The Final Push (This Might Hurt)

I’ve had a huge amount of crap healing work surface this past week. The kind of stuff that a year from now I will look back on and muse, that was so powerful and worth every painful moment. But when you are living it? Total and utter bologna.

In fact, I have decided 2016 has largely been a very difficult year and I’m quite ready to ring in 2017 thankyouverymuch.

Let me list the reasons why 2016 royally sucked:

  • Miscarriage (for a pregnancy due on the day my mom died….ouch.)
  • Continued grief for loss of my mother and ripple effects from that loss
  • Gawker went under (this was a big one)
  • Trump was elected president
  • and, saving the best for last, a ton of unexpected childhood trauma healing work.  (Ok, maybe not totally unexpected. I decided to break my silence and share my story publicly for the first time, which meant that ten people who read my blog saw it, but trust me even that was a huge huge deal for me. So let’s just say the gates had cracked open a bit.)

Now, since I’m an optimist and someone who makes an effort to choose hope, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I could easily list all the beautiful transformations that occurred this past year. A list that is longer than that craptastic list. But for today, I want to wallow a little.

So wallow I will. Stomp my foot and raise a fist to injustices. Grrrr!!

Oh, but the point of this post (other than a little bit of poor me) was to tell you about my dreams I had this past week. They are little sign posts keeping me going. 

The first dream was about a week ago. In the dream I was giving birth and up until this point in the dream the whole process had been so effortless–dare I say easy and painless? (clearly this is a dream)–but suddenly in the dream I felt stalled, and I knew that I was going to have to make one final push, and endure some pain, to give birth.

WELL I’M PUSHING NOW AND IT DEFINITELY HURTS.

And then last night, a dream where I am in a high school type of science classroom. We were all at seats with a microscope. Our instructions were to inject ourselves with some type of shot and then we were to examine the wound under the microscope.

I was reluctant to do the shot to the arm because I was afraid it would hurt, but it didn’t! And then I examined the wound up close. It was fascinating.

So hear we are. Enduring some pain, examining old wounds. Fun times.

But boy, (metaphorical) birth is close, I can feel it.

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The doing will come

Today my daughter woke me up while I was in the middle of a dream. In my dream I was urgently helping and doing. I was a woman of action. When I woke up I quickly reminded myself that there is no doing. Not yet. The doing will come. But for now, it is being. Being with shock and grief and anger and despair and fear. There is no way out but through.

Last night I went to choir practice and sat among friends. There was an unspoken agreement that we wouldn’t talk about it. What would we say? What we were lacking in words could be sung. 

 

The Dream

There is a large hall full of people, but I initially chose the small side room. I was there by myself, surrounded by plates and plates of hors d’oeuvres. The restaurant servers kept delivering them to me. (My late mother–who was not present because, hello, deceased–had pre-ordered these hors d’oeuvres for everyone. Which if you knew my mom is so my mom.)

It got lonely in this little room. Plus, all this abundance to share. I could not consume it alone. 

I came into the great hall only to discover a series of long tables full of friends and family who had been waiting to see me.

At this point I tried on several different outfits until I found what is comfortable on my skin (ahh–to be comfortable in our own skin) and then I spent time catching up with everyone. So much time had already been lost! 

Dreams, ammiright?

 

How do you solve a problem like more loss? PART II of the healing journey! (With Sound of Music gifs!)

It is DAY TWO of the blogging series about my healing journey – can you handle the excitement?! Do you have your coffee ready?!

I will recap yesterday’s post. The start of the journey, if you will, in one long run-on sentence:

My mom dies in 2013, I am very very sad (as one would be), a year later I try to get pregnant but can’t, I go to the acupuncturist, the energy gates open and I grieve every loss I have ever had (a lot of loss), I am on a road to healing…and BUM BUM BUM.

(Oh, and there is a flow chart! And Sound of Music gifs! Really you should take a look!)

That takes us to part two: we pick up at the bum, bum bum!

We are still at the top of the flow chart (<–here in full). BUT now we are gonna move to that section labeled SUFFERING. Hold on to your hats folks.

It is January, precisely two years, four months after my mom died. I am still feeling a lot of grief but it is flowing through me. This is good. But also, my husband has been witnessing the grief flow through me for, oh, two and a half years. That is a hard thing to do, to witness our loved ones in pain. (Psst, this bit is some foreshadowing, wink wink.)

As you may recall I was seeing an acupuncturist in the hopes of getting pregnant. I was starting to see shifts in my body, and I was also taking Chinese herbs and such.

And then in mid-January, I noticed all the signs I had noticed when I was pregnant with my daughter. I took a pregnancy test and I was pregnant.

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Sing it Maria! Tumblr.

Everything about this pregnancy felt miraculous. It is hard to explain. It felt like it came out of nowhere. I didn’t think my body was fully ready for pregnancy so I was a bit stunned.

I did the online calculator of when I was due: It was the date my mother died, September 18th.

To the day.

Now, I know due dates are estimations, but I got goosebumps. I mean really, how does that happen?

This feeling of disbelief–but also of something not being right, of it all being too easy, and not quite real–was with me from the start.

Seven weeks into my pregnancy I had a dream. It was a beautiful dream of huge cranes flying away into the night. I can still close my eyes and feel its beauty. But I awoke with a huge amount of despair and grief. I could not figure it out. I honored the grief -I figured it was new grief surfacing about how my mom would never meet this child, or something like that. I was so very sad though. I remember taking a day off of work, that was how much I was grieving.

Two weeks later I sat in an ultrasound room and saw there was no heartbeat. I had started bleeding the day prior. I knew that I had lost the baby, but I was not really ready to face it until sitting in that room. My husband’s eyes welled with tears and I sat numb. I knew it already on some level. But I hadn’t been ready to really know it, you know?

It appeared the baby had stopped growing two weeks prior – the day of my dream, I am nearly certain. 

This loss, this loss of a child that was supposed to enter our world on the date I lost my mom, it was the icing on the cake of so. much. loss. It was the tipping point. I had suffered up until this point, yes, but I was able to see light at the end, to which I was headed.

This loss was different.

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Maria understands. source.

Are you still with me? I now it is so sad but I will promise you, this big story ends well. It ends with love and connection. I think we need a reminder from Maria that it is going to be ok in the end:

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From TUMBLR of course!

But yes, what came next was suffering.

We have all suffered so what I will share I am sure you can relate to: I felt like I was being punished. (“Why me?”) I felt as though maybe it was true that bad things happen to bad people. (A favorite ethos of our culture. Not true however!) I felt isolated and alone in my grief, that there was NO way ANYONE could EVER relate to MY PAIN because it was SO UNIQUE. (Also not true.) I felt bitter and angry.

Remember my husband? Well, we both took it hard. And I wanted someone to blame and while it makes zero sense, I remember constantly being upset with him because he just couldn’t understand, he wasn’t being patient in my healing…and later, in therapy, I realized that really I just wanted HIM to make it better. Somehow. I didn’t realize it at the time but suffering does weird things to us doesn’t it?

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More gifs from here.

So, not only was I suffering from the miscarriage, I was feeling angry and bitter in my marriage…a bit of projection, if you will. Well that just creates more stress. A sh*tstorm of stress, really.

And then it all shifted.

If you were to ask me the turning point in my healing, if I could identify one moment in time, I can tell you. It was early March. I was talking to my sister on the phone. I can even picture the corner of my couch I was sitting on when I spoke to her.

My sister is often able to connect spiritually with my mother in intense ways that I am not able to. You know what she told me as we spoke on the phone that day in March? She said mom saw my intense suffering. And she said, “Mom wants you to be happy…to be able to enjoy your husband and daughter. She doesn’t want you to suffer any more.”

That, my friends, was the turning point.

I felt those words in my heart. I felt my mother with me, and I felt her pain at seeing me in pain.

It was like a light bulb went off. I thought, I do not have to choose suffering. Yes, I didn’t ask be dealt these cards. But I can choose how I respond. 

I surrendered to the pain. I didn’t blame, I didn’t fight, I simply saw that it was part of my story at this point, and that I could choose to embrace this or I could angrily fight against it. The fighting-against-it-trope was not going well for me, my husband or my family.

If you want the truth, it was my mother’s love that made me see. My mother continues to mother me from beyond the veil. Is that not incredible? 

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Hooray for a mother’s love! From source.

I TOLD YOU IT WOULD END WELL! But there is more…

TOMORROW – PART 3: How I chose love and connection over fear, anger, and suffering. (PLUS more gifs!)


Do your life also correspond nicely with Sound of Music animated GIFS? Then I invite you to join me on Twitter or Facebook!

Feeding the Feminine

It might be that I simply dreamed about an almost-dead cat. But I’d like to think it was something more: A sign that I am starting to feed the feminine, magical side of my psyche.

Two nights ago I had a dream that I came home to discover a long-forgotten cat. I found her lying on the floor and I was aghast. Yes, that’s right, I did have a cat didn’t I. I had left for a while but I was back, and I was scared she was dead.

She slowly stirred. She’d survived without food or water for some time. She was barely holding on—but she was alive.

I began to pour food kibbles onto her, literally blanketing her with food (definitely more than she needed). Slowly she began to eat. I knew she would be OK.

Whoa, right?! 

Sure, it could be I had too many nachos the night before. (Actually, I definitely had too many nachos.)

OR it could be that my psyche is telling me something.

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Bastet. Image Source.

Google informs me that the feline has long been revered as a symbol of the feminine, of mystery and magic. The Egyptian Goddess Bastet took the form of a cat. Cats often symbolize the ability to see in the dark, and the parts of our nature that are curious and independent.

This would not be the first time I’d had a deeply symbolic dream. And heck, I’d been deep in the muck the last six months, but I’d begun to emerge from it all and writing has been a big part of that shift.

Could it be that this dream was reminding me how I’d nearly forgotten to feed the feminine, magical mystical side of myself? That it was without food or water for some time?

But wow, am I feeding her now. 

 

 

How Two Dreams Helped Me Cope with Pregnancy Loss

The first dream was two weeks ago:

I am in a bus. We are nearing the place that is in the snowy hill; it is beautiful out. I look up and see these huge white cranes, morphing, dancing in the sky. I point and tell everyone but nobody seems to see them.

My watercolor I painted after the dream. Now in my etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/listing/530542729/5-x-7-loss-support-crane-watercolor


The second dream quickly followed the first:

I am pregnant. My mom is with me. I start to have contractions and tell her I want to give birth at home….In the end I realize I am only three months along and I am not giving birth, and yet it is like I am, which confuses me. My mom was so willing to help and was ready to be a midwife and a doula for me. At the end dream I talk about making sure I have pads that are sanitary, whatever that means. 

The dreams initially confused me. On the one hand both felt joyful on some level. In particular, the dream with mom was so vivid that she seemed alive and fully present by my side. But the dreams also left me unsettled.

Now I know why.

The dreams foretold my miscarriage.

This pregnancy felt surreal from the beginning. After unsuccessfully trying to conceive for over a year I decided to begin acupuncture treatments for infertility. Within two months of treatments I suddenly found myself pregnant. I was elated but also a bit stunned. Could it be this easy?

The pregnancy came easily but physically didn’t feel right. The first few weeks were punctuated by spotting and occasional bleeding. Then, at seven weeks I ended up in the ER with bleeding. Late that night I found myself in a small dark room with an ultrasound tech. She found a heartbeat! But she also said the baby was measuring really small. Was I sure of the date of my last menstrual cycle? I was. Although I was skeptical that I had the dates wrong, I didn’t think much of it.

I was sent home with good news—good blood test results and a good ultrasound, albeit a due date that was later than I thought.

Not even a week later I had the two dreams. And then suddenly, no dreams. No dreams about baby. No dreams about motherhood. I felt uneasy. Why was I so full of energy? It shouldn’t be this easy, should it?  I mentioned this to my therapist when I saw her. I feel like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. She tells me that the other shoe doesn’t always drop.

Except when it does.

Several days ago I sat in another dark ultrasound room. My husband chatted with the tech as I watched the screen, noting the tech pause and click, pause and click, silently enlarging images. And I knew. I saw the tiny, curled still image and I knew there was no heartbeat.

The technician clasped my hand.

“I’m so sorry honey. It looks like the baby stopped growing about two weeks ago.”

Two weeks ago, when I had my dreams.

The crane dream, so beautiful. Could it symbolize my child being released from my womb, entering the spirit realm? (Come to find out, in many traditions cranes symbolize travel between realms and are thought to be carriers of souls.)

And then the dream with my mother. Alive by my side as a midwife and doula. Supporting me and guiding me through the miscarriage. The need for “sanitation” now clear—sanitary pads as I began to lose the pregnancy.

Immediately after the dreams I felt a deep malaise that I now recognize as sadness from the pregnancy loss. This “knowing” before consciously knowing about the miscarriage has helped me cope. It feels like I have already processed the loss on some level, because I have.

I decided to experience the miscarriage naturally rather than undergo a procedure, but I suppose my dream already predicted that. As I lose tissue and blood, I feel my mom’s spirit by my side as midwife and doula and I find solace in the image of my tiny baby’s spirit dancing in the sky with the cranes. The dreams have healed me and made this dark passage a little less difficult than it could have been.

Artwork my own – inspired by the dream. Full image can be viewed here (since wordpress cuts it off!).

You might also enjoy: An Ocean of Tears Larger than the Four Oceans