Monday, June 27, 2011

Forced optimism?

I woke up this morning feeling that one shouldn't have to "TRY" to feel better.  One shouldn't have to make an "EFFORT" to feel joy.  One shouldn't have to "CONVINCE" oneself that everything will be o.k..  A person should not have to "FORCE" optimism.

And yet...that's who I am.

I'm not someone who typically used to be a whiner.  A complainer.  A worry wart.

And yet...when I look in the mirror lately...that is the woman I've become.  Someone who tries to blink away tears when a smiling person says "How's it going?" or "How are you today?"  I've become someone who knows that each corner may have something lurking.  Something I don't want to encounter.  I complain.  I whine.  I worry.  And mostly....I panic.

It doesn't take much to rock my boat any more, and that feels strange and kilter.

I consider myself a pretty resilient person when I look at my resume of life.  I survived abuse, neglect, all around poor parenting, sexual violation, and an icky, sad childhood and I was still a pretty sweet, happy kid.  I survived being a teen mom with all the nasties and judgements that go along with that and I was still a really great and attentive mama. I've lived through parenting a child with undiagnosed bi-polar disorder and I can't say that my parenting skills were lacking even without knowing what I was dealing with.  My son felt loved and nurtured through it all.  He still does.  I've had to let my parents, who suffer with untreated mental health issues, go their own ways in order to stop the hurts they inflict, even though letting them go has been like a ripping apart of my heart.  I've gone through bumps in my beautiful marriage, and bruises in my personal life. I've risen through places no parent wants to encounter as a child hung near deaths door.  I've lived through several miscarriages....I've lived through stillbirths...and my own death.   Twice.

And now, I am here.

Standing here.  A writer.  A mother.  A wife.  A competent healer and educator.  A friend. 

And, I feel weak.


As if I've never had a child before.  As if I have no idea what to do.  As if I am in a freeze frame of fear that I can't move away from.

I feel lost.

I look at the items I've collected.  Just a few sweet things...for my little girl.
I know I need to gather more.  I know I'm totally deficient in the baby supply category.

But...I'm so afraid to ask for more.  And really, who would I ask?

Who is going to take care of me?

Of us?

And why?  Why is it that after a lifetime of being totally control...

that I feel lost.  Alone.  And...mostly...sad.  Why do I even want anyone else to take care of me when I've spent most of the past 37 years taking care of myself and others?

My little girl is coming.  She has beautiful older brothers and the best daddy in the world to greet her with smiles.  She's on the wings of our twins and I have to believe that she WILL be here.

I see the tears in my husbands eyes.  I see the stress on his shoulders.  I grab them, and try to rub away the mounting tension that I know is related to the worry that is plaguing him too.

The worry, caused by all the what if's.  The worry, caused by the absence of elders who seem to know anything about anything.

I look in the mirror, and I see silver strands, and I realize that there are no elders.  Not for me.  I am the elder.  I look at my husband, who yearns for a father to tell him what to to stay strong...and there is no one...just the image of a sweet balding man with beautiful blue eyes and emotional pain etched in the lines emerging on his forehead.  He is the elder.  There isn't anyone else to lean learn ask questions of.  We are the elders we are seeking...and it is a crushing blow to realize that there is no one else.  For either of us.

I'm lost, just like the people who were supposed to love me when I was born and all the way to the now where I stand.  I'm lost, just like the adults who were supposed to know the way and point it out to me so that I wouldn't stumble.  I'm afraid, just like the grown ups before me were afraid.

But...there is a difference.  You see....I'm a fighter.  I'm going to keep on trying.  I'm not going to give up.

I'm worried.  Afraid.  Alone.  Unguided.

And if my past has anything at all to do with my future....I will make it, and when I do, you can be sure that my children won't feel so alone.  I'll be there.  I'll be whispering support and showing affection.  I'll be pointing the way with a smile.  I'll be offering a hand.

The road will be open, because I am currently working my ass off to clear the jungle ahead of us away in the hopes that when I look back over my shoulder, what I will see is the freedom I want for my children that comes with the ability to move forward unencumbered, but supported. 

Sweet baby you swim around in the sea of hormones that your terrified mama can't seem to curb...know that all of that worry is because she loves you more than she could ever express, and please...don't be afraid.  I promise to love you forever...and to care for you always.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Storm Clouds

Spring is still somewhat elusive in the pacific northwest mountain city where I live.  Oh yes, there are flowers, and gardens have been carefully, if hesitantly, planted...but, still the sky remains an ever present threat of stormy weather.  The river that runs through "it" is nearing peak capacity as the watchful residents who opted to prop their lovely homes on river front property look warily at its continuous rising levels.  We had more snow this year than in the past 80 years apparently.  More rain too.

The storm clouds drawn in on the 10 day weather forecast indicate lightening storm warnings and the risk of flooding.

I live on a mountain over-looking the valley below.  I live on a mountain that was once lake front property of the bowl that was once, very long ago, filled with clear blue water and probably a few prehistoric critters.  I live on a mountain in a home not threatened by the rising waters and the fear of flooding.

It's not something I need to worry about.

It's not my problem.

It's not my personal story.

And yet...

These people, who look at the rushing, roaring river, with wide eyes and whispers about what to do in a flood...these people are my neighbors.  My brothers and sisters in this world.  Their losses are my losses.

I know this because that is what has happened within the baby loss community.  Their stories are my stories.  Their losses are my losses.  Their tears are my tears...and if they are lucky, truly lucky, their rainbows are mine as well.  Messages of what might be...what could be--if I'm truly lucky...this time.

I have moved into my 7th month.  The third trimester.  The final stages.  My baby girl's rainbow potential looks brighter and brighter each passing day.  Her kicks are stronger.  Her vitality clear.

My story alone would indicate that I have little to fear at this point.

But, my story isn't the only story.

Babies die.

I keep telling myself that after the first trimester, most babies are bornBorn alive.  I keep telling myself that my risk of loss, now past the 2nd trimester, has gone dramatically down.  I keep telling myself that I should be careful about what I pray for, for I am told again and again that little girls are harder than boys. I'm told the teen years will be murder.  I have trouble believing boys aren't "normal" why should my girl be a typical "normal" drama queen? But, I'm told to hold my breath...

But being told stories that indicate that I should fear having a little girl is futile.  I'm in love with her.  I imagine holding her hand, brushing her hair, teaching her about what it is to be a woman...and that it what breaks me. I want her so much...and I know the stories.  I know the stories of losing a baby, a healthy, beautiful baby in the last few weeks.  In the last hours of pushing.  Even in the first month or two...or three...or the first year of life.  I know the stories.

And I am afraid they will become my story as well.

I cannot go back into the world of the unknowing.  I cannot be the mother who once, with a bright smile of confidence BELIEVED that her babies would be born safely.  I cannot pretend I do not know what has happened to my sisters in this life, or pretend that it hasn't already happened to me before.

When we lost our twins, I was told by many that "it could have been worse."

Yes.  It could have been.  It still could be.

I watch the bursting river, tip top to the edge of borders that will not hold back much more...and I know it could get worse.  That it probably will get worse.  I fear for my neighbors down in the basin of this mountain town where a lake once thrived.

And I'm reminded of our vulnerability.

I look at the storm clouds and I beg them to pass.  To show us all rainbows and to hold back the storms.  Another storm will mount the flood potential.  Another loss would destroy my core.

We need rainbows.  Rainbows.  Of all kinds.  In all forms.  And especially in the form of a beautiful baby girl who is, at the moment, known as my buttercup. 

We, collectively, need the storms to pass.