. Doing yoga. Skipping the yoga. Cooking. Kisses. Being tired. Watching Louis (C.K.). 

I am alive today. The sun is shining. My son gave me a booklet of division problems for my birthday. I have treats for my coworkers in my backpack. 

Life is good. 

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I am angry, hear me roar! (Or, yet another emotional reaction to miscarriage & infertility)

  

NB: I wrote most of this about a month ago & am in a very different place today. Still, I want to share this post because it’s the truth of my journey in dealing with recurrent miscarriages & secondary infertility. … Also, I promise I have other posts in the works on parenting & mothering & the other things I used to write about!

***

When I was pregnant just before the second miscarriage, I found a maternity t-shirt on clearance at Target. I had already seen & heard my fetus’s glorious heartbeat. I was approaching the end of the first trimester. My clothes were fighting to hide my slowly expanding waistline. 

So I bought it. 

I picked it up & put it back on the rack several times. It was still too early to buy up a maternity wardrobe. I knew that. I wasn’t na√Įve, having already lost one pregnancy at 11 weeks, so tantalizing close to that first milestone (a milestone marking the end of the early, highly-uncertain weeks of pregnancy).

But it was just one little t-shirt. And only a few bucks. 

Just a few days later, we painfully learned there was no more heartbeat. Another pregnancy lost. 

Since the time I bought & washed it, that t-shirt has sat unused in a drawer, along with some other miscellaneous clothing, between socks & cloth pads. 

Every time I opened that drawer (which is a lot) I would think of that damned t-shirt. It came to represent what I had so wanted but lost. I would bury it a little deeper into the drawer, under more clothing until I had pushed it to the back. I couldn’t see it, yet I felt it’s presence. Hanging onto it was both an act of hope & a form of self-torture. 

Recently, after yet another failed cycle (following close on the heels of what I suspect but cannot confirm was another chemical pregnancy followed by swift miscarriage) I snapped. And I took it out on the t-shirt. 

I dug it out of the drawer & I tore it to shreds. With my bare hands. Not literally shreds, but I destroyed it in a fit of primal rage. 

I didn’t know what else to do. 

I am not proud of that moment, but I am coming to accept that I am (or have been & might be again) angry. I had not yet admitted to my anger because I frankly don’t feel I should be angry or have a right to my anger‚ÄĒlife isn’t fair & I know I can lay no more claim to wish fulfillment than any other poor soul alive. 

Plus, I don’t want to be angry. I am afraid of anger. Sadness, disappointment, grief, fear‚ÄĒthese emotions feel acceptable, even familiar. But not anger. Anger is scary. 

Plus, what to do about it?! I can’t punch walls (for a number of reasons, not least of which is “ouch!”) & I don’t have any more maternity clothes to destroy. 

But there is no denying it. When I realized that I was not pregnant after yet another month of doing everything “right,” I fell into a tailspin of anger. 

It doesn’t matter that I recognize all the good & beauty & happiness in my life. It doesn’t matter that I know how lucky I am in so many ways. Heck, it doesn’t matter that I have come so far in reconciling with my lot (& I think I have come a far way!) or that I now have numerous tools to help me.

Sometimes, none of that matters. Because I’m still angry. Angry over the losses. At the missed years of fertility taken for granted. Angry over the fact that my life has been a blur for over 1 1/2 years, most of it clouded by thoughts & emotions related to trying & failing to have another child. 

I don’t know how to handle my anger when it rises. I’m working on that (though I can thankfully report that hugs from MFA Dad + sleep seem to help!) but I’m still freaked out by it all.

What did I do in the moment? I did everything one is not supposed to do to try to push those feeling of anger down: I went shopping & bought things I really don’t need (including a 5-pack of scissors!), I (quickly) drank a pint of beer, & I almost ate a pint of ice cream (thankfully MFA Dad saved me from myself before I finished). Plus, the aforementioned t-shirt raging. 

I can thankfully (& honestly) say that I have never done those things before, at least not as a purely emotional coping mechanism. 

Ironically, I’m supposedly in the middle of a Whole30, that obnoxious, self-righteous (but popular) paleo-reset diet where you eat no dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, or artificial additives & consume no alcohol for 30 days. I was doing so well on it, too, just getting to a point where I wasn’t missing the sugar (with my normal brain, at least) & feeling that it was going to help me “prepare my body for pregnancy” (yep, been “preparing” my apparently very unprepared body for over 2 years now… but I’m continually convinced that I can need to do more…).

So much for that Whole30! (Though after giving myself some time & grace, I actually found my way back on the wagon & completed it. I’m too darn stubborn to not finish what I start.) 

So aside from binge consumption of all the things, I am quietly contemplating what anger is & means to me & for me. With some distance & objectivity, I am no longer recoiling from the fact that I’m angry. I may not like it, but I am entitled (doomed?) to experience the whole range of human emotions, especially when it comes to recurrent miscarriage & failed fertility. 

It helps that my core tribe did not look at me like I had three heads when I told them about the episode. They didn’t even turn away from me. 

I honestly don’t know what I will do the next time I feel that surge of anger rising within me. I wish I could say with confidence that I’ll breathe & return to a calmer state. I’m not there yet. 

Maybe I’ll punch my pillow. Maybe I’ll rip up the weeds & dead plants in the garden. For me, for now, it’s all so physical & I have to make peace with that. I don’t think it will always be that way‚ÄĒit’s not easy but I’m on the right path. 

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If the dress fits: Or, learning to love my post-miscarriage body

As if the grief of miscarriage hasn’t been enough to tackle, I’ve also had to face some fierce body-image goblins on this journey.

Failure.

That has been my over-arching view of my own body over the past year. It’s been an unfortunate theme that has proven a powerful adjunct to grief.

Oh, body, how have you failed me? Let me count the ways…

Failure to grow a small human. (Isn’t that what my body is built for?! … At least in part…)¬†Failure to recognize a non-viable pregnancy & evict. (Twice!)¬†Failure stop pretending I’m pregnant. (Waking to pee in the middle of the night isn’t fun… It’s even less fun when you’re not pregnant & end up an anxious insomniac…)¬†Failure to return to normal. (I swear those jeans fit me last month!)

For me, the grief over my first pregnancy loss morphed into a strange & painful hatred of my own body. My body felt empty & yet it loomed large in my psyche. Every day my body reminded me that I wasn’t pregnant. Mostly, because I didn’t fit in my regular clothes anymore.

My belly popped right before my loss, which was fine when I was pregnant. But it didn’t seem to want to pop back in when that pregnancy was over.

Also, I had simply gained weight. When I’m pregnant, I get the brand of morning sickness that demands regular snacks. (Counterintuitively, when I’m hungry, I feel nauseous.)¬†And, of course, I can’t forget all the comfort food & drink I consumed in my post-miscarriage depression.

And voilà, none of my pre-pregnancy/pre-miscarriage clothes fit. Every time I attempted to squeeze into a pair of jeans I was reminded of the multiple ways my body was disappointing me.

I felt I didn’t fit my body, both mentally & physically. My brain said my body should be doing one thing (building a small person) but it refused & rebelled, to boot.

In fact, I think I’ve experienced all five stages of grief, but directed at my body: denial, anger, bargaining, depression & acceptance.

How to get to acceptance? That’s been my struggle. The denial, anger, bargaining & depression? … I’ve got those covered.

No matter what my body does or does not do, I’m stuck with it. This body that is repeatedly fucking up the whole baby-making thing. This body that has made me angry. This body that has seemed so inadequate lately.

So how do I return to homeostasis in terms of body acceptance after multiple miscarriages?

To be honest, I didn’t learn to love my body after my first miscarriage. And it’s still a work in progress, though I am getting there.

Once we were going to try again to get pregnant after that first miscarriage, I went through the motions. I took my prenatal vitamin & other “healthy” supplements. I ate a healthful diet. I exercised, though not often, and definitely not fast or hard enough to make a difference. I cut back on alcohol, caffeine & chocolate, all of which I indulged in heavily after miscarriage #1.

But I hated my body. We were not on speaking terms.

It had betrayed me & the only way it could make things right was to sustain a healthy pregnancy.

Then came the next pregnancy. I tried to be cautious but I was gleeful. Still, I didn’t feel I could completely trust my body. I kept my distance.

Heartbeat. No heartbeat. That was the end of that.

More frustration. More weight. More. That miscarriage was just more.

It was a serious physical recovery, that one. I felt helpless & weak & defeated.

But I was also more aware of my grief & what I needed. And I realized I needed to get my body & my mind back together.

I was meditating often. MFA Dad slowly encouraged me to return to yoga, which I was practicing regularly when I was pregnant but dropped like a hot potato when I miscarried.

The local yoga studio does not run a yoga for miscarriage class. (Though they totally should & I think I will suggest it. It would be amazing & beautiful!)¬†So, naturally, I turned to the Internet. I found a lot of “yoga for fertility,” which was not what I needed at the moment, though I wanted nothing more. I needed to heal first. Me. Just me.

Then I discovered Erin McDonald. And she basically changed my life. Seriously, if you’re reading this & you’ve recently miscarried & you’re at all inclined to yoga, check out this woman’s sweet yoga sequence & loving voice.

With Erin’s help (I feel like I’m on a first-name basis with her because she helped me so much when I was recovering from miscarriage #2…) I sat quietly with my body for some weeks. It wasn’t a fast or magical cure-all, but I slowly reconnected with my body.

And I didn’t hate it nearly as much.

After all, my body had miscarried naturally twice, at home. I needed no interventions. I knew that was no small thing. My body carried on its grievous task with dignity. It knew what to do.

There’s also the fact that, if I’m brutally honest, my body saved me & my family future heartache. Something was wrong with those pregnancies & instead of sustaining a non-viable pregnancy, my body hit the eject button (albeit too slowly).

I was finally able to thank my body for all that.

Even if I had needed some intervention, the fact that our bodies recover at all is gratitude-worthy.

And the rest? Well, there’s something to be said for learning to live with our bodies no matter what they decide to do or not do.

They’re not really us after all. In the human body,¬†microorganisms outnumber human cells by 10 to 1.¬†Though microorganisms are smaller than most human cells, this means that the overwhelming majority of cells in our bodies are not us. Plus, all those cells are stardust.

I am more than just my body. Or maybe I am more with my body. Whatever it is, apparently we’re stuck together for this lifetime. Whether or not my body ever produces another human, it is a miracle … ¬†I’ve got to learn to live with it … it is a miracle!

Besides, it’s not as if¬†I sincerely believe that having babies is¬†my bodies sole function. (Hello! I¬†have¬†a career. I have a full life. Heck! I was really happy with just one child for several years!)¬†So, even if having another baby has been my sole obsession for almost two¬†years, I have to try to remember all the other cool stuff my body is up to.

After miscarriage #2, I let my mom take me shopping. I resisted at first. I dislike shopping on a good day & these were not good days. But it was actually really important for my healing.

It was nothing special or exciting. Just a chain discount store. Just a few pieces.

Except these clothes fit. They were made of happy colors. I looked good.

And when I got home, I started clearing my closet & drawers, purging the clothes that no longer fit. I’m not the same person, so why pretend?

Well, I’m still me… Just not quite me!

P.S. What helped you reconnect with your body following miscarriage(s)? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or at momjdblog at gmail. And if you’ve been down this unfortunate road or are going through it right now, I’m so very sorry. I would like to hear more about how my posts on miscarriage can be supportive!

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Filed under Feminism, Living, Miscarriage