Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Seduction of Darkness

last night at support group i was asked how i was dealing with the news of robin williams' death. i was just about to answer, "it's so sad, but i haven't really thought about it too much or been that affected." when, instead, i just started to talk. and i began to realize how much heaviness i've been carrying, but have been unable to really process it while caring for a two month old 24/7.

this is one of the reasons why support group is so healing. it creates a space, that otherwise is too mucked up with daily life, to bring the underlying hurt, fear and anger to the surface.

this is how i basically answered the robin williams question. no pre-thought. no analyzing. the words just came.


when i was in high school a classmate of mine killed himself and it scared the crap out of me. i couldn't imagine what was possibly going through his mind the days and moments leading up to that one, huge decision to take his life. such a permanent choice. that kind of depression, the kind that feels the only way out is to end it forever, really, really frightened me, because i didn't understand it.

i understand it now.

in those intense few weeks and months after noah died i experienced that kind of darkness. my pain was so deep, i couldn't fathom a way out. it was too much. so heavy i couldn't breathe.

my entire life, and all i ever knew, was radically shifted. all my beliefs. everything i trusted. wiped clean. i had a new life now. i lost a child and could never go back to my other self, my other life.

and this new life was a life i didn't want. it repulsed me. it exhausted me.

how could i go on living when, quite literally, a part of my very being was gone? noah was a part of me. my own dna, who i nurtured and carried for nine months. and he was ripped violently away. it's like if the entire right side of my body just up and disappeared. how do i go on?

(at this point, i'm weeping. and made apologizes for my sleep deprived emotions.)

but somehow i forged together 0.5% of hope. and i held onto what shred i had to save my life. my husband. my future children. my seemingly microscopic-sized faith. they gave me hope.

without that hope, my life was over. hope was that dot of light in the vast, eternity of darkness.

the fate of robin williams. that could have easily been me.


the group went on to talk about the fine line of darkness beyond hope. it's seductive. it is terrifying. one tiny step and it's over, no going back.

i grieve that robin felt that way. i grieve that anyone would feel that way.

i grieve noah. i grieve isaac.

but i made the choice to live. i make the choice, every single day and moment, to live.

this world is f'ing messed up. i know that all too well. it's absolutely not easy to exist here sometimes, when things don't make sense and fairness is extinct.

yet, we move forward. embracing the darkness and welcoming the light. sharing our stories with others and perhaps giving someone else hope in their despair. that's the beautiful thing about humans, we can bear each others burdens. we can lighten the load for another, while bringing redemption to our own soul.

don't pretend you have it all together, that your life is perfect. it's too exhausting and you'll eventually crack under that kind of pressure. be honest. be authentic. open up your heart and let others in.

we're in it together.
and that gives me hope.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Guilt, It's What's for Dinner

apparently it's world breastfeeding week. i find it a little amusing that there exists such a thing. i also find it a little ironic that, on world breastfeeding week, i found myself feeding my child outside, half dressed, sitting on the cement, in the back of a building, next to a dumpster, in the rain.

maybe our world does need a "breastfeeding week."

because as i sat there, uncomfortable and embarrassed, i wondered, "why do i feel the need to sequester myself with my hungry baby, while my husband gets to remain in the restaurant enjoying his beer... alone?"

something that really surprised me about motherhood was the guilt. heavy, nagging, irrational guilt. i felt it immediately with noah. we're not doing enough to help him. we didn't do enough to save him. what did i do while i was pregnant that made his lungs form incorrectly? i should visit noah's place more often. why am i not raising thousands of dollars for ACD research in noah's name? i shouldn't take any photos of noah down.

and on and on it goes. and it didn't stop with noah.

how is miles sleeping? is he sleeping through the night yet? (the underlying judgment in these questions, i feel is - because if he's not, you must be doing something wrong. do you have a nightly routine? that'll help. are you feeding your baby enough during the day? that'll solve it.)

weather forecast says 100 degrees. we leave the house. it pours down rain. i don't have anything to warm my child.

losing my patience with a screaming baby, because i have no idea what he wants.

not doing what i should. or doing what i shouldn't. guilt is anything that makes me feel like i'm not a good mom. i hate that it does, but it's true. we live in a world where there is so much pressure to do everything perfect... or maybe i just want to be perfect. being a good mom is so, so important to me, because that napping, tiny human is my world. why wouldn't i want to do motherhood well?

but i wouldn't be completely honest if i didn't mention the guilt i feel about not loving every second of motherhood. this emotion has been incredibly difficult for me because i have wanted to be a mom literally my entire life! and not just wanted to be a mom, like "wouldn't that be fun", but dreamed and ached to be a mother because it is the core of who i am.

and being a mama to miles is amazing and i really do love it (because i'm madly in love with him), but there are times i am so exhausted and frustrated that i want to throw him out the window. (i really just wrote that. and it's so awful - guilt - but it's true.)

i had a veteran mom say to me once, "you probably don't feel like this, because of what you went through with noah, but, for me, getting up multiple times through the night was HARD."

um?? and for me it's easy? i must just hum and giggle as i leap out of bed for the millionth time each night, tending to the mystery need of my newborn human.

yes, i lost a baby and for so long would have given anything to hear my son cry or to lose hours upon hours of sleep because of him. i still would. but that doesn't make me automatically and permanently grateful-for-every-little-moment-of-spit-up-and-scream-crying that will ever happen in my life. being a mom is hella hard, for anyone, no matter what. i'm not immune. i'm not a robot.

(would a robot cry when her husband goes to mow the lawn because she's jealous he gets some "alone time"? i don't think so.)

one of the biggest lessons i learned in the grief journey (and am still learning, obviously) is that in order to stay sane, i have to do whatever it is i need to do to survive. (besides bomb our neighbor's house or anything else destructive.) because whatever i feel is okay.

i may not love being a mom every second of every day, but it doesn't mean i don't love being a mom.
i may not feel grateful to spend each day with my little monster, but i'm unbelievably grateful he's here.

there is always grace.

so next time miles is hangry and i hear that voice in the back of my mind that says, "go hide in the shadows while you feed him so you don't make people uncomfortable" or any other time i feel ashamed of myself, i will say to that voice...

shut the hell up. i'm a mama. i'm surviving. i'm loving this little person and his daddy fiercely, with my whole self. and that takes courage and strength that is out of this world.

i'm a brilliant human making sacrifices for love left and right.

though at times i feel empty, with no energy or milk to give, i get up out of that bed again. because whatever i am, i'm enough.