Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Monday, July 26, 2010

Health goals week 2

So how did you all do with your goals for last week?  Angelseashore is taking a wonderful holistic approach by making goals for her body, mind, and soul - definitely take a look at her blog for inspiration on caring for your whole self.

I did awesome with my goals to eat a low carb breakfast and to only drink during social occasions - however I attended 4 social occasions so it turned out that I consumed alcohol on more days than I didn't (two drinks max each time).  Since isolating has become somewhat of a habit, it's sort of amazing that I went out with friends 4 times last week, thus making mild, but frequent alcohol consumption not such a bad thing in my book. 

Where exercising was concerned, those goals did not turn out so well but instead of hating myself for being so lazy I'm going to make my exercising goals for this week less demanding.  I tried out water aerobics for the first time last week and it was so fun!  If you have ever entertained the thought of attending a class I cannot encourage it enough!  It has been in the upper 90's/low 100's here and cooling off in the pool for an hour has felt so good and this is a safe way to regain strength and flexibility in my knee that was fractured 10 weeks ago.

We did this in class


Goals for this week
1.  go to water aerobics!
2.  practice grounding exercises daily
3.  practice yoga at least once

Easy goals for this week since things are kind of rough lately.  The grounding exercises are difficult though - it's been a struggle to stay present and last Friday I had a wake up call that made me realize that I still dissociate more than I thought.  Perhaps more on this once I can confront the feelings of humiliation more comfortably.

What can you do to be healthy this week?  Please feel free to share your list in a comment or write a post about it and use the linky thing so we can see what you are up to.


Once upon a time I was about 12 weeks pregnant and was already anticipating feeling weighed down so I planned to take water aerobics classes, as soon as I stopped throwing up all of the time.  I found a cute one-piece, full coverage swim suit with ruching down the sides so the middle had room for an expanding belly.  A good intermediate between a bikini and a maternity swim suit.  At 13 weeks the big bleed occurred and light bleeding continued for 5 more weeks.  I never got to wear that swim suit to water aerobics.

Almost 3 years later and it's been long enough now that I could secretly smile and feel happy to finally be wearing that swim suit to water aerobics.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Health goals for this week

I married the guy who walked out on me back in November 2008, 13 years ago.  No complicated feelings, just the thought that I really need to get this divorce over with.  It sure would be nice if he would respond to my e-mails about settlement details.

The whole thing is ewwwy, so enough about that.  Here are my health goals for this week:

1.  Have eggs and decaf coffee for breakfast Monday - Friday.  No carbs or cheese.
2.  Exercise for an hour every day.  Any sort of exercise is fine since it was just last week that my kneecap was determined to be healed and I was released from physical therapy.  I plan to get back on the elliptical tonight after 9 weeks of waiting for that bone to heal well.
3.  Do the pilates video once and do 3 yoga practices.
4.  Only consume alcohol at social gatherings - no drinking at home alone.

That's enough for the first week of healthy goal setting.  What health goals do you have for this week?  With so many stages to grief work it is so important to set goals that are appropriate for where you are.  Earlier this year my goals were to go to the gym and change into my workout clothes and if I wanted to go home right away I could but once I was there and dressed I always wanted to exercise for at least a bit. 

Any goals from getting out of bed to shower and put on clean pajamas before returning to sob under the covers, to serious physical training, to finding a therapist, to expressing yourself through art, and everything in between are appropriate.  What can you do this week to take good care of yourself?

I'll post a linky thing every week for a while to see if this is interesting to people.  If you are interested in participating in healthy behavior please join in!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How does a babylost mama mother?

The women around me who are newly pregnant with their second children really have me on edge lately.  Now, I know that I don't have to discuss babies, or pregnancy with them and it's ok to even avoid them entirely, but the levels of poor self-worth and the number of self-judgments are getting out of control.

I'm reading about mudita which is the ability to be truly happy for the good things that happen to other people and I'll write more about it soon because it is good stuff, but the point that sticks with me most right now is this:

The happiness and joy that others experience does not lessen the happiness and joy that I experience.

There is not a limited amount of joy that all inhabitants of the world must share; joy is not a resource that we have to compete for.


I was walking behind someone who I suspect is pregnant with her second baby, kind of critiquing her outfit (short skirt with tennis shoes), then wondering how she has such muscular calves when she has a child under 2.  And that is how quickly self-judgments happen!  She has a beautiful family and shapely legs while I have no family and am struggling with my weight.  I made myself feel inadequate by comparing my life to hers - she did nothing!

Then I remembered "her joy does not diminish my joy", and that really did make me feel better :)

Then the train of thought jumped to thinking about what it would be like to mother a child and then I remembered that because I had a son I am a mother, but the action of mothering a missing baby is very different than caring for a living child.

What does a babylost mama do to mother her missing baby?  Are there any tangible mothering activities?

Here's what I do:
1.  I raise money and walk in the March for Babies.  This is something that I do to remind people that Toren existed, raise awareness that sometimes - too many times - pregnancies do not end with a new member of the family, and to help prevent future parents from bringing home a memory box instead of a live baby.

2.  I let Toren know he is loved.  Ok, this isn't so tangible.  I don't know what happens after death.  Heaven?, reincarnation?, nothing? - this is just a question that is too big for me, but I know what personal mix of these gives me comfort so that is what I go with.  Anyway, believing that Toren's soul is out there somewhere I let him know that he is dearly loved.  I don't know where his soul was before he came to me and I don't know where he went to or where his journey will take him.  Living can be so hard sometimes - there are people who are not loved and treasured as much as we all deserve.  Whatever path Toren's soul takes, at least for his time here on Earth with me he was loved unconditionally, and he is deeply loved still, and he will be treasured as my dear son forever.  Perhaps it means something.

That's all I've thought of so far.


How do you mother your lost baby or babies?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Prelude to a donut

Earlier this evening I bought a box of tampons and a box of gluten-free cinnamon donuts, so that explains today's sensitive mood.  Sigh.  It's hard to completely push aside the thoughts that not only is a baby not on the horizon, I'm still preventing pregnancy.  Cycling on and on.  Eggs dwindling.  Scary thoughts of missing my chance on top of surging hormones.  But you gotta just get through the day and act like you feel great because there's no room for on-going grief at the office.

Today I created a flyer for work and I thought it was so good!  I spent time making it beautiful and informative and was certain that my bosses would love it and be happy with my work.  They had so many suggestions for changes that it would turn into something completely different.  They hated it.  I almost cried right there.  It's crushing to be so wrong about something.


On Monday prego-colleague asked about yoga classes since I was reading Yoga Journal.  She doesn't like yoga but may try it again anyway.  I offered to let her borrow my prenatal yoga DVD but since she didn't seem excited about it I'm not going to dig it out.  "Dig" is pretty literal in this sense.  First the paper recycling bin must be moved, then the garden cart and some large tools.  Then the little door will be revealed and the clasps on either side have to be released so the door may be lifted away.  Inside this little cubby of the garage is left over paint, Christmas decorations, and childhood memorabilia.  This is also where everything pregnancy related was thrown in November of 2007.  The DVD should be in there but there are also books, clothes, and small, pure white onesies, among things I have forgotten about, that will have to be touched and moved until the DVD is found.  It seems wrong to touch these things since I'm not expecting a baby.  The trip down memory lane to find that DVD would be way more painful for me than any amount of enjoyment that p-c would get from using the video so fuck it. 

Anyway, it's from my time with Toren.  P-c would never know that I only did the video one or two times before the 6 weeks bleeding and restriction from unnecessary activity started.  She would not think to ask about how I liked the video since as a women with a deadbaby I was never "really" pregnant.  It's like pregnancies ending in live birth are real but pregnancies ending in death were just a silly dream.  Babies born alive are real babies while those that die were never meant to be anyway so one can't be that sad about it.


Back in November of 2007, with heart and soul writing in pain, I truly believed that the grief would ease and I'd return back to "normal" around the start of the new year.  I was very wrong about that.

This path of grief has been a difficult journey.  So dark, damp and lonely.  Frightening cliffs.  Step after step towards the rainbow ahead that seems to remain out of reach.  I'm proud that I kept working through my grief and I'm happy to no longer be consumed by it.  But some days it seems impossible that I still miss that tiny boy.  After nearly 3 years why do I still think of Toren a hundred times a day?

My love for Toren has not diminished over time.  The pain of living without him is so acute some days.


It's time for me to snuggle into bed with the donuts.  Goodnight!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Deadbaby mama body image

It was the development of boobs that sparked my body "issues".  The budding bosom went unnoticed by 11 year old me until a snotty little girl pointed them out.  24 years later I am well versed with disliking parts of my body.  Those boobs that started so early ended up being quite small, my ass is some kind of fat magnet, my skin is permanently traumatized from teenage hormones. Toss some sexual abuse into the mix and my body became more distant and uglier. 

And this is a pervasive problem; how many of you are reciting your mental list of the flaws you think your body has right now?

And then my body couldn't make a healthy baby.  Suddenly clear skin and cellulite free thighs disappeared as worries.  I stopped looking at my body.  I stopped yoga.  Stopped dancing.  I hated my body for killing the baby; sometimes I am still so angry with this flesh that failed so badly.  Along with emotional grieving, this body also mourned: the aches from an utterly empty uterus, the breasts that swelled with milk and then never returned to normal since I never lost weight, arms that needed to hold a baby so badly that they clenched and throbbed and then disappeared.  It's like mind, arms, womb, breasts, voice all separated, dissociating to grieve privately, unable to also feel the pain of the other parts.

My doctors told me over and over that one can't do anything to cause bilateral renal agenesis and that it wasn't my fault, but then who's to blame?  The undeveloped organs were caused by something happening or not happening and I know exactly where Toren was for his entire life so this wasn't something that occurred when he was outside of my care.

* * * * *

My stages of grief work went like this:
1.  Shock and numbness
2.  Get through each day
3.  Get through each day sober

And now it's time to gather the body parts together to re-integrate as a whole person.  Before attempting a subsequent family (new partner and perhaps a pregnancy that may turn into a take-home baby) I want to feel whole, strong, capable, and ready.  This may sound weird but it's like my pregnancy with Toren has not ended yet.  Where a mother's body is concerned, pregnancy should go like this: pregnancy weight gain, huge belly, lose weight with delivery, lose more weight breastfeeding, and finally going on a diet to get back to one's pre-pregnancy weight.  Toren's pregnancy stalled out at the pregnancy weight gain step.  I'm still hanging on to him, still waiting for the outcome that was "supposed" to happen.

Defeated uterus, tired brain, futile breasts, and painfully empty arms ... being well indoctrinated that the cure to most physical annoyances is to lose weight, going on a diet was my automatic first solution.  Can a diet make a deadbaby mama whole?  Where are the magazine articles addressing this body image problem?  I don't think weight loss itself is the key, however the healthy behaviors that often lead to weight loss, such as exercise and a nutritious diet, could be beneficial.  Even so a weight loss ticker has been added off to the right.

Here's how these extra 28 pounds came to be:
  1. 8 pounds from writing my thesis (no exercise + take out for 3 months)
  2. 12 pounds of pregnancy weigh gain (which is mysterious and embarrassing since Toren was so tiny and there was no amniotic fluid)
  3. 8 pounds from consuming impressive quantities of wine for 2 years

Changes made so far:
  1. Only occasional drinking (2-4 drinks per week), tapering down to wondrously sparse alcohol consumption.
  2. Making a salad or sandwich for lunch instead of bringing a microwave meal.  
  3. Personal training - however my gym use has been limited due to my broken patella - bah!
Anyway, I may write out weekly health goals here.  If anyone would like to become healthier with me I will set up a McLinky and every week we can post our goals.

* * * * *
Now for a "you-simply-can't-stop-being-annoyingly-pregnant-can-you?" blurb.

Yesterday I asked my pregnant colleague who talks about all the stuff she needs me to do while she is on maternity leave in December how her dr's appointment was (because it is polite to ask).  The answer was that she waited for an hour to see the dr for 2 minutes and that prenatal visits are a waste of time, however she did get to hear the heartbeat.  Either she really finds pregnancy boring because she's already successfully carried a pregnancy to the end or she is minimizing her excitement for my benefit so I won't think that being pregnant is anything to write home about.

Can you believe that?  She told me that prenatal visits were a waste of time - like I had never been to one and would never want to go to one now!

Prenatal visits were anything but a waste of time for me.  The first 2 were normal and exciting but after the heavy bleeding starting at week 13 the visits were more frequent and I held my breath each time until the doppler picked up Toren's heartbeat.  Then of course there was the anatomy visit and boy do I ever wish that were a boring day rather than the day that began years of agonizing sorrow.

She's planning a c-section, which I have no issue with, but the reason she told me was that when she was induced for her last delivery she waited for 20 hours (boring) and then had a c-section.  I didn't say that it took 72 hours from the time my induction began to when Toren was delivered, but it didn't feel like a long time because there were so many emotions to process and fears to conquer.  I was in no rush to leave the hospital without him.

This is all really bitchy but it illustrates the different perspectives on simple things that come along with a deadbaby.