I watched a bird busy in the gutter of my home. After a while I realized that it was building a nest. My father was with me and said, in typical fashion, “Just wait until the rain comes.”
I asked, naively, “What happens when the rain comes?”
He replied matter of factly, “No more nest.”
Immediately, I thought about that mother bird, and wondered what a bird feels or senses when they lose a nest. Can a bird feel sad? Or do they simply take nature for what it is and move on to the next nest?
I have been pregnant for six of the last eight months of my life with nothing to show for it but a few extra pounds.
I have two beautiful children, but I’ve just lost two children and am scarred by it. How do you just move on from that? How do you just accept nature for what it is?
What I’ve learned is that I have to respect the process. After each miscarriage I was at first resigned and stagnant, then I became depressed and angry. The depression is important, as is the anger. I needed to feel them, I needed to cry, I needed to yell. These feeling states were necessary to my process. In my sadness I was able to grieve my losses, grieve myself, and properly acknowledge the little beings that never were. In my anger I was able to care only for myself, because being guiltlessly selfish is what helped me to heal.
Anyone who interfered with this part of my process angered me. The people who didn’t know what to say so said the wrong thing, clichés such as, “There’s a reason it happened” or “This too shall pass”, angered me. My unaware clients expecting me to still perform, my husband wanting me back to my usual self, anyone who expected me to simply take comfort in knowing that life is simply beyond my control– all angered me. My husband explained to me that most people want to help but just didn’t know how, and I explained that I didn’t care, it wasn’t my job to show them.
But what goes down must come up. I have learned that grief and anger must be finite, and it’s how I come through it that counts. I came through my first miscarriage ready to try again, deciding not to allow one loss to affect my family moving forward. I am coming through my second miscarriage deciding not to allow these losses to affect my self.
In the face of adversity comes the opportunity for change. I have looked at myself, at the job I do, the income I earn, at where my passions lie, and I’ve asked myself if it’s enough.
I look at the mother I am today, and I ask myself, am I the best mother I can be? The best wife? What can I do to be better? To be better, I’ve decided, means to focus on myself first, to make sure my cup is full before trying to give of myself to others.
In my case, two back to back miscarriages closed the door on my childbearing years. That chapter has ended with sadness, but there is also a great deal of anticipation in the new chapters to come. For so many years, my only real goal was to become a mother. I remember feeling that I didn’t want to put too much effort into building a career since it would only get sidetracked by motherhood. My youngest is now two, and I feel as though for the last two years I’ve been on hold, waiting to have just one more kid to finish my family. Although I could be (and let’s be honest, have been), angry about the lost time spent waiting, I know it’s not productive, and I know it’s time to move on.
There’s no need to wait any longer. It is time for me, and the time for me is now.
Originally published in Wise Women Canada, June 2015