Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Greetings From Inside My Cocoon

Last Thursday, I attended my second monthly grieving mother's group, and just as I had at the close of the first meeting, I felt grateful for having found it. As many of you know, this group isn't the first that I have tried to attend - I went to one early on that was an epic fail of tears and anger - but this group gives me a sense of hope, and so I continue going back. It is also a faith based group, and my faith is totally rocked right now, so I think that it is good for me to be around other women who have had their faith shaken to the core and gotten through it.

Sometimes it feels like the universe takes me by the hand, and leads me to certain people from whom I can learn. As I was preparing to leave the house Thursday, I suddenly felt compelled to wear the sea glass necklace that Hubs had bought me last year. I thought this odd, since I hadn't worn it in months, and when I got there, was floored by the irony of this action - the theme of the group was reinvention after loss, and to illustrate these changes, the group leaders held up marbles and sea glass.

Their interpretation of sea glass was different than mine, but I couldn't help but think about how fitting it was that the universe had brought me to sit among this group of women, talking about how I had left my life of medical sales after Peyton's death, and reinvented myself as a writer - and even more oddly, how one of the first pieces that I had written about grief, was a piece comparing my journey to that of sea glass.

As the night progressed, I thought a lot about reinvention, and grief, and this journey, and my mind kept returning to the old Chinese proverb: "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."

I started wondering where I was in that chain, was I a caterpillar, or a butterfly, and decided that I am neither, but instead somewhere in the middle. One of the women came over to share with me the story of her loss - a son who had passed some 8 or 10 years ago, and asked how I was doing. I told her that I have my good days, but for the most part am still quite angry and bitter, and she said, "like the butterfly in the cocoon, your stage of thrashing about can't be rushed."

Have you ever been to a butterfly museum and seen big glorious butterflies sitting on the floor lame, unable to fly? Those beautiful creatures are destined to failure, because they have been let out of their cocoon too early. To become strong enough to fly, butterflies must be left alone to beat their wings against the inside of their cocoon to draw the strength they need for survival, and just like these butterflies, so do I.

I need to throw myself against the inside of my cocoon for as long as it takes. I need to beat my hands at its walls, and scream and be angry. I was wronged! My child was born with cancer - I was wronged! I watched her suffer - I was wronged! She died in my arms - I was wronged! I will never see her grow - I was wronged! I mother a grave -I was wronged!

I was wronged!
I was wronged!
I was wronged!

But I embrace it.

People have asked me time and time again, if I am "feeling better yet," or "have gotten over it." and the answer is "no", and that is okay. Someday I will get to that place, where I shed my cocoon and fly free of the pain of all that happened to her. Someday I will flutter through the air, and others in passing will only see my beautiful colors, and comment on my grace, without knowing of the struggle it took to get me there. Someday I will be that butterfly, who as a caterpillar thought her world was over without believing that a beautiful life still lay ahead of her.

Someday I will be all those things, but first the hard work must be done. First I need to be left to thrash about. First I need to build strength in my wings against the walls grief has built around me. First I must work through the pain of child loss and infertility. First I must do all these things. These are the steps that will help me survive this journey.

I don't mind being stuck in my cocoon. I am used to it now, and know that coming out too quickly would put to waste all of the growing I have done this last year and a half. Coming out too quickly, for the benefit of others, would destine me to a life of looking pretty on the outside, but feeling too weak inside to ever truly lift myself off the floor.

I don't mind my time in the cocoon. It is what is owed to me.

**An IVF update.**
No news is good news right? I have been going back and forth with my symptoms, some days worse than others with OHSS. I find that if I can lay on the couch like a lump and guzzle Gatorade, they get better. When I venture out, they get worse. Sometimes I hate when they get better, because OHSS is so closely tied with HCG. The doctor has lifted some of my restrictions. I am now allowed a "short stroll" each day, and I am grateful for it because the weather is beautiful, and I was getting so bored.

I have been having a lot of pregnancy symptoms - extremely heightened sense of smell, exhaustion, tender gums, mild cramps, did I mention EXHAUSTION?- but I don't know which of these symptoms are due to the progesterone, and which are real. Two more days, and all this wondering will be put to rest, I just pray that the wondering becomes celebrating and planning... until then... I wait.


  1. You were wronged. it is so unfair.
    Despite it all, it's amazing how we can see the glimmer of hope, and positivity through it all (SOMETIMES). I like the analogy of being in a cocoon. I often feel like this!

    Glad you are feeling a little better- I really hope those symptoms are for a very positive reason!

    Praying for you, thinking of you all,

  2. I sit here, nursing my Madelyn, with tears in my eyes. Your words of hope are so beautiful that they touched my heart. I pray for you often and hope that we will be celebrating soon! You are so strong and I thank you for sharing your words, your story, your daughter, with us.

    Much love,

  3. We all have growing to do before we can be let out of our cacoons. I'm glad you have found a good support group. I will be praying for some good news when you go to find out if you're pregnant. God Bless! *hugs*

  4. I stop by often and read your blog .. I Love it and am so excited to see if this IVF worked. You sound like a wonderful woman and you deserve a child to nurture and watch grow... and, I kinda like the fact that you live in CT. I was born in Meriden. ...
    anyways... I am wondering, would it be ok for me to copy (with reference of course) your "butterfly and cacoon" paragraph? I know a lot of grieving moms (as I lost my son ..stillborn at 31 weeks) who would really benefit from these words.

  5. beautiful comparison....waiting and hoping for your news and I PRAY it's GOOD news.

  6. This post has made me cry, not a bad thing. I just love what you wrote and I think so many of us can relate to this.

    I am happy to hear you are feeling a little bit better and you are having some symptoms (I will take that as a great sign). Praying for you, your hubby and of course for Emma and Emilio the embryos. ((HUGS))

  7. Kristin I am praying, praying, praying for a good BETA on Thursday. You are a wonderful mother to Peyton, to her memory, to her spirit and yes, to her grave. Despite the horrific pain of your loss, you also have found so much beauty in your journey and I am inspired daily by you. Keep beating those wings, some day our children will be teaching us how to fly. Hugs

  8. wronged is certainly one word I would use to describe our situations.. you have such a grace with words..very moving..
    *still praying for super good news in 2 days!!((hugs))

  9. Loved this post....been praying for Emma and Emilio and you and your husband daily. Can't wait for Thursday!

  10. What a great post and butterfly analogy. If you don't mind, I will use it again! It felt so correct!

  11. What a beautiful analogy. I'm not quite sure I will ever get that image of thrashing against the edges of a coccoon out of my head. Not that I want to. Just beautiful.


  12. You always manage to touch my soul when you speak straight from the heart, as you do so often. A cocoon...how perfect a description of the grief that surrounds so many of us.

    Right after Jayden died my faith was destroyed. I was so unbelievably angry at God. I could not believe He would do this to me, to my family, to my grandson. I was thoroughly and completely broken. My heart. My spirit. My faith. My world. Broken into a trillion teeny, tiny pieces.

    Yet it was my faith that has helped me survive and kept me putting one foot in front of the other.

    What you described about feeling like the Universe takes you by the hand and leads you to people and places you need to be is exactly what God has done for me in this past 16 months. He has helped me hear what I've needed to hear. He has helped me come into contact with others in real life and in the blogosphere who understand where I am and what I'm going through. He has led me to books, articles, papers, blogs that I have read that have helped me shed new light on this tragedy. And slowly I am finding my faith renewed and strengthened.

    I hear that in your words. The slow process of healing. The slow process of regaining strength. The slow process of coming out of the cocoon.

    One day you will be a beautiful, brilliant, strong butterfly. You will. One day.

    Please know that I am here, waiting and praying with you.

  13. Beautiful post. I also feel like I am stuck in that cocoon.
    Hoping and crossing my fingers and toes for Thursday. xo

  14. Waiting, wondering and hoping with you.

  15. Hey honey. Back in the blogosphere and happy you persevere thru grief. Always a mama, I pray in two days I will read good news from you,

    hugs, the grey lady

  16. You express yourself beautifully in writing. Thanks for sharing and saying some of the things others just don't know how to put into words...

  17. Can't wait to hear if your IVF worked :) I'm sure you are more anxious than I am! Haha Good luck <3

  18. wow, i love that analogy. i'm having some rough days and this really spoke to my heart. thank you....

    and i'm holding my breath with you. praying for a bfp!

  19. I just love how you spoke of the butterfly and the cocoon. That was really good and it stood out to me. Thanks for that.

    Hoping for you!

  20. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing with us.

    love and prayers

  21. Thank you for that analogy. I agree you have to do things at your own pace. You are a very strong woman! I admire you for that.

    love and prayers

  22. wow, it's so beautiful, your words touched me in every sense...
    May God bless you with 2 beautiful babies soon, try to take one day at a time, don't plan for future but plan for today...don't think of tomorrow, but think of now...planning future might include bad thoughts, so think positive and think of today only

  23. I didn't know that about the butterfly and the cocoon; that beating its wings strengthens it to fly. Thank you so much for sharing.

  24. Goodness me, I'm crying. I'm so sorry. I just can't imagine...

  25. Hoping and praying. :)

  26. Perfect analogy...the butterfly and the cocoon! Just beautiful. I have often tried to share with people who want to rush grieving mothers through their grief, that they must walk through in their own time. This post says it just perfectly. Thank you for pouring your heart out, with such honesty and beauty.

    Love and continued prayers for you....

  27. There is so much wisdom and strength and beauty in this post.

    Praying hard for a good beta.

  28. I don't know where to begin: mostly, just to say that I am so very, very sorry.
    Sorry that such wonderful women like you have to bear so many forms of heartache.
    Sorry that all that you heart aches for is given so easily, often unwanted - in a split second - to such undeserving women/girls all around us, everyday.
    Sorry that I don't have an answer for you why I so easily conceive healthy children when I am probably less patient, appreciative, loving and kind to them at any given time than you would be in every moment to beautiful baby Peyton.
    Sorry that there is no scripture, poem, song, blog link, or quote that I can share with you to help.
    Sorry that I don't have my own strong faith in One who could (should!!!!!) truly fix your heart.
    Sorry that there are bloggers who have the nerve to judge you and your pain.
    Sorry that I can't give you a stranger-hug in person and bring you the boquets I picked tonite of my purple and white lilacs...One for me; one for a friend.
    Sorry I can't put a smile on your face like hers tonite.
    So glad I found your blog. So glad that the uniqueness of women is that we are all so very connected, regardless of the stories of our pain.
    You are amazing because you are here. I thank you for your courage, honesty, amazing writing, and example.
    May you continue to see the flowers in life (like the ones near your mailbox!) at this beautiful time of year. That is what they are there for, I believe. Maybe just to make us smile. Pick some!
    with prayers