A difficult day

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Today is a difficult day.

One year ago…

It was the day my world crumbled around me.

It was the day I miscarried for the second time.

I remember being nervous because I was farther along in my pregnancy this time. Each day longer brought its own anxiety and over analyzing of every symptom or lack thereof. That morning I woke up happy…still having wildly vivid pregnancy dreams, still oh so very nauseous, oh yes, the breasts are still extra enormous, this time it might be sticking. And then around two in the afternoon the pressure in my uterus grew stronger and when I went to the bathroom I had started spotting. Panicking I reminded myself that spotting is normal, let’s not freak out just yet. I reminded myself to lie down and try to relax. I got up to go to the bathroom a little while later and the spotting had stopped, but oh that telltale back ache, that eerie twisting in the small of my back, the one I developed last time crept its way in.  Still I tried to remain positive. I tried to tell myself we were going to be okay. I kept talking to the baby telling them that mommy loved them and that she was doing her best to keep us both safe. By 4:30pm the contractions had started and I knew it was game over. By 4:30pm the bleeding became heavy and it wasn’t long before I passed the baby.

My entire world came to a stop.

I was in utter disbelief that it happened again. I still have a hard time believing it happened again. It seems like such a cruel joke. It’s as though God, the Universe, whatever you want to call it, put the prize within reach and swiftly took it away with a giant “just kidding” shouted in my general direction.

I wish I could say to you all that the hurt goes away. I wish I could say that you feel completely whole again. But it just doesn’t and you just don’t. Yes it doesn’t ache as tremendously on a daily basis, but it still aches, and sometimes…especially on days like this it’s a deeply profound ache. It hurts to the depths of my soul and then some.

I don’t know why I’ve been chosen to walk this path. I don’t know why all of my children so far have been chosen to live in heaven. I do know that searching for those answers will drive you mad. It took me to a dark place, a place that I can’t let myself go again. So instead I write about it. Instead of going there, I talk to other women, perhaps women like you, who have miscarried too. I let them know that they aren’t alone and that all of those ugly and at times scary feelings that they are having aren’t unusual. I let them know that it’s okay to ask for help. I let them know that my heart is right there with them, and that united we can bear this pain together. I let them know that there is truly strength in numbers. I let them know to not give up hope, because if you want to be a mother you will be a mother in some way, shape, or form you will…and I will too.

So today really is a difficult day.

It’s a day I grieve the loss of my baby all over again.

It’s a day that I unfortunately flash back to every moment leading up to the loss.

It’s a day that I also remember how strong I am.

It’s a day I remember how brave I am.

It’s a day I remember what an incredibly amazing mother I am right now.

It’s important to remember that just because I can’t hold my children in my arms I am STILL a mother. I became a mother the second I knew I was pregnant. I loved my children fiercely the second I knew I was pregnant, and a mother’s love never fades. Our mother hearts are strong and capable of so much beautiful and miraculous love. Today I remember my baby. Today I honor their short life. Today I look for extra signs from them. Today I let my mother heart radiate all of the love in the world to my sweet little one that was gone too soon.

If you too have miscarried, experienced pregnancy loss or stillbirth, or have lost a child, know that I am always here for you. Reach out if you need to. I have a wonderful set of shoulders to lean on. Thank you all so much for giving me the opportunity to share my story with you. You have no idea how much it means to me.

All of my love to you. xoxo

Perfection…

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I’m a perfectionist. It’s true. I like things to be done right. I expect myself to do things right. I feel like I can’t help myself. Though I’m sure my therapist would disagree. We’re working on it. I’m just a big old work in progress.

I think for a lot of us we have this drive to reach a certain level of perceived perfection. When we’re young we want to be the best student, the best friend, we want to be picked first for the team. When we’re a little older we want to be the best employee, have the best body, wear the best clothes, date the best guy, have the best house, get paid the best money, raise the best kids, and have our neighbors sit in jealousy over our perfect and amazing life. In striving for perfection, we drive ourselves bananas…or at least I do.

Why do we do this? I ultimately feel like this is a question for the ages. Most likely depending on the individual there are a whole host of factors that come into play. For myself, I like control. I like order. I’m a people pleaser 100%. I feel like if I can find order in the chaos and keep everyone happy it will all be okay. The thing is, that isn’t necessarily true for all situations. Sometimes, I am learning, you just have to accept the glorious mess that you are. I am learning that there is so much perfection in the imperfection. I’m learning that behind someone’s seemingly perfect and put together life is a truck load of imperfect too.  Whaaaat!?!? You mean she’s just as much of a hot mess as I am?? Oh honey…yes!!

The main message today is that you can be a mess, you can be average, you can just be you in whatever capacity that is, because at the end of the day all of that is perfect. Out of curiosity I googled the definition of perfect and it is as follows: Having all the required or desirable elements, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. I guarantee you that there are so many ways in which you possess ALL of the desirable elements and characteristics, and that there are so many parts of your day that are as good as it is possible to be.  Each day for all of us we have moments of perfection amidst the moments of imperfection. So, your house is a mess and the dishes are piled up…you just witnessed your child having the heartiest belly laugh over the simplest thing. Those belly laughs are the moments of perfect. Okay, your spouse has been snoring like a buzz saw and you kinda want to smother them with your pillow, but then they roll over and put their arm around you to pull you closer. That is the perfection in the imperfection.  Those moments are when life is as good as it is possible to be.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I, and possibly you too, need to be reminded of all those little perfect moments. I need to remind myself that all those little moments add up to one hell of a perfect life. So actually, the chaos is okay, because unless you are in a truly dysfunctional and traumatic setting it’s not even total chaos really…it’s just life. I just need to remember to do the best I can, continue being the kind, thoughtful, and completely human person that I am and relax into the rest. As long as you have those sweet moments that add up you are doing alright. We are doing alright. Ultimately perfection is truly found in all of the little moments.

At this time last year…

 

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At this time last year I was pregnant. It just hit me. Every now and again I remember that I was pregnant. I remember how far along I was, or how far along I would have been. I simply remember that at this time I WAS pregnant. Then a couple of weeks later I miscarried. For the second time…in 8 months. I had miscarried 8 months prior as well. I know it’s incredibly common. It’s been explained to me quite clearly by my OB, my therapist, my friends, family, and all the many wise persons on the internet. But fully understanding that something is so completely common, that it happens in 1 in 4 pregnancies doesn’t make it hurt any less. It doesn’t make you miss your child any less. It just explains to you that you are that 1 in 4 that got the short end of the fertility stick.

I certainly wouldn’t go back to a time when I was never pregnant with either of my children. I am so grateful that I got to carry them, even for the short time that I did. But sometimes I get caught up with life, with whatever immediate issue requires attention and I don’t exactly forget, but become less aware of it. And then from out of no where it hits me. Like a friggin freight train. And I remember how very pregnant I was and am reminded how very not pregnant I currently am.

It’s been explained to me, quite clearly, by my therapist that this is totally normal. It’s part of the grieving process. It’s part of the healing process. It’s part of the having a miscarriage completely and totally sucks and having two sucks even more. And I’m sure for those amazing brave women who have had upwards of five miscarriages it sucks even more and more and I just don’t know how they do it. How on earth do they put one foot in front of the other every day? Except they do it just like I do, because what’s the alternative? You just do it. And each day you just do the best you can…even in those moments when the freight train hits you and you remember and become painfully aware of those little babies your body just couldn’t hang on to. And you miss them with every ounce of your being. And you remind yourself that this is normal. It’s part of the process…

I remember reading once that grief was like the waves on the ocean rolling in and receding out. Sometimes it’s a big powerful wave of emotion, other times little lapping waves of memories. Today was a big powerful wave. If you are reading this and you are grieving, just know that it’s part of the process. And sometimes the big waves will come. They might knock you down for the moment, but you’ll get back up. You’ll find your footing again. If you are reading this and you are struggling, if you’ve also miscarried, if you’ve experienced loss or trauma of any kind, please know that my heart is with you. Please know that if you need to reach out I am here. Please know that even though it might feel like you’re the only one to ever feel like this, you are not alone and there are many who have been right where you are ready to help you carry your load.

I was nervous about covering miscarriage again, so soon on the blog. I had a plan for this week, but I was feeling called to share this. One thing I have learned is when you feel the call, when you have something on your heart you just need to share, you best share it. You share it because someone needs to hear your story. And my miscarriages are a big part of my story that need to be shared. Thank you for listening. Thank you for allowing me to share.

We’re Talking Baggage…

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Hey friends, today I’m talking about BAGGAGE. We all have it. Some of us more than others. I, myself have acquired quite a bit, but I’m working on unpacking and only hanging on to what I need or truly want. Now, I’m not talking too many totes and a whole lot of purses. No, I’m talking about all that emotional stuff. Our issues that we’ve collected over the years of our lives. Yeah…that stuff. It’s heavy, sometimes we hate it, but we can’t let it go. This year…oh yes, THIS YEAR, I am thinning out the junk. No more hanging on to the old issues of the past. Just like with the tangible stuff in our lives, if it no longer serves a purpose or makes you happy it’s time for it to go.

 

So what inspired me to write about this? Well, I do a lot of my processing of issues in my dreams…probably why I don’t get the most restful night’s sleep.  Lately I’ve been having recurring dreams about…you guessed it…BAGGAGE. I mean literally in my dreams I am handling tons of physical bags that I just cannot deal with. I feel overwhelmed. I feel like the bags are too heavy. I feel like I don’t have enough arms to carry them all. I ultimately end up sitting down in a huff and shouting “I CAN’T DO THIS ANY MORE!!!”. So I start purging those bags, frantically rifling through them to get rid of anything I don’t need any more in order to make my load lighter.

 

In therapy, yes I go to therapy…regularly…we talk about my baggage. Currently we are delving into the icky, difficult stuff. We refer to my icky stuff as my baggage and we are examining what’s there. We’re taking a hard look at what I want to keep and what I just need to get the hell rid of already. It’s not easy. It’s not painless. Often times there are a lot of tears. Honestly there is a lot of ugly crying complete with rivers of snot rolling down my face. But as challenging as it can be, I always feel so much lighter at the end.

 

It’s a good thing to take time to examine our stuff and let go of what we no longer need. It can be old ideas we’ve held about ourselves, family or friends that have been or have become toxic, an old romantic partner that just won’t leave you alone, a job that brings you zero joy, even that hideous chachki that someone once gave you and you’ve felt bad about throwing it out, but every time you look at it it just makes you annoyed. You all know what I’m talking about. Ugh…the BAGGAGE. All that stuff that in your moments of feeling truly overwhelmed you find yourself exclaiming “I JUST CAN’T WITH THIS ANYMORE!”.

 

I’m throwing my hands up to all my stuff and all my bullshit and shouting it out to myself and the world “I’M NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE”. I’m marching forward, nice and tall, knowing that I am done with all the garbage, all the nonsense, all the stuff that has been holding me back. Get ready friends, the old Marieke that was weighed down by her baggage is gone and she is going to continue to weed through her bags of crap to become the best version of herself.

 

Join me friends! Unpack your bags too… We’ve all got them, even the seemingly most well-adjusted of us all.

 

Now, I will add that if you have deep traumatic experiences from the past, please consider having a mental health professional help you with the unpacking. Sometimes we’ve done such a good job of storing things away we can be truly surprised by what comes up. My therapist helps me as we go deep and it definitely helps me process the unexpected. There is no shame in asking for professional help. It’s their job to help you navigate the really challenging things.

 

Another time I’ll tell you all about how much I love my therapist. She is literally like an angel that has been sent to me. I adore her.

It was one year ago today…

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It was one year ago today that I would have been due to welcome my first child, my own Baby New Year. I say would have because I had a miscarriage with that pregnancy.

I never ever thought that I would be one of the many women that experience this. Back in middle school health class they made having babies seem so easy. Basically, if a boy sneezed in your general direction you would indeed get pregnant. So, you do everything in your power during those early years to NOT get pregnant, and then you find yourself pushing mid-thirties in a relationship with a man who not only loves you, but also doesn’t have a panic attack at the thought of having children. You guys talk about it…Do you want kids? How many? We’ll make super cute babies. So, you decided to see what happens, you’re at least not going to try and prevent anything from happening, and wouldn’t you know…he basically sneezed in your direction and you are without a doubt totally pregnant. That is until you aren’t anymore, because you’ve just had a miscarriage.

It was during the aftermath of what felt like the entire bottom falling out of my life that I had the idea to start this site. There was a period of time (a long period) where I was grasping at straws trying to put myself back together again. In that time, I did what most people do when they can’t sleep and are feeling alone. I went to my dear friend The Internet and started searching for blogs and articles about miscarriage. I wanted to know that there were other women out there like me who were feeling whatever it was that I was feeling too. And while yes, I stumbled upon some interesting reads and a couple of blogs that I still follow, there just wasn’t a whole lot out there. And it was then that the idea crept in. That maybe I could do this. Maybe I might have something to say, or an interesting way of saying it that I wasn’t seeing represented out there in the internet world.

I let it sit and I thought and I continued on with my little life. He essentially winked at me this time and here I was pregnant again…surely, I wouldn’t lose this one too. I was cautious. I didn’t want to let myself get too attached. I didn’t want to jinx anything. I was pregnant…again…until I wasn’t…again. I had just had my second miscarriage.

It was during the fall out of this loss that I began journaling and talking a lot about my experiences. It was through this that I learned that what I was saying as a means of processing my own emotions was connecting with others. THAT is when I knew for sure that this wasn’t just something I wanted to do, something that would be interesting and fun, but something that I HAD to do. I was being called to do this. You can call it God, intuition, the Universe…whatever the label, all I know is that I have to share my story. I have to share the good, the bad, and the ugly…and trust it can get wicked ugly. I have to share it, because there are women out there just like me who are feeling isolated, feeling lost, feeling confused, who can’t figure out what just happened, and just want to feel like at least there is hope, that at least they aren’t alone, that at least in some way it might not feel like this forever.

So here I am, friends. Laying it out there for you. Taking you along for this journey. We’ll honor the past, try to make sense of the present, have hope for the future. We’ll laugh at the ridiculousness of it all and celebrate the little and big wins in our lives. I hope you’re excited, because I sure as hell am!