Sunday, January 9, 2011

Roller coasters

Roller coasters. 

They are part of life.  A very real part of life.

Right now, I'm calling out to you talented people who read here and write elsewhere to submit something to Exhale magazine.  I'm co-editing for it right now, and we need all types of submissions, regarding the theme "Roller coasters".  Exhale is a mag. devoted to the subjects of miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss, PAL, baby death in general...and infertility.  It is generally a very supportive and uplifting, sympathetic place for those of us who know...and those of us who know someone who knows.

It is a hard place to be.  "In the know".

So much nicer to be in the dark...where a pregnancy is greeted with hope, and phone calls of laughter and delight for the future you know will be.  Where the question is: "What are you having?"

See it there?

"What are you HAVING?"  The assumption that you will...after all of the pregnancy discomforts...have SOMETHING.

When you know that it's not always like that....when you know that you may end up with nothing but tears and empty

It's overwhelmingly different.

Unexpectedly different.

At least...I find it so.

Here I am...on a journey I'd given up on.  And instead of the joy I expected, I am finding myself wading in terror.

The terror of what if's.  What if I die?  What if I lose him or her?  What if....what if.........what if........

The terror.

It surprised me.  Took me off guard.

I expected to feel nothing but elation.

I did not expect the terror.

I did not expect the fear.

I did not know....that it would be waiting for me with sharpened teeth that would present me with nightly dreams of death and loss.  Dreams that would impact my days....cause me to seem off balance...weepy.

Roller coasters.  I enjoyed them as a young person.  I loved the thrill of losing my breath.  I adored the pressure pushing me back as I whipped around in a delightful kind of horror.  I'd rush back into the line as soon as the thrill was over.  MORE!! MORE!!! 

Not now.

Now, roller coasters are symbols of being out of control.  The last time I went on one was shortly after my eldest son's brain injury.  A time wherein the security of life was at best...shaky.  I hopped on with my kids, thinking I was in for an exuberant ride of a lifetime.   Strapped in, I felt the ride going up...up...UP....and suddenly, we were free falling.   My mouth opened in a voiceless scream.  I could feel my heart pounding maniacally in my chest.   I was shaking in fear so powerful I could NOT scream...and I started laughing in a crazy I'd lost my marbles.  When the ride was over I heard my kids laughing and proclaiming it the best ride EVER....I couldn't stop laughing, and I ran toward my husband who had opted to NOT go.  I fell into his arms, and the sobs began.  Hard, racking sobs that wouldn't stop.  My kids were shocked.  One minute, I was laughing out of control...and the next?  sobbing.....My husband, patting my hair, explained to onlookers that the ride had been a little much for me.

What an understatement.

Anyway, the point of all of this is to explain that right now...I feel like the ride is a little much.  I feel out of breath...afraid. . .I don't want to free fall anymore.

I want to take a ride on the merry go round, or something benign like one of those motorized car rides where you stay on a track, even if you opt to not steer. 

I used to like the adrenaline rush of a roller coaster.  That was before I understood that roller coasters in life sometimes land you in arenas of death.  Where all you have in your arms is someone you loved that you have to bury.

It's the understanding that you'd rather NOT tell anyone...because telling someone means you might also have to tell them that it's all over.  It's the reality that you don't tell your kids...because you can't bear to hurt them again...can't bear to tell them it's over.  Again. don't tell.  And, it is the very act of not being able to tell that reminds you there is a REASON not to tell.

Because...there are no guarantees. 

But, when you don't tell....when you choose to keep it inside...considering holding back on telling your family until you have a living breathing babe IN ARMS...that you understand that to give life is to walk side by side with the possibility of death.  You don't tell...because you can't bear to face the possibility of loss.

I want to step onto a bumper boat ride...where the only threat is a little water in my face.  Perhaps even a lot of water...but...nothing scary.  Nothing....deadly.

So, on that note...please contact me or Kristen Binder, the amazing mama at  "Once a Mother" if you have something you would like to submit to the next Exhale.

With love....and hope....


Thanks for reading! Please take a moment to add your own reflections.