Hopeful for the New Year

I, for one, am not sad to see 2013 go. It’s been a rough year for me. I haven’t been blogging about it – haven’t been blogging about much of anything, actually – and I think it is time for an update.IMG_5374 2013 started with a miscarriage in progress, finally ending with a D&C on January 4. I grieved that lost pregnancy openly on this blog. It was therapeutic for me to blog about it and to feel support from women who had had similar experiences, or at least had empathy for the magnitude of love and hope that comes with a pregnancy. I started to feel better. I was confident that I would be pregnant again soon, and that was the obvious way to fill the gaping hole in my heart.

In the spring, I watched seedlings poke through wet dirt. Our neighborhood burst with color and new life, and I felt hopeful. But as the days grew longer and hotter, I felt sadder and sadder.  I still wasn’t pregnant. My previous due date came and went, now just another day, but such a heavy one for me. Cee and I sorted through newborn clothes in our hot attic, not for a new baby for our family, but to lend to a friend. Cee asked to keep a few onesies for her baby doll. I showed her how to fasten the snaps and then sent her downstairs so I could cry.

In August, I had another miscarriage, this time very early. Then, another one in October, early again (and thankfully spontaneous) but far enough out that I let myself think ahead to another summer due date. That one really crushed me. I know miscarriage is common, and it’s easy to chalk the first up to bad luck. But by the third time around, I had really lost faith in my body. It has failed, repeatedly, to do one of the things I feel it was always meant to do. I’ve always wanted children, and the family that I have, for which I am exceedingly grateful every day, doesn’t feel complete. There’s still a gaping hole here, and it’s only gotten bigger.

Meanwhile, Cee turned three in November. I know my sadness has affected her, and it’s affected my parenting, because my emotional reserve is just plain depleted. I am working hard at being enough for her and at assuring her that she is enough for me. (And she is. She really is. I’ve come to terms with that, most days anyway.)

But Cee would be such an amazing big sister. She is obsessed with babies. She cares for her baby doll tenderly all day long. She also has a set of imaginary friends collectively known as “Baby’s cousins,” whom she visits and calls on the phone several times per day. And most days, Cee walks around with her belly stuck out for a few minutes, telling us that she has a baby in her tummy. Sometimes she rubs her tummy and then lifts a new baby out, like a genie from a bottle. She holds this tiny, invisible baby delicately in her arms and tells me that her name is Alice. “You want to hold her, Mama?” I play along, but it is such an eerie, painful game. I haven’t talked to Cee about wanting another baby, but she’s sharp, and she knows, through her three-year-old lens. It’s as if she’s trying to fill my emptiness with her play.

And, of course, this holiday season was tough. For most of last year’s season, I was pregnant and blissfully unaware that it was failing inside of me. As we went through the holiday rituals this year, my latest memories were of that pregnancy. I didn’t really feel like putting on a happy face for holiday parties, and nobody wants to talk about your latest miscarriage around the punch bowl. Passing the anniversary of the ultrasound showing my failed pregnancy felt like crossing over into the current reality. It was a relief. In December, we also did a few baseline fertility tests, and they basically looked normal. That was reassuring.

I haven’t been blogging about this, and I’m not sure why. I know that blogging about my first miscarriage was extremely helpful to me, and I hoped that by writing about it, I would open the conversation to other women. But there is still a dark undercurrent of shame around miscarriage in our culture. A recent national survey was illuminating: American adults believe that miscarriage is rare, and they pretty much place the blame squarely on the woman. Survey respondents thought that miscarriage occurs in less than 6% of pregnancies, when in reality 15-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. When asked to name the major causes of miscarriage, the two most common answers were stress and lifting a heavy object. This, again, is not the reality; most miscarriages are due to chance chromosomal abnormalities and can’t be prevented. Miscarriage is misunderstood, and that’s a burden on women carrying this quiet grief.

I know that my silence on this topic is in part about shame and vulnerability. But it’s also just been a little too raw for me to share. I seek out support carefully, and blogging and social media often open unfiltered conversations that are just draining to me now. I have been turning inward, dumping my fear and frustrations into my journals. Sometimes this strategy works well for me, but sometimes it swallows me up in loneliness.

My experience, both online and in real life, is that when I open up to another mom about how I’m feeling, two things usually happen. First, my load feels a little lighter. And second, she feels safe to tell me what she’s struggling with right now, too. We all struggle with something, and pretending otherwise hurts us all. It’s always hard for me to hit “Publish” on a personal blog post, but I’ve never regretted it.

And now, I have a book to finish. The last six months of writing have been slow and difficult. When I signed the book contract, I was pregnant, and I envisioned completing most of the manuscript while I prepared for the birth of that baby, giving me a non-negotiable deadline and personal motivation behind my research. Instead, the cycles of emotion that come with trying to conceive, and loss, have made it hard to sit down at my desk and write about… babies. I am still happiest when I am buried in the science, trying to make sense of it all. I just hope that I have the chance to use some of this mountain of knowledge as a mom again. The book is coming along, and I think it will be really great, but it isn’t where I want it to be yet. The manuscript is due in six months, and starting today (yay, resumption of childcare!), I’m putting my head down to finish it.

Anyway, I wanted to write today to let you know where I’ve been and also that I probably won’t be blogging much between now and July 1. I need some major focus and momentum to finish the book well, and I’m still teaching a couple of classes each term. In the meantime, I have a thick folder full of topics for future blog posts, and I’ll be back to blogging regularly after I finish the book manuscript.

And also, I’m okay. I feel ten times better today than I did a month ago. I survived December and have lots of hope for the New Year, and that hope doesn’t even feel entirely tied to a baby.

New Year’s Eve afternoon was unseasonably warm and sunny for Oregon in December. Our little family hiked up a local trail to catch the last few rays of the year.

IMG_5378The sky filled with pink and orange, and I pointed out the colors to Cee. “I think someone much have gone up there with a paintbrush and painted all those colors,” she said. Curious, I asked her who she thought might have done that. “Baby’s cousins,” she replied self-assuredly. Of course. It made me smile to think of an imaginary pack of kids painting the sky.

IMG_5383We let 2013 go with the sunset.

IMG_5393Then we turned around to hike down in the waning light. We spotted the first star of the night, and I made my quiet wish.

Two Mom-Driven Media Ventures You Should Follow (and Support!)

I want to take a minute to highlight a couple of newish media ventures that I think readers of this blog would love. Funnily enough, both are a little old-fashioned. One is a literary magazine, printed on real, honest-to-god, paper. It arrives in my mailbox, and I know I need to clear my evening – put away my laptop and phone and snuggle into my bed a few hours before I actually intend to go to sleep. And the other is a podcast. Maybe that doesn’t count as old-fashioned, but as I listen, this form brings all the warmth and comfort of a radio show that makes me want to slow down, close my eyes, and just listen.

Both of these projects are doing something special and filling our need for real parenting voices amidst the chatter from popular websites and advice-filled magazines.  After every installment, they leave me wanting more.

longest shortest time headerThe Longest Shortest Time is a podcast and accompanying blog created by Hillary Frank. Hillary is a writer and a professional radio producer, and her experience shows in the podcast. I love good radio, and this is good radio. I just discovered the Longest Shortest Time last summer, at the recommendation of a friend. I was immediately hooked, and I plowed through the 20 existing episodes, recorded over the last three years, while I packed up our house in preparation for our move.

The Longest Shortest Time is about stories. But stories are different when they’re told from one friend to another, or one mother to another, empathetic mother. That’s something that Hillary recognized. She says:

“Something I did know from having been a radio producer for about 15 years, is – if you have a microphone, and you stick a microphone in someone’s face, they will tell you just about anything, and it’s not awkward. I just started sitting down with moms and calling moms, and dads too, to hear their stories of struggles in early parenthood.”

These are some incredible stories. The most memorable is Hillary’s conversation with her friend Kelly McEvers, an NPR war correspondent, about what it was like to combine early motherhood with her very dangerous line of work. That’s a perspective that I’d never heard before. I am nothing like a war correspondent, in my personality or work, and my experience with motherhood is nothing like Kelly’s. But still, I felt a certain amount of kinship with Kelly when she said this:

LST kelly quote

(The above image is an example of a *spark*card, quotes from the podcast printed on business card-sized paper. Hillary created these as a brilliant way to spark conversations between parents, with the idea that handing these out at your breastfeeding support group, mom-baby yoga class, or just between friends might help continue the conversations that she begins with her podcast. And spread the word about the Longest Shortest Time.)

There are lots more mundane stories as well: stories of babies that won’t nap, breast milk that isn’t enough, and embarrassing episodes of pumping at work. Even if you haven’t had these experiences, you’ll find that you can relate to these other moms. And you’ll want to hold them up, cheer them on, and thank them for telling their stories, because they are a reminder to us all that we are not alone.

Hillary launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Season 2 of the podcast about a month ago. I’m woefully late at getting this blog post up, because the Kickstarter campaign ends TOMORROW! She’s already met her original goal and attracted lots of attention from business sponsors as well. This is awesome – these are exactly the kinds of mom-driven media ventures we should all support. She extended her goal, and I still donated this morning, because I want to cheer her on, and I know that she’ll only create more goodness with this funding.

I encourage you to check out the Longest Shortest Time. If you love it like I do, maybe you’ll want to donate to the Kickstarter. But you can also lend your support to this venture by listening to the podcast and passing it on to your friends. It’s a lovely, vital resource, particularly for new parents.

stealing time

Stealing Time is a literary magazine for parents run by a group of writer moms in Portland, Oregon. If I remember correctly, it was born out of the void left by Brain, Child when it closed its doors a couple of years ago. Brain, Child came back, and I’m a subscriber and a big fan of both magazines. But Stealing Time has turned out to be completely different. It’s raw and real. It’s full of stories, poems, and nonfiction that broaden my understanding of the parenting experience. They inspire a feeling of kinship, rare in this day of parenting media that plays to the mommy wars. This is no mistake; it’s part of the magazine’s mission:

Once we became parents, we knew part of the journey of parenting was writing and reading about it. And it was difficult to find the sort of stories we yearned for. We became disenchanted with media that aimed to provoke and shock and appeal to shallowness. We are tired of being pitted against other parents, we are tired of being told to feel shame for trying too hard or not trying hard enough, we are tired of stories about parenting that pretend that there is only one best way to parent.

And so we discovered our mission: To provide a venue for quality literary content about parenting: no guilt, no simple solutions, no mommy wars.

This magazine honors real stories, the ones that transcend pettiness fostered by much of modern parenting media. It also honors good writing. You know that moms and dads have toiled over telling their stories in just the right way, in stolen moments at a coffee shop before school pickup or late at night, after the kids are in bed. These stories inspire me to think about how to better tell my own. And between all the reading and the writing, this magazine feels like it is full of kindred spirits.

You can read some of the literary work publishing in Stealing Time on their website. If you like what you read, subscribe to the print version so that you can snuggle in your bed and turn the physical pages, as I love to do. The next issue of Stealing Time is a special Pregnancy and Birth issue. I’m told it is at the printers now, and I can’t wait to read it.

Passing time and finding time are universal themes of parenthood, right? Check out the Longest Shortest Time and Stealing Time. In a few spare moments, they will both enrich your parenting life.

My Favorite Parenting Strategy

A few weeks ago, I blogged about Cee’s long, drawn-out process of getting ready in the morning. She was maddeningly slow at changing from pajamas to her clothes for the day, but she also insisted on doing it herself. If I tried to help, the pace of progress slowed even more. If I tried to take over, it became a physical battle, and I was sure that wasn’t worth it. I tried a few strategies to keep our mornings moving, and readers offered more great ideas in comments on my post.

One of my more brilliant ideas, I thought, was a hand-drawn morning schedule for Cee. I drew a step-by-step diagram of what she needed to do each morning – get dressed, go potty, brush teeth – and then I showed that we could have a few minutes to read a book or play together before leaving the house, assuming she could move through her schedule at a reasonable pace. We drew out the schedule and discussed it the night before, and she was really into it. She showed it to Daddy and carried it around for her bedtime routine, then carefully placed it by her bed before she went to sleep. In the morning, she was excited to follow the schedule and get to book time, and she did it! I thought it was quite a success story. But, by the next morning, Cee was bored with the schedule idea. In fact, I’m pretty sure she saw right through it as one more pressure tactic from me. Cee doesn’t respond well to pressure, thinly disguised or not.

So. I settled on my favorite parenting strategy: patience. Honestly, I can’t think of a more important asset to the parent of a toddler.

I did a lot of little things to ease our morning crunch. I got as much ready the night before as I could; I went to bed and got up earlier to get some work done before Cee woke; and I asked Husband to take over on mornings when he could squeeze it in his schedule, just to ease my nerves. And then, I tried to summon more patience and relax. I trusted that this was a phase that wouldn’t last forever.

dressed and ready

Dressed and ready to go

I’m happy to report that I was right. For the last few mornings, I have woken to the sound of little feet running down the hall. Cee has been waking early, dressing herself, and then coming to wake me up with bed head and a big smile. That whole dressing fiasco? It’s gone. She’s getting dressed on her own, while I’m still snoozing.

Why the change? It isn’t anything I did. Me telling her that she needed to get dressed faster had zero impact, I can assure you. It’s more likely that it prolonged the process. Maybe she’s discovered that it’s more pleasant to get dressed without me breathing down her neck. Maybe she herself got bored with the snail-paced process and figured she’d rather get on with more interesting things in her day. But whatever it is, she is very proud of herself, and I am too. We’re both relishing her autonomy.

But now Cee has moved on to other time-consuming projects. Lately, she’s been wanting to buckle her own car seat. She can do this, but it takes long minutes of sitting in the car waiting for her. Sometimes we’re in a hurry, and I tell her that I have to do it this time, and sometimes that causes a meltdown. But if I can, I try to find my patience and let her do it herself. Just like the dressing process, the learning part takes time – much longer than if I did it myself. But I trust that at some point she’ll get really good at buckling her own seatbelt (always followed by my check). And then she’ll feel proud and independent, and ultimately that means that she does more things for herself. So again, patience.

Patience tells a toddler: You don’t have to be more than you are right now. And when I choose the patience strategy, I’m telling myself the same thing: You don’t have to fix this. You don’t have to have an answer. Staying calm is enough.

It’s tempting to try to fix the little challenges of every stage, but so much of childhood we really can’t control. We can try to prevent meltdowns with attention to sleep, food, daily rhythms, and choices, but when it comes right down to it, the meltdowns are bound to happen at some point. We can do everything right (whatever that means) in the transition from diapers to undies, but we’re probably still going to have some accidents and setbacks along the way.  We can cosleep or sleep train or something in between, and we’re still going to have days when we’re dead tired. So much of parenting is riding out the stages, focusing on the parts of each that we love and then coping with the tough parts as best we can. And then waiting, with patience, trusting that we’ll come out the other side with our kids, who will be moving on to new challenges before we know it.

What are your kids working on that is requiring your patience? And maybe more importantly, where do you find more patience when you’re running low?

I’m Still Here.

Last week, I received a sweet email from a reader, saying that she was missing my posts and that she hoped everything was okay. And this morning, my Facebook inbox was graced with a photo of an adorable toddler, son to one of my most loyal readers.

I LOVE getting these little notes. I’m completely flattered and honored that there are parents around the world who have let me into their parenting lives and think of me even when my blog has grown quiet. But getting these notes also make me feel a tad bit guilty: “Crap! I should be blogging more! I need to be more of a resource! People are counting on me!”

At the moment, I have a few other projects that are taking precedence over blogging. I’m hard at work on my book, and that is pretty much consuming most of the energy I have for writing. It is harder work than I thought it would be. I’m falling deep into topics that I thought would be much simpler to sort through and translate into readable chapters. It’s really interesting and fun, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I had imagined that I would be able to whip off quick blog posts about my book research, but I haven’t been able to pull it off. But, I promise you, once I get this manuscript in (which admittedly, may be a while), I will get back to blogging regularly. I’m keeping a list of post ideas, which pop up a few times per day while I’m working on the book.

I’m also teaching a couple of nutrition classes at my local community college this summer, and we’re working on buying a house (and soon – moving!). And… it’s summer. The Oregon rain has nearly stopped. (Although, for some reason, we signed up for swim lessons starting last week, and we’ve been shivering at the outdoor pool in 60°F, drizzly weather these last few days.) We’re making time for camping, hiking, leisurely walks to the park, and picking strawberries.

Strawberries2 june13strawberries1 june13As a side note, let me just tell you that I’m having lots of fun parenting right now. Cee is two-and-a-half. She’s stubborn and independent, and most of the time, I love it. And oh! Continue reading

Do-Nothing Day

Last weekend, a friend asked if Cee and I would like to go for a hike with her on Sunday morning. I would have loved to go. It was perfect Oregon summer weather, and this friend is one of my favorite people in the world. But, I said no.

I said no because Cee needed a Do-Nothing Day – or at least Do-Nothing Morning. Five days per week, she goes to daycare for the morning. She has a great time there, and I get my work time in. It’s a nearly perfect arrangement. The only thing that’s hard about it is actually getting there.

Cee likes to do things herself, and she likes to do them at her own pace. She does not do well under pressure, and she does not like deadlines and ultimatums.

It is vitally important to her to choose the right underwear for her day. And sometimes she can’t decide on the right pair, so she settles on two pairs instead. (And once, six pairs at a time, which made potty time quite a production.) And then the right pants, sometimes two pairs of those, too (or one pants, one shorts, since we’re on the verge of shorts season). And then a shirt. Maybe it is one particular favorite shirt that she really needs, and if it’s in the dirty laundry, we have to talk about how we wear clean clothes to school. Sometimes we don’t make it to socks – I just carry her to the car barefoot with a pair of socks in my pocket.

Cee enjoys this process, and she sees right through my efforts to shorten it. If I put two pairs of pants in front of her and ask her to choose the blue ones or the grey ones, she thinks about it for what feels like a long time and then says, “Hmmm, where are my red pants?” and starts digging through her drawer. For now, I have accepted that getting dressed just takes some time. But usually, around the time that she has her undies on and one leg in her pants, one leg out, I glance at the clock and realize that we running late. I end up rushing her (with mixed success), and we’re often both a little frazzled by the time we get in the car.

This snail-paced getting-dressed routine is annoying to me, but lately I’ve also been noticing just how stressful it can be to Cee. She doesn’t like to be rushed, and I don’t think she likes seeing me get impatient either. She slows down, shuts down, and falls apart, and that’s a rough way to start the day. Continue reading

To the Little Girl Who is Afraid of the Ocean

Cee in HI

A relatively relaxed moment in a calm, protected bay. She didn’t get much closer than this to the water’s edge.

We just got back from a week in Hawaii. It was a great trip and may become a February tradition now that we’re residents of the great and rainy state of Oregon. It was brilliant to escape the lingering wet winter, soak up a little sunshine, and relax together with some of our best friends.

We stayed just a couple of blocks from the beach and went there daily. I had pictured Cee playing in the sand and splashing in the waves. But the minute we stepped foot on the beach, Cee clung to my neck and did not want to be set down. It was yet another lesson in setting aside expectations and meeting my child where she was. And at this point in her life, she isn’t a fan of the beach.

Cee hasn’t spent much time at the beach in her short life, but this wasn’t her first time either. We visited Hawaii when she was 6 months old, and we’ve taken day trips to the Oregon coast a couple of times per year. But all of her previous experiences have been to rather wild coastlines, so she’s only dipped her toes in from the safety of our arms. I admit that we probably didn’t give her much choice about those early encounters. This was really the first time that she’s been able to verbally describe to us how the ocean makes her feel.

“I no like ocean.”

“Feel scared beach.”

“Go home, Mama?”

She’s terrified of the ocean.

And I can’t blame her. The ocean is huge. It’s unpredictable, powerful, and loud. It’s incomprehensible. To a two-year-old who wants to control her environment as much as possible, the ocean is frightening.

I tell her: It’s OK. I’m scared of the ocean, too. It’s OK to feel scared.

But let’s just put our toes in, I tell her. Let’s see how the water and the sand feel on our feet. She nods, though skeptically. I pick her up and we walk towards the surf. A wave approaches and breaks several feet out, and an inch or two of water and foam gently wash over my feet. She grabs me tighter and says directly into my ear, “All done, Mama! All done, Mama! All done, Mama!”

I respect that. I respect a little girl who can look me in the eye, head held high, and tell me she’s afraid. She says this even as children play around us, racing the waves breaking on the shore. I know that I can’t explain away Cee’s fear of something this big.

But I do want to tell her this:

The ocean terrifies me too. Continue reading

A Question of References

stack of booksI’m working away on my book, but my progress is maddeningly slow. I’m getting hung up on really important questions of scope and tone, and I’m hoping that as I resolve these, the writing will start to come easier.

Here’s an important question that I’m struggling with, and I’d like your advice. How do you like to see references in a non-fiction book?

The writing in my book is like that in my science-based blog posts. I am basing it on lots of references and papers, but I am trying to frame the scientific questions with real-life stories from my experience and that of other parents.

When I submitted my book proposal, the peer reviewers responded that they thought an evidence-based book backed by references would be a unique and helpful resource to new parents. And based on the responses from you, the readers of my blog, I think you value this as well. So providing references and making them accessible to the reader is important to me.

When my editor and I were going over the book contract, the topic of how to handle references came up. Initially, he thought that I should avoid in-text references – either noted by author or by number. That is, he didn’t expect sentences like this made-up one: “In one surprising study, researchers from the University of Amazing found that children were more accepting of new foods when they XXX.57” Instead, he recommended simply providing a list of references, by chapter, at the end of the book, without necessarily linking each reference to the text describing it. After some discussion, he said he was open to me using in-text citations, but I also agreed to give some thought to different options.

I’m actually really uncomfortable writing about science without in-text citations. I’m used to science writing where you provide a reference for just about every single statement you make. Continue reading

Mama, Talk Busy Day?

Cee was sick about a month ago – sick in a flu-sort of way with fever, cough, stuffy nose, and general misery. We threw our regular sleep routines out the window. There was a lot of back rubbing and singing to help her to sleep and more of the same when she woke burning with fever during the night, needing some reassurance from Mama or Daddy and another dose of ibuprofen.

Once she was better, Cee had a bit of a hard time transitioning back to our regular routine of books, song, and goodnight. She said, “Mama, lie down?” wanting me to stay with her until she fell asleep. I couldn’t get into that habit.  I had humored her a few times, and I knew how it went. I would lay down next to her until her breathing slowed and she was still, but I’d still be afraid to budge for another 20 minutes to be sure she was in a deep sleep. By that time, I would either fall asleep myself or at the very least have lost all motivation to do anything productive for the rest of the night. Plus, I hate the sneaking out thing. It makes me feel like I’m not being honest with her. Cee knows how to go to sleep on her own.

mama and ceeInstead, I stayed with her for a few extra minutes. I held her hand and talked quietly about her day, full of friends at daycare, walks outside, time with mommy and daddy, meals, bath, books, and all the regular mundane things we do together. It was a busy day, I told her, and tomorrow would be another busy day. Time to rest, little girl. Night night. I kissed first one hand and then the other and then her forehead, now thankfully cool now since the fever was gone. It was a good bedtime. She fell asleep, and I got to work.

The next night, as I was kissing her goodnight, she said, “Mama, lie down?”

“No,” I said, “I’m not going to lie down with you. I need to go work upstairs.” (She actually accepts this response. It seems to make sense to her.)

She had another idea.

“Mama, talk busy day?”

And so began our new bedtime tradition. It’s Cee’s favorite part of bedtime now, and mine too. She asks for it with anticipation every night. When Husband is home at bedtime, he shares in it as well. We snuggle together in a Cee sandwich and recall the day. Continue reading

The Courage to Try

I am tackling my book project, and I’m struggling. Like all of you, I’m juggling a few things right now. I’m parenting a toddler, teaching a few college courses, maintaining a home, nurturing a marriage, blogging (OK, barely), and trying to take care of myself. And writing a book. Some of those things seem to rise to the top of my priority list every day, and others always seem to be lingering at the bottom, which invariably means that they either don’t get done or they don’t get done well. Working on my book is one of the things that keep ending up at that bottom, not seeming to be as important as my other responsibilities. I know that if I’m going to write this book and write it well, that has to change.

It isn’t just about finding time and keeping a lot of balls in the air, though. It is also about fear. It is the fear that I can’t write the book I want to write. I don’t even really care if anybody reads it. What I care about most is that it is good and that at the end of this process I am proud of it. And I’m afraid of all the hard work that I know is between here and there. It isn’t just punching a clock and meeting deadlines. It is about the labor of thinking and synthesizing and storytelling. I know that it requires my full attention and energy for at least some portion of every day. The scale of the project scares me. Continue reading

Recovery

I wrote my last blog post before going in for a D&C last Friday. The procedure itself was simple and quick. I “fell asleep” with the warm hand of my OB holding mine and woke up from general anesthesia feeling an inevitable emptiness but some degree of peace. At home, I ate a piece of toast, crawled into my own bed and woke up four hours later. What greeted me were your comments and emails of sympathy, empathy, and heart. There were a lot of them, some from people I have known for decades and some from readers that I had never heard from before, but I read every single one before I got up to face the afternoon.

The resounding message was this: You are not alone.

I was nervous about writing about miscarriage, but once it was out there, I felt nothing but support. It made me wonder why we hesitate to share this kind of hurt. It is personal, and it does seem strange to tell the whole world that I’m grieving. But the world is full of hurt. What’s wonderful is that so many people are willing to share a bit of mine – even the smallest bit – and enough people doing that really does make me feel better. I didn’t anticipate that writing about miscarriage here would be so therapeutic. The writing itself is actually sort of painful, in a good way I guess, but sharing the experience has been healing. Continue reading