A baby crawls on his mom in bed.

Trust your intuition. Live with intention.

I Am From

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pianokeys

This poem is a writing assignment from the Find Your Writing Voice course that I am doing right now with the amazing Allison Fallon.

The assignment takes you through your childhood images, memories, relationships, and feelings and helps you put those into a poem styled after the original George Ella Lyons poem “I Am From”.

This was so fun and so hard to do at the same time.


 

I am from struggle
I am from patriarchy and from women who believed
it served them too

I am from sanctuary
I am from piano keys and lessons first forced and then loved
From dreamy notes turned crashing

I am from bunkbed games and being the first
to huddle in my nightgown
Over the heat vent before chores
I am from sisters

I am from Sunday potlucks
and jealousy
and christmas morning pj’s finding
knees next to the couch for family prayer

I am from all-nighter Risk marathons
from fake garage sales and Ace Ventura
I am from sneaking out at night
and summer camp love stories
I am from friends

I am also from freshly baked bread
From fragrant popcorn floating in hot cocoa
And turning cream into butter over my knee

I am from little white lies and falling dressers
and not knowing
where to put this goddamn napkin

I am from her
I am from anger
But also pride
I am from strength and sacrifice that I will
never understand

I am from starship bridges and rusty strewn farmyards
with lots of secrets too
I can find them while I find me

When Things Don’t Go Like They Are Supposed To

miscarriage, stillbirth 6 Comments

Three weeks ago I woke up deadflowersto slick dark blood, not a lot but enough.

My husband has been with me through darker times than we ever saw coming.  The crisp hotel sheets are still white, but he knows this wail, the one I can’t hold back.

How do you hope when your body has taught you not to?

I was almost 13 weeks pregnant.  Most of our friends and family knew, an expression of the unconditional vulnerability I had committed to – no, felt called to – during the process of trying again after losing Rowan.  We had to try for a few months, not long, but long for my body.  Then, I got pregnant – immediately after releasing some important things that had been causing me a lot of anxiety.  It all felt so timely, so serendipitous.  All you have to do to have a baby is get rid of stress in your life, people – it’s easy!

Why I’m Giving Up Being Strong

career, femininity 2 Comments

Last week, I met a new friend, a friend with a voice and a vehicle and an audience, all in one glorious, enviable package.  She was intimidating in that way that women can be when they own any of their power.  But what was different about her was that she didn’t just own her power – she was also incredibly connected to her intuition.

Throughout the course of the evening we chatted about everything from hormones to sexuality to career, and she shared how a recent interview she’d done had left her feeling like she couldn’t really inhabit her intuition, her femininity, in a male-dominated industry, and more specifically, during this interview with two guys for a show with a male-heavy audience.

The truth is that in our modern world, women have been invited to the table, yet we routinely feel like we have to check our feminine energy at the door to be able to have our ideas or our work or our presence valued.

Anxiety, Motherhood & Healing

anxiety, family life, motherhood 2 Comments

anxiety

My journey as a mother hasn’t been an easy one.  Some of it has been circumstantial, but a lot of it is what I came into it with…  and I know I’m not the only one who unpacked a whole new world of baggage when they became a mother.

In fact, I have come to believe that there are certain aspects of our baggage that we may not even be able to fully engage outside of the context of motherhood.  It would be kind of like expecting someone to realize that they have a fear of commitment without having had the opportunity to be in a relationship – that awareness wouldn’t be very likely.

Trying to Get Pregnant Can Make You Crazy

pregnancy, stillbirth 5 Comments

DeathtoStock_Creative+Community8Trying to get pregnant can make you crazy.  Trying to get pregnant again after losing a baby could practically be an A&E Intervention episode.

You possess both an insane amount of optimism (you didn’t get to the point of trying again without that) and also a paranoia that understandably, cannot be reasoned with.

You will take more pregnancy tests than is psychiatrically advisable.  You’ll decide to buy them in bulk because that seems like the financially responsible to do.  You will wonder if they are less effective because they cost 90% less than what you can get them at the drugstore for.  But you did buy the best reviewed brand on Amazon so you will mostly ignore that thought.

Why Our Expected Silence In Early Pregnancy May Be Hurting Us

miscarriage, stillbirth 2 Comments

img (1)Your period is late. You wait a few days, playing it cool. Maybe you’ve been planning this — for months or even years, or maybe you were planning for NOT this and your stomach feels like poison and your future like a cage. Maybe you have the best people in your life or maybe you have The. Worst.

After the obligatory “it’s cool, I’ve never been that regular anyways!!!!” few days without any luck, you hold your pee all day at work or wake up at 5:00am to get that magical concentrated urine sample so you can ace the test and only have to pay $22 to have your fortune told instead of $44.

The plus sign/double line/digital readout doesn’t lie (if your pee was deep yellow enough).

From the Beginning (Trying Again After Stillbirth)

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imgYou will build and tear down and rebuild a million times before you decide to have another child after stillbirth.  Most of this constant construction will go unnoticed – you are strong, resilient, brave.

You will be so many different women, so many different mothers… to yourself, to your family, to the world.

You will be like a child yourself; so unsure one moment, so free the next.  Dreams will turn ashen then kaleidoscopic then back again.

Rowan’s Birth Story

childbirth, pregnancy, stillbirth 4 Comments

babyrowanRowan was due on Aiden’s birthday.  I always loved and hated that.  It seemed so perfect that they would be almost exactly 4 years apart, no matter what.  I could also picture inevitably angsty teenage boys shouting “no one ever thinks about ME!!” and slamming doors during birthday week.  We intentionally planned Aiden’s birthday party a couple of weeks early to hopefully avoid the chance of my being in labor at that time.

Ironically, I spent Aiden’s early birthday party and the next couple of days in “prodromal labor”, which we intermittently thought might be the real deal.  Aiden’s birthday/Rowan’s due date came without incident, and we settled in to the notion that we’d have another late baby, and that the boys birthdays would hopefully be separated by a few days.

I’m Really Good at Being a Mom

anxiety, motherhood 16 Comments

Christmas 2015

So why do I think that I’m not?

About a year ago, we had some new friends over for dinner.  They were lovely, their (3) children were lovely, and we had a lovely time.   As I was newly pregnant with Rowan, I was closely observing the wife’s parenting-several-children-at-one-time-with-MAKEUP-ON-and-NO-YELLING skills.

At some point during the evening, as she and I were discussing our lives as mamas and all that it entails, she commented, “I’m just really good at being a mom”.

3 Months – Dreaming of Rowan

stillbirth 5 Comments

I don’t ever dream of Rowan.  I didn’t when I was pregnant either – and during those months, I felt a little alarmed at the seeming lack of subconscious connection to my baby.

Now, I know better.  I mean, I actually wish I would  dream about him – kind of like being a teenager and believing the idea that if your last conscious thought was of your unsuspecting crush, that you would have magical dreams about them all night long.  I do that.  When I say I know better now, I mean that I understand that dreaming of something or not says nothing about where it fits in your soul.

I’ve wondered if maybe it’s a kindness – maybe dreaming of him with us would cause the waking hours to feel even more empty.  And by empty, I don’t mean meaningless – I find lots of meaning in my life.  I mean empty – full of holes and cracks that Rowan was supposed to fill.  I still want to dream of him.