Monday, January 20, 2014

Thank you!

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the people who have encouraged me and given me positive feedback on my post, "What I'd like you to know about miscarriage." I hope that we can all find the courage we need to tell our untold stories! It is liberating!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What I'd like you to know about miscarriage

I was alone with my thoughts this afternoon while I was sweeping the floors and I got to thinking. Scary, I know. But I was thinking about pregnancy announcements, which got me to thinking about the social norms surrounding such announcements. Typically, people announce their pregnancy around the second trimester because that's when it's "safe" to tell...

I announced I was pregnant with Rex at 14 weeks...because it was "safe" to tell. I announced I was pregnant with Sydney when I was 10 weeks pregnant...because it was considered "pretty safe" to tell (that and I threw caution to the wind). What I have never "announced" is that I had 4 miscarriages before carrying to term with Rex and Sydney. I have never "announced" it because it didn't feel "safe" to tell people I had a miscarriage, let alone four. Think about it. Doesn't the phrase "it's safe to tell" imply that, God forbid, you should experience a miscarriage prior to 14 weeks, it's NOT safe to tell people?

Granted, miscarriage is a tough subject. It's uncomfortable (grief is like that). It's hard to have the right words, and it's even harder to know what to do for the person experiencing the loss. But more than any of those things, miscarriage is sad. Devastating. Someone's child died... You can pussy foot around it all you want, but that's what happened. Someone was going to have a baby and then the baby died.

Someone once told me that grief is often measured by the size of the coffin. Sad, but true. There is also this "idea" that miscarriage is some kind of natural selection...that nature is weeding its own garden (so to speak). Even sadder. It was still someone's child.

I guess my whole point is that, in my opinion, a person should be able to announce their pregnancy whenever and however they choose. If one wants to shout it from the rooftops at 4 weeks 1 day, they should! If another wants to quietly announce it to close family and friends at 20 weeks, they should! There should be no norm! And if either of these pregnancies should tragically end, it should be safe to share that news too. That should be the norm.

Grief is messy, but it shouldn't be done behind closed doors.

For the sake of time (I can get long-winded), and because I like lists, here is what I'd like to share with you about miscarriage:

1. Please don't ever say to someone who has had a miscarriage, "At least you know you can get pregnant" -or- "At least you have another child."
2. Please don't say, "the baby probably wouldn't have been healthy." That doesn't make them miss the child any less.
3. Probably refrain from asking them when they are going to "try again." If they want you to know, they will offer up that information.
4. It's ok to talk about the baby. Acknowledging the baby won't delay nor prolong the grieving process. In fact, talking about it may help.
5. Don't expect them to "move on." Forward, yes, but never on. It happened. No amount of time will change that.
6. Don't expect them to be who they once were. They are forever changed. If you don't like this "new" person, I suggest you move on. Some friendships and relationships can and should end. That's a fact of life.
7. You can't fix it, but you can be a good listener and a soft shoulder. They will likely return the favor someday when you need it.
8. It will get easier with time. GIVE them that. Don't expect it to happen overnight. They will have good days and bad days. They may have a string of 100 good days…don't be surprised on day 101 if they turn into a puddle.
9. Don't just suggest they go to a support group. Find one and go with them.
10. If you are pregnant, please know that they are happy for you (if you can't see it), they are just also really, really sad.
11. Sometimes Most of the time you don't need to say or do anything. Just be there.
and last, but certainly not least
12. Miscarriage doesn't need to be shouldn't be a secret.

This picture was taken shortly after our first miscarriage.

This is us now. Prayers get answered.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Just Mom

Confession: Sometimes I think, “I can’t do this.”

I knew it [being mommy] was going to be hard; I just didn’t know what “hard” was. Some days it’s equivalent to getting kicked in the face with a golf shoe…

I follow a lot of “mommy” blogs and lately I have been overwhelmed by the number of posts focused on “empowering women” – posts about how to be more than just a mommy; how to keep the romance alive, nurture you spiritual self, do things YOU love, etc.

Good grief, I am having a hard enough time just keeping my kids alive! I don’t have time for “me time” or “date night”…

Isn’t “being mom” enough? Is my plate not yet quite full?...

Do you know what I am talking about? The suggestions to get mani/pedis, be your best you (code for go to the gym), sneak away for a romantic weekend, have lunch with “the girls,” etc.?

I just went from feeling overwhelmed to completely inadequate… As is if being mommy isn’t laden with enough guilt already? Now I feel like a failure because I don’t really know who I am anymore…

Wait a minute…I do know… I’m “mommy”…and that’s all I really have time for right now.

Forgive me, but in this season of my life – a season that is sure to be “gone before I know it” (as EVERYONE keeps reminding me) – I just want to be “mom.”

I want to wear stretchy pants and pull my hair in a ponytail and quietly accept the fact that I do not look like I want to, but that’s ok because my kids think I am beautiful, and their opinion is the only one that REALLY matters.

I want to lock the door to the bathroom and take a ridiculously long, hot shower and then I want to quietly accept that that 20 minutes is all the “me time” I am going to get this week.

I want to have conversations with my husband, but when I talk to him, I want to quietly accept and embrace the fact that the thing we have most in common right now is our kids... and THEY are enough. It’s ok if that’s all we talk about. For now, we can laugh about the funny thing Rex just said and marvel at the fact that our “baby” is now walking. I am sure a few years from now (when we are a little less bone tired), we will rekindle the romance. For now, our children are proof that what once was [romance], will be again ☺.

I would love to sneak away for a romantic weekend, but if it’s not in the budget or if we can’t find childcare, that’s o.k. Someday, when the kids are grown, we will have all the time in the world to travel and “get away.” I am sure when “someday” comes, we will talk about how much we wish we could “go back” and have a weekend like we did when the kids were small. Because, let’s face it, the grass is always greener.

At some point, all the stars will align and I will find an opportunity to get a pedicure and, by God, I will do so with a Starbucks in hand, but I am o.k. with the fact that said stars are unlikely to align anytime soon.

I’m going to stop resenting my husband for my lack of “me time.” He doesn’t get any either… We are parents. It comes with the territory and the sooner we realize that, the happier we will be in our current circumstances. There is beauty in these circumstances.

Like I said, I don’t think mani/pedis, being your best you (code for fit), sneaking away for a romantic weekend, or having lunch with “the girls” is in any way, shape, or form “not for mommy’s.” It’s not that I disagree with doing those things (AT ALL). It’s just that I don’t need another “expectation…” I don’t need to feel like when I don’t do those things, I am somehow less or incomplete. I think, when those things become expectations or entitlements, we lose sight of the beauty in being “mommy” (messy hair and baby bellies included). We need to be gentle with our often un-showered selves ☺.

I guess what I am trying to say is that “Just being mommy” is a short season. I don’t want to spend it trying to “find me,” and I don’t have to because Rex and Sydney already found me. When they were born, so was I. I am their mommy, and that’s enough…

Photo credit: {Tina Vega Photography}

Monday, January 6, 2014

Real.Life. (our new-ish floors)

So, one of my New Year's resolutions was to be more "real" in my blogging. I decided NO MORE STAGING… it's tough, I'm not going to lie. However, in this season of my life, I simply cannot achieve or maintain a picture-perfect house.

That said, I have been wanting to post a few before and after pictures of our floors. We replaced tired, brown carpet and (wood-look) peel and stick flooring with Pergo laminate (Pergo XP cross sawn chestnut to be more specific). Taking pictures has been on my agenda for months, but for one reason (little ones) or another (messes and disorder), I just haven't been able to get share-worthy pics. Enter New Year's resolution. I took the pics anyway…despite the messes and imperfections :).



Confession: one picture in the "after" collage was staged (this pic was taken months ago). Can you find it? ;)