(an idea borrowed from other bloggers, self explanatory)
Pregnancy is an amazing feat. For the body to create a new human is beyond magical. I’ve always thought it was incredible that so much goes right with pregnancy and with this creation process. Smart bodies, smart cells.
With pregnancy there is a sense of fullness that arrives fairly quickly. It’s not just the belly that swells, the whole body becomes involved. That glow people speak of? I believe it comes from this fullness. You suddenly have more blood in your body, everything is working overtime for the purpose of growing a human, best behavior is required of your entire system to make this go smoothly. You have a VIP visitor and the body isn’t holding much back. In a very strange way your body takes on a mind of it’s own, sending unrelenting messages and cravings to the stomach as different needs arise and forcing a slowing down, a resting as energy is diverted.
And when the body recognizes that something is not going as it should, that growing isn’t happening perhaps, or some of those chromosomes just aren’t viable, or maybe a virus intruded and changed development in a way, then it often shuts down the factory. This also is amazing to me. Our bodies, they are so, so very intelligent without much help from our conscious minds.
With this recognition, though, also comes a certain deflation. Those birthday balloons that are left tied outside just a day too long, still full but sinking to the ground? That is the feeling. It can be so subtle. And you might get some raised eyebrows as you describe the changes and feelings to others. But the deflation is there.
Going through this whole process has been incredible. I wish the pregnancy had not ended, but also am at peace with it. My body is far more intuitive than I am, and I’m sure it recognized a problem going on.
The interesting part to me has been the aftermath. When you get pregnant, that magic number of 12 weeks lingers above your head. Don’t tell people until after your first trimester! And yet you are wearing down a path to the restroom every 5 minutes, you’ve become a total bloodhound and can smell a tuna sandwich from two buildings over (unfortunately), you can’t stand to have anything pressing on your poor queasy stomach so have taken to wearing flowing clothing long before they were needed, and you are ravenously hungry all day long… it’s all exciting and amazing, but you aren’t able to really share with many people during those early days. And then things go wrong, you have to unexpectedly work from home, take a sick day, fall behind on everything, and people start to ask questions.
I debated at first. But then decided that I needed to be open with some people to process all of it. And it has been therapeutic beyond belief. Every single person I have shared with has come back to me with stories of their own miscarriages, or those of their friends or family members, and many had a success story to follow closely behind. For me it didn’t take away from the loss of a baby we wanted (and I use the “b” word loosely, I know it was only at the embryonic stage), and it doesn’t take away from the pain of the procedure, or the stress of the 6-hour emergency department visit that my sweet parents endured while my partner was traveling. But it does normalize all of it. I’ve created this little community around me. “We’ve been there, too, you will be okay.”
I needed that net. I needed to see the knowing nods, the fleeting look of sadness, but overall the look of toughness. People go through this all the time. And sometimes many times. And it’s okay. For now I choose to thank my body for being wise, and to keep up hope that our time will still come.
Too much and too little to share these days. my brain is often more exhausted than it should be and I only occasionally am finding the time to bake, make art, see friends, though I’m hopeful that this will be changing in the very near future. I dream of winning the lottery and becoming a student for life, of picking up my cookbooks again and making meals that are more complicated than the occasional rice bowl or soup I’ve managed to eke out lately. And I dream of actually finishing the art projects I tend to start and stop. Poor neglected half-done creatures.
But I’m still managing to snap a few photos on my phone as I go about my day, stumbling on some insanely beautiful moments when I’m lucky. Like these webs. We’ve had a strange cold snap in Portland these past couple of weeks. Cold, dry, and beautiful. Our winters tend to be wet and chilly. Not in the teens, or the twenties, or even often in the thirties, but chilly. Now we’re enjoying the odd dry cold that many other areas get each winter and I love it.
Walking to the bus the other morning I stopped for a moment to check out the field near my house as I usually do. There is a gate at one entrance to the park that I always stop by. It tends to have many resident spiders, and if you’re lucky their webs might be covered in dew first thing in the morning. On this particular morning I found them covered in hoar frost. Otherworldly. I almost made myself late for work because I couldn’t stop examining each delicate, partially torn web. The frost exaggerated every detail: the spirals, the radial lines, the tears, the prey, and perhaps even some tiny, frosted over spiders. I love the individual designs. Spider webs have always been impressive to me, strong, invisible, intricate creations that are destroyed in a day or less. What hard-working, smart little creatures those arachnids are.
You know what’s not fun? Feeling like you’re messing up. Often. And feeling like things are out of your control. Definitely dealing with a lot of both of these lately as things in both work and life are just a bit too chaotic. I’m trying so hard to let go of the things I can’t control right now, recognizing there is nothing I can do to change the situation, only my reaction.
But dealing with making stupid little mistakes over and over because I’m moving too fast, doing too much, is just wearing me down. I don’t have the time to be as diligent as I’d like, and I know I should be a little easier on myself in the face of it, but that just isn’t how I function. I judge myself harshly.
So this afternoon I’m trying to take some deep breaths, look out the window a little more, build in some time to do some quick sketches, and just… let go a bit. And hopefully in the near future things won’t be quite so unsettled, quite so ridiculously busy, and I won’t be feeling stretched far, far too thin as I am at this moment in time.
I’m going to miss this big bear of a dog. Such a sweet, anxious, gentle giant. A puppy trapped in a failing body. A lucky rescue who knew this family was full of suckers who would do anything to make an animal healthy and happy.
You have had a good life with our clan, Cody, and have given us so much joy. May your young spirit leave your broken body to run around like a mad man and play endlessly with squeaky toys. Say hi to Slim for me, big guy. Love you.
“It’s a learning curve, Maura.”
“Yeah, a ‘climbing Everest and forgetting to bring along an oxygen tank’ learning curve.”
That’s how many of these days are feeling lately, but then there are those moments, those lovely moments when I hear myself talking, or read over an email I’ve written, or finish a project, and I think “You know what you’re doing at this moment.” Those moments are like gems right now, I have to savor them and admire their shining beauty before returning to my steep climb, hoping the summit isn’t too far off, dreaming of that leisurely descent when I can finally enjoy the view without feeling mentally and physically exhausted. For now, though, I’ll take those gems and the vague promises of success they offer for the future.