Friday, June 29, 2012

So much change, so little time.

Each Friday, Exhale highlights a piece from a former issue on our FB page.

Today it came time to re-run a post I wrote for our Spring 2011 issue entitled, "Sharing My Fears on Grief's Roller Coaster." In that post I talk about what happened when we lost Peyton, and in the year that followed, and why I chose to write about my darkest days here, even when I knew that in doing so I was exposing my own weaknesses and feelings of guilt.

Today I was re-reading my own words, lines written in what feels like another lifetime, and I came across this:

"Twenty eight days later, Peyton’s entire lifetime, with a still empty car seat heckling me from the back of our Ford, my car rolled to the front of the line, the pulley chain was attached, and I began my unsteady journey along the tracks of the roller coaster they call grief. A ride that, up until recently, I wasn’t even sure I had the strength to survive."

I wrote that a year ago. One year. That is all.

I read that post and I think, "was that me? Really? Still so hopeless. Still so unsure that I could find joy again."

I cannot believe how much my outlook has changed, how much I have healed. I cannot  believe how much my pain and love for Peyton has morphed into something beautiful.

Sometimes when you are living life without all of your children here on earth, each day can feel like the one before and the one before that and the one before that. A never ending cycle of Groundhog's Day grief where nothing changes.

But you know what? Even when it doesn't feel that way. Even when (as was the case when I wrote this) a happily-ever-after feels insulting in its impossibility, change is happening.

Sometimes it takes looking back to see how far you have truly come.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

When bloggers lie about loss.

I posted earlier about a blog I had come across that devastated me. It was one I had never read before on which a BLM reported that her sweet little rainbow had been killed in a car accident.  

A short while later a firestorm of comments showed up on her blog, and around blogland, claiming the story to be false. Some of the info to back up these accusations were the fact that some of this blogger's dates on her timeline didn't add up, or that her actions (such as blogging as her daughter was passing or shortly thereafter) didn't make sense.

The truth is, I don't know what the truth on this story is. I don't know anything beyond what this woman has chosen to share on her blog, and I can only react in the way that feels right and good in my heart to the information I have been given.

Are her dates screwy? Maybe. But in the spirit of full disclosure, until someone mentioned them, I hadn't even read her timeline.

Is blogging right after the death of your child strange? Define strange. After Peyton died, the first thing, and I mean THE FIRST THING I did when I got home, was march across the street to return a bowl I had borrowed to a neighbor. Why? I don't know. Maybe I needed to say out loud, "my daughter died." Maybe I wanted to rub some of my pain off onto someone else. Maybe I was just plain crazy. People do strange things in the face of the unimaginable, who am I to judge?

I don't know if this woman is lying. Lord knows this community has had more than it's fair share of heartache over trolls and scams through the years, but I would rather show compassion and support to someone who turns out to be a troll, than have to live with having compounded someone's grief with accusations.

I will never understand how or why someone would pretend to be a babylost mom. This is a club that no sane person would ever join by choice, so to try to understand the actions of someone like that just seems a terrible waste of time. 

If this woman (or any other) is lying, then wouldn't the "worst case scenario" of reaching out to comfort her be that another little girl never died, and we as a community sent love and compassion out into the universe? If that is the worst case scenario of offering condolences to someone without knowing all of the facts... I can live with that. 

Babyloss is taboo and infertility is taboo and because of that many bloggers here choose to blog anonymously making fact checking near impossible at best and so yes, there is always the chance that someone in blogland isn't telling the truth. But that is something the person telling the lies has to live with, not me.

I have to live with how I choose to respond. 


Sometimes you learn of someone else's loss and the hand they have been dealt is so unfair, so unimaginable, so terrible that it squashes the air out of your lungs and makes you wish like hell you didn't live on this side of the universe. This was that type of story for me. Please, please rally around this woman and send her some love and support.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Artist's Way Toolkit

I have never done product reviews here because in the context of this blog most review opportunities just don't make sense, but because writing and creativity have been so cathartic and healing for me I decided to make an exception when Blogher approached me about reviewing Julia Cameron's My Artist'sWay Toolkit.

As a mother who is also a passionate writer, I struggle to find time in my hectic day to devote to my creativity. The toolkit is like a one-stop (online) shop to keep all your little creative ideas and inspirations together and to provide you with daily affirmations and inspirational exercises. 

First, I am turned off by the fact that this is a service with an ongoing fee as opposed to an app that you pay for one time, but that’s just me.

One idea that I really liked, but that isn’t really all that unique (I have read to do this before) was the idea of morning pages—three pages to be written long hand each morning to clear your mind of thoughts that get in the way of your writing. These pages are not meant to be devoted to working through real projects or stories, but instead to clear the path in your mind so that you can get down to business when you are ready, rather than be stuck going over the grocery list in your mind, or re-hashing that stupid comment someone said to you.

The toolkit offers weekly prompts and exercises, and written and verbal affirmations. I always love listening to affirmations so that was something that did strike a chord with me, but the toolkit falls short for me in the same way that e-readers do. There are certain types of writing that I only do on the computer (working on my novel, blogging, writing essays) but really all of the intimate creative moments that this toolkit is designed for (writing exercises, jotting notes of inspiration, etc.) are those that I prefer to do by hand. I love the feel of a journal in my hand. I love the smell of its pages, and how my pen sounds scratching them as I jot down a note of dialogue that comes to mind, or a few lines of a poem. I just would never jot something down when I am about town, then come home and re-transcribe it into this toolkit.

Overall I like the MyArtist’s Way Toolkit in theory, but in practice it is a bit too time consuming for me. I barely have time most days to devote to my creative process as it is, and while I would like to say that this toolkit is just what I need to hold me accountable, it just sort of doesn’t work for me at this point in my life when I never feel I have enough time to do anything, much less something superfluous.
*While Blogher has compensated me to review this product, the opinions here are my own.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This month I am participating in Kathy Benson's Time Warp Tuesday. Kathy's instructions are to "Write a new blog post on which you introduce, link to, and then reflect on your journey since you wrote the older blog post..."

For this month's theme of "Fathering," I am sharing the post, (Father's) Day, that I wrote in June of 2009.

In the post I say:

You were meant to be a Father. I don't know if I ever told you this, but it was you that made me want to have a family.I have been so fortunate to receive your love, to know your kindness,and I wanted to share that- you, with a child. 

There was so much pain, hopelessness, hurt and grief in my words of that post. I remember the guilt I felt every time I would see my husband, because (right or wrong) I blamed myself for being unable to bring Peyton into this world healthy. Everything after her passing felt so final. Like we were destined to live a half-life, walking this universe forever childless.

What a difference three years makes. 

I took this picture the other day:

The kiddos were sick with ear infections and nasty colds, and Hubs, home not even five minutes from work, quickly threw on sneakers and brought them outside. He found a way, despite how uncomfortable, feverish, etc. they were, to make them smile.

I went back to my old post and after reading it, I just feel so grateful. Grateful for the man I married. Grateful for the father I have given all three of my children. My husband loves without judgement. He is patient, and kind, and funny and I don't honestly know how we got from there to here, because survival felt impossible so many times over during our journey, but the gratitude I feel for having this man to share my life, my heart, and my family with--is immense.

His love for Peyton is never ending. His love for our Snowflakes is ever growing. He is the father I knew he was meant to be and more. The epitome of the word: "Fathering." 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Exhale is Live!

This post will be super short and sweet. 

I just want to share that Exhale is now live in its new home as a sister magazine to Still Standing. 

The new address is