First, I feel the need to thank you afresh, readers, for the outpouring of love and support we have received after my last post. I will never forget it – who knew we had built such a community?
As touched as I was by the support, I was equally… co-heartbroken? sympathy-griefstricken? secondhand mournful?…whatever the word is for feeling simultaneously saddened and surrounded by the chorus of “me too” that came pouring in from other moms and dads. I am not the first woman to have her hopes shattered in an instant. I am not the first mom to deliver a lifeless baby. I am not the first parent to bury a child. And that sucks and we all very well know it.
Oh, how well we know it.
And I feel the need to speak the truth, even though my voice in shaking and my grief is fresh and our journeys are all different. To all of the mamas and mourners who share this awful, unique space of loss with me, who have asked me to continue to speak for and with and to us, here is what I have so far: Read more…
How do I even write this?
It’s such a strange string of sentences to type – but I feel obligated to share them, having chosen to live in this odd space where my life is so private and yet so public all at the same time. Knowing how valuable the “me too” of this community has been, I feel compelled to tell our own story. I have this nagging worry that we are becoming an anonymous tale of grief. A vague object of pity. And I’ve never been one to let someone else tell my story.
I’ll do my best.
Earlier this month, we lost a baby. Those of you who know us in real life know we were expecting a little girl in June.
Earlier this month we held and cried over and prayed over and buried her.
It has been the saddest and strangest month of my life.
One of my favorite parts about this strange blog space is the friendships I’ve formed because of it. One of my readers-turned-pals emailed me the other day and asked me how I think motherhood has changed me as a writer. She herself is a writer and we’ve often talked about the give-and-take involved in “the professional vale of soul making that a life in literature can become,” as Christian Wiman — one of our favorite authors would describe it. Writing is so influenced and yet influential.
I’m trying to embrace imperfection and sharing my response to that question is part of it. Typically, I’d try to turn my email into a blog post and it would sit, never-perfect, in my drafts folder for weeks. But I’m learning that an imperfect SOMETHING is usually better than the “work-in-progress” nothing. As Liz Gilbert says,
Done is better than good.
So here’s an imperfect but DONE email response to an excellent question. Thanks for asking and thanks for reading. Read more…
What a freaking whirlwind.
At this time, eight days ago, I was riding shotgun with my hair undone and a constipated toddler in the backseat. As Aidah was working hard on her own specific set of problems, I was furiously typing away on my smartphone, just trying to keep up with the insanity that has been our lives these past few months.
-We put our house on the market and after 40 days and 19 showings, we got an offer.
-We packed up all of our stuff and shipped it off to Tennessee.
-We had our offer accepted on an amazing Nashville house within eight hours of Facetime touring it.
-We piled into the trusty Kia and started our drive across the country.
We were somewhere between Cleveland and Louisville when I got the text from Brian, our Boston realtor.
You all know I like to get my zen on. I like my yoga and my mindfulness and my visualizations and intention-setting. So you can imagine my delight when good friends share their visions. My friend Lindsay emailed me this visualization she has been using and I absolutely love it:
There’s always such a teasing conglomeration of feelings when it comes to reading about God’s people in the Old Testament.
On the one hand, they’re such frightened little lemmings. With the objectivity of thousands of years, I’m constantly rolling my eyes. These people freak out about everything. They’re like a bunch of nomadic toddlers, with their tantrums and terrible long-term memory. Oh, what a surprise, you’re grumbling again. Cue the fire of judgment, ya dummies.
But on the other hand, I (begrudgingly) see my bumbling, fearful self in their every breakdown. I can picture myself, running in panicked circles in the desert, tearing my robes and falling down oh-so-dramatically. I see it playing out like an Old Testament version of Oregon Trail:
Jewhosebuh has suffered a snakebite and died.
Neshebuseth grumbled against the Lord and has been burned by fire from on high.
Mariko succumbed to a hangry paroxysm and killed everyone in her tent.
I am so much like these people and it is such a comfort and yet such a disappointment.
There are times — when we eat cookies for breakfast because we’re too lazy to cook (they had oatmeal in them? )
or when we wave Drew’s sock across Aidah’s face to see if she’ll react to the smell (she cried)
— when Drew and I wonder why we’re allowed to have a child.
Who authorized this?
When are the real adults stepping in to relieve us?
I’m not qualified to parent, much less to blog about parenting.