"I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!" -- The Rabbit from Disney's Alice in Wonderland
Monday (5/14) was my three year blogoversary. Three years of sharing and crying and laughing and writing and blog blog blogging along this little thing I call life.
My first post, (5/14/09) was this poem:
Where I had imagined breakfast in bed,I found only tears on my pillow.Where I had imagined flowers and a card,I found only flowers on her grave.Where I had imagined a home of happy chaos and noise,I found only weeping through silence.Where I had imagined my child at my chest,I found only emptiness and aching. Where I had imagined Motherhood celebrated,I found only another painful reminder of loss.~<3~Needless to say, I have looked forward (LOOKED FORWARD!) to writing a new post this year. I was going to write a poem to follow up this one, a poem that touted the joys of Mother's Day with my rainbows here... but then vertigo hit.
It started out of the blue on Sunday morning. Well, that's not entirely true. I have been struggling with some lightheadedness issues the past few weeks. But Sunday morning it struck with a vengeance.The room was spinning. I vomited every time I so much as moved my eyes, or tilted my head. Except for breastfeeding, I don't think I got to hold my babies but for two minutes this Mother's Day which was, to say the least, a bummer.
Still feeling rather spinny nearly a week later (so please excuse any typos in this post) but it's my third blogoversary and I can't allow this milestone to pass without truly reflecting on how much has happened, how much my life has changed and evolved and progressed over the past three years and four Mother's Days.
Mother's Day used to taunt me. It was this cruel joke, this universal date of celebration that seemingly everyone got to attend but me. It made me think of a passage in Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet says:
20Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow'd night,
21Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
22Take him and cut him out in little stars,
23And he will make the face of heaven so fine
24That all the world will be in love with night
25And pay no worship to the garish sun.
26O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
27But not possess'd it, and, though I am sold,
28Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day
29As is the night before some festival
30To an impatient child that hath new robes
31And may not wear them.
I have always loved that sentiment--picturing my beautiful Peyton as stars in the sky--but really the bit of this passage that most speaks, or I should say spoke to me about Mother's Day, was that of having bought the mansion but not possessed it. I was a Mother. I had carried Peyton. Formed her within me. I had birthed my child and yet Mother's Day felt like a joke. Like trying to get into a club and the doorman telling me my name wasn't on the list, or worse, that it had been crossed off.
When I wrote that poem up there, so much felt impossible to me. Heck, even the Mother's Day and year of blogging that followed that one felt like being stuck in some foreign land where the inhabitants used words I could only sort of make out, like "baby-wearing and weaning and teething." I knew what those words meant, of course, but without having experienced them--was I still a mother?
We were in the thick of infertility that year. Our first IVF had failed, and with it went two more promises at motherhood to add to my list. Everything,then, felt completely impossible to me, but time ticked on, and my Snowflakes set up shop in my womb, and one short (okay - long, anxious, bed-rested) year later, I greeted Mother's Day and another blogoversary with two babies in my arms and one in my heart. I tried to document what I could over the next year here, but failed fairly miserably due to sleep deprivation, and extended breastfeeding, and mommy-brain.
This past Sunday marked my fourth Mother's Day without Peyton, and though I was so sick, so, so, so sick, I kept saying to myself, "well, this is certainly not the worst Mother's Day I have ever experienced" because somewhere in the back of my mind I knew the pain would pass, and the vertigo would pass. I knew I would once again feel well and find my joy.
I didn't know that the first two Mother's Days after Peyton died. I didn't know that joy was even possible, or what it was to feel hopeful and excited about the future. Back then I just kept trucking along because that's what we bereaved mommas do, we breathe-in and breathe-out and put one foot in front of the other until one day we look at the path behind us and say, "Holy shit--I survived!"
Mother's Day for me (and actually my life in general come to think of it) will likely never be a Hallmark Card Moment. Three years into this journey I am realizing I am okay with that. Hallmark Card Moments happen to the unbroken, the innocent. They happen to women who don't know that this side of the universe exists and only know Mother's Day to be a happy one of flowers and candy and joy and you know what I say to that--good for them. Good for those blessed by experiences that can be summed up in a few words written by another in a folded card. Good for them. I don't begrudge them-- but they are not me.
Having Peyton and struggling with infertility has brought me to a point where I don't need those Hallmark Card Moments to show me how lucky I am. I don't take anything for granted.
So here is to three years as the girl who lost her child, then her fertility, and somehow, in this mess we call life, found happiness. To three years that brought me so far down to rock bottom that I know what a gift I have been given in clawing my way back out again. To three years and surviving -- I'd be lying if I didn't say I was proud of myself for that.
And here is to all of you. To those whose stories pushed me forward when I thought there was nowhere else to go. To those who told me to keep trying because trying is never done. Who encouraged us to explore all of our options to parenthood--what a gift you have given me in walking this road with me. And to those of you who found your way here because you are fresh in your own grief, or infertility--here is to knowing the joy that lies ahead for you, too.