A Miscarriage

A positive pregnancy test opens a floodgate of possibilities. A spark of life. An entirely new future dreamed up in an instant. Plans composed as that tiny being forms. Thoughts of names, birth dates, and changing family dynamics effortlessly flowing through the mind. Free to imagine, riding waves of excitement and wonder. Peace. Joy. Happy.

Then suddenly one day, something isn’t right. This isn’t supposed to happen. Is it normal? Could it be nothing? Not wanting to let go of hope, but terrified of what this might mean. Gut-wrenching fear. Unable to breathe. I can’t lose this baby…

The wait is agonizing. Nothing to be done. Time will tell. Sitting, hurting, distracting, and waiting. Emotional chaos leaving no room for living. The mind tugging in a million different directions. I want to believe everything will be ok, but this doesn’t look good. One part not wanting to worry. One part already grieving. A tangled mess of horrifying potential outcomes and miraculous ambitions. It’s more than any one person can bear.

And in an instant, the confirmation. Negative. No longer pregnant. Everything goes numb. Unable to cope with the pain of this moment. A future cut short, when it had only just begun. Where do I go? What do I do? The mind struggling to make sense of the circumstances. I never wanted this to be my story.

Tears come in waves. Profound sadness set off by a thought. A memory. A reminder. A dream. I’m so sorry, little one. I wish we’d had more time. How will I go on without you? A question no one truly wants answered. And then the what ifs of what is to come. Will it happen again? Will I ever have another? The unknown worries added to an ever growing wreck of emotions.

But healing also comes in waves. In ways big and small, peace is restored. Hope returns. Joy is found once again. New purpose is found in keeping that spark alive. Such a short life that tiny soul had. Yet such a powerful impact is made. My child, you’ve changed me. Your influence so strong. I will never forget you. And I will never be the same.

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On Telling Kids What To Do

When someone wants you to do something, how would you like them to communicate that to you?

“Don’t do that. Do this. Stop that. Give that to them. Put that back. Turn that off. Stay here. Sit down. Get dressed. Brush your teeth. Go to the bathroom. Eat your food. Go to bed. Say please. Say goodbye. Give them a hug. Be polite. Be nice. Be happy. Don’t cry. Calm down….”

Being told what to do may not be too bothersome sometimes, but how often do our kids hear these things from us?

Believe it or not, our kids really don’t need to be told what to do all the time, and they don’t want to either! But when we do constantly make these demands, they can learn to become dependent on what we say instead of ever learning to do things for themselves.

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If I always tell my child when to eat (and what), it will be more challenging for them to recognize their own hunger and learn what their body needs. If I always tell my child how to interact with another child (what to say, how to play, who can have a turn with what and when, etc.), it will be difficult for them to learn how to interact with each other, solve problems together, and gain important social skills.

If instead, I work with my child, giving them the freedom to make choices and the space to think for themselves, then they won’t need anyone to tell them what to do, because they will want to do it themselves. And our relationship will grow stronger as I display trust and confidence in their abilities.

So when we’re trying to leave the house, instead of saying, “Go potty. Put your shoes on. Grab a jacket. Etc.” I might say, “Hey, we need to go to such and such place, what do we need to do before we can get in the car?” This gets kids thinking. And because the to-do list comes from their own mind, they’ll often just do it, quickly and happily. And if they need a reminder, “Will we need jackets there? … The park doesn’t have a bathroom, so I’m gonna go potty before we leave. … Which shoes do you want to wear?”

And If we’re at the store and they pick up a toy, instead of saying, “Stop touching things. Put that back, I’m not buying that. You have enough toys at home.” I’ll let them be, and they’ll look at it, and probably talk about how cool it is and how much they’d like to have it. I’ll agree with them, “That’s cool. That does look fun. Etc.” Maybe even, “Let’s take a picture and put that on your wish list!” And then after a moment, “Ok let’s go find whatever it is we came here to get. … Can you help me find this thing? … What else is on our list?”

There are so many ways to communicate that don’t involve making constant demands. When we give our kids the freedom to think for themselves, they might just surprise us with how much they already know. And the things they don’t know, they will learn, often without us having to tell them at all.

What freedom can you give your own child today?

Does the Weeping Ever End?

Here one moment, gone the next.
Nothing could prepare, no making sense of this.
A future cut short. Too close. Too soon.
Does the weeping ever end?

All that’s left are memories. Impressions.
An essence of being, merely a reflection.
As if the moon could truly capture the brilliant rays of the sun.
Does the weeping ever end?

All of us still here, as you move on, beyond our grasp.
Wondering who we are, where we go, without you here.
New beginnings we never wanted.
Does the weeping ever end?

The future hope, our only consolation.
The thoughts that bring us comfort, all we have to hold onto.
To picture you, in the arms of your Father.
Does the weeping ever end?

This human life, but a fleeting thing.
We embrace it all. The love. The pain.
Heartache. Heartbreak. Joy and fear. Laughter and tears.
Does the weeping ever end?

No. The weeping never ends.
It just evolves, as we keep moving forward.
Life kept alive by the spark of memory.
By the imprint left upon our hearts.
We carry with us, a piece of this precious soul.
Together, we share in this grief and healing.
But life. Life will never be the same.

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– For my mother-in-law, who was lost to us this week.

Time

Time.
Passing slowly. Come so far. And yet.
Will we ever make it? Will it ever come?
Soon is relative. The work feels fruitless.
Worn down. Worn out.
The unknown creeping to control.
If only we could see…
What is coming. How much further.
Closer than we think.
But every second, every minute,
Just out of reach.
Always right beyond our grasp.
Sometimes we can taste it.
It’s right there. Right THERE.
Pressing on. Through pain and tears.
We can feel it! This is it!
One more step. And yet.
Nothing more than a mirage.
It feels so far away again.
Why is this happening? What’s the point?
Will we be forever chasing?
Forever racing?
The finish line a fantasy.
Too good to be true. There’s nowhere to go.
Wait. Look ahead.
A spark of hope. Could this be it?
Back on our feet. Struggling.
Been here before.
Harder to hold on. And yet.
Stronger this time.
Pushing ourselves. Overcoming.
How could we not notice before?
The journey changes us. Evolving.
Not yet where we want to go.
But look from where we started!
Growing. Building.
Weary from the journey, yes.
Still closer than we think.
And when we make it there,
We’ll know. Why.
I never saw before.
But now. I see. This.
How it was meant to be.
The imagination,
Doesn’t do it justice.
More beautiful.
Worth it all. Every moment.
Perseverance. Little by little.
Peace at last.
Time.

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Taking Care of Me

Let’s get real. Yesterday was not a good day for me. Each one of my family members was grumpy and irritable. None of us were getting our needs met. Not for lack of trying. Things just were not working out. And at the end of the day, my husband and I both went to sleep feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. A rough day… An exhausting week… A challenging year… can do that to a person. Make you feel like everything is falling apart, with no end in sight. Trapped on this crazy ride, out of control, constant ups and downs, and no brakes.

So this morning, I just knew… Taking care of everyone else first while figuring out how to meet my own needs, was not going to cut it. I’ve been down that path before. Many, many times. A lot of days it’s necessary, and can be just fine. But it doesn’t always end well. Because one thing I have learned, is that when needs go unmet, they only get louder. A slight whisper in the body, calling for attention, can grow like wildfire into full-blown screams, where lashing out at oneself or others becomes a last-ditch effort in the cry for help.

Thankfully that escalation tends not to happen in an instant. And there are plenty more signs along the way, where our brains try to tell us (or those around us), “Hey! Something’s going on here. Better take a look.” Yesterday, my needs had been neglected for far too long, as every attempt to meet them either barely made a dent, or only made things worse. I was angry. I was impatient. I was tired. And I needed a break. So I gave myself just that.

Today, I lived in bed. And I did exactly what I felt like doing. A little social media. Some business research. Thinking. Dreaming. Writing. And of course, binge-watching Suits. Because I needed rest. I needed security. And I needed to pour into myself more than I poured out. Now typically, spending my time like this would only cause me to feel ashamed. Caught between what I wanted to do and what I “should” do. Not being “productive” but also not able to truly recharge because of that chronic guilt. The voices in my head calling me lazy. Selfish. A bad mom. Not good enough. Not worth it.

But I am learning to love myself. To see my worth, pay attention to my needs, and take care of me. So every time those voices popped into my mind, I reminded myself, “I’m ok, as I am, doing what I’m doing. No one else needs me right now. This is what I need. And that is ok.” I resisted the “shoulds” and “have to’s.” Letting those feeling be what they were, but not letting them drive me all the same. Today I let myself just be. And that was everything I needed. I feel refreshed. I feel free. And I feel ready for a new day to come.

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And that made me think. We really can be so hard on ourselves. We listen to voices from the past. Telling us that we are not important. That our needs do not matter. That if we don’t do this or take care of that, then we’re failing. We feel so much shame. Afraid of what it might say about us to accept help, trust someone else with responsibilities, and give ourselves what we so desperately need. You know the saying, you can’t pour from an empty cup. But how often do we accept our own empty cup as a valid need?

Instinctively, I don’t think I would put my own oxygen mask on first, like the flight attendants tell us to. My family is my life. My children are my whole world. Of course I think of them before myself! Isn’t that what being a mom is all about? But I was posed some new questions recently that caused me to think like I hadn’t before. If you put a mask on your kid first, then what happens to you? And if you have more than one kid, what happens when you pass out before getting to them all? How do you choose which one to put on last? Obviously, every day is not an emergency situation on an airplane. But this illustration can bring to light how little we think of ourselves. And really how much we matter to those around us.

I want you to hear this explicitly. You are important. Your needs, your feelings, your preferences, your desires, and your dreams are important. No one else has to become insignificant for that to be true. And you do not have to become insignificant for it to be true for anyone else. Take care of you. Because you deserve it. And your loved ones deserve a well taken care of you. When you put your heart and soul into others, it can be easy to forget yourself. But I have not forgotten you. I see you. And today I want you to see yourself too. Give yourself permission to love and care for you, whatever that looks like. You are worth it.